A woman becomes a model at 68 and thrives

The modeling world is not known for its progressive stances on age. But, little by little, models who are well into their middle years are making their debut in the fashion industry. Saito Paulo-based Setsuko Saito, aka Rosa Saito, is one such person. At 68, she was approached to become a model. It took a year to convince – twice by a modeling agency and once by a photographer – but Saito finally decided to give it a shot. She hasn’t looked back and is thriving as a model years later, now at 71.

Before modeling, Saito had been caring for others for a long time. At 22, she was caring for her mother, and in 2000 her husband died and she became the sole parent of their three children. Part of what inspired her to try modeling was the fact that she had been “devoting herself to someone else” for so long. She didn’t want to live with regrets. “If I don’t try,” Saito thought, “I’ll never know.”

Donning her long silver hair and striking elegant poses, Saito looks natural. She is a versatile model and appears in editorial, marketing and even high fashion photo shoots. Saito is also no stranger to the runway and has participated in São Paulo Fashion Week. She takes on new projects based on her spirit of adventure, which has nothing to do with age. “I keep learning and I feel like the more I learn the less I know. Yes, time passes, but what is time, my God? If I had to give an age to my soul, I would give it 22.”

At 68, Rosa Saito becomes a model.

Rosa Saito, 71-year-old modelRosa Saito, 71-year-old model

She thrives in her role and shows that age does not define beauty.

Rosa Saito, 71-year-old modelRosa Saito, 71-year-old model

At first, Saito feared being a model. It took her a year to convince – twice by a modeling agency and once by a photographer – before she finally decided to give it a shot.

Rosa Saito, 71-year-old modelRosa Saito, 71-year-old modelRosa Saito, 71-year-old model

She didn’t want to live with regrets. “If I don’t try,” Saito thought, “I’ll never know.”

Rosa Saito, 71-year-old modelRosa Saito, 71-year-old model

Saito is a versatile model and appears in editorial, marketing and even high fashion photo shoots.

Rosa Saito, 71-year-old modelRosa Saito, 71-year-old modelRosa Saito: Website

My Modern Met has granted permission to feature photos of Rosa Saito.

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Joseph E. Golightly