Nora Ephron, Diahann Carroll and Geena Davis

Do you have anxiety about getting older? Want to know the key to aging brilliantly? Oprah has handpicked some of the best women she knows for an unflinching look at the truth behind getting older. Meet the experts...

Diahann Carroll made TV history in 1968, becoming the first African-American actress to star in her own sitcom, Julia. In the '80s, Diahann dazzled audiences again on Dynasty. Now, at age 71, she's back on television playing Dr. Burke's mom on ABC's Grey's Anatomy.

With a genius level IQ, Oscar® winner Geena Davis is the embodiment of brains and beauty. With three kids all under the age of five, and a handsome husband 15 years her junior, Geena proves that life is fabulous at 50.

Nora Ephron is the creative genius behind the two hugely popular romantic comedies When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle. At age 65, this writer-director is putting her own neck on the line by revealing some of the funny and brutal truths about aging in her best-selling book, I Feel Bad About My Neck.
Diahann Carroll

Diahann says she's not quite sure how 71 creeped up on her, but she's embracing her age every step of the way. "It was much sooner than I was looking for it. But it's okay," she says. "I think I prepared for it all along the way. I didn't all of a sudden wake up one day and say, 'Oh my God, everything's going downward and I want it upward!'"

Although Diahann says she was prepared for aging, Nora says she was far from ready. Nora says she was most shocked by the birthday present she got when she turned 62—a mustache! "No one tells you about this," she says.

Still, Nora says she's glad to be 65. "By the time I got to 65...I was glad to be here. It wasn't like 60. It wasn't, like, 'Oh, my God, I'm 60!,'" says Nora. "It's [more] like, I'm here. This is good. This is really good."
Geena Davis

For many women, turning 50 is a milestone that's worth celebrating.

"It's fantastic. I really love everything about it," Geena says. "I like myself more, and I feel better about myself." Geena says she even physically feels like she did when she was 30.

Nora says she hardly remembers 50—but she does remember having hot flashes while directing the film Sleepless in Seattle! "[I was] in rehearsal in a room full of actors...taking my jacket off, putting my jacket on and thinking, 'Thank God everyone in this room is young, because they have no idea what's going on [with me],'" she says.
Nora Ephron and Diahann Carroll

In her book, Nora writes that faces are lies and our necks are the truth. "Your neck is like the canary in the mine. Your neck is the thing saying, 'Don't kid yourself.' You can put spackle on your face, basically, but this is the thing that is saying, 'Uh-oh.'"

Although Nora says there's no such thing as a neck job, she thinks plastic surgery is a way of negotiating with getting older. "I myself have not done anything that involves total anesthetics or wild pain," she says.

Diahann says she's a big believer in plastic surgery. "I want the world to know," she says. "I would not be without it."

"There's going to come a day when they're going to say to you, 'No more,'" Diahann says. "But whenever you can do little things..."
Nora Ephron

Nora says there is one thing that is crucial to fighting the signs of aging—hair dye! "The big difference between us and our mothers is only chemical," Nora says. "When my mother was my age, you could have two colors of hair. Blue or pink. Pink was called strawberry blonde."

Nora says there are even areas of the country in which you will not see a woman with gray hair, and Diahann agrees. "There's no reason to be gray-haired," Diahann says.
Nora Ephron, Diahann Carroll, Geena Davis and Oprah

Some say sex only gets better with age, while others say it's just as good as it ever was. So is it a myth that sex gets better after 50?

"I read this stuff about how great your sex life is after 60 and 70 and I just go, 'What are they talking about?...You could have the best sex of your life after 70 if you had never had sex before you were 70," Nora says. "That's the only way!"
Diahann Carroll

Many older women are afraid of waking up with wrinkles, saggy elbows and a mustache, but for some, the real fear is never waking up at all.

"I'm afraid of dying. That's the reality," Nora says. "It's just a constant sense of how am I dealing with this. Aging is just a fabulous word for the D-word."

Diahann says she was also afraid of the unknown until she was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 63.

"When I heard the word [cancer], I thought, 'Oh my. No, this is not possible,'" Diahann says. "But then you learn wonderful things about yourself...if out of every negative, if you can try to find some positive."

Now cancer-free, Diahann says she learned to depend on her friends more. "I needed to nurture my friendships more because I needed them so much. It was selfish of me to wait until someone said, 'You have cancer' to do that."
Nora Ephron

For decades, Nora says she dieted and denied herself life's simple pleasures...but not anymore!

"I'm so in love with one of the most important things in life at the moment—carbs," Nora says. "I've been really good my whole life. ... Then, I just suddenly thought, ... What if you are hit by a bus and the last thing going through your head is, 'I should have had that donut?'"

If donuts aren't your thing, Nora says you should use that bottle of bath oil you've been saving and treat yourself to a long, luxurious bath or plan a weekend getaway with friends. "You should just savor everything in some way so that every day [you ask], 'Did I do the thing I really wanted to do today? Was I with the people I really wanted to be with? Was my dinner just fabulous?'" she says. "Just absolutely soak it up."

While Nora has a newfound appreciation for complex carbohydrates, Diahann says she's realized how much she values her time. "I don't want to be in the presence of something that I feel is a waste of time," she says.
Geena Davis and Oprah

Geena might not be a Victoria's Secret model anymore, but she says she feels more confident and more beautiful than she did 30 years ago.

"I had crippling self-esteem problems when I was younger," she says. "I had a good friend who was also a model and had horrible self-esteem, and we decided that we would finally realize that we were attractive at the exact moment that we weren't anymore."

Thankfully, that's not the case! Geena says that over the years, her confidence and self esteem have improved. "It's just 100 percent different," she says.

Diahann says that as she's gotten older, she's learned patience and serenity...thanks to her daughter and grandchildren. "I love the way [my daughter] wants me to be a part of her children's lives," she says. "It has reaffirmed for me something that makes me more calm."

At 65, Nora jokes that she enjoys not having to shave her legs as often, but she says the best thing about getting older is learning to appreciate life. "The good news is I'm here and I love everything!"

Oprah's team of hairstylists and makeup artists may keep her looking young, but she says the real secret to aging is something you can't buy, nip or tuck.

"I have found, for myself, that the best secret to aging is about your attitude," Oprah says. "I think it's how you feel about yourself at any given moment—if you're in love with yourself, if you feel that you have [something] to offer to yourself, your family and the world."

Health tips for women of all ages
FROM: Great Women and Their Anti-Aging Secrets
Published on October 05, 2006


Next Story