• Andie MacDowell says she doesn’t feel “less sexy” as a 65-year-old woman than she did when she was younger.
  • She wants women her age to “borrow from the boys” and embrace what getting older looks like, which is often graying hair and wrinkled skin.
  • “Men are seen as really sexy when they start to get wrinkles,” she said.

If George Clooney gets to be a sultry silver fox at 62, Andie MacDowell, 65, wants some skin in that game, too. That’s why she’s owning her now-renowned gray hair—and in a new interview, she took it a step further and got real about aging and feeling sexy as an “older woman.”

To put it frankly, The Way Home star told People it’s time for women to “borrow from the boys” and embrace their sexualities with age. Men are seen as really sexy when they start to get wrinkles,” she said at the Cannes Film Festival. “I like all the terms we use for older men. I want to hold onto those terms. I want to be debonair. Why not?”

With the help of her fellow aging advocates Helen Mirren, Jane Fonda, Paulina Porizkova, and more, she’s bringing to light the gendered contradictions in mainstream beauty ideals.

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“We’ve been brainwashed, and it’s a psychological thing that we’ve bought into because we’ve been fed it for so long,” she said. “We don’t allow ourselves to feel good about ourselves and we even perceive [older men] as sexy, because we’ve been taught this.”

Since going gray in 2021, MacDowell has intentionally unlearned those notions and is now boldly stepping into her current self—both on- and off-screen. “I was struggling and I’m much more comfortable with where I am right now,” she said. “I love being an older woman. I really enjoy it. And it doesn’t feel less sexy.”

In fact, she said her career is booming at the moment because she’s unafraid to embody the “complex older woman”—whereas before she was kind of stuck in a not-young-enough, yet not-old-enough purgatory when it came to casting.

The freedom to fully embrace herself not only lifts her up personally, but it helps her improve as an actor. “I don’t need to pretend that I’m young anymore because I’m not young, obviously,” she explained. “And I just think that’s going to help me and you have to dig in and make your characters more complex too. You have to struggle and fight with people to make them. You have to fight for what you know. I fight for what I know as an older woman, what I know to be true.”

That sentiment is one she’s shared in plenty of interviews in recent months—including a March one with Katie Couric in which she said she’s “tired of trying to be young,” adding: “I want to be old … I don’t want to be young. I’ve been young.”

In our youth-centric world, it’s easy to get wrapped up in pressures to look and act a certain way. But MacDowell reminds us that contentment is as easy as a simple shift in perspective.

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Kayla Blanton is a freelance writer who reports on all things health and nutrition for Men’s Health, Women’s Health, and Prevention. Her hobbies include perpetual coffee sipping and pretending to be a Chopped contestant while cooking.