You can’t help but adore Dame Julie Walters. The actress and writer has starred in such a wide variety of films and TV programmes over the years, from Victoria Wood’s sketch shows, to Mamma Mia! alongside Meryl Streep, Calendar Girls, Harry Potter, Dinner Ladies and Billy Elliot. The star pulls off every acting scene you can imagine: hilarious, emotional, deadly serious – Julie can do it all. And at 69, the seven-time BAFTA winner (and a Golden Globe) is content with her lot.
The thing we love most about Julie is how grounded she is and how happy she seems in her own skin. The mother-of-one isn’t preoccupied with halting the ageing process like so many of her fellow actresses – every interview Julie ever gives reveals how she embraces her age and looks at the positives.
Julie recently told Saga Magazine: “Sixty is a real watershed. It’s when people used to be called OAPs and when I played Mo Mowlam in a Channel 4 film.” She explains how she had to shave her hair for the part and when it grew back white (she previously dyed it) she decided that was ok for her. Julie added: “I’m sort of like, ‘Here I am, this is it and it’s fine. It’s been fine for 69 years; I know it’s fine’.”
Right now, the Mary Poppins Returns actress is on a year’s break from filming following an exhausting work schedule over the last three years. Julie can be found reading, walking and planting vegetables on the organic farm she shares with her husband Grant Roffey in Sussex, revealing to the Evening Standard in March that she’s looking for a little space in her life.
Having paid her dues with the heavy acting roles, Julie’s hoping for more fun roles in the future. “I would do Mamma Mia! again tomorrow. It wasn’t like a job, it was like a holiday,” she said. “Roles that require me to be blubbing all the time, or mourning somebody, take a lot out of you.”
Back in 2017, the star revealed her casual approach to getting older, when she told The Guardian: “I tend to think, ‘Oh frig it! Who cares? I remember reading in a magazine, you know, ‘You should never wear silver after 50.’ That just makes me want to wear only silver until I am bloody 90, if I live that long.”
When Julie turned 67, she spoke of the relief that came with ageing and how less is expected of you, of how you’re more at liberty to be yourself and voice your thoughts. She told Prima Magazine: “I don’t have so much to prove; I’m not scrabbling for my position in the business and there is something about not having to be a young woman any more that feels liberating.”
The actress’ views on cosmetic surgery are truly inspiring and are perhaps a rarity in a very looks-based industry. In 2016, Julie told the Telegraph: “I can understand why people do it as the pressures are huge. But it’s not for me. I’d be letting myself down, because I’d be saying to myself – and this is what I’ve been fighting my whole life – you’re not good enough as you are.” She said, ultimately, surgery won’t make you 30 and who wants to be that age again anyhow? We’re with you Julie. Here’s to 69!
Did you enjoy this? Meet the women who have changed the way we view ageing, here’s how one woman found her groove in her forties and has never been happier and here’s how to trade a midlife crisis for a midlife rebirth.