Former politician Julie Bishop has made a name for herself in the fashion world with a series of stunning new photographs in Stellar Magazine.

The snaps, taken in celebration of International Women’s Day, see the 66-year-old Bishop styled in a collection of sleek dresses, and in one shot, just a smart blue blazer and some heels.

Bishop has been turning heads and making a name for herself with her looks for a while, and has even earned a spot as an ambassador for David Jones. And now, the former foreign affairs minister has opened up about her inspiration for the shoot, and what it means to feature as their cover star for the magazine’s International Women’s Day Issue.

“International Women’s Day is about empowering women, and women feeling self-confident – drawing on their strengths and talents,” Bishop told Stellar when asked about the pose that saw her prop a stiletto against a wall, “when we were doing that pose, I just felt that I needed to look in control, empowered. That was the message I hope it sends.”

“I see myself as a woman who pursues her own career, her own path in life,” she added. “I set my own standards, I meet my own benchmarks and I don’t let others define who I am or what I do.”

When asked how it feels to be a 66-year-old woman “representing a demographic of women who are typically underserved when it comes to fashion”, Bishop took the opportunity to stress her belief that people “can be fashionable at any age.”

“The designs and the models and the stylists focus on one demographic,” she explained, “I’m from one that is generally under-represented. I think David Jones appreciates that, as well.

“[I’m] a career woman who has had a number of careers, and yet still wants to be fit and healthy and dress well. Style doesn’t age. Women were considered to have a shelf life, and women in [the] media know this better than most. I think we’ve smashed that paradigm.

“Now you can be an achiever in whatever you set out to do. You can be fashionable at any age.”

The conversation didn’t stick to the realm of fashion, however, with Bishop also speaking up on her desire to see “more women moving into federal politics” – although she was uninterested in returning herself, having already served “nearly 21 years”.

“The more diversity we have in the decision-making forums of Australia – including the national cabinet – the better the discourse, the better the discussion, the better the outcomes,” she said.

“I would like to see many more women in politics. No nation can reach its full potential unless, and until, it fully engages and embraces the skills and talents and ideas of all of its citizens, including the 50 per cent that is female – in Australia, the 51 per cent.”

“I see myself as a woman who pursues her own career, her own path in life. I set my own standards,” Bishop declared during the interview, “I meet my own benchmarks and I don’t let others define who I am or what I do.”

“I was the first female to hold a number of roles: the first female deputy leader of the Liberal Party, [the] first female foreign minister, I’m now the first female chancellor of ANU [Australian National University in Canberra],” she explained of her decades-long work.

And when asked of her own ambitions moving forward, Bishop had one piece of important advice to share, “there are plenty of things for me to do. I will continue to aspire to do things that will make me happy and satisfied, and can help other people. It’s important for women to be authentic, to be themselves and not try to be who others expect them to be – and trust their instincts.”

Images: Instagram, Stellar Magazine

This article first appeared on Over60.