Aging is a natural process and one that we all experience. Yet society seems obsessed with the idea of looking as youthful as possible.
There are countless creams and serums that promote a “healthier, younger” version of ourselves and wellness classes to keep us as fit as people 20 years our junior. But when it comes to embracing our true age, few seem interested.
“Aging is something that you either have to decide that you like or you don’t. It’s a choice,” Andie MacDowell told Harpers Bazaar.
The 64-year-old actress has always been the definition of beauty, but once she turned 40, a reporter questioned her looks. Rather than turn to any one of the thousands of products on the market to maintain her radiant look, MacDowell began to embrace her new look.
“…it’s just a different kind of beauty.”
Andie MacDowell got her start during a trip to Los Angeles when she was recruited by a rep from Wilhelmina Models. In 1978 she signed with Elite Model Management in New York City.
In the early 1980s, she modeled for Vogue and appeared in several ad campaigns for Yves Saint Laurent, Armani perfume, Mink International, Anne Klein, and others. It was a series of billboards in Times Square and television commercials for Calvin Klein that led to her role in Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes.
After her first acting role, she began transitioning from modeling to acting.
While she appeared in more films, she maintained her career as a model too. Since 1986 she has appeared in both print and TV ads for L’Oreal and has become an ambassador for the brand.
But as years went on, MacDowell was no longer receiving leading roles; they were going to younger actors. She spoke with Fox News in 2016 about her desire to work despite being passed over.
“I take really good care of myself and I insist on not going away. I want to work because it brings me a sense of self-worth and dignity, I like my job. I may not be the lead or I may not get the starring roles that I used to because so many movies revolve around youth, but I refuse to go away because I enjoy it. I always find a way to get to work. It may not be the best parts I used to get or it may not be as easy, but I’m still here.”
Not only was Hollywood in search of younger actors, but they wanted younger faces as well.
Shortly after the now 64-year-old actress turned 40 a reporter asked her how it felt to grow older and “lose her beauty.”
“I just couldn’t believe it,” MacDowell said. “I told her I really don’t feel like I’m losing my beauty, it’s just a different kind of beauty.”
“We evolve and we age, and this is part of the process,” she said. “Aging is not about losing your beauty.”
More than two decades after that question, MacDowell is embracing her beauty after experiencing some changes during the pandemic.
“My hair started going silver during COVID, and my daughters were staying next door to me … so they saw me all the time and they would say to me, ‘You look badass and you’ve got to keep this,’” she said.
Despite gray hair being a sure sign of aging, MacDowell “fell in love” with her new look and decided to fully embrace it.
“I have to say, I’ve never felt more beautiful. I’m not saying that everybody has to go do this … but it suits me.”
While she’s hoping other women will learn to love the body they were given and the changes it experiences over a lifetime, she has admitted living through those experiences hasn’t always been easy.
“It’s a journey, but you can’t go back in time. I don’t want to pretend to be what I’m not and have never been ashamed of my age. I want to be positive about right where I am at each stage of my life,” she told Vogue in 2018.
One thing is for sure, we’ll all experience aging.
“I think aging is something that you either have to decide that you like it or you don’t. It’s a choice,” she said in the NPR interview. “I like that people are comfortable with me getting older. I think that’s an important message for all of us that we get older and we are beautiful.”
I love the message that Andie MacDowell is spreading! It can be hard to accept growing older, but seeing others accept and love beauty at all ages does make it easier.