June Hordern (nee Campbell) modelling in 1960.
June Hordern (nee Campbell) modelling in 1960. Photo Contributed

Amusing life advice from a modeling mum

I GREW up with a famously beautiful mother, a leading June Dally Watkins model.

My mother's career spanned the late '50s and early '60s and, truth be told, it had an impact on me, having a famed beauty as a mother. There were some positive aspects, but some aspects were not so helpful.

Interestingly, I have befriended by chance rather than by design other female friends who were also daughters of JDW models.

We often laugh as we compare notes on what it was like growing up with our model mothers. Our mothers' era was one defined by "your face is your fortune" and they each married accordingly and successfully.

I grew up witnessing the power of beauty, but I have also witnessed the diminishing returns on aging beauty.

In her heyday, my mother was courted by famous men including Frank Sinatra, and it's certainly true that beauty does open doors.

But what most amuses me was some of the advice my mother passed on.

"Always allow an hour for make-up, hair and dressing for special events."

But my personal favourite (straight from the '50s), was: "Don't be too clever dear, men don't like that."

I sometimes feel as though I was born in that awkward generation that heralded the beginnings of women's liberation, but some of the old rules still lurked and permeated our expectations and behaviour.

My other "model daughter" friends concur. Not one of us followed our mothers' paths, and as non-models we chose to use other talents to make our way in life. I believe we're better off for our non-model choices. But I still like an hour to dress for special occasions. I also choose to be as clever as I like, and if men don't like that, they're not my sort of men.


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