Eva Wikner Models a New Way to Think about Aging
“Many women dream of having a different look, but they are too shy or afraid of what other people will think. I’m happy to inspire them and encourage them to be themselves and trust themselves. Many women are afraid to take photos of themselves, but you learn a lot about yourself by looking at photos and you see yourself in a different way..."
Though we may not be conscious of it, most of the online influencers we see are young. And, many of them talk about ways we can change ourselves by doing things like losing weight, contouring our faces with makeup, or dressing to look younger. Few tell us that it’s okay to love ourselves exactly the way we are.
Yet, Eva Wikner is one of those voices. After all, you don’t see many 70-year-old grandmothers dominating Instagram, not to mention one that is a model too.
Eva certainly defies stereotypes as to what life as a mature woman looks like. Modeling, which she began doing in 2021, is only the latest of her many accomplishments and adventures.
Wikner was born in a small Swedish village in the early 1950s. Eva’s father was a teacher, and her mother was a talented seamstress who was very interested in fashion. Both of her parents were lovers of art and had many artists stay with them during Eva’s childhood years. So, it was no surprise that Eva wanted to become an artist. But, being from such a small town, she didn’t know how to build an art career, and her parents didn’t see art as a financially stable occupation, so Eva followed another path.
She began working at an advertising agency in Falun, and to her delight, found that she could apply her love of art there. “I found what I had dreamed about working in that industry. Art was always an inspiration for me.”
Eva loved the world of advertising and the exciting projects she worked on; she stayed with the company for 25 years and had become the owner of the agency when she left it in 2012.
But, it was time for a change.
After leaving the agency, Wikner worked with clients as a business and branding coach, which was a welcome break from managing a business and team. And, in 2017, she and two of her friends started Biznet, a networking community for female leaders.
And, though Eva found success and contentment in the business world, she never left her love for art behind. For 17 years, she and her husband, Kjell, owned an art gallery, and Eva has served as chairman of a local art association for the past five years.
Her love of art, design, fashion, and jewelry is something that has been consistent throughout Eva’s life. So, when the pandemic brought normal life to a standstill in 2020, Eva used her newfound free time to go through some of the clothing she had in storage.
Eva had saved many of the special outfits and clothing pieces from years past: an outfit her mother had made her when she was 13, a coat she bought when she was 15, her father’s hat, a dress she wore for her son’s baptism. She started trying the clothing on, taking photos, and posting them on Instagram and Facebook, along with the stories and memories she associated with them.
What started as a fun way to pass the time for Eva became more as her following began to grow. People were fascinated by the items and especially by their stories.
Eva also got the attention of a scout at a modeling agency who asked if she would be interested in modeling for a fashion campaign. “I auditioned, and though I didn’t get the job, it opened my eyes to new possibilities. I had never thought of myself in that way. So, I sent an application to a modeling agency and was asked to join. Since then, I’ve modeled for magazine ads, a skincare brand that I’ve used for decades, and a chain of secondhand stores that I’ve shopped at for many years.”
Today, Eva Wikner is a busy model, online influencer, and entrepreneur, and she loves the 70-year-old version of herself who is comfortable with who she is.
Her mission is to show other mature women that life can be wonderful at any age and encourage them to choose their own way.
“Many women dream of having a different look, but they are too shy or afraid of what other people will think. I’m happy to inspire them and encourage them to be themselves and trust themselves. Many women are afraid to take photos of themselves, but you learn a lot about yourself by looking at photos and you see yourself in a different way. And, putting the photos online helps you get more comfortable with yourself. It’s time for mature women to take their place and be seen on social media. We have a lot to offer.”
Regardless of age, Eva Wikner is an inspiration to all women. We all need a reminder that we don’t have to be defined by cultural norms or expectations. As Eva says, “Love yourself. You are so good.”