Helen Mirren shares her thoughts on ageing: "People call it growing older, but I call it growing up"

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Photo credit: Kevin Mazur - Getty Images
Photo credit: Kevin Mazur - Getty Images

At 76, Helen Mirren is the epitome of poise and confidence. She’s one of the most respected actresses in the business, having won a slew of awards for her work (including an Oscar). Plus, her presence—even while watching on-screen—emits a sense of calm that can only be achieved with age. That’s what Mirren appreciates about ageing, which she prefers to call “growing up,” according to her new cover interview for People.

“You have to continue working on yourself to a certain extent,” she said in the interview. “[It’s] simple really: Getting older. It happens. Other people call it growing older, but I call it growing up. And one of the advantages is that you literally get to be wiser. Life is a constant process of learning.”

With age also comes a unique perspective on beauty. In fact, Mirren told People that “most of us are not beautiful. We have other stuff, which is just as powerful as beauty. And I would like to see us celebrate those things… I love the word 'swagger' because I think swagger means I’m confident in myself, I’m presenting myself to the world, I’m enjoying the world around me,” Mirren explains. “I think what is called the beauty industry should be called the swagger industry. We’re giving people swagger."

The Catherine the Great star admits that she wasn’t always so self-assured, and that anxiety sometimes still gets the best of her on set. “I get very nervous about the day-to-day process. And meeting and dealing with new people. And not knowing whether I am going to remember my lines or not,” she told People. “I just get very frightened until I get into the swing of things and then I kind of relax.” She often feels better after filming wraps. “Once it’s done I’m not nervous, because it’s done, you can’t pull it back,” she added.


Mirren had a similar mindset about going grey: She embraced it rather than resisting it to fit into a “younger” age group. “You are in that age group. I’m sorry, but you are! So, why not just embrace it, go along with it and welcome it?” she told People in 2020. “Make it a positive thing as opposed to a negative thing.”

As her L’Oreal campaign would put it, no matter how old she is, the colour of her hair, or what her smile looks like, Mirren is worth it. She really believes that—and so do we.

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