In the words of the late, great Audrey Hepburn, “And the beauty of a woman, with passing years only grows!”
There's no questioning the truth of this sentiment.
With age comes a maturity, wisdom and strength that only comes with knowing we can survive life's toughest challenges.
Yet so many of us feel a fear and anxiety as the years pass, with birthdays - once a time for celebration and excitement - coming to represent a passing of time that we have no power to stop. And alongside that comes the inevitable change to what we see in the mirror and the question; to embrace it or to try and fight it?
And for the women who have spent their life on camera and in the public eye it's little wonder that ageing can, for some, become a preoccupation. So, in their own words, here the A-list open up about how they feel about age.
“By Hollywood standards, I guess I’ve already taken a big risk in not having had a facelift, but I’ve told Lancome that I want to be an ageing model — so they have to keep me for at least five more years until I’m over 50.”
“Turning 30 was really big for me. I can get really stuck on 'I don't like this or that about myself.' I've found that the only thing that breaks that for me is being able to spend time alone, going to the movies by myself or going to art museums alone. I do that a lot. I've discovered the importance of even 15 or 30 minutes a day where it is just me.”
“I would say a magical thing happened on when the big 40th birthday came. I felt like a light kind of just went off, and maybe that's because I felt like at 40 I had the right to say and be who I wanted to be, say what I wanted to say, and accept what I didn't want to accept.”
“I'm actually happier with my body now . . . because the body I have now is the body I've worked for. I have a better relationship with it. From a purely aesthetic point of view, my body was better when I was 22, 23. But I didn't enjoy it. I was too busy comparing it to everyone else's. ”
“When I turned 40, I was like, huh. I accept myself more now. It was much more comforting.”
“The thing about 50 is that you've clearly reached a point where you have more of your life behind you than ahead of you, and that's a very different place to be in. You're thinking, 'I've done most of it.' I don't like that feeling. But it makes you evaluate your life and go, 'Am I doing what I want to do? Am I spending my time the way I want?”
“I went into the bathroom with a bottle of wine and said I'm not coming out until I can accept the way I look now.”
“I'm very f*cking grateful to be alive. I have so many friends who are sick or gone, and I'm here. Are you kidding? No complaints!”
“As you get older naked stuff [on film] gets easier. It's more to do with the role than what men in the audience think. There's a liberation about it.”
“Do you really expect me to say gravity hasn't taken its toll? No. But as I'm earning these lines [in my face], I'm making an aesthetic choice.”
“There is this pressure in Hollywood to be ageless. I think what I have been witness to, is seeing women trying to stay ageless with what they are doing to themselves. I am grateful to learn from their mistakes, because I am not injecting s**t into my face. I see them and my heart breaks. I think, ‘Oh god if you only know how much older you look.’ They are trying to stop the clock and all you can see is an insecure person who won’t let themselves just age.”
“I don't wear fake tan anymore. Sometimes I've been turned orange but that's definitely a look from my past. Being overly tanned is very ageing and, dare I say it, a bit footballer's wife. Embrace your natural colour!”
“I’m actually really enjoying getting older because I went through a period of time where I was technically old enough for roles but always associated with younger ones. The whole of my thirties was spent that way. Now that I’m in my forties it’s getting a little bit easier.”
“I really enjoy getting older. You just don’t worry as much.”
“I don’t want to be vain or fearful, and I don’t think I’ll do anything [in terms of plastic surgery], but if I want to do something, I will. From my perspective, there’s no reason to be afraid of aging, because if you age, you’re lucky! The alternative is death.”
“I think that laughter and smiling are some of the best antidotes to ageing that you could possibly have. In general, I pretty much think of myself as still being about 5.”
“I don't think of getting older as looking better or worse; it's just different. You change, and that's OK. Life is about change. I don't have anxiety about it, so I'm not running to get Botox. Maybe that will change, but I don't think so. I feel comfortable in my skin and comfortable with ageing, so I think it's okay that I get wrinkles.”
“I'm almost 50, so I obviously don't have the same body that I had when I was 20. But I also don't have the same mindset either, when I was wracked with self-consciousness and insecurity. Now I really appreciate my maturity as a woman, my depth of spirit and soul and my understanding of who I am and what's important to me.”
“I love ageing. Why would I want to be 21 for the rest of my life?”
“I'm glad folks think I look different! I'm living a different, happy, more fulfilling life, and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows.”