The first thing you notice about Pia Gronning is that she's comfortable in her own skin. The Danish model, who turns 61 this month, has the expected visible signs of aging — fine lines, wrinkles, grey hair — but, oh, how she wears them! With the striking beauty typical of northern Europeans (think Liv Ullman), Gronning's charisma in front of the camera has only grown over the years — a fact not lost on Montreal-based Marcelle Cosmetics who selected Gronning as the face of its new line for mature skin.
Discovered while at high school in 1973 in her native Denmark by legendary agent Eileen Ford, Gronning was a fixture in fashion magazines until about 1986 when she moved to Los Angeles to try her hand at acting. Instead of a movie career, however, she found herself in high demand as an interior designer (upon seeing Gronning's home, a friend asked her to do his house, and word of mouth spread). She kept at it for 12 years, working for a slew of film industry types.
But modelling beckoned once again. “I started seeing girls I used to work with in New York back working, and I thought, 'They're doing it. I can do it.' ” Modelling full time again, she's discovered that society's changing attitudes toward aging, have made it more enjoyable.
“I never had the dream to become a model. But what I like about being back in it now, at my age, is that I don't have to be perfect anymore, and I like myself a lot better than I did then,” she explains. “I have accepted myself. I mean, I'm still not perfect, but I get treated with a lot more respect, more like a human being, not like just a figure with hair and make-up. So, I'm enjoying this round. I really am.”
The phrase “natural beauty” is apt and is something Gronning is determined to maintain. When asked what aging gracefully means to her, she doesn't hesitate: “Accepting the wrinkles and the things that are not as perfect anymore, without doing all this horrible surgery that so many women are doing. When I see some of these women, I can't even recognize them. I just want to get old gracefully.” Shirt, 3.1 Phillip Lim, $365
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