Hollywood can be a cruel place to get older, especially for women.
But there are some women who defy Tinseltown's pressure to stay young looking by aging gracefully -- letting their wrinkles hang out while maintaining healthful habits and embracing the passage of time.
For Susan Sarandon, 65, her secret to aging could well be having a relationship with a younger man. After her surprising split in 2009 with longtime partner Tim Robbins, who is 12 years her junior and with whom she has two children, Sarandon began seeing her much younger business partner, Jonathan Bricklin, 34.
Sarandon, who confirmed her relationship with Bricklin in March after two years of rumors, appeared to be rolling back the years when she was recently spotted strolling in Manhattan with her young beau. The Oscar-winning actress looked svelte and radiant in slim black trousers, short-sleeved shirt and flats.
Seen here in the same dress she wore in 1979, it would appear Meryl Streep has hardly aged at all. Perhaps her secret is doing what she loves. The multiple-Oscar-winning actress has continued to play a leading lady at 65, defying Hollywood's conventional wisdom that there are no good roles for women over 40. "I'm 60, and I'm playing the romantic lead! Bette Davis is rolling over in her grave!" she joked to Vanity Fair in 2009, when she starred as both Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin's love interest in "It's Complicated." Then, at 62, Streep appeared for the first time on the cover of Vogue, declaring herself the "oldest person" to do so. In her latest film, Streep takes on aging intimacy, playing a 60ish woman dissatisfied in her marriage to Tommy Lee Jones in "Hope Springs."
Actress Julianne Moore seems to be one of those people who gets better with age, exemplified by her recent red carpet appearance for "Game Change," for which she stepped out in a show-stopping strapless black and cream dress. The 51-year-old alabaster beauty is not a fan of cosmetic surgery, counting instead Oil of Olay among her beauty must-haves. She has also learned to accept the face and body she's been given. "I don't love my freckles -- I'd really rather not have them, but there's nothing I can do," Moore told Allure in 2010.
|Jamie Lee Curtis|
When it comes to accepting the passage of time, Jamie Lee Curtis is the queen. The 53-year-old actress cropped her hair short and let it go gray for a no-fuss look. She's also been straightforward about aging, posing for a magazine without makeup, clothes and, worse, Photoshop. "I feel much more authentic," she told More magazine in 2006 about getting older. "I'm not saying I'm a spiritually perfect person. I'm flawed and contradictory and fraught in many areas. But I'm better. I'm growing, and that's all I really want."
As a former supermodel, Iman knows well the emphasis on youth in the fashion industry, which is why she quit modeling in her 30s, despite feeling "more beautiful than ever" by the time she was 40. "I was more secure and I had more wisdom," the cosmetics mogul told O, The Oprah Magazine in 2000. "A woman who is 50 can be as attractive as a girl who is 17, as long as she recognizes her own strengths." At 57, Iman says kindness is the key to aging gracefully. "I am kind to my skin. I remove my makeup as soon as I get home and I apply moisturizer," she told O. "But just as important as being kind to my skin is being kind to younger women. Kindness is a lovely quality to nurture as you get older. It makes you feel good about yourself."
Tina Turner, who embarked on her last world tour at 70, is the epitome of aging gracefully with her face remarkably unlined, her figure still trim and of course her famous legs still sexy. "That number doesn't mean a thing," she told Oprah in 2008. "It just doesn't." That number is now 72. Though Turner has 40 plus years of intense stage workouts to thank for keeping in shape, she cites her mental attitude as the reason she's aged as well as she has. "Women should be proud of who they are at any stage in their lives," she told the UK's Mirror in 2009. "If you look good and can still do it, then do it. My attitude is not one of a 69-year-old woman."
Like Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton continues to find work on the big screen well into her 60s, and unlike her 20s and 30s when she felt "zoned out," she told More magazine that her life after 60 is in sharper focus. "I feel much more alive," the actress, who also models for L'Oreal anti-aging beauty products, told More in 2006. "When you're younger, you have a tendency to be relieved by fantasies. But now the drama of real life comes charging in."
Like the character Samantha she famously portrayed in "Sex and the City," star Kim Cattrall doesn't put much stock in a number. "I consider 50 to be young. People are living so much longer, and besides, I don't think I look 50. I take really great care of myself," the actress told BlackBook magazine in 2007. Now 55, Cattrall continues to reveal herself on and off the screen. When asked by BlackBook if the actress wanted her wrinkles retouched for the photo, she replied in characteristic Samantha fashion, "F*** it. Leave it all in."
One of Hollywood's golden girls, Michelle Pfeiffer, 54, has grown from starlet to mature woman with grace. "Honestly, there's certainly a mourning that takes place. I mourn the young girl, but I think that what replaces that is a kind of a liberation, sort of letting go of having to hold on to that," she told the Los Angeles Times in 2009. "Everyone knows you're 50. So you don't have to worry about not trying to look 50. And then it becomes, 'Hey, she looks good for her age.'"
Last year, British actress and Oscar winner Helen Mirren beat out Jennifer Lopez, Pippa Middleton and Elle "The Body" MacPherson for a L.A. Fitness poll on female celebrity with the best body. Never mind that Dame Helen is 67 years old. The image of her in a red bikini while vacationing with her husband in Italy at age 63 is not one we will soon forget. But, for Mirren, a healthy dose of humor could well be the key to aging gracefully. The actress revealed to the women of "The View" that she sucked in her stomach the day she accepted her award from L.A. Fitness. "It was a beautiful thing that these fitness people did, I have to say," she said. "I think it was recognition of the fact that you don't have to be perfect."