“And the beauty of a woman, with passing years only grows!” -Audrey Hepburn-
“Aging with grace,” is a concept that most of us hope and strive for. It's no surprise that the American Society of Plastic Surgeons report an average of 15.1 million cosmetic procedures are performed annually in the US. Even with access to the best surgeons, dermatologists, personal trainers and beauty products known to mankind, the fact is, no matter how hard we try to fight them, the effects of time and gravity will eventually take their vicious toll on us all. Whether you are a pop-princess or a lowly commoner, we are all human and therefore all victims of time.
The celebrity lifestyle can be accompanied by temptations and vices galore...the types of vices that, if not carefully moderated can make it all the more difficult to retain that fleeting, youthful glow that is idolized and worshiped in modern culture. This list of genetically blessed women have either found their perfect balance with healthy lifestyle choices or the fountain of youth. It would be easier to hate them out of pure envy if they weren’t so damn talented and delightful. That said, I think it's healthier for all of us to admire and celebrate these fantastic ladies who have proven time and again that they really are the complete package.
13 Dame Helen Mirren
The epitome of sophistication, 70 year old Helen Mirren oozes class out of every pour. One of the most highly respected actresses on earth, Mirren’s career has spanned stage, screen and television. At the age of 19, Mirren was invited to join the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company which catapulted her career with opportunities to perform for audiences across the globe.
The curvaceous blonde’s masterful ability to captivate audiences has led to a list of nominations, awards and various accolades so extensive that it literally requires it’s own wikipedia page. And although you can’t win them all, when your wins include a Golden Globe, a Tony and an Oscar, the only way your prestige as an artist could be risen any higher would be...Oh, I don’t know…How about a royal title? No problem! In 2003, Mirren reluctantly accepted the honorable title of, Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. I’m not 100% sure what that really means but it sounds legit as hell, right?
12 Susan Sarandon
Academy Award Winner, Susan Sarandon, got her big break in 1975 when casted in the campy, cult classic, Rocky Horror Picture Show. A role for which she spent most of the time wearing lingerie was the beginning of a journey that would eventually lead to the New York born, bombshell becoming one of America's most beloved actresses. Whether she is portraying a feisty, Texas girl with big problems, a sympathetic nun or a neurotic nympho, her versatility as an actress is hard to beat.
Throughout her adult life, Sarandon has earned a reputation as an activist who engages in social and political issues with boldness and grace. She may be close to 70, but considering all of the talent and beauty she radiates from within I am willing to bet we will be watching Susan Sarandon movies for a long time to come.
11 Betty White
"America’s Sweetheart” is a term that is not traditionally connected to a 94 year old, but, I can’t think of anyone more deserving of the title. A world-record breaker, in 2014 White was immortalized by the Guinness for having the longest TV career of any female entertainer in history...75 years and counting!
Ms. White was born in Oak Park, Illinois in the year 1922. The Emmy Award winning actress grew up in Los Angeles and began looking for work in the film industry while still in High School. After being told she was, “unphotogenic,” she started seeking work in radio doing voice-overs and playing bit-parts. Three months after graduating from Beverly Hills High School in 1939, the blue-eyed pixie earned her first television role singing on a local, “experimental” TV station in LA. Betty had found her calling and it was to entertain us all.
From her unforgettable roles in TV such as, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Golden Girls to her numerous movie roles that just keep coming, Betty White is a beautiful comedian with a career, attitude and general outlook on life that is truly inspiring.
10 Raquel Welch
Raquel Welch was born, Jo Raquel Tejada to an American mother of English descent and a Bolivian immigrant father. In 1958, Welch married her High School sweetheart with whom she had two children in as many years. Considering the fact that Hollywood was not exactly scrambling to cast women of color in those days, she kept her husband’s name for professional purposes after their divorce in 1961. Shortly after, driven by an unquenchable thirst for the limelight, Welch packed up her babies and moved to Los Angeles with $200 in her pocket.
The sultry siren was catapulted to international stardom after being featured in the 1966 film, One Million Years BC. One author stated, "...although she had only three lines in the film, her luscious figure in a fur bikini made her a star and the dream girl of millions of young moviegoers." After a decades-long career, the actress has no regrets, yet looks at her sex-symbol years with mixed feelings. Welch: "I enjoy the fact that I was celebrated in that capacity, it was limiting, though. The truth of the matter is that because my look was so exotic, I was never going to get cast in all the roles that I'd like to get cast in."
9 Sally Field
The quintessential “girl next door,” Sally Field captured America’s hearts as an adorable surfer chick in the 1965 TV series, Gidget. During that time, the So-Cal native became the girl every guy wanted and every girl wanted to be. After spending several years playing television roles, Field eventually made her debut on the big screen starring opposite Burt Reynolds in the 1977 classic, Smokey and the Bandit and in 1979 her unforgettable performance as an eponymous union organizer in Norma Rae; a role that established her career as a dramatic actress and earned her an Academy Award.
At 69, Field is still one of the most successful and sought after actresses in show business and her natural beauty and undeniable charm has forever cemented her place in the hearts of millions.
8 Tina Turner
Grammy winning, rock and roll goddess, Tina Turner was born Anna Mae Bullock in Nutbush City,Tennessee. The diva with the million-dollar legs spent much of her childhood living in a two room sharecropper’s shack and her first experiences singing for an audience started when she was a little girl in her church’s youth choir. The first four decades of her life were a virtual rollercoaster of instability, chaos, tragedies and triumphs.
One of the most influential and beloved performers in the history of rock music, Ms. Turner has been an inspiration to millions with her dynamic performances and courageous spirit. After spending the first decade and a half of her career enduring physical and mental abuse under the thumb of her husband, bandmate and manager, Ike Turner, she finally found the strength to leave with 36 cents in her purse and nowhere to go. A true survivor, Tina Turner sprouted wings. Through the support of music producers in the UK, 38 year-old Tina re-invented herself and the result was success beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.
7 Debbie Allen
Actress, dancer, choreographer, television director/producer, and member of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities are just a few of the hats worn by 65 year-old, Deborrah Kaye Allen. The daughter of pulitzer winning poet, Vivian Ayers, Debbie grew up in an atmosphere that nurtured and encouraged creativity and involvement in the arts; a fact that is reinforced through her siblings, Cosby Show actress Phylicia Rashad and noted jazz composer, Tex Allen.
Owner of the Debbie Allen Dance Academy and director of dozens of TV shows, Allen is best known for her breakthrough role as choreographer Lydia Grant in the 1980 Academy Award winning film, Fame. A survivor of racial discrimination, the Texas native was rejected from dance programs multiple times being told that, “her body was not suited for ballet” (a common excuse used to deter African Americans from pursuing ballet). Debbie Allen eventually clawed her way to the top of her game by manifesting a spirit of determination and sheer tenacity that continues to inspire the next generation of performing artists.
6 Suzanne Somers
69 year-old, Suzanne Somers is a living, breathing Barbie doll who soared to super-star status in 1977 after being casted in the role of the quintessential dumb blonde, “Chrissy Snow” in the iconic sit-com, Threes Company. Although her bubbly, fresh-faced aura, voluptuous figure and spot-on comedic timing helped catapult the show to becoming the number one sit-com in America, her insatiable appetite for fame combined with questionable management caused her to be cut from the show after it’s 3rd season.
Ever the overcomer, Somers had already risen above life with an abusive, alcoholic father, and a teen pregnancy which resulted in a failed marriage. Life as a young, single mother brought many hardships but Somers always found the light at the end of the tunnel. The determination that guided her through the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer in 2000 is precisely what she has manifested throughout her life’s numerous struggles. The Queen of self-reinvention, Somers has become a successful author and business woman who sells and promotes products ranging from costume jewelry and exercise equipment to the dozens of books she has authored on health and fitness. Most recently, Somers was featured in a 2015 season of Dancing With The Stars.
5 Mary Steenburgen
At the age of 19, at the urging of her college drama professor, Mary Steenburgen auditioned for and was accepted into New York City’s Neighborhood Playhouse which prompted her to move from her home state of Arkansas to Manhattan. The gentle beauty’s big break came when she was spotted by Jack Nicholson in the lobby of Paramount Studios. Clearly enthralled by Ms. Steenburgen, he casted her in a Western he was directing called, Goin’ South. Shortly thereafter she won an Oscar for her 3rd movie role in the 1980 film, Melvin and Howard,
In 2008, the willowy actress was listed by a popular website as number 27 in their list of Hollywood’s “50 hottest women over 50.” Now 62, the adorably quirky wife of actor, Ted Danson seems to be improving with age. In fact, for an actress whose career began in 1978, Steenburgen has been featured in so many roles in the past few years that she has ironically been referred to as the, “The breakthrough actress of 2015.’’
4 Lynn Whitfield
Golden Globe and Emmy winner, Lynn Whitfield has enjoyed a steady and successful career in theater, TV and film that has spanned 4 decades. In a time where quality roles for black actresses were (and still are) scarce, her statuesque beauty, top-notch theatrical training and classy demeanor earned her numerous supporting roles as strong, often professional characters.
62 year-old Whitfield’s smoldering beauty comes from her Louisiana Creole ancestry; a part of her being which she has always celebrated. Although she has made impressive accomplishments throughout her career as a performer, she has said that she is immensely proud of her daughter, Grace Gibson. Gibson, who is equally as stunning as her mother, has already earned roles in 2 major films while simultaneously studying at Boston’s prestigious, Berklee School of Music.
3 Rita Moreno
Rita Moreno is as ground-breaking as it gets. In her early years she was often described as resembling a, “Spanish Elizabeth Taylor.” Hailing from the humblest beginnings, the 84 year old triple-threat performer has been working steadily is show-business since a time when roles for Latinas were extremely scarce and the majority of those roles that did materialize would often be given to white actresses utilizing bad accents. Having already overcome numerous obstacles in life, Ms. Moreno was well equipped for breaking barriers and quickly learned how to capitalize on her jaw-dropping beauty and superior talent.
In 1936 at the age of 5, Rita, whose birth name is Rosa Dolores Alverío made the journey with her 22 year-old mother from sunny Puerto Rico to the Bronx, New York in the dead of winter. Although they moved in search of a better life, the process did not seem as such to little Rita at the time. Suffering through poverty, racial discrimination and loneliness drove her to find solace in the performing arts. With her eye on the prize, she broke all the rules and made it happen. One of only a dozen performers to have won all four major annual American entertainment awards, (Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Tony) Moreno clearly has nothing else to prove.
2 Lynda Carter
Two words, People.
Although I could probably stop there, the fact is, Lynda Carter is more than just a badass, warrior-princess who has a sweet set of bullet-deflecting bangles, a truth-inducing lasso and a weird, but still awesome invisible jet. The 63 year-old stunner is also a singer, songwriter, philanthropist and beauty pageant titleholder who was crowned Miss World America 1972.
After getting her big-break as Wonder Woman in 1978, Carter was voted "The Most Beautiful Woman in the World" by the International Academy of Beauty and the British Press Organization. Believe it or not, she has not always been comfortable with the idea of being a sex-symbol. In 1977, at the suggestion of her then-husband and manager, Ron Samuels, Carter reluctantly released a promotional poster that was very successful despite Carter's dissatisfaction with it. In 1981 during an interview on the NBC TV special, Women Who Rate a 10, she spoke about the situation. Carter: “It's uncomfortable because I just simply took a photograph. That's all my participation was in my poster that sold over a million copies was that I took a photograph that I thought was a dumb photograph. My husband said, ‘Oh, try this thing tied up here, it'll look beautiful.’ Then, the photographer said, ‘the back-lighting is really terrific.’ That was it. So, dealing with someone having that picture up in their... bedroom or their... living room or whatever I think would be hard for anyone to deal with.”
Somehow, I think she’s over it by now.
1 Meryl Streep
Meryl. Freaking. Streep.
We are but mere mortals and therefore, clearly not worthy to behold her wondrous abilities. Yet, in all of her glorious wisdom and infinite grace she continuously blesses us with performances that are truly incomparable. Arguably the greatest living film actress, Streep has been nominated for a whopping, 19 Academy Awards and taken 3.
Throughout her adolescent years, the ravishing blonde with cheekbones to die for trained and aspired towards a career in opera. It was during her college years at Yale, (of course she went to Yale) that Streep found theater and never looked back. An astute perfectionist, Streep has time and again proven her incredible ability to transform herself into almost any character imaginable, often utilizing her amazing skills with accents. Donning a mile-long list of accolades and a permanent spot on everyone’s list of favorite actresses, the 66 year-old goddess of the cinema shows no signs of retiring anytime soon. Thank the movie gods for that. Having set the standard for truly great acting, it simply doesn’t get any better than Meryl Streep.