Icy landscape shot from above
October 2021 Elena Frankel

The Most Beautiful Girl in the World

Who decided that women fizzle out after a certain age?

We all know the ad. The most interesting man in the world, with that white lion’s main of hair thrown effortlessly back, worn, leathered skin, and a rugged yet sexy accent. He’s debonair and vital and so very interesting. And he loves to drink liquor.


Women with this exact profile are often described as weathered, haggard, and old. Give it up for the man’s world of marketing, which has, for ages, disregarded women. In advertisements over the decades, women past 40 begin to dissolve into the fog until they simply disappear. What will it take to level this playing field, where an aging man can play the eternally suave James Bond?


Who decided that women fizzle out after a certain age? Where did that culture begin? Society deems that women’s desirability drops off starting age 18 and men peak at 50. Ridiculous! All you have to do is Google “Why are older women invisible?” and you will get a mother lode of links that support what a sexist society would like us to believe.

Woman wearing long dress making footprints in the sand of a beach
Smiling mature woman in black turtleneck with large hoop earrings

No one—man or woman—can avoid the inevitable. Why aren’t we focused on learning to embrace an evolving concept of beauty, rather than telling a 55-year-old to dress her age? Why do we hew to the hoary old trope that heterosexual women need to “keep themselves up” and look good for the men in their lives? We need an equivalent of the “silver fox” for women, because women are beautiful—not still beautiful; just beautiful—no matter their age.


Modern women embrace wellness more than ever. They want to stay relevant and contribute meaningfully to society. Most also like to look good while doing it. In our youth, this is often performative; we do it to attract a partner. But I like to think that as we develop more confidence in ourselves as people, we come to enjoy beauty for beauty’s sake—not for TikTok, not for Instagram, and not for any other social media platform. In this narcissistic, selfie-driven society, what a refreshing take on life.


Still don’t feel convinced that women past 40 can retain their mojo? Then check out this short list of drop-dead-gorgeous, confident women. They are primarily performers, and I chose them because when you live in the spotlight, as they have for decades, you learn to deal with the intense scrutiny. Even under a microscope, they’ve aged gracefully, with utter class and their own unique personal style.

Smiling mature woman in a field looking at herself in mirror

We know we missed a million more, but here’s a well-known group to think about. We can all aspire to aging gracefully and still be hardcore. ;o) 


Stay thirsty, my friends.
Helen Mirren  •  Julianne Moore  •  Ann Curry  •  Norma Kamali  •  Angela Bassett  •  Lynda Carter  •  Michelle Obama  •  Maria Elena Salinas  •  Martha Stewart  •  Jane Seymour  •  Sigourney Weaver  •  Lisa Bonet  •  Julia Louis-Dreyfus  •  Penelope Cruz  •  Elizabeth Hurley  •  Jodie Foster  •  Michelle Yeoh  •  Tina Turner  •  Shania Twain  •  Dara Torres  •  Susanna Hoffs  •  Lucy Liu  •  Helena Christensen  •  Julia Roberts  •  Katie Couric  •  Ali Hewson  •  Hoda Kot  •  Oprah Winfrey  •  Sharon Stone  •  Dido   •  Cate Blanchette Jennifer Aniston  •  Viola Davis  •  Halle Berry  •  Octavia Spencer  •  Vera Wang  •  Iman  •  Jane Fonda  •  Siouxsie Sioux  •  Dolly Parton Betty White  •  Joan Baez  •  Isabella Rossellini  •  Diana Ross

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