I've been mulling over an LATimes article published in our local newspaper recently, talking about how "older" and "middle aged" actresses are staying busy in Hollywood. Apparently, it's a big deal they're getting so much work, because that wasn't always the case. The article explains how Bette Davis placed an ad in Variety in 1962, when she was 54. An ad that essentially said, "I still got it." Duh.
The article spotlights some of Hollywood's best: Meryl Streep. Julia Roberts. Diane Lane. Sandra Bullock. Annette Bening. Naomi Watts. Halle Berry. Julianne Moore. Helen Mirren.
Am I supposed to be surprised by this list? If you look at history and the fickle nature of Hollywood, yes. The article says the audience-- people like you and me-- are driving their success. I get that part. I understand the bottom line.
But something about this story got under my skin. It's well-written, accurate and fair. So what was bothering me about it? When I went online to get the link for the article I noticed our local paper used a different headline:
"Older Actresses in Prime. Big-screen roles plentiful for middle aged stars." (The Post and Courier)
"Actresses Over 40 on a Cinamatic Roll" (Los Angeles Times)
Which headline do you prefer? I prefer the second. Does anyone else see the subtle difference?
If you look at average life expectancy, technically, yes, these women are middle-aged and older than say, Justin Bieber. So what's my problem? I kept asking myself that.
I think it boils down to this-- talent knows no age. And those committed to growing and evolving in their life are going to do so. I think there's an unrealistic pressure to peak by a certain age, or it's all over. Many of us still have this idea that if we don't accomplish our goals while we're "young" that we've somehow missed our chance.
Sure, certain careers have a shelf life. But does human potential? I think not.
Stepping off soapbox now. Your turn.