Fashion chain comes up with a model way to fight ageism

Age is just a number: Bernadette Bull is part of Millers' Seeing Me Project. Picture: Chris Lane
Age is just a number: Bernadette Bull is part of Millers' Seeing Me Project. Picture: Chris Lane

BERNADETTE Bull, of Jannali, never expected to find herself fronting an advertising campaign in her 60s.

But the grandmother was plucked from obscurity as part of Millers clothing chain's Seeing Me Project.

It follows Millers' study of almost 4300 women which showed that while three-quarters of women wanted to see their age appropriately represented in popular culture, eight in 10 did not believe this was happening.

"Old", "elderly", "unimportant", "frumpy", "invisible" and "unfashionable" were top words used by respondents to describe media depictions of older women. Almost a third felt discriminated against because of their age.

So Millers decided to do something about it with its Seeing Me Project, which is now in its second year.

The project's mission was to "encourage the world to see women the way we do", so a call was sent out for women aged in their 40s, 50s and 60s to front an advertising campaign.

Picture: Chris Lane

Picture: Chris Lane

Ms Bull, 66, didn't see the advertisement, but a friend of hers did and encouraged her to apply.

"So I sent a few pictures and they said they'd love to have me on board," she said.

Ms Bull eased into retirement two years ago after 28 years with a city law firm's human resources department.

It took two days to shoot the new summer collection campaign, which is expected to air during November/December.

"I don't know if it will lead to anything," Ms Bull said. "People have been very kind but I've never thought of myself as anything but a normal person."

Divorced for a long time and with two children and two grandchildren, Ms Bull does not claim any particular secrets for her good looks and youthfulness.

"I like to keep busy and active," she said.

"I've never smoked; I like a glass of white wine and a nice glass of champagne.

"I don't have a strict diet but I don't eat fried food because I don't like it — but I like lollies."

Her busy and active life includes twice-weekly tennis, the gym most days and caring for her grandchildren a couple of times a week.

"Age is just getting a day older every day," she said.