Actresses Over 50 Aging Gracefully

Actresses Over 50: Aging Gracefully

Roslyn Aging Gracefully Style

It’s funny how leading men are allowed to age well into their 60s or 70s with love interests remaining on the lower side of 40. But in contrast, older actresses are seen to have lost their sex appeal and there are fewer roles available to them. That’s clearly not the case. Many women become sexier as they age, becoming more confident, and more at ease in their own skins.

There’s no right way to age, but there are some actresses who seem to be ageing in a much healthier way today. They don’t want plastic surgery or to look young. They want to look their best at the age they are and to continue acting. We’re talking about women over 50 like Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon, Julianne Moore, Halle Berry, Meryl Streep, Blythe Danner. We’ve selected three of our favorite inspirational women to represent the decades 50s, 60s, and 70s – Viola Davis, Isabella Rossellini and Helen Mirren.


Viola Davis Rocks Natural and Glamorous

 

“What has released me most from the fear of aging is self-awareness. I’ve never determined my value based on my looks or anything physical. I’ve been through a lot in life, and what has gotten me through is my strength of character and faith.” – Viola Davis, InStyle Magazine, December 2015

 

Oscars NecklaceOscars NecklaceHTCMWedding

Due to her success as the leading actress in the ABC drama “How To Get Away With Murder“, she is in the spotlight. But it wasn’t always this way. She’s often described herself as having “lived in abject poverty and dysfunction during her childhood” because her parents wages were insufficient for a family of 8. It wasn’t until she was in her 30’s that she realized she wasn’t poor anymore.

Like many poor young girls, Viola saw another world through watching movies and became enamored with film. Fortunately, she was talented and won a scholarship where she earned a degree in theater and went on to Julliard. She had years of work in TV, film and stage, but always felt that she could not get a leading role. She was stereotyped, had an awkward walk and never felt pretty or sexy enough for a great role. She wanted to be seen as beautiful; I think we all feel that at some point or another.

However, her talent has led to a host of awards over the past few years including two Tony’s, four SAGAs, and two Oscar nominations for her roles in “Doubt” and “The Help“.  Perhaps her biggest victory is being the first African-American woman to win an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. This was accomplished having just celebrated her 50th birthday.

She won the Emmy for her role as the dynamic lawyer who is at once emotional, dramatic, vulnerable, sexy, and who commands constant attention. She believes her role as Professor Keating has helped her place less attention on her physical self and she has become more forgiving of her past. You can see why that would be the case as throughout the first season she laid herself bare both emotionally and physically.

She’s all too aware of the pressure women feel to maintain their youth, but she no longer worries about wrinkles and fine lines. In fact, she says, bring ’em on. Self-understanding has helped her get over her fear of aging.

Perhaps a stable home life also helps to bring that confidence. She seems deeply in love with her husband of 13 years and they recently renewed her wedding vows.  She chose an embroidered silk design because “This dress shape fits my body type the best, it accentuates my waist, it’s dramatic, timeless, and romantic. I wanted something that made a statement when I walked in the room but also that didn’t look like I was trying too hard.” Her 5-year old  daughter helps keep her grounded and when home with her family she does not feel like a star or celebrity. She so appreciates the family, the life she has, takes nothing for granted and never forgets her humble roots.

I don’t know about you, but Viola is the one I always want to catch a glimpse of on the red carpet. She always looks amazing in different colored gowns, hairstyles and flawless makeup. She recently showed up in her natural short curly black hair looking as radiant as ever. She’s developed a unique style over the years and rocks both the natural and glamorous looks.

What a way to step into your 6th decade. Her belief in herself and the belief of those that love her got her to where she is now. She gives 100% of herself to any role on film or in life. And if she continues as she started she will go on being an inspiration to us all.


Isabella Rossellini Forever Walking the Path Less Taken

 

“My mother once told me that growing older was the only way to have a long life. So my attitude is, of course we are aging. And it’s natural, and it’s beautiful.’” – Isabella Rossellini, American Harper’s Bazaar, April 2012

 

YoungerBlue VelvetDeath Becomes HerNow

Perhaps one of the best known faces of the 80s and 90s even if you don’t immediately know her name you’ll surely recognize her. Not one to shy from controversy she’s been acting in arthouse and blockbuster projects since the mid 1970s. She also held a prestigious modelling contract as the face of the cosmetic company Lancôme during the 80s and 90s until they deemed her too old at 40 and promptly dismissed her.

She and her twin sister were born in 1952. They grew up amidst scandal and limelight. The daughters of the actress Ingrid Bergman and director Roberto Rossellini. Isabella was brought up in two very distinct worlds, that of Catholicism at school in Italy and the glitzy world of Hollywood and the European film industry with her parents during holidays. She often says her world was art, emotion, mystery and popping flashbulbs.

Isabella says that from a very young age she was told that she could not compare with her mother or reach her perfection. Despite this she still decided upon a career in film, TV and modelling. She has 60 film credits to her name and 13 TV shows. Many of the projects that she’s undertaken have become cult classics – Blue Velvet, Madonna’s book Sex and The Saddest Music in the World. Today at age 64, she is still staring in films alongside the likes of Robert De Niro in Joy.

Even though her major modelling contracts were cancelled over 20 years ago she has said that she still misses it because she loved working with photographers. She certainly seems to have an affinity with the camera it loves her as much as she loves it. She has always said she would love to be a model again, but would not try to look like someone 35, “When I see some people doing that, I feel that person is suffering, that person doesn’t feel good in her skin.” Her ad campaigns for Bulgari over the past 5 years would certainly confirm this approach.

Eight years ago Isabella left NYC,  bought 30 acres of land on Long Island, which she turned into an organic farm. She’s formed a strong fascination with the natural world that’s led her to get a degree in animal behavior. This opened the path to her latest creative adventure where she’s still pushing the boundaries, the creation of  ‘Green Porno‘, a series of short film episodes of the mating rituals and reproductive behavior of various animals. She says, “I always wanted to make films about animals – not an enormous audience but there is an enormous audience for sex.” She did a fascinating live interview with the Huffington Post in 2014 which is well worth a watch.

She is and has been a mother, wife, journalist, top model, on film and tv, a producer/writer, avid dog lover training puppies for the blind, writer of three books, and is currently involved in conservation efforts. She still exudes authenticity, strength, elegance, glamour, and sophistication, no matter what she does. In her own words, she has discovered a ‘joy for life’.


Helen Mirren The Rebel and Champion of Aging Gracefully

 

“A few crows feet are nothing when combined with the self-confidence that can only come with advancing years…As I’ve aged, I’ve lost that incredible insecurity of youth…As I get older, I don’t look as good, but I don’t give a damn… Growing old is not for pussies and it takes courage to embrace your advancing years.” – Helen Mirren, The Mail on Sunday’s You magazine, September 2015

 

1970sprime suspectnaturalglamorous

If there’s one actress in her 70s who comes to mind when you think of women who are aging gracefully and who are truly comfortable in their skins, then Helen Mirren is that woman. She is still performing in leading roles, winning accolades at age 70, and is often in the headlines across the globe and has been so for most of her life.

The Brit began her acting career at age 22 with the Royal Shakespeare Company and over her lifetime has 121 film and TV credits to her name. She’s won too many awards to count including 1 Oscar, 1 Tony, 4 Emmys, 3 Golden Globes, and 5 SAGAs.

Always intensely competitive, once she won the Oscar for her role in The Queen in 2006, she felt liberated. The inner voice ‘why did she get it and not me?’ disappeared. Now she feels she can do exactly what she wants. It was also an interesting role for her to take in the first place as she considers her upbringing to have been ‘very anti-monarchistic’.

Due to a few recent films, Helen has gotten in touch with her Russian roots and reflects that unknowingly it may always have had an impact on her. Despite her father’s attempts to assimilate to an English life and forget his past, Helen learned to speak Russian. She had her Russian diplomat grandfather’s letters from his sisters translated and visited her family graves and lost estates in Russia. The awareness of her past changed her sense of where she came from. She loves letting herself go into grand emotions and projects a British coolness with a sense of tragic possibility, an award worthy on-screen presence.

She considers herself to be a naturist and is happiest on a nude beach. Helen seems to always maintain her radiant natural beauty whether on the beach or not . She goes out without makeup and doesn’t mind the photos of her ‘natural face’. Because of her continuing ‘sex symbol’ status she’s often asked for her thoughts on beauty and growing older and she says, “The weird thing is, you get more comfortable in yourself, even as time is giving you less reason for it. When you’re young and beautiful, you’re paranoid and miserable. I think one of the advantages of getting older is that you let go of certain things.”

Watching her interviews it’s a breath of fresh air to hear her emotional honesty and the strength of character that shines through. She believes, “you never really know a person and you have to control how other people see you.” Therefore, although frank and warm as an interviewee, she controls the conversation.

In 2003, Helen Mirren was listed as one of the 50 Best Dressed Over 50. She makes evening wear look easy with glamorous low cut elegant gowns, figure-hugging styles, versatile hairstyles, statement earrings, arms covered and repeats her look over and over. She is known as a lady who knows how to dress with class and style adding her own edge to clothes. She calls herself an ‘instinctive feminist’ and remains intrigued by how her filmed self rarely feels like her at all.

She has a feisty attitude and is a fantastic role model for women of all ages.

There are many female stars over 50 who are demonstrating the art of aging gracefully. In particular, what I like about the women I chose to spotlight is that they are  independent, self-expressed, opinionated, sexy and natural. They have beauty, brains, and style and will leave an imprint for others to follow.

Of the three we featured, who is your favorite?

Stay in Touch & in Style

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive special offers and a 20% off gift card redeemable against your first purchase

Roslyn on FacebookRoslyn on GoogleRoslyn on InstagramRoslyn on PinterestRoslyn on Twitter
Roslyn
I loved going to work each day for 30 years as a professional career counselor. When I retired, I explored my creativity and regard for crafts until I discovered beading. At age 68 I turned my new found passion- jewelry design, into a business. At age 72 I took on learning about social media marketing and developing my computer skills. I am sharing my journey from inception, to frustration, to elation -in the hope of inspiring others that 'it is not too late to start again'. Welcome to my re-invention!

Comments 75

  1. Oh how this blog was impactful and necessary. It shed light on how women “need ” to view themselves now and not compare oneself to others or the past. I found this blog to be inspirational, spiritual, heartwarming and self- loving. Thank you Roslyn.

    1. Post
      Author
  2. I loved this blog. All three of the women are role models in the “find the beauty in being yourself”
    Sweepstakes. Thank you for letting me know them better!

    1. Post
      Author
  3. I enjoyed what Helen Mirren said, “The weird thing is, you get more comfortable in yourself, even as time is giving you less reason for it. When you’re young and beautiful, you’re paranoid and miserable. I think one of the advantages of getting older is that you let go of certain things.” I can relate to that.

    1. Post
      Author
  4. Oh, do I ever love this one, Roslyn! Isn’t it funny how our youth-obsessed culture seemed to dictate women’s roles (both in film and real life) for the longest time. But as you say, this is changing–much of that due to how strong women see themselves now. You are so right: “Many women become sexier as they age, becoming more confident, and more at ease in their own skins.”
    Bravo!

    1. Post
      Author

      It seems to me that one of the benefits of social media has been to unite women to see our strength, power, contribution. Thanks for your comment Susan Mary Malone.

  5. All three are my favorites! I love them all, plus Jane Fonda, Susan Sarandon, Tina Turner, plus plus plus many more wonderful role models for us all.

    1. Post
      Author
    1. Post
      Author
    1. Post
      Author
    1. Post
      Author
  6. You’ve chosen three remarkable women to represent the decades! One of the reasons I love working with women in their 40’s, 50s & 60s is because of their goals. No longer is the focus on looking good in a bikini (although they admit that would be nice…) it’s more about being comfortable in their own skin. Being healthy, confident, and wanting to be strong as they get older are all top of the list. And to top it all off, we have fun!

    1. Post
      Author

      Appreciate your comment and contribution to the conversation, Lisa Swanson. As women pass through stages often they get clear on their goals. Its great that you have an opportunity to make a difference with them.

  7. All three are incredible women, but, Isabella Rossellini is my favorite. I would often see her when I lived on Long Island. She would come to shop in the adjoining village. No superstar airs, just a very unassuming woman who smiled and said hello to everyone.

    1. Post
      Author

      It must have been very nice to just say hello or good morning to a star as if she were just your next door neighbor. Helpsto put any career in perspective.

  8. I love this post. My favorite actress is Isabella Rosellini. While I’m not in my 50s, I do hope one day to be like these women. Being strong and not caring what other people think ie my goal. I admire how they can face hardship and surpass it. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Post
      Author

      Sabrina, you are on your way having since you are present to this goal. With aging comes acceptance of yourself and the only comparison should be to yourself.

    1. Post
      Author
  9. All three of these women are wonderful examples of aging gracefully. Each for their own reasons. Viola Davis has definitely stepped out into the limelight through a series of very interesting roles she has played in the last ten years or so. Especially her role in “The Help”, which I saw as a break out role for her. I love Helen Mirren, as she always seems so sexy and sensual and seems to have an “I don’t care” attitude about aging. And a much younger husband in director Taylor Hackford too.

    Thanks for the reminder that more women are showing the world that it is okay to age and still be vital and contributing to the world. It seems as we age we move past the “external” and move more to how we can be of service in the world and all of these women, especially Isabella Rossellini, have taken up causes to work for. The times continue to change and we are seeing more “aging” women form their own production companies to make sure they are part of the process to make sure women don’t get “too old” to be leading actresses anymore. There are many actresses like Meryl Streep and Susan Sarandon who continue to do outstanding work in the films they star in.

    1. Post
      Author

      As always appreciate your contribution to the conversation. When researching I saw how these actresses & others have been forming their own production companies. They are all much more than actresses. Many direct as well. And are really bright women with something to say.

  10. I especially like Viola Davis. I mean, Helen Mirren is fabulous, but I really think success is relative – an accountant’s daughter becoming an accountant doesn’t impress me much as a coal miner’s daughter becoming an accountant. I can only imagine the journey Viola Davis has had relative to her same-age actress peers. Here’s to strong women!

    1. Post
      Author

      Joan Potter, that is exactly why Viola is my favorite. Many successful actors come from huumble beginnings, but Violas struggle to get where she is today touches me. I think she brings her compassion for humanity to her roles and helps her really get the character she portrays.

  11. Thanks for showcasing these 3 wonderful women who are great examples of how to age gracefully. There are so many celebrities who can’t seem to accept their aging. Some of them hide and others pretend they are still young and act as if they were and it isn’t an attractive thing to do.

    All 3 of your examples are impressive but I have to choose Viola Davis because she had so much to overcome and it is inspiring to see how strong she is.

    1. Post
      Author

      Appreciate your comment, Beth Niebuhr. Yes, there were many others who are aging gracefully and it was not easy to limit to these three. Perhaps in the future we will choose a different set from each decade. Viola is my favorite as well.

    1. Post
      Author
    1. Post
      Author
  12. I loved all of them! But Helen Mirren…wow. I want to look like her when I’m 70. Her poise and self-confidence really shine through. Bless her! I shared this with my Women of a Certain Age FB community when I first saw it. Marvelous.

    1. Post
      Author
    1. Post
      Author
  13. It’s interesting that you and another blogger I read discussed this topic of aging gracefully. Yours is also well-written and thought-provoking, since I’m fast approaching 60 myself (2 more years!) I think Helen Mirren is especially amazing , in appearance, vitality, and spirit.

    1. Post
      Author

      K. Lee Banks, the topic of aging gracefully is very popular as it should be. We are living longer and have more options to enjoy our longer life we are more aware.

  14. What a great post. I love the theme of it — the power and talent of women 50 and over. All lovely looking women to boot. Thank you so much for spot-lighting these women and bringing attention to them. I have seen in the last few months several female guests on Oprah Winfrey’s Interview Show — Super Soul Sunday — who are in their 70s and 80s. Yet so vibrant and involved.

    1. Post
      Author

      Carol Makowski,I think what you are seeing on Oprah will become the norm. Glad you enjoyed & appreciated the blog. Thanks for your contribution to the conversation

    1. Post
      Author
  15. I admire all 3 women featured in your post, Roslyn, but my favorite is Isabella Rossellini because I grew up watching her and was aware of the Bergman-Rossellini scandal and more. Her father was quite a guy – he even eloped with an Indian Sonali Dasgupta, who was already married and a mother of 2 children while still married to Ingrid Bergman in 1956. She was 27 and he was 52 and then he left her for another younger woman after 17 years. 🙂

    Each generation has its own role model and mine is Julia Roberts who has refused to have botox injections and is aging equally gracefully. I remember an interview of hers from some time back where her justification for not using botox was that she wanted her children to know when their Mommy was cross. 🙂

    1. Post
      Author

      Vatsala Shulka, I did not research about Marcello Rossellini so thank you for that bit of info. Apparently he liked starting with married women. He did have a passion for wives & making children as well as film. It wasn’t easy selecting which 3 but staying to 1 from each decade help. I’m a fan of Julia Roberts too. Thanks for adding to the conversation.

  16. Wonderful, Roslyn. Terrific choices, great essay, fabulous photos – I even started a board on Pinterest = “Aging Fabulously” using some of the photos you selected. Thanks for celebrating us women as we ‘age fabulously’ – xo,Reba

    1. Post
      Author

      Love the title of your new board Reba Linker and pleased some of our photos started you off. We women deserve all the recognition and appreciation out there.

  17. These women (along with others mentioned here) are all such wonderful role models. I especially love how Helen Mirren has never stopped showing us her sexy side. Thanks for this beautifully inspiring post!

    1. Post
      Author
  18. Absolutely love what you’ve done here and how you’ve portrayed these 3 fabulously inspiring women. Thank you for showing us that age is only a number and women, especially in cinema, need not be discounted as they age.

    1. Post
      Author
    1. Post
      Author
  19. I simply LOVE Isabella Rossellini. I must say Helen Mirren follows really closely, but still… Isabella Rossellini is so gracious and so she’s very much my kinda’ woman.

    However, all 3 are gorgeous women, so thanks for writing this beautiful post and putting together such wonderful information for our inspiration, Roz!

    1. Post
      Author
    1. Post
      Author
    1. Post
      Author
    1. Post
      Author
  20. I have a giant girl crush on Helen Mirren – what a fabulous rebel she is. Hoping for an Oscar tonight for Jennifer Jason Leigh for her amazeballs performance in “Hateful Eight” And, she’s 54 so go team midlife!!

    1. Post
      Author
    1. Post
      Author
  21. Thanks so much for writing this post, Roz. I’m watching the Oscars Red Carpet right now – and yes, your aging gracefully post, is a perfect for tonight. Love all of the women you highlighted here – we can learn so much from these feisty women who share their challenges and successes so publicly. Finally feeling comfortable with myself at 56 – woo hoo!

    1. Post
      Author
  22. Great post. I believe women become more beautiful as they age and when they age “naturally.” Women who are true to themselves and don’t need to feed into the craziness of being something they aren’t are what true grit and courage stands for; they are the real navigators in this world of becoming more and more someone else instead of who one truly is inside.

    1. Post
      Author
  23. Roz, I LOVE this blog – I think it might just be my favorite yet! Who is my favorite of the three? Hard question…they are each fabulous in their own right. I love nostalgia and transporting back with older photos, especially those snapped in the 60’s. There is something about Helen Mirren’s authenticity which resonates for me. Each of these women exemplifies the goddess.

    1. Post
      Author

      Hope, I just saw Helen Mirren in The Woman of Gold. She was wonderful and it never seems that she is acting. I think she is a multifaceted woman. Loved writing this blog as I got to know all 3 women so much better. I am hooked on Murder She Wrote and watch it differently now knowing so much more about Viola Davis.

  24. Pingback: Schauspielerinnen über 50: Würdevoll altern - frauenab50

  25. Pingback: Actresses Over 50: Aging Gracefully – Earth and Moon Design – Actresses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.