Aging in Hollywood: 6 Celebs Share Their Thoughts on the Pressure to Look Good

aging in hollywood

What we look like isn’t the most important thing in life, but let’s face it – no one wants to grow old.

Aging can be especially difficult for Hollywood celebrities, as there are fewer roles for them to choose from as the years go by. With the camera often zoomed right up close to their face, many feel the societal pressure to look younger, longer.

Zwivel recently had the chance to discuss this with several celebrities at the Television Critics Press Tour and the She Rocks Awards. This is what they had to say.

Lisa Ling, CNN television journalist

There is absolutely enormous pressure to look as youthful for the camera as possible. I am in journalism and I still have the same insecurities as any actor in Hollywood does. There is a lot of scrutiny; we are constantly reminded of how we should look. The entertainment industry is one that is geared more toward youth. We’re all trying to win over that young demo.

Also, there is much more focus on women than men. I hope as women we can start to rally against that. I would like to see men start defending women in this area as well. It’s to the point now that we’re trying to adhere to impossible standards.

lisa ling quote

We are a lot harder on female television newscasters than our male counterparts. The male anchor could wear the same thing every single day and you wouldn’t notice. But with the women, we notice their hair, makeup, what they’re wearing… I am as guilty of that as anybody. I hope for the day when we stop doing that, I really do. It’s refreshing when you see a woman who has natural lines on her forehead – she looks normal.

In addition, there is enormous pressure overall in the Asian communities. For example, Julie Chen, co-host of “The Talk”, recently spoke publicly about the plastic surgery she had done. She felt that she would have a better chance of being hired if she had more Western-looking eyes. In some countries, one in six Asian women have had work done on their eyelids. That makes me really sad. The whole look of Asian women is changing and that is very troubling.

But truly, if someone wants to have plastic surgery I’m not going to begrudge them— if that makes you feel better and gives you more confidence, then great, go for it. I just think it sad when women feel that kind of pressure.

Kathie Lee Gifford, host of “Today”

Anyone who says they don’t care about the aging process is not being quite honest… we all care. While there is always pressure in the industry to look youthful, as women, we are the ones who put so much pressure on ourselves to look young. I am 63 years old; I don’t want to grieve for what I’ve lost, I want to be grateful to be alive. It’s all about attitude.

kathie lee quote

I am a big believer in lasers, they come up with new things all the time. I just don’t like to do anything that is invasive. On the show, I’m always the guinea pig for our skincare segments, I will try out the latest product, like I did Fraxel years ago, which was painful but it worked.

And I just did Ultherapy a few months ago. But I don’t judge anyone— if they want to do plastic surgery, that’s great. What works for one person may not work for the next. Just for me, personally, I don’t like to nip and tuck.

Susan Kelechi Watson, NBC’s “This is Us”

There’s definitely this double standard for women in Hollywood, which I think shouldn’t be there. Women hit their prime later in life. If you watch some of these phenomenal actresses, it really happens for them at age 40 and beyond. That’s where they get into a grooved stand firm on who they are as an artist. There has been a lot of people breaking down those barriers and our culture is starting to look at women differently.

susan watson

In terms of the vanity aspect, no one wants to look old. You have to watch yourself as the years go by; there is a comparison thing that happens which isn’t good. But there’s a difference between looking old and aging. There are things you can do about looking old, and some of that comes from your own spirit, how you take care of yourself, what you put into your body, and how you take care of your skin.

I like watching women who embrace their age gracefully. Like actress Felicia Rashad (FOX’s “Empire”). I see her constantly maturing, and doing it so gracefully and beautifully. I don’t look at her and say she’s old.

Will I ever have cosmetic surgery? I have no clue. I don’t judge. But as I get older I do enjoy seeing my ancestors’ faces in mine. Like, I look in the mirror and start to see my grandmother’s or my mother’s face. And I like that…I don’t want to erase that in some way. So part of me is a little bit more in love with that versus just the idea of looking the way I did at age 22.

Andie MacDowell, L’Oréal model and executive producer, “The Beach House”

I was watching Annette Bening in her latest movie, “20th Century Women.” To me, it’s obvious she has had no work done. To me, that’s beautiful. That’s what I like. The expectation to stay young forever is ridiculous.

andie macdowell quote

It’s better to stay true I think, to what nature asks of you. But I think it is hard… it’s hard for people to respect age. I have modeled 31 years for L’Oreal. They’ve done a beautiful job respecting women at any age.

Goran Visnjic, NBC’s “Timeless”

As an actor, when you get to a certain age you discover what a healthy lifestyle really means. You realize that diets or exercising for a specific project don’t work, it’s actually about creating and maintaining that way of life. That’s really the way to stay young, no matter how old you are.

goran visnjic quote

I don’t think I will ever have plastic surgery done, but I don’t know – maybe I’ll change my mind when I’m sixty. I’m lucky. My dad is in his 70s and he looks really good. We have good skin!

Shirley Manson, lead singer – Garbage

I have spoken about the double standard between aging male musicians being accepted as performers versus female musicians… people have been telling me I’m too old to do what I do since I was thirty years old. But you just can’t listen to what people have to say.

shirley manson quote

To be honest, it goes way beyond music. This is a societal issue I take umbrage with. I really feel we need to change the way we are educating our children so we can alter our system such that it becomes an equal playing field for men and women. It speaks to how women are educated; what they believe their worth is.

It’s such a centuries old problem, that women view themselves solely as a shell that becomes worthless the minute they’re no longer young and vigorous. I don’t believe that is the case. The most interesting women I know are 70 and older.

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