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Photo credit: @ardeth1960 on Instagram

Meet Ardeth: a vintage mannequin living a modern world

By Maria-Helena Pacelli on October 31, 2019


It was the middle of the day when I met Ardeth’s Instagram account manager. Don’t get me wrong: I’d love to meet Ardeth, but she keeps a busy schedule. A retired model, Ardeth continues to devote her life to photographing every day scenes. She may only have “one stance” but she certainly has many looks and many points of view.

Who is Ardeth?

I’m a vintage mannequin living a modern world. The word mannequin means “an artist’s jointed model” so it was a likely gig for me after my creation.

Where are you from?

I’ve been trying to figure that out myself! I don’t remember where I was manufactured although I hear Morgese Soriano was a big manufacturer in Canada at that time. I’d love to learn more about my family tree!

How did you get into modeling?

The main portion of my career was modeling coats in a fur salon in the 1960’s and 70’s in Pembroke, Ontario, part of the Ottawa Valley. (I worked with another mannequin that had plans to move in with me, but she died tragically in a cottage fire a few years ago.)

Why did you retire from modeling?

After the fur salon went out of business, I stayed on to work in the reception area of the neighbouring ice factory (storing furs and ice are a perfect match because of the cool temperatures). It was smelly and dirty and I soon realized I wasn’t really modeling anything anymore. I was in a funk. So, when I had the opportunity to retire and move to a house, I took it.

What has the retired model life been like for you?

I now have the freedom to work as I please, in different types of jobs. I love it!

I do sometimes miss modeling. I mean, aside from the odd pic of my roommate, Babs (a fellow mannequin), my IG is basically all photos of myself. Instagram is such a lovely spot for me to continue expressing myself, though no longer modeling professionally. And I turn some of those shots into content for my annual calendar!

I could never do runway. And I feel like human models are better at “smizing”.

What can we look for next from you?

I want to take over Ottawa and show the world what this beautiful city has to offer. Is “the key to the city” a real thing? I want one of those!

I absolutely love staring contests! But basically I’m a “yes” man(nequin)… up for pretty much anything!

What does aging look and feel like or mean as a mannequin? How is it the same or different than being a human?

Aging is obviously a much slower process for me than a human but I do suffer from wear and tear. It truly amazes me how the human body can repair itself after a cut or break; if I get chipped, I stay chipped.

I try to stay out of the sun for long periods and clean myself with a damp cloth and mild detergent. Occasionally toothpaste for heavier scuffs.

How old are you?

It’s been 60+ years since my creation!

Do mannequins live forever?

They can – with the right caregiver. It breaks my heart to see a fellow mannequin in the trash and wonder what their new reality is. Are they crushed? Are they living in a landfill cold and alone? I don’t like to think about it.

Do mannequins eat?

They don’t need to but eating is a human experience I don’t want to miss out on! When no-ones looking, I be eating 🤭

What do you want to be when you grow up?

A robot.

What is your favourite music?

I’ve been around for many decades of music and I really can listen to anything from Donovan to NIN. I love music and appreciate a good show. Of course Starships “nothing’s gonna stop us” from the 1987 Mannequin soundtrack holds a special place in my heart.

I could tell that Ardeth and her manager are really close and her manager takes good care of Ardeth, as well as a great interest in her history and condition. She did share that her pet peeve is hitting the base of the stand against a shin. But despite the perpetual bruises, the photos continue pouring out of @ardeth1960 on Instagram with a regular familiarity that’s not quite like a robot… but not quite human either.

For the latest from Ardeth, follow her on Instagram @ardeth1960. Morgese Soriano models have had a physical presence in Ontario since 1893 and are appreciated by artists and fashion enthusiasts worldwide.



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