Susan Sarandon On Ageism and Piers Morgan: “Maybe His Mother Didn’t Nurse Him!”

Susan Sarandon On Ageism and Piers Morgan: “Maybe His Mother Didn’t Nurse Him!”
Luke Gilford

Susan Sarandon is one seriously formidable female with her extensive film projects, only outnumbered by her political exploits. Here she speaks to our Fashion and Celebrity Director, Josh Newis-Smith about waging war on ageism and her ‘zero f**ks given’ dress code…

Susan Sarandon and myself couldn’t lead two more separate lives. Sat in my basement flat in Brixton, I get a call from the Oscar winning star of Thelma and Louise who informs me, “I am currently in New York, I just came back from two weeks in Africa with my family and tonight I go to Los Angeles.” The extent of my travelling today will be sashaying to Nando’s… at a push.

We also use our political voices very differently, too. Susan is currently lending her iconic status to the Mercedes-Benz #mbcollective. Teaming up with her protégée and activist, Bryn Mooser, the initiative hopes to shed light on the limited information about the plight of Haiti and refugees in Lesbos. This is of course - by no means - the first time Sarandon has used her considerable celebrity to promote political points, having claimed, “I won’t vote with her vagina,” during her backing of presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders. I, by contrast, post a politically charged tweet once a decade.

Luke Gilford

Susan Sarandon & Bryn Mooser appear in the Mercedes-Benz #mbcollective Fashion Story, Chapter Two

Placards aside Susan has become a zero f**ks given advocate for the small matter of age appropriate dressing. Why can’t a 70 year-old woman flash her bra underneath a suit or put her ample cleavage on show at the Cannes Film Festival? Personally posing these questions, whether consciously or not, has enraged bigoted blokes like Piers Morgan who branded her fashion choices, ‘tacky,’ in a Twitter rampage.

Here, one of the sassiest women I have ever encountered, addresses ageism, feminism and puts your life, and mine, into serious perspective…  

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Piers Morgan… maybe his mother didn’t nurse him or something…

“I try to lead by example when it comes to ageism. What’s his name? Piers Morgan? He tried to shame me because I had a bra on show underneath a tuxedo at the SAG awards. I don’t know what his problem was - maybe his mother didn’t nurse him or something? He certainly has a problem with sensuality and seems to be very forgiving of younger women who are provocative. Ageism is still around and there are still these ideas that women over thirty can’t do certain things and that women over a certain age shouldn’t do certain things in films. There is still more work that that needs to be done in terms of showing older women as active, desirable women.”

Aside from 'The Housewives of Whatever' women are more supportive of each other now…

“Women are far more supportive now - especially amongst my peers and younger people - aside from all the Housewives of Whatever! It was a generation before mine, as shown in Feud (a dramatization of Joan Crawford and Bette Davis’s relationship) who really identified power with men. Therefore women were enemies and felt more powerful on their own - I see nothing like that now. Now that we have joined forces, we as women are more powerful than ever before. Women who are also now in positions of power aren’t imitating men to assume those positions.”

My perspective on perfection and envy changed a lot when I became a mother…

“Of course sometimes you are envious that someone gets a job you wanted. But when I think, ‘I wish I could do what she did,’ I see that as a form of flattery. When you become a mother that changes a lot too. You become in awe of women who can manage work outside of the home too and we help each other, we talk to each other and laugh with each other about how hard it is to be seen as perfect.”

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My Cannes dress was not an intentional zero f**ks given decision…

“I never consciously choose to show off my sexuality. I alternate between tuxedos and dresses and from being more covered up to not so covered up. For Cannes the stylist for L’Oreal, Michael Angel handed me the black Alberta Ferretti dress and it worked. The year before I wore flats and that was another thing that caused a lot of attention. I just felt good in that dress and it wasn’t a case of doing a premediated whatever… I was pleased with the reaction and if you are going to do something like that it’s good to have your mates with you - Julianne (Moore) was there. I was just dressing up to have a good time. I just wear what’s comfortable!”

I was arrested and protested long before I was a celebrity…

“I grew up the late 60s/ early 70s, before corporate media made sure that you didn’t know what was going on first hand. If you had half a brain and you were young, you were politically active whether it was about civil liberties in the south or Vietnam. There was never a moment that made me politically active, more that throughout the years I have continued with that spirit. I was arrested and protested long before I was a celebrity, now I have a way of bringing the press into situations they weren’t covering. Like with Lesbos, I tried to humanize refugees at a time when they were being demonized.”

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Giving up my privacy is worth it to help others in need…

“Firstly, I am lucky enough to be in a position that I can help others. Secondly, you give up a lot of privacy and for better or worse people know so much about you. Now everyone has camera phones you are not protected by media in the same ways you were in the old days. Being active is a way of ensuring your job isn’t just using you and instead you are using celebrity to bring light to issues. I feel that I have a responsibility to find out information that is not easily found in mainstream media and disseminate it. I don’t pretend to be an expert; I just choose to shed a light on the truth. It’s a way of life for me to be authentic, mainly for my children’s and my grand children’s future.”

Jonpaul Douglass

Susan Sarandon behind the scenes at the Mercedes-Benz #mbcollective Fashion Story, Chapter Two photo shoot (Jonpaul Douglass)

Millennials give me hope for the future…

“People who are in their twenties are the people who won’t have water or freedom of the Internet. They know the old folks have screwed it up for them. They are online and not getting the information from CNN, so they know what is going on. You are the ones who are going to bare the brunt of no work, global warming and the lies that are coming out now. I am optimistic about the future because of millennials, especially given that they are so politically active. It’s great there are so many women running for office and there are so many people interested in the truth!”

At 70 years old, my career should be over by now…

“When I started out everyone told me that my career would be over by 40. Now, a lot of rules and expectations have changed. My daughter is 32 years old and she takes for granted that she can do everything - she doesn’t understand what all the fuss was about.”

Jonpaul Douglass

Working with my Mercedes Benz Collective Protégée, Bryn Mooser has opened my eyes…

“Honestly I rarely give advice to anybody. If Bryn took anything from our relationship, it would just be to do things by example. The most surprising thing about grass root activists like Bryn or Helen Prejea - who I played in Dead Man Walking (who brought attention to the death penalty) - or the former child soldier I worked with in Uganda (who now houses and teaches 300 kids), is how joyful they are. I think people often have this misconception that people who care about people outside of their four walls are dour, unhappy people but they are usually the most celebratory people. Bryn is on the cutting edge of technology and he’s introduced me to that, too. I narrated one of the first Virtual Reality films for him about Nepal – I would be very late in the game to these new technologies if it wasn’t for him.”

 

Susan Sarandon appears in the Mercedes-Benz #mbcollective Fashion Story, Chapter Two – launched recently at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin

 
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