She’s a Hollywood icon of 40 years but Jamie Lee Curtis doesn’t look back on her 20s and 30s with lust and envy. The celebrated actress – who has reprised her role as Laurie Strode in the new Halloween movie, four decades after she starred in the first one – is an advocate of embracing your age and insists there’s no point in pining over a time that is gone.
Instead the matter of fact star wants women to stop seeing ageing as ‘anti’ and use their energy to throw themselves into the new chapter of their lives. The reflection you see in the mirror might not be perfect but there’s a lot more to life than looks and Jamie is determined to prove it.
After swearing off plastic surgery, Botox and liposuction in her 40’s – she admits she’s “done it all” – she said: “I’m going to look the way God intends me to look . . . with a little help from Manolo Blahnik”.
The star who was known for her ‘perfect’ body during the first half of her career at first struggled to accept her changing figure in her 40s. But she soon realised she was fueling the fraudulent Hollywood ideal that was neither healthy nor realistic.
She threw caution to the wind and talked about her “big breasts”, “back fat” “large thighs” and “soft, little tummy” and showed the world her real, ageing self.
Instead of trying to stop it, why not try to just age better? Jamie isn’t saying you shouldn’t look after your body and your health but do it to improve yourself, not to turn back the hands of time.
“Ageing is as natural as a baby’s softness and scent,” she explains. “Ageing is human evolution in its pure form. Death, taxes and ageing.”
She adds: “We are ALL going to age and soften and mellow and transition. All of us, if we are lucky enough to make it through this hard life into older adulthood.”
Just because she has learned to embrace the ageing process doesn’t mean Jamie doesn’t still have some body hang ups. But to avoid dwelling on them and concentrate on the more important things in life, she often avoids the mirror.
“I don’t know if men wake up, look in the mirror and hate themselves. Most women do. So I have a big secret: I don’t look in the mirror. I’m a 60-year-old woman. I am not going to look the same as I used to, and I don’t want to be confronted by that every day!
“When I get out of the shower, I have a choice: I can dry myself off looking in the mirror, or I can dry off with my back to it,” she says. “I turn my back to the mirror, and I feel great. I don’t want women to hate themselves, because I think women are extraordinary.”
Jamie – who has been sober for 20-years after a battle with addiction – has enjoyed a 33-year-marriage to her husband British-American screenwriter Christopher Guest. But she’s under no illusion that marriage, or life, is easy, you just have to stick with it.
“Don’t leave. There’s a recovery phrase that says, ‘Stay on the bus, the scenery will change.’ You think you’re having a bad week, but stay on the bus, because one of these days you’ll look out the window and it’ll be beautiful. I think it can apply to almost anything where you feel unhappy in that moment. I’m not a wild romantic. I’m a realist. I respect him. And I just don’t leave.”
Jamie’s career is still going strong – in addition to acting she’s also a best selling children’s book author and she’s just written her first screenplay – but there’s plenty more she wants to get done.
“On the very clear passage of 50s to 60s, I have no time to waste. None. If you have creative ideas and you don’t bring them out into the world in some way before you go, that is a tragedy.”
“All people kissing 60 have a deep well of experience to offer others,” says Jamie who suggests volunteering your skills as you age. “If you’re a baker, bring your baking skills. If you’re a dressmaker, bring your sewing skills. If you garden, plant a vegetable garden and work with the teachers on sustainability. It’s too easy to sit back and look at screens and see life passing us by. Get sweaty. We can never say we’ve done enough.”
Despite not yet turning 60, Jamie is already looking forward to the decade after that, when she plans to help reinvent the image of what being a 70-year-old woman means.
“If I can challenge old ideas about ageing, I will feel more and more invigorated,” she insists. “I want to represent this new way. I want to be a new version of the 70-year-old woman. Vital, strong, very physical, very agile. I think that the older I get, the more yoga I’m going to do.”
If you want to be inspired by other over 50s who are taking life by the horns then read why Davina McCall has never been more confident than she is now and how Emma Forbes feels better at 52 than she did at 32.