Ageing. We’re told it’s bad to grow old, get wrinkles and look our age. Especially if you’re a woman. Apparently post-60 you’ve lost it and you’re on the scrap heap – no one wants to look at you OR hear what you’ve got to say. And this is what happens when you listen to the bullshit and desperately try to rewind time:
But there’s a whole new generation of frankly flippin’ kickass women who are winning at being 60-plus. They’ve put two fingers up to the pressure to be forever young, they’re embracing their ageing looks and most importantly they are themselves. And they make me want to be them too. Am I afraid to get old and get wrinkly? Hell, no. Not with these women as my role models.
1. Helen Mirren
At 69-years-old Helen Mirren has been on stage and screen for almost 50 years and her films are still grossing millions at the box office. She’s won countless awards for her work, one of which was an Oscar for playing Her Majesty in The Queen in 2006. She also dyed her hair pink in 2013 after being inspired by an episode of America’s Next Top Model. Oh, and would you look at those boobs. Man alive.
2. Diane Von Furstenburg
If you love your reality trash TV (like me), you’ll know DVF from The Hills, The City or House of DVF. Or you might know her from that wrap dress she designed over 40 years ago which makes the female body look even better – and it’s still selling in its droves. She’s a huge advocate of women; she’s free-spirited, independent and utterly beautiful; and seems to empower everyone around her with pearls of wisdom from her long and interesting life. And she features in Time magazine’s 100 most influential people. Yes DVF!
3. Vivienne Westwood
Another fashion icon who frankly doesn’t give a shit about anything – she’s as individual in style and personality as they get. A designer who was one of the founders of punk fashion in the 1970s, you can still spot her clothes a mile off today – and they celebrate the curvy women in a way no other designer’s does. She’s campaigned publicly and passionately for years on issues like climate change, nuclear disarmament, fracking and human trafficking – and in 2014 she got a buzz cut because “we must all wake up to climate change.” Legend.
4. Judi Dench
Did you know Judi Dench is 80? 80! She’s had an EPIC career spanning 60 years in theatre, television and film, and she’s still hugely respected in her field. Some might call her a national treasure. Older women don’t get good film roles anymore? Wrong – she smashed that glass ceiling and played the dignified and strong-willed M in the James Bond films during her 70s – with failing eyesight too. In your face patriarchy AND face-altering plastic surgery.
5. Mary Berry
Another 80-year-old woman who has the attention of the nation – but this time with her culinary skills (and impeccable style). Mary Berry’s first cookbook came out in the 1970 and she’s sold over 5 million of her books since. If you want a fail-proof recipe, you know you can trust Mary’s. For the last five years she’s been gracing our screens on Great British Bake Off and I challenge you to show me a person who doesn’t love the Bez (as I fondly refer to her). She also rocks some amazing clothes on the show – a flower Zara bomber jacket she wore in 2012 sold out in days. Bez, I salute you.
6. Hillary Clinton
If you want an example of a strong older woman, Hillary Clinton is certainly one. In April this year (at the age of 67) she announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination in the 2016 election, and if successful she will be the first female President of the United States. She’s been at the forefront of American politics since the early 90s and stuck by her husband during THAT episode. She says she wants to champion the ‘everyday American’. If only she could come over here and run our country. Sigh.
7. Joanna Lumley
There is no one quite like Joanna Lumley. At 69 years old she’s still utterly fanciable – she has enviable poise and grace, a voice like silk and a cheeky sense of humour to boot. She shared a kiss with Leo in Wolf Of Wall Street for Pete’s sake. Everyone loves her in Ab Fab as Patsy Stone and she clearly doesn’t mind acting like a dick of making herself look gross (see also: James And The Giant Peach). Top gal. Her charity work is something to behold, her campaigning with the Gurkhas was amazing and she’s patron of six charities. I heart Joanna Lumley!
8. Julie Walters
Last but not at all least, my all time favourite 60-plus. Julie Walters is everything I want to be at her age (not including my Mum, obvs) – she’s hilarious, vibrant and spirited, and doesn’t take any crap. She’s a versatile actress and comedienne, having starred in all manner of TV and film like Educating Rita, Harry Potter, Billy Elliot, Calendar Girls and most recently Indian Summers – and escapes to her organic farm in West Sussex when she’s not working. She’s evidence age AND gender really aren’t barriers and along with Victoria Wood in their sketches in the 80s, she was one of the first to prove girls can be funny. She once said, “When I think of the future, I think of doing my washing so I’ve something to wear tomorrow.” Nuff said.
So there you go – enough evidence to make anyone older want to back away from the plastic surgeon, own their age and be themselves. And make the rest of us aspire to be as confident, stylish, intelligent, sexy, funny and talented as these lot are when we’re 60-plus.
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