L’Oréal Paris has been on a roll with signing women who are older than the “classic” model age. In the past few years, the company has brought Jane Fonda and Helen Mirren into the fold. More recently, in April, L’Oréal signed Céline Dion, and now actress Viola Davis is the newest member. I, for one, couldn’t be happier.
I’ve spent the past 20 years being vague about my age (shall we call it “vaguing”?), mainly because when I was around 34 or 35 (and feeling that 40 represented the beginning of the end … ), a friend told me she lied about hers. I thought she was wise, so I followed suit. The older I got, the more my age became my protected secret, and the more I feared being aged out of a world that focused on doing whatever it took to look younger.
I’ll be the first to admit that the number still trips up my tongue any time I’m asked how old I am, but it’s like a secret handshake now (“You’re over 50? Me too!”). More importantly, though, hearing a woman who we all view as the paragon of badass share the insecurities she had about confidence and self-worth illustrates how messed up our culture has been in striving to be not just youthful but model-beautiful.
“As a young girl, I wasn’t always told that I was smart, beautiful, or worthy,” she said. “I worked tremendously hard to get where I am today — overcoming feelings of doubt to become a woman who truly believes I am ‘worth it’ in every way. I believe it’s so important to build confidence in women from a young age and to role-model diverse perspectives of beauty. To now be part of a brand that has been championing women’s worth for more than 40 years and to use my voice to help empower others is truly surreal.”
But it’s not surreal. Not anymore, anyway. Kudos to L’Oréal Paris for turning surreal into a beautiful reality.