Before The Crown, she was The Queen. Before Downtown Abbey, she'd already been caught up in intrigue and scandal at an aristocratic country estate in Gosford Park. And 10 years before a 50-year-old Jennifer Lopez lit up the screen as a stripper in Hustlers, she was named Esquire's Sexiest Woman Alive—at 65.

So what are Helen Mirren's secrets to lasting success? Taking risks, never playing into the stereotypes about women "of a certain age," and plenty of red lipstick. "It really does brighten your face," says the now 75-year-old star.

We caught up with the Oscar-winning actress as she filmed the L'Oreal Paris Women of Worth special, and with her signature Mirren candor, she sounded off on why older women should have a seat at the makeup table, her objections to the term "anti-aging," and the role she loved playing the most.

On anti-aging products
In 2020, many women are speaking out about the impossible idea of "anti-aging"—and you can certainly add Mirren's voice to that chorus. "I take great issue with the term, actually," she says. "You can't avoid aging. The way I see it, you have two choices in life: You can either get older, or die. And I want to continue to see what life has in store. I think about Kurt Cobain and all that he missed. I mean, how sad is it that he never knew about GPS."

On taking care of your skin
"As I've aged, I've noticed that my skin needs more moisture. That is key—finding a really good moisturizer."

On makeup for women over 50
Mirren is no shrinking violet on the red carpet; the septuagenarian star has rocked pink hair, smoky eyes, and bright lips. "I've had the great fortune of working with some of the best professionals in the business, and I trust them implicitly," she says of her glam teams. But she wishes that more mature women would experiment in the beauty department in their everyday lives. "There are no rules," she says. "And I don't think women should play into that outdated concept. Life's short. Have fun."

And Mirren has had her share of fun as spokesperson for L'Oreal's new Age Perfect makeup line, a collection of cosmetics specifically formulated with the needs of women over 50 in mind. "It's high time this consumer was given her due," she says. "We're looking for very specific things in our makeup, things that have never really been addressed before."

On the role of a lifetime
Though Mirren is unsure if there's a role that's changed her personally, portraying Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen (the film that earned her an Academy Award) was a highlight. "Playing her was a thrill—her strength really is an inspiration," says Mirren.

On this year's Women of Worth ceremony
The annual event—typically a swanky gala held in New York City—will be aired on primetime this year, but the experience is no less moving for Mirren. This will be her second year participating as a L'Oreal Paris spokeswomen, and it’s one of the highlights of her year, she says.

"These women are all so incredible, doing incredible things," she says of the honorees. "They are the type of women that make you get out and want to do more. And right now, that's just the kind of inspiration we need. Have your Kleenex handy."

On her wish for the country in 2021
"I hope that we can all come together and have respect for one another again. That's been lacking over the last several years. I'd like to see a return to it."

View the original story on Helen Mirren: "I Take Great Issue with the Term Anti-Aging".


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