Is 50 the New 30?

ByABC News via logo
December 30, 2005, 9:04 AM

Dec. 31, 2005 — -- Madonna, Oprah Winfrey, Nicolette Sheridan and Christie Brinkley are no spring chickens -- but they are some of entertainment's most sought after stars, perhaps suggesting that 50 is starting to become the new 30.

Brinkley and Winfrey are both 51. Sheridan is 42. Madonna, along with Sharon Stone, is 47. They look years, even decades, younger -- and corporate America is taking note. For example, veteran supermodel Brinkley is back as one of Cover Girl's lead faces.

"Our generation, the baby-boomers, have always been the driving force," said Brinkley, the supermodel and former wife of singer Billy Joel. "As we start to age, we want advertising to address our needs. Don't try to trick us. Don't give us a 20-year-old talking to us.

The ladies of ABC's "Desperate Housewives" -- all of whom, save Eva Longoria, are older than most Hollywood starlets -- have taken the media world by storm.

"I'm 40 and I just got my first beauty campaign with Clairol Nice and Easy," said Teri Hatcher, one of the show's stars.

In 2005, women over 40 won about two to three magazine covers a month compared to one a month in 2004. Demi Moore, 43, is featured in Versace ads and Sharon Stone fronts the Dior campaign. The reason? Older consumers want more and companies are trying to meet their demands.

Companies are trying to take advantage of every trend, said consumer research expert, Marshall Cohen.

"Companies have recognized these consumers are frustrated with how come this brand doesn't talk to me," said Cohen. "How come they don't speak my language? Why are they only talking to the younger generation?"

The famous women who front ad campaigns and grace the covers of magazines merely reflect what is going on in society, experts say. Older women are no longer pushed to the sidelines. More and more people find them sexy.

Women like Demi Moore are marrying younger men. Her second husband, actor Ashton Kutcher, is 15 years her junior. Others like Sarah Jessica Parker, who is 40 and the mother of a two-year-old, are giving birth at an older age.

It might help that cosmetic surgery has become more popular and accepted. Since 1997 procedures ranging from botox to breast augmentation have increased by 465 percent.