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From Jessica Lange to Helen Mirren: How Hollywood Is Redefining Beauty

Jessica Lange Inspires All Ages

My mom is gorgeous. She always has been. People stop her on the street and tell her how beautiful she is. My mother thinks this is completely hysterical. She never believes the comments, but because she is a southern lady, she kindly thanks whomever is offering them and quietly chuckles her disbeliefs to herself. My mom turned 63 at the end of last year, and we often talk about women “her age” in the entertainment industry.

There are quite a few breathtakingly beautiful women in Hollywood who are in their 60s: Meryl Streep is 64, Susan Sarandon is 67, Phylicia Rashad is 65, and Helen Mirren is 68. It’s great that we can go to the movies or turn on the TV and see them, but when it comes to commercials or the ads on billboards or magazines, it’s rare to see a woman over the age of 30.

Just recently, 64-year-old actress Jessica Lange was announced as the new face of Marc Jacobs Beauty. I think Jessica is absolutely stunning and that this is a smart move for the Marc Jacobs campaign.

The Edmonton Journal spoke to Anne Kreamer, who is an ageism expert and author of Going Gray: How to Embrace Your Authentic Self with Grace and Style, about the power of hiring older women for major ad campaigns. Kreamer says, “Seeing people who aren’t necessarily falling prey to the message that youth is the holy grail can give people a vision of a way they can live differently.”

Jessica Lange Inspiring Women Everywhere - Like My MotherI believe my mom is definitely one of those people. I talked to her about the new campaign with Jessica Lange and asked her what it’s like seeing aging women portrayed in the media in general.

Me: What is it like seeing a woman who is your age land a beauty campaign?
Mom: Marc Jacobs was very, very fortunate to land her! I’ve never thought about her age, and actually I’m surprised that she is a year older than I am (I thought she was much younger). Maybe there’s hope for me to fall off the shelf and back into the marketable world again. Ha! I don’t come with her stellar attributes, but I love that she is definitely a poster child for forgetting age as a line of demarcation and exclusion! Let’s have some more seasoned beauties leading the way.

Me: Does it bother you that Jessica Lange may have had work done?
Mom: Has she? I don’t think I care what choices she may or may not have made in managing her looks. While I don’t want my ears pinned to the back of my head, I do sometimes sigh longingly over the promises made by all those “lifestyle lift” commercials that suggest they can crank back gravity to an earlier time. Besides, isn’t adding on makeup a bit like ‘getting work done’? We all look a bit more ready for the day with some moisturizer, mascara, and lipstick! (Plus other add-ons, as appropriate!)

Me: What do you think of celebs (women) in their ’60s and aging? Are they an inspiration? A cautionary tale?
Mom: I think that women celebrities, or those more quietly regarded, are the most admirable and inspirational when they live their best selves, and make their best appearance, is in who their journeys have led them to become. Conventional “beauty” — that of symmetry and careful perfection — isn’t always that appealing. What IS — and what encourages the rest of us to accept ourselves — is the woman who shines through her well-earned maturity with her intelligence, her heart, her joy, her compassion, her love, her energy (whatever is truly at her core), and her self-embracing. What we ‘see’ when we look at them yes, they are beautiful — is their uniqueness and their inner light that draws us to keep watching them and idolizing them. Don’t we all, even if secretly, wish we could compel fascination for that same reason?

Me: Any skin care tips to pass on to your younger self?
Mom: These are my lessons I learned the hard way:

  • Don’t scrub on your face or briskly towel off! Treat that skin as gently as the experts beg us to do — gravity is going to get us, but there’s no point in giving it a head start.
  • Moisturize find the non-comedogenic moisturizers when you are young and prone to breaking out.
  • Sunscreen! I always avoided ‘baking’ my overly pale skin because I don’t like the sweating part, but I’ve freckled through the years nonetheless just from being bare-skinned outside in various parts of the world.
  • Toothpaste is not an appropriate face-cleaner (!!!!)
  • Drink lots of water!
  • Don’t frown, don’t scowl, don’t furrow (more than you can help). You are building ruts for your face lines to dig into.
  • Clean your face with the gentlest cleanser before bedtime.
  • Get lots of kisses from your grandchild (my personal favorite tip).

Jessica Lange joins a growing list of inspirational older beauties in campaigns: 68-year-old Charlotte Rampling is the face of NARS, and Iris Apfel was over 90 when MAC started putting her in ads. I love seeing women of all ages in ad campaigns. What do you think about it?

Image Credit: Marc Jacobs Beauty

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