With her vinyl Kassl Editions trench coat, wide-leg khakis, Spring Court sneakers and Celine Tambour bag, Sophie Fontanel is style personified. No wonder, then, that the Paris-based journalist has recently added “Instagram star” to her CV at an age when many of her peers feel they are losing their mojo. “I am 58 and my career is blooming,” she says, of her 248,000-strong following.

Things took off when Fontanel began documenting her (radical, for a Parisienne) decision to let her hair go gray. “This white coming upon my head was something so completely new, I was so happy. It was a complete change, and at the same time it was becoming really me,” she says. Today, white-haired women stop her on the boulevards and send her photographs to thank her for inspiring them to ditch the dye. She encourages other women of her age to post their selfies. “I am not the most beautiful girl in town, but I have found my beauty,” she says. “I made an effort not to be like the others, but to pay attention to what I owned. To have the courage to appear.”

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