Aging is not lost youth, but a new stage of opportunity and strength,” Betty Friedan, author of The Feminine Mystique, once wrote. Despite all of the pressure and double standards that come with aging in the public eye, this attitude is something that many of the most inspiring women in Hollywood subscribe to. And they’ve never been more vocal about it, or eager to share the refreshing perspectives they’ve cultivated in the face of a youth-obsessed culture. From Beyoncé to Jane Fonda, these stars are speaking candidly about aging—and how they’re doing it on their own terms.


“This is the first year that I really understand what it means to be alive and to live in the moment,” Beyoncé wrote in a handwritten note on her 40th birthday, shared on her official website. “It’s the first time that I have an understanding of how fragile life truly is, how hard life can be at times, and therefore how important it is to stop and smell the roses during the good times. I thought I knew that at 21 or 30…but I didn’t. The more mature I become, the more I understand and the deeper my joy grows…I’m finally giving myself permission to enjoy the seeds I’ve worked so hard to plant my whole life. Whoever tried to condition women to feel that we are supposed to feel old or unhappy when we turn 40 got it ALL THE WAY F’d UP,” she quipped. “It has absolutely been the best I’ve felt in my life. I’m so grateful to be GROWN, GROWN!”

Sarah Jessica Parker

“There’s so much misogynist chatter in response to us that would never. Happen. About. A. Man,” Sarah Jessica Parker told Vogue in her December cover story, referring to the ageist commentary around the Sex and the City reboot And Just Like That. “‘Gray hair gray hair gray hair. Does she have gray hair?’ I’m sitting with Andy Cohen,” Parker goes on, “and he has a full head of gray hair, and he’s exquisite. Why is it okay for him? I don’t know what to tell you people! Especially on social media. Everyone has something to say. ‘She has too many wrinkles, she doesn’t have enough wrinkles.’ It almost feels as if people don’t want us to be perfectly okay with where we are, as if they almost enjoy us being pained by who we are today, whether we choose to age naturally and not look perfect, or whether you do something if that makes you feel better. I know what I look like. I have no choice. What am I going to do about it? Stop aging? Disappear?”

Sandra Oh

“I was more insecure when I was 20 than I am at 47,” Sandra Oh told InStyle, for whom she wore a mirror sequined Gucci dress. “At 47 it’s like, ‘You need me to put on a crazy dress with mirrors? Yeah, sure. I’m going to work the s**t out of this!’ I don’t know what I’m doing. It’s, like, you give less f**ks. Aging is the greatest. It really gives you more space to be that person in the mirrored dress who has always been inside.”

Helen Mirren

“It’s much better to age disgracefully!” Helen Mirren replied cheekily when Vogue asked her thoughts on the notion of “aging gracefully” in Hollywood, “Take it on the chin, and roll with it. You die young, or you get older. There is nothing in between! You may as well enjoy it.” And let it be known: Living life large, no matter what age you are, is a notion that has been ingrained in Mirren for decades. “My mother once said, ‘Never worry about getting older,’“ she recalled. “‘I know the thought of you being 45 when you’re 25 is, Oh, my god! Who wants to be 45? But it’s amazing because when you get to be 45, you’ll realize it’s actually very cool and you don’t want to be 25 again.’ And I have to say, she was absolutely right. With every age comes advantages and disadvantages. And you tend to find that you don’t want to go back. You want to be exactly where you are with everything you’ve experienced.”

Halle Berry

“We’re all going to get older. Our skin is going to shrivel up and we’re going to look different. I see things changing with my face and body, but I’ve never put all my eggs in that basket. I’ve always known that beauty is deeper than the physical body you’re walking around in,” Berry told AARP. “I refuse to become someone who just tries to hold onto a youthful face and not embrace what’s most important about being beautiful—how you live your life, how you give back to others, how you connect to people, how you strengthen your mind, body, and soul and nourish yourself, how you give in a meaningful way of yourself. The most beautiful people have something radiating inside. Women are told that when we reach a certain number, we’re no longer valuable. I believe the opposite. Society should look at us as jewels as we get older. Because the older women get, the more formidable we are.”

Brooke Shields

“I don’t think there’s any shame in being afraid of doing new things,” Brooke Shields told NPR. “There’s no shame in being older and getting older. There’s a sense of pride I think that comes with it, but I don’t want to wait for that pride to have to look like ancient wisdom. You know, I’m not stopping a thing I love doing. Yes, I’m limited in a lot of the physical activity, but I’m still going. I’m still taking on new jobs. There is still more to come. And this is all a part of it. So I want that message to be out there, because I want especially women over a certain age in their 50s to feel like they are at a new beginning. You know, just because their ovaries are not producing babies anymore, are they supposedly not as important or not as valuable? I don’t believe so.”

Salma Hayek

“Growing old, to me, has to do with repetition,” Salma Hayek told AARP of her personal aging philosophy, which hinges on embracing the newness of every next chapter. “Something gets old when you’ve done it for a long time. If you’re always changing, if you’re always curious, how can you be old? You’re someone new today.”

Julianne Moore

“There’s so much judgment inherent in the term ‘aging gracefully.’ Is there an ungraceful way to age? We don’t have an option of course. No one has an option about aging, so it’s not a positive or a negative thing, it just is. It’s part of the human condition, so why are we always talking about it as if it is something that we have control over?” Moore told As If. The question Moore thinks we should be asking ourselves instead? “How do we continue to challenge ourselves, to interest ourselves, learn new things, be more helpful to other people, be the person that your friends and family need or want? How do we continue to evolve? How do we navigate life to have even deeper experiences? That’s what aging should be about.”

Padma Lakshmi

“Growing older gracefully means having a keen curiosity about learning things about the world that you didn’t know yesterday, no matter how many yesterdays you’ve had,” Padma Lakshmi told Esquire, adding, “I don’t feel guilty taking pleasure in things anymore.”

Jane Fonda

“When I was about to turn 60, I realized that I was approaching my third act—my final act—and that it wasn’t a dress rehearsal,” Jane Fonda told Glamour “One of the things that I knew for sure is that I didn’t want to get to the end with a lot of regrets, so how I lived up until the end was what was going to determine whether or not I had regrets.” Fonda did a “life review” that helped her see things more clearly. “It totally changed the way I thought about myself and about how I wanted to live the last third of my life,” she said. “And I realized the importance of being intentional about how we go through life.” On her journey growing older, one of her biggest takeaways has been: “When you get older, you realize that staying healthy is joyful and critical because age isn’t so much chronology. You can be very old at 84, which is my age, but you can also be very young.”

Jennifer Lopez

“I find myself thinking about being youthful and timeless at every age,” Lopez told Red. “At some point aging is going to happen, but until then, you decide how strong you’re going to be. How much you’re going to move. How much you’re going to work. How active you are going to be in your mind, with your life, with your body. You decide. And you can keep it strong. You can keep it good.”


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