Print this, laminate it and hand it to the next person who says “you look so young – what’s your secret?”
There’s no denying that the world has an unhealthy preoccupation with the way women look as they age. However, Paul Rudd – who first shot to fame at 25 as Cher Horowitz’s ex-stepbrother in 1995 hit Clueless – is routinely subjected to these same deeply personal questions about his youthful appearance.
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It wasn’t long, of course, before everyone began making the same joke.
“I have aged more in the past five weeks of lockdown than Paul Rudd has in the 26 years since Clueless,” reads one tweet.
“Paul Rudd is ageing backwards, I swear,” another insists.
And still one more states: “Paul Rudd seemingly now ageing backwards is a troll move.”
Cue a slew of headlines about Rudd’s “youthful” appearance (and a few wildly speculative articles about how we ourselves can achieve the same effect at home, of course).
It’s worth noting, though, that Rudd has always made a point of dodging any questions regarding his skincare and “anti-ageing” routines.
Indeed, after reuniting with Silverstone at the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo in March 2019, Rudd gently shut down probing questions from fans using his trademark humour.
“I’m 80 years old on the inside,” he explained, pointing to his chest. “It’s a mess underneath all this.”
As the audience broke into surprised giggles, the actor added: “In here, pure darkness – and a little moisturiser.”
It was at this point that his co-star Breckin Meyer – who worked alongside Silverstone and Rudd on Clueless as Travis Birkenstock – decided to chime in.
“People don’t know this, but on the set of Clueless they would come and they would get us like 20 minutes before set,” he explained. “Then on Paul’s trailer, they would knock like an hour beforehand because he had to finish sucking the lifeblood out of the babies to maintain.”
“Hey, it’s a tough business,” Rudd shot back.
It’s a pretty brilliant way of exposing the ridiculousness of society’s obsession with youth and ageing – a point which has, of course, been raised countless times before by women in the spotlight.
Back in 2013, Four Weddings & A Funeral star Andie MacDowell famously declared: “You can look great for your age, but you’re still gonna age. I dated a guy recently who said I looked really good for my age. I was like, Why not just, ‘You look really good’? I never went out with him again.”
Speaking to Allure in 2017, Friends star Jennifer Aniston echoed this sentiment, saying: “Well, ‘anti-aging,’ I just don’t think it’s the wrong word. I think it’s more about keeping your skin healthy. And ‘anti’ anything is… you know, we should be ‘anti-bulling,’ ‘anti-racism,’ ‘anti-all of that stuff,’ but I think anti-aging, we all are aging – it’s natural, it’s what happens. But I think it’s about aging beautifully and just being very taking good care of our skin. It’s important. Because we can all preserve the youthful glow of our skin with hydration, proper skin-care treatments, with natural products. Nothing like crazy lotions and potions filled with lots of chemicals. [‘Anti-aging’] has such a negative spin on it. But, boy, does it suck people in!”
And, taking to Instagram, Jameela Jamil joined the “anti-ageing” debate as she urged her fans to stop comparing their selfies to those taken by celebrities.
“’How does she look so young?’ Asks the single mother of three, holding down two jobs, as she gazes at a magazine, looking at a famous actress her age,” Jamil wrote on Instagram.
“She looks so young because she doesn’t do SHIT compared to you and gets way more sleep. (And her magazine covers are photoshopped) GIVE yourselves a break.”
Jamil then laid out all the reasons celebrities look as young and refreshed as they do. In a word? They have a lot more money than the rest of us.
“Let’s get real about money for a second,” she wrote. “Because money is the reason most people don’t look as thin and young as celebrities.”
Jamil continued: “These people have trainers, chefs, access to the best organic food, they have the best beauticians, staff to help them do everything, a MUCH less stressful life, the best doctors, many have talented surgeons, they have make-up artists, and hair stylists.
“And then ON TOP Of that, they are airbrushed without telling you they are.”
The Good Place star finished by saying: “You are being set up for a fall with this comparison porn culture.
“Swerve the lies and just do you.”
Amen to that.
Please note that this article was originally published in 2019, but has been updated throughout to include new information.