We have several reasons to love Frances McDormand. Witty and intellectual, the three-time Oscar-winning actress tends to be quite radical when it comes to embracing ageing as she sees growing older as a gift.
Cool and confident in the manner of women who have achieved total self-possession, Frances McDormand, 63, skips makeup unless she is working, doesn’t dye her hair and despises cosmetic surgery that has become routine for many ladies in Hollywood as she thinks it only makes accepting getting older more difficult. What’s more, as she hits the age when most actresses begin disappearing for lack of roles or moving to the edges of storylines, she moved to the top of the bill.
To still be culturally relevant as a 63-year-old female is so deeply, deeply gratifying – she said-. It’s something that I could have never expected. And I believe I had something to do with it. I’ve crafted some part of this moment in time. And I’m really f…ing proud.
Her success is much more than symbolic for all the late bloomers out there. During her career, she was constantly told she didn’t look right. “I wasn’t pretty, I wasn’t cute, I wasn’t beautiful, I didn’t have the body. I thought: OK, someday you’re going to be looking for someone not, not, not, not, and there I’ll be.”
Her goal is to challenge ageism in all forms and shapes. “I’m interested in starting the conversation about ageing gracefully and how, instead of making it a cultural problem, we make it individuals’ problems – she said to National Public Radio– I think that ageism is a cultural illness; it’s not a personal illness“.
In a recent New York Times interview, she also vented her frustration at our society’s rejection of ageing. “There’s no desire to be an adult,” she says. “Adulthood is not a goal. It’s not seen as a gift. Something happened culturally: No one is supposed to age past 45 — sartorially, cosmetically, attitudinally. Everybody dresses like a teenager. Everybody dyes their hair. Everybody is concerned about a smooth face.”
According to her, looking old shouldn’t be something to be scared of but a triumphant signal “that you are someone who, beneath that white hair, has a card catalogue of valuable information.” And just by being honest about her incredible journey, Mc Dormand – who likes considering herself “an elderess“- is having an incredible effect on both young and mature women, showing to all of us that the best is yet to come. Who doesn’t want this “plain jane” now?