The face of modelling is changing and the people behind Platinum Angels Management (PAM) are hoping to be at the forefront of the grey revolution. It is the first agency in Singapore – and Asia – that exclusively represents models, talents and celebrities over the age of 50.
Its managing director and booker is former top Singapore model Pat Kraal, 59, who worked in Paris in the ’80s, where she strutted the runway for Givenchy, Jean-Louis Scherrer, Balmain and Christian Dior.
PAM is co-founded by Singapore event and show producer Brandon Barker, 67, and French national Beatrice Andre-Besse, 60, a senior director in the financial sector. Both were also former models from the ’70s, and met in 2019 through mutual friends at a charity event where she was a model and he was the show producer.
Platinum Angels Management bosses Pat Kraal (left) and Brandon Barker (right) during their modelling days.
Early last year, Barker roped in Kraal, his friend of 40 years. The plan is to take PAM global, by developing its base in Singapore before expanding to the Asia-Pacific, Europe and America.
It currently has a roster of more than 20 models, from their early 50s to late 60s. Kraal had stopped scouting for Hong Kong-based Global Faces Management a few years ago and was finding it “boring” being at home in Paris with her four children aged 20 to 29.
Platinum Angels Management (from left) managing director Pat Kraal and co-founders Beatrice Andre-Besse and Brandon Barker want to develop its base in Singapore before expanding to the Asia-Pacific, Europe and America.
She tells The Sunday Times: “It is not the end of the world just because you’re 60 – it’s just the beginning. We are having fun doing this, it’s like reliving our glory days. Most of the models I’ve reached out to and who’ve got on board were very keen, and people are generally supportive. It’s good even for a youngster to think, ‘Oh, when I reach 50 or 60, there’s a future, and I don’t have to be retired.’”
Andre-Besse, who has two daughters aged 31 and 28, adds: “We want to help seniors to still feel useful in their community and be financially independent. “We are all about inclusivity, diversity and positivity, and we want people to join our family. And coming from the same generation, we are also more considerate and careful when it comes to seniors’ needs.”
Seniors are now part and parcel of the model cast for fashion houses. Among the brands who have featured older faces in their collections are (clockwise from top left) Collina Strada for Fall/Winter ’22, Marine Serre for Fall/Winter ’21, Balenciaga for Summer ’22, and Prada for Fall/Winter ’22.
PAM also seeks to provide a platform of professional and personalised support for those who want to pursue a new career and chapter in life. There will be an academy arm to coach seniors without prior modelling experience on how to pose and walk, as well as mentally prepare them to enter the scene.
The dream of Barker, son of late politician E.W. Barker, is to pull off a whole fashion show where everyone is over 50, even the dressers, photographers, make-up artists, designers and show producers. He says: “Those who have left the industry need the confidence to go back in, need someone like us representing them to put them back into work, because taking that first step can be daunting.”
The trio note that the market for older models and talents has exploded over the past 10 years, as seniors appear more frequently in mainstream magazine editorials and fashion shows in Europe.
According to Barker, there are currently three modelling agencies in Europe – in England, France and Russia – which exclusively represent senior high fashion models, but not in Asia.
Former models (from left) Ibrahim Atan, Nora Tien, Elaine Tan and Steve Kiang are part of the roster at Platinum Angels Management.
Andre-Besse says: “We are at the beginning of the wave. Maybe Asia is a bit slower (to catch on), but it will come here, of course.” While Kraal is confident that there is a global demand for platinum hair and laugh lines, she wonders if the advertising agencies and change-makers in Singapore are ready.
But she adds without missing a beat: “No, I think we will make them ready, we will change their mindset. We’re here to prove them wrong.”