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split screen photo of grey haired woman in bikinis© Dana Patrick / Instagram

I became a swimsuit model at 57 – and I feel more confident than ever

At 57, Nina Cash is feeling more confident than ever

Melanie Macleod
Wellness Editor
May 31, 2024
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Nina Cash's life motto is, "It's never too late," and it certainly fared her well when she decided at 57, to enter Sports Illustrated's rookie modelling competition.

"I would never have had the courage to enter the competition in my twenties or thirties, but at 57, I felt more confident and comfortable in my own skin and able take the leap and enter," Nina tells HELLO!.

Nina was named one of the seven winners of the competition, and now calls modelling her 'encore career', following a work life that saw her earn a doctorate in educational leadership.

grey haired woman in a bikini© Sports Illustrated
Nina became a swimsuit model at 57

"As a life-long learner, I am enjoying the process of learning about the modelling industry," Nina says of her latest challenge. "I have met some wonderful, supportive people who have been so encouraging.

"I look at Apo Whang Od, who was on the cover of Philippine Vogue last year at the age of 106, and Iris Apfel, who signed with a modelling agency at 97, and realise there is still a chance for me, in my late fifties, to be on the cover of a fashion magazine."

Finding confidence 

"Life experience has definitely helped in building my confidence," Nina says of where she found the courage to enter the modelling competition. 

woman with grey hair in white one shoulder bikini© Ben Watts /SPORTS ILLUSTRATED
Nina feels more confident than ever

"As you grow older, you begin to understand what matters to you and what doesn't. What matters to me is how I feel about myself at the end of the day. It truly is none of my business what others think of me."

INSPIRATION: How I beat a midlife confidence crisis at 49 

That said, Nina notes that she's had a huge confidence boost since winning the competition. "I am a minority, 57-year-old, grey haired, disabled (because I have diabetes), retired, senior citizen, who is featured as a 2024 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Rookie – I can't believe it!"

Nina's fitness routine

Given how incredible she looks, you might expect Nina to have an intense fitness routine, but we're happy to report her exercise regime is surprisingly relatable.

"I have always been active, but I'm not a gym junkie and I don't work out every single day," she explains. "I don’t have a regime, I just move about and exercise in whatever manner I feel like at the time.

grey haired woman smiling in peach coloured top© Dana Patrick
Nina says movement supports her mood

"It is important for me to be active, whether it be riding my Peloton, walking my dogs or dancing to eighties music in my living room. Movement is very therapeutic for me and fills my emotional bank account."

READ: I'm more energetic than ever at 61 – here's how 

Nina's healthy lifestyle

At 49, Nina was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, explaining: "I am fortunate to not have to take insulin, but am on medication and will probably need to be for the rest of my life."

To stay healthy, she takes supplements including folic acid, magnesium and vitamin D, but doesn't follow a strict diet.

View post on Instagram
 

"Although I am diabetic, I eat anything I want in moderation," she shares. "I do not deprive myself of certain foods, but I certainly don’t go crazy and eat a gallon of ice cream.

"I make it a point to never skip breakfast - it’s my fuel for the day. I load up on protein and then throughout the day, I graze on healthy snacks, instead of a full lunch and dinner.

"I try not to eat past 6pm, as I feel so much better in the morning when I wake up, which is around 5am or when my four rescue pups decide to wake me up!"

READ: I'm healthier than ever at 70 – here's how I stay at my best 

Life advice

As someone brimming with energy and enthusiasm, it's clear to see Nina is an optimistic person – with so much excitement still to come.

Woman with grey hair in a white shirt smiling for the camera© Dana Patrick
Nina calls modelling her 'encore career'

"What makes me happiest in my fifties is knowing that my happiest moments have yet to come! Life is good and I am grateful and appreciative of it all," she tells HELLO!

"My advice for others is very simple: Life is going to pass regardless of what you are doing or not doing, just go for it!"

Introducing HELLO!'s Second Act

Two women out shopping for the day, taking a break and sitting down on a couch in a clothing store together.© Getty

HELLO! wanted to create a space dedicated to sharing incredible stories from midlife; somewhere you can find inspiring stories of like-minded women, living their best life beyond 45.

Enter, Second Act...

For too long, we were expected to fade into the background when we hit 45, but we're here to reframe your Second Act as a celebratory, exciting new chapter with endless possibilities ahead.

From women who embarked on new careers in their fifties, to those who travelled the world alone after their children left home, to women who finally felt confident when they reached their forties, Second Act is devoted to celebrating the incredible stories of midlife, and we'd love to have you along for the journey - because being part of a community makes everything more enjoyable.

Visit HELLO!'s Second Act hub 

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