In a world where the spotlight often favors the young and the new, Zakiyyah Salaam, known fondly as Ms. Z, stands as a radiant testament to the beauty of age and experience. A beacon of inspiration for mature women everywhere, Ms. Z’s modeling journey is a testament to breaking boundaries and embracing one’s unique essence. From assisting behind the scenes to stepping into the limelight, her path is a story of transformation, empowerment, and living life to the fullest.


A Glimpse of the Spark:

Asked about her initial interest in the modeling world, Ms. Z recalls her involvement in the fashion industry from the 70s to the 90s, where she contributed her energy to fashion shows, assisting models with outfit changes, and securing loaned clothing from local boutiques. Her history was one of support, yet it was her personal journey that held her back from taking the center stage. “How I felt about myself was the #1 reason I chose backstage, so to speak, instead of out front,” she confides.


Turning Challenges into Opportunities:

As she looks back at her past, Ms. Z emphasizes the impact of her internal dialogue. Self-perception held her back, but over time, her challenges turned into opportunities. Today, Ms. Z champions a message of self-love and self-acceptance. She believes that changing the way she sees herself has reshaped the way she moves through the world, proving that a strong inner foundation is key to success.

Balancing Professional Pursuits and Personal Life:

Now a Silver Fox model at the age of 68, Ms. Z’s professional pursuit is also her passion – modeling. She defines her mission as one of inspiring other women her age to seize life’s opportunities. Ms. Z’s infectious energy resonates with her belief that the best is yet to come. She gracefully combines her professional pursuits with a mission to inspire and motivate, all while living her own best life.


Unforgettable Milestones and Networking:

Joining the prestigious Metro Faces International modeling agency proved to be a significant milestone for Ms. Z. Her involvement with the agency led her to a powerful networking experience and an ongoing partnership, showing her that the industry is increasingly embracing diversity and unique qualities. Ms. Z sees every event as a chance to connect, inspire, and remind women over 50 that their potential knows no bounds.


A Passion for Living:

Beyond modeling, Ms. Z’s passion is simple yet profound – living her best life. She thrives on everything that contributes to her well-being and happiness. From meditating to inviting peace into her daily experiences, she’s determined to stay forever young. Her commitment to healthier living, combined with her positive outlook, radiates an infectious enthusiasm.


Words of Wisdom for Aspiring Models:

For aspiring models, Ms. Z’s advice is to step out of the comfort zone and embrace one’s uniqueness. She encourages young talents to recognize their qualifications and embrace their distinct qualities. “Talk to yourself about how qualified you are for the mission and how ONLY YOU can give the world what YOU uniquely possess,” she passionately advocates.


An Inspirational Force:

When asked about her sources of inspiration, Ms. Z cites a quote that embodies her spirit: “They laugh at me because I’m different. I laugh at them because they’re all the same.” This individuality-driven philosophy fuels her journey. Her mother’s influence is also ever-present, reminding her of the importance of dressing well and feeling confident. This maternal legacy lives on through Ms. Z’s elegant fashion choices.


A Unique Adventure:

As if her journey couldn’t be more remarkable, Ms. Z drops a fun fact that sets her apart. She humorously reveals that she spent about a decade working in a “war zone” – a fashion-forward one, of course. Her unique blend of humor and resilience is a testament to her remarkable character.


In a world that often celebrates the young and the conventional, Ms. Z’s story stands as a compelling testament to the vitality of embracing age and individuality. Her journey from behind the scenes to the forefront of the modeling world is a journey of self-discovery, empowerment, and unwavering optimism. Zakiyyah Salaam, aka Ms. Z, is more than a model; she’s a beacon of inspiration, proving that life’s most vibrant chapters can be written at any age.

Huge thank you to Ms Gwen DeVoe for sponsoring this event!

Photographer: Philip Drew
Designer: Sixty by Vernice

*Blue Dress and Black & White Jumper is from DJ’s Boutique by Dorrie Michael. Dreamcoat is by Sixty by Venice.