25th February 2017

Age before beauty


Suzi Dent is behind the chins in the Leukaemia Foundation ad.  Now she plans to turn the beauty industry on its head.  

When Suzi Dent was asked to take part in a beauty pageant for the first time at age 54 she laughed – until she remembered how it felt to shop in a boutique targeted at mature ladies but plastered with images of young women.  “You go into these fashion shops targeted at over 50s and yet on the walls there’s not an older woman in sight — the clothes are all being modelled by women in their 20s,” Suzi says.  “You’re constantly surrounded by youth and you’re basically being told now that your eggs have dried up you might as well have one foot in the grave..

“Well I don’t feel old. I’m fit, I’m vital, my brain is working and all the women in my family live well into their 90s.  “So I’m barely halfway there.”  The Elanora-based stylist is a 33 year veteran of the beauty and entertainment industries.  But in her usual garb of a T-shirt and with quirky portfolio, she’s not what many people would expect of a stylist, hair dresser and make-up artist.

As well as stylist behind the hilarious Chinville Leukaemia Foundation campaign, Suzi’s work also includes dressing the ordinary looking folk in commercials for brands like The Coffee Club and Subway.  She also gave contestants on TV show Please Marry My Boy a glimpse 60 years into their future through her incredible make up ageing transformation and is currently working with the Queensland Police Service on training videos where she specialises in gruesome injury make up.  So although she is make up director for Miss Universe Queensland, Suzi very nearly said no when Mrs Earth Australia approached her to enter.

“After I picked myself off the floor laughing I said do you know how old I am?” Suzi says.

“But then I went online and checked them out and saw they support the charity Soles4Souls who give shoes to people who have none. “I have a whole wardrobe full of shoes and yet there are these photos of little kids who have pieces of rubber tyre strapped to their feet so they can walk to school.”  So with the dual purpose of supporting the charity and challenging society’s notions of beauty, Suzi signed up.  Not wanting to wait until the pageant final, to be held next Saturday in Melbourne, to strut her stuff, Suzi got straight to work. She’s already convinced Bartercard to allow their offices to be used as drop off points for anyone wanting to donate old shoes.

Speaking of shoes, the woman who hasn’t worn stilettos in decades sent her photo off to an agency and got herself signed to Silver Fox who have already landed her first gig.

“It’s a lot to happen in six months but I realised there was a lot of sameness in my life,”
Suzi says.  “I’ve been doing the same job for 33 years and the same man for 25. Not that that’s a problem; I love my career and I love my husband.

“I want to start conversations about a positive ageing mindset. If I win I might be the oldest beauty queen Australia has ever seen but I’ll also be the loudest.”

Suzi plans to use the power of the pageant to make Soles4Souls the official charity of school out of uniform or mufti days.  But even if she doesn’t become the next Mrs Earth Australia something tells us this is one woman who is going to keep her chin up.

To donate old shoes visit soles4souls.com.au/national-bartercard to find your closest drop off point.


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25 Feb 2017
Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin, Gold Coast
Author: Emily Macdonald • Section: Gold Coast Eye • Article type : News Item
Audience : 33,934 • Page: 6 • Printed Size: 742.00cm² • Market: QLD
Country: Australia • ASR: AUD 5,929 • Words: 634 • Item ID: 732586432
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Featured in the Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin 25.2.2017, page 6.