9 Actresses On Growing Older in Hollywood


9 Actresses On Growing Older in Hollywood


With the controversy over Renee Zellweger’s new look—which the 45-year-old actress eloquently put to bed this morning—some people have been revisiting how Hollywood treats its aging actresses, and the toll that takes on them psychologically. It’s no secret that as a female actress, the older you get the less roles there are, causing many of them to resort to plastic surgery as way of keeping their looks. There are, of course, exceptions like Julianne Moore and Meryl Streep who are enjoying continued, A-list success later into their careers, but those are exceptions to the rule. Below are nine actresses who at one point have discussed how being a part of Hollywood can distort the aging process.

“Having to watch yourself age on a giant movie screen is simply not natural. It can wreak havoc on your psyche. My dermatologist said to me once, ‘You know that 10X magnifying mirror that you have in the bathroom? Throw it away.’ It was the best advice anybody ever gave me. Of course, now my eyes are weaker and I can’t see to put my makeup on without that mirror! But once you get over a certain hump there actually is less pressure. You can begin to look great for your age. You don’t have to look young anymore. I’ve moved over to that other side—I’m 55, which is a little too close to 60, but looking great for my age is okay now.”—Michelle Pfeiffer

‘There are days when I feel victorious that I have, you know, gotten this far [without plastic surgery]. But there are a million days when I look in the mirror and think, I’m going to do it. If only I’d known back then, over those ten years of trying to prove myself, what I know now, which is just be you. I didn’t trust that me was what people wanted.” —Naomi Watts

“As I get older, I become happier because I’m wiser, I know myself better [and] I connect to people better. I think that in our society we don’t honor older generations enough because we think of it as being bad because the appearance changes. Look, the alternative to getting older is [being dead]. I feel very fortunate to have a very full, loving, blessed life, so, I’m living it to the fullest.”—Cameron Diaz

“I can’t complain. I’ve been pretty lucky, and I think the more we talk about it, the more we make it real. I hate being asked this stuff! Let’s appreciate where we are. Let’s not wish our lives away.”—Julianne Moore

“Your age always has to be mentioned and men don’t really get that for some reason. It’s not like you see Joe Schmo, 37.”—Jennifer Aniston

“You’re so punished in this business. When people say, ‘Do you think you’ve lost work because of your politics?’ I say, ‘No, You lose work because you get old and fat!’That’s when they write you off in Hollywood. There’s the inevitability of the deterioration of the physical that forces you to think, really, what is beauty and what survives? I have nothing against people doing things that make them feel better about themselves, but at some point, you have to shift to really wondering what kind of person you are… I think empathy and generosity are very attractive qualities that make you a beautiful person, whether you’re a man or a woman.It’s a losing battle if you’re trying to still look 22. You’re going to be so disappointed.”—Susan Sarandon

“Women my age have very much to say, but unfortunately this business doesn’t recognize that.”—Kim Cattrall

For years, I’ve been the youngest person on the set, and it occurred to me recently that I wasn’t 26! I’d read a script and say, ‘Oh, that’s a great character, that’s something I’d love to do.’ And they’d say, ‘Um, no, we’re thinking of you for the mother.’ And then I’d say, ‘Oh, of course! Of course! I knew that’.” Shields says of how the parts stopped coming. “There aren’t a lot of movies out there for my age. They’re still stopping at the mid-30s. Then you’re Diane Keaton [62] or Glenn Close [63]. I’m trying to find the beauty in the whole picture rather than the crow’s feet. Sure, I wish I had the face I had a decade ago, but I don’t. People say, ‘I love my wrinkles.’ I don’t love my wrinkles – come on!”—Brooke Shields

“I have watched, my whole life, people age and become buffoons. When you crest in your thirties or forties and then you don’t pull out of the public eye, you become a caricature. You have to have grace and dignity and gratitude, and walk away kind of slowly, like you’re walking away from a bear. I’m going to go now, bear. Don’t kill me, don’t rip my fucking face off.”—Jamie Lee Curtis