“I Am Not A Babushka!” 76-Year-Old Model From Belarus Says

“Do I look like a babushka?”, Margarita Timofeevna Mashkatova, 76, says. Despite her respectable age, the woman leads an active lifestyle and became a photo model a while ago.



Recently a photo project, in which she posed, won the first prize at a Belarusian fashion competition.

Margarita Timofeevna comes from Maryina Gorka (Maryina Horka), a town of just over 20 thousand people located 60km away from Minsk. On Sundays she likes to visit Minsk “to relax the mind”.

On one of such days in summer last year she got acquainted with the photographer Julia Leydik.

“I was walking down the street in the city centre when a young lady came up to me. She said that she liked me and asked if she could take pictures of me. I agreed. They dressed me in a small dress, shoes and took a lot of pictures of me”, the model recalls.


KANAPLEV + LEYDIK/bolshoi.by

In August the pictures were published in Bolshoi magazine.

One year later, August 2016, the photographer called Margarita Timofeevna again and invited her to participate in a new project.

Julia Leydik and her colleague Eugene Kanaplev dedicated the project Mobile Lifestyle to stylish and active seniors. During the photo shoot Margarita Mashkatova had a partner, 80-year-old Andrei Karalenka, whom the photographers also met by chance.

Later, pictures won Grand Prix in the photo contest Golden Belarus 2016.

“Of course, I gladly accepted this offer. My children were thrilled when they saw the photos. My husband liked them, too. He said: Uhm, wow! Now you’ve become  an actress.”

Although Margarita Timofeevna tries to keep up with the times, she confesses that she is not particularly fond of modern fashion. The woman admits she was a bit shocked by the clothes she had to wear for the photo shoot.

“The skirt, sweats… Why do the young dress like that? While we were shooting in the street, passers-by stopped and took pictures of us and filmed us. A woman made a sign to me about how cool l looked! But I was wearing such a weird skirt!”

Weird or not, Margarita Timofeevna has received other work offers after that collaboration. She is now offered to pose for ads for money.


Looks like the work with Kanaplev andLeydik has made the 76-year-old woman famous.

“I remember running into a friend  of mine in the street, and while we were talking she repeated several times that people passing by us would turn around and look at me. And it also happened that several men in trains made attempts to get acquainted.”

The 76-years-old model does gymnastics, works in her garden, actively surfs social networks. She has style and loves making jokes.


“What’s really important is how you feel inside! If you feel like a 30-years-old, then everything will work out! Sometimes when I am on a bus, I hear people say: “Let the babushka sit down”. And I think: “I am not a babushka!”, the woman says and laughs.

The original version of this article was published on TUT.BY. Translated by Daria Alferovich for BelarusFeed.