Since it was announced more than two weeks ago, you are likely to be way ahead of me about this: on Monday 27 October, the French cosmetic company L'Oreal named 69-year-old actor Helen Mirren their latest spokesperson for the U.K.
This is not new territory for L'Oreal. In recent years, Charlotte Rampling, Diane Keaton and Jane Fonda have been among the famous older faces promoting the company's products. But as far as I can find out, none of them refused to allow Photoshopping of their images:
”Dame Helen Mirren has struck a blow for older women looking their age,” reported The Telegraph, "by insisting her image must not be re-touched when she signed as L’Oreal Paris’s new UK ambassador.”
Here's what she looked like in her first L'Oreal photo shoot:
Has she had cosmetic surgery? Some gossip websites say yes and she hinted not long ago that it is an option.
Because she's an actor, an appearance as youthful as possible is often required to be allowed to continue working. It's too bad that is so but Mirren has never taken herself very seriously, so I'm guessing she'll probably admit it if she does.
Certainly, she has never been coy about her age:
"'I've been telling everybody I'm 70 for the last two years,' she revealed [to The Express in September].
"'I knew I was getting near 70, so I just decided to say, “You know, I'm 70.” It's perfect for me, because I'm surprised that I'm not 70 already. Like, Wow, I'm only 69. That's fantastic!'"
There are few enough role models for elder women. Much of the time, as the stars we like age, they disappear, or so overdo the surgery they become unrecognizable and thereby pathetic.
And, too, there are hardly any good roles for aging actresses. So it's refreshing to have a fine actress, one many of us have admired for her elegance on screen and off, showing how attractive a 70-year-old woman can be and, perhaps, in doing so, helping to make it more acceptable for everyone to get old.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Clifford Rothband: Taking a Chance