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Brooke Shields thinks she has been battling ageism in Hollywood since she was seven.
The actress, 57 – propelled to fame aged 12 on the back of her leading role in Louis Malle's 1978 film ‘Pretty Baby’, believes showbusiness burdens stars with expectations about how they should look from their early youth – but she believes “sexiness” should not be focused on the young.
She told therapist Amy Morin, 42, on the ‘Verywell Mind’ podcast: “I’ve been fighting ageism in Hollywood probably since I was about seven.
“It starts then in Hollywood, but it really – it’s sexiness doesn’t have to just be a young person’s reality, the commodity of being sexy and being vibrant and not being burdened by so many of the things that burden you, whether it’s your biological clock, or the way things are laid out for you, because that’s what traditionally has (been) done.”
Once-divorced Shields, whose first husband was tennis star Andre Agassi, 52, and who has two daughters with her TV writer second spouse Chris Henchy, 58, added menopausal women were dismissed as shrivelled creatures.
She said “in talking about menopause, it’s looked at as you’re some just this withered, dried-up entity”.
Broke also hit out: “I think that type of messaging is something that we got used to accepting because everything is for younger people – it’s flashy and it’s made fabulous. And that’s the idea.
“And the idea is, ‘Oh, that’s the only time you’re really ever alive and vibrant’.
“And I think that we just, we’ve gotten used to it. And I obviously didn’t think to question it when I was in my 20s. It wasn’t until I got past 50 where I thought, Wait a minute, there’s nobody out there talking to me. They’re overlooking me.”
Shields added the secret to happiness lies in finding “the peace and the acceptance of your uniqueness inside you”.
She said: “I think the more that I’ve started to just support my friends and compliment them on things that I think are beautiful, naturally really curly hair (for example.)
“‘I’ve always wanted to have more waves’, or whatever the thing is that you focus on, and the more you start going outside of yourself instead of comparing yourself. Comparison is just the kiss of death. And we all do it. And I’ve to remind myself daily not to do it.
“You might want to lose five pounds, you might not, you might not like your nose, maybe you never like, I don’t know, but whatever it is, you got to start within yourself first and then say, ‘Okay, this, I do not want to have this be a part of my life. What are my options?’
“And I think that when you come at it from a different place instead of, ‘Oh, I want to look like that, so I’m going to get this done’.
“That’s when I think we start changing how we see ourselves. And I think that, that’s a much safer, healthier, smarter way to go about making small changes that are going to have a big impact on your life.”