Cindy Joseph, a Model Who Embraced Her Age, Is Dead at 67

Like many models, Cindy Joseph began her career with a chance encounter. Unlike many models, she did not get her lucky break until she was nearly 50.

Shortly after she stopped dyeing her long silver hair, a casting agent spotted Ms. Joseph on a New York City street and asked her to pose for a Dolce & Gabbana advertisement.

“I certainly didn’t fit the status quo of the modeling world,” Ms. Joseph told Yahoo Beauty in an interview last year. “I was 49 years old — I was under 5-foot-8, my hair was gray. Hello! I had crow’s feet!”

Soon after that, Ms. Joseph signed a contract with the Ford modeling agency. In her 50s and 60s she modeled for companies like Olay, Elizabeth Arden, Anthropologie and Ann Taylor. In 2010 she founded Boom! by Cindy Joseph, an all-natural cosmetics company designed to complement, not disguise, a woman’s age.

Ms. Joseph continued modeling until weeks before she died, on July 12, in Cortlandt, N.Y. She was 67. The cause was soft tissue sarcoma, her son, Bo, said.

Before Ms. Joseph became a model and an entrepreneur, she spent decades working as a professional makeup artist for supermodels like Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford. But she never considered modeling professionally herself.

Her career flourished as companies began to seek more mature models to appeal to aging baby boomers, and she appeared on the covers of magazines and on billboards, including one for Target in Times Square.

She also encouraged models, and women in general, to embrace their age instead of trying to conceal it. And she exemplified a wave of models who have succeeded in recent years by doing just that.

“There’s not a woman who doesn’t want to look younger than she is, because we’re told that as we age, our value goes down,” Ms. Joseph told The Honolulu Star-Advertiser in 2011.

Ms. Joseph thought that fixating on youth was unhealthy — and an ineffective beauty strategy. Many cosmetics, she contended, failed their wearers by trying to mask signs of aging. She started Boom! to market cosmetics that burnished a woman’s features rather than burying them.

“Instead of anti-aging, I say it’s pro-aging,” Ms. Joseph told The New York Times in 2010. “The idea is, women can look beautiful without looking younger.”

Ms. Joseph on the cover of the July 2007 issue of Viv magazine.CreditOndrea Barbe/Viv magazine

The idea behind Boom! was to simplify a makeup kit by replacing innumerable powders, ointments, blushes, unguents and salves with a handful of sheer cosmetics. One of the company’s owners, Ezra Firestone, said in an interview that Boom! started slowly but that annual sales were now “in the eight figures.”

Cindy Gay Miller was born in Seattle on Jan. 26, 1951, to Reid and Gertrude (Maple) Miller. Her father ran a jewelry and gift store, and her mother worked in the city planning department of Fremont, Calif., near San Francisco, where her parents moved when she was young and where she grew up.

She dropped out of high school at the height of the 1960s counterculture and in 1969 married Leonard Joseph, a photographer. They settled in Alameda, Calif., where Ms. Joseph began working as a makeup artist with him. Her talents attracted the attention of leading photographers, and soon she was traveling the world to work with the likes of Uli Rose and Peter Lindbergh.

She and Mr. Joseph separated in the early 1980s and later divorced, and she spent some years in Paris before settling in New York. In 2013 she married Bruce Kocher, with whom she lived in Cold Spring, N.Y. He survives her.

In addition to him and her son, Bo, an artist, she is survived by a brother, Greg Miller; a daughter, Julia Joseph, a singer and songwriter who also works as a makeup artist; two stepsons, Tim Kocher and Bruce Kocher Jr.; and four grandchildren.

Ms. Joseph acknowledged that there was at least one drawback to the increased number of older professional models: more competition.

“I used to do a go-see, and there were three of us,” she said in 2010. “Now it can be 10, and sometimes a roomful. With more women my age in the business, I’m working less.”

Follow Daniel E. Slotnik on Twitter: @dslotnik

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A24 of the New York edition with the headline: Cindy Joseph, 67, Model Who Embraced Her Age. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

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