The look of shock that spread across Dame Helen Mirren’s face when she heard the nickname “Gran-bod of the Year” for the first time was plain. The actress had one word for the sexist and ageist title and that was ‘disgusting’. Speaking at a L’Oreal Paris conference in London yesterday, the fabulous looking 70 year old said that she had never heard of the term but that she found it ‘disgusting, insulting, reductive and horrible.’ What a put down.
‘I think women should have the freedom to wear whatever they like’ continued Mirren, ‘I love the freedom of wearing a bikini. I have a house in Southern Italy and no woman over the age of 50 doesn’t wear a bikini.’
Mirren was brought on board by L’Oreal Paris as the face of their Perfect Age Campaign, which claims that 50% of the over 50s in the UK believe they are overlooked by brands and advertisers. ‘A lot of women over fifty don’t know where to start with Beauty. They get stuck looking the way they looked great in their 20s and 30s. They need help and guidance.’
But the infamous blonde, who isn’t ‘into colouring my hair in a salon’ and who prefers to use L’Oreal’s at home Age Perfect range, was optimistic about the ageing process: ‘The great thing about getting older is that you loose the incredible insecurity of youth. There is a huge pressure on girls now to look a certain way. [When you get older] you don’t give a flying f*** so much. Yeah I don’t look so good but I don’t care.’
She described her attitude to Beauty as a bit laissez faire. ‘I rarely go to the hairdressers. I prefer a quick snip on a shoot rather than sitting in a salon. I love cleansers, body creams and face creams. I don’t know if they do anything but I do like the way face cream makes me feel – clean, comfortable, ready for the day.’
Mirren had a final piece of advice to give on the imbalance of pay between the genders in acting: ‘Put your energies into improving roles for women in real life. Once that has changed it will change in acting too.’
Dame Helen, we salute you!