Her current “life chapter” involves the “typical boring things that come with maturity”. Turning 50 has made the twice Oscar-winning actress, Renée Zellweger, known for her roles in Jerry Maguire, Cold Mountain, Chicago, Bridget Jones’s Diary and Judy, feel less encumbered by societal pressures: “I am lucky – she said-. Choosing a creative life and having the opportunity to do satisfying work that is sometimes meaningful is a blessed existence and worth the price paid in the subsequent challenges of public life”.
However, it took time for the American actress to achieve such confidence; the pervasive ageism that exists in Hollywood, particularly for women, is well known and it didn’t spare her. Renée Zellweger’s Judy Garland biopic is a powerful reminder of the attitudes that infect youth-obsessed Hollywood. Like Garland, Zellweger’s physical appearance had been constantly scrutinized in the media, and for a while, she had trouble separating the public and private sides of her life.
The actress herself, who battled depression over media scrutiny in 2014, has long encouraged the star-system not to define women based on their appearance.
It’s no secret a woman’s worth has historically been measured by her appearance – she said-. Although we have evolved to acknowledge the importance of female participation in determining the success of society, and take for granted that women are standard-bearers in all realms of high profile position and influence, the double standard used to diminish our contributions remains and is perpetuated by the negative conversation which enters our consciousness every day as snark entertainment.
Stepping back in the limelight, she is now stronger than ever. Asked what’s the best thing about being middle-aged, Zellweger counters:
It might not even be about the age. It’s about the experiences that I’ve had to this point. And I’ve learned a lot of things that I think took me a minute to get that will be useful in this business that I didn’t recognize as important before. And I’m allowing for things that I didn’t before – she explained- . I’d rather be a healthy, productive woman in each stage of my life than apologetic.
Getting older doesn’t bother her anymore: “it’s not aging -she said-. It’s growing! It’s the acquisition of the most valuable things: experience and knowledge and grace and insight. Being 50 makes me feel energized and full of wonder and excitement about what’s ahead”. In fact, for the actress women’s attractiveness doesn’t diminish with age: “at 21, you have an attractiveness that’s obvious. You only really come into your own a bit further along in your life. I think women are exquisite after a particular age. I’m glad folks think I look different – she explained-. I’m living a different, happy, more fulfilling life, and I’m thrilled that perhaps it shows. Deep down, I’m a Texas girl looking for that big romance every girl dreams about. Biologically, I look forward to being a cornerstone of a family.”