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I Felt a Lack of Direction After I Retired from Being a CEO. Then I Found a New Career as a Model at Age 63. Here's how one retiree went from a rocking chair to rocking looks on the runway.

By Jane Ridley

Key Takeaways

  • Anthony Hurd retired at 62, thinking it would give him more opportunity to enjoy his later years.
  • But the ex-CEO got bored and anxious. An article about mature models made him launch a new career.
  • Hurd has modeled across Europe — he posed in his underwear in Sweden and walked the runway in Paris.
entrepreneur daily

This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Anthony Hurd. It has been edited for length and clarity.

I did my first modeling shoot at 63. It was for a well-known charity in my native UK.

Music was playing, and everyone was friendly and smiling. I had to look up, sideways, and down at imaginary things edited into the frame later.

The casting director thought I was joking when I told him this was my first gig. "You've smashed it," he said. I've never felt such a natural high.

A mature, tattooed male model poses in boxer shorts during a photo shoot.

Anthony Hurd poses in a studio as an underwear model Gustav Anestam via Business Insider

I retired because I didn't want to worry about running a business anymore

My mindset had been the opposite six months earlier because retirement, after 25 years of being the CEO of a furniture business, wasn't working for me.

I retired in June 2022. My youngest daughter was two at the time. "I've got a young child," I thought. "I must spend time with her and make the best of my life."

I planned to spend time with her and my eight older kids ages 8 to 48. I also wanted to go to the gym and start learning a new language. I didn't want to chase money or worry about the company anymore.

A mother and father with their little girl sitting on a white sofa.

Hurd with his wife, Rachael, and the youngest of his 9 children. Courtesy of Anthony Hurd via BI

But I soon became bored and developed anxiety, which I had never had before. It caught me by surprise. It was getting to the point where I was killing time during the day and sleeping badly at night.

I saw a doctor about my low mood. "I could put you on antidepressants," he said. I didn't want medication, and he referred me to a therapist. The sessions made me feel so much better.

Soon I started going to the gym in earnest and hired a personal trainer. I did cardio and strength training. My wife, Rachael, 40, and the kids noticed a positive change. Still, I lacked direction.

I thought I'd give modeling a try

I was on my computer a couple of months later, and a pop-up appeared. It was an article about seniors becoming models. I laughed and clicked on it. It said some of the big brands were employing mature models. They called them "silver" or "gray" models.

I pulled up some recent pictures that Rachael had taken of me. I was tan and had grown a gray beard. Rachael told me I looked sharp.

"Modeling might be fun," I thought. If it didn't happen, I had nothing to lose.

A mature male model with a beard wearing a blue jacket and button-up shirt

This portrait was recently added to Hurd's modeling portfolio Edo Brugué

I sent my photos and an introductory video to an agency based in London, who signed me as soon as I met them. "You can be the trendy granddad," the agent said.

My first photoshoot, a charity shoot for Comic Relief, took place in December 2022. Later, I shot for Nike at a Premiership soccer club, modeled sneakers for Reebok, and did photoshoots for H&M. My picture appeared on billboards and buses.

My career took off, and I launched my Instagram.

I walked the runway during Paris fashion week

Sometimes people look at me and say, "Are you really a model?" I tell them that the world of modeling has changed. It's no longer about looking like David Gandy. It's about people being real people.

My most surprising assignment was modeling underwear in Sweden for the designer Weard. It was mostly shorts and T-shirts. Then they handed me a pair of boxers. I walked onto the set and posed. I never imagined in a million years I'd be standing in front of a camera in underwear at 63.

A mature male model with a gray beard wearing a patterned button-up shirt.

Hurd told Business Insider that he never gets nervous ahead of a modeling shoot. Edo Brugué

But the year's highlight was walking the runway during Paris Fashion Week in June 2023. Luckily, I'm never nervous. I enjoy every moment of my job.

I say "Showtime!" ahead of each shoot. The music plays, the lights are on, and people recognize me and ask how I'm doing.

I hope to inspire older people

The pay is good. I've made more than $35,000 in the three-and-a-half months since January — about the same amount I made in total last year. I was just paid $3,000 for an hour's work modeling for a software firm.

You make the most money from "buyouts" — a contract in which the company can use your images wherever they want for a limited time — and TV commercials for big brands. I recently auditioned for Coca-Cola, BMW, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Visa.

At 64, I'm giving a strong and inspiring message. I want people my age and older to know they still have relevance and value.

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