Meet 10 of the most beautiful women over 65 who will make you rethink the idea of getting older, from writers to actresses to fitness mavens.
It may be a truism, but being beautiful isn’t just about physical appearance. As we age, our ideas about beauty change and deepen even further, and less tangible qualities come to the forefront: a person’s attitude, their bearing; how they treat others; how they have affected the world around them; and whether they’ve made the most out of life, whatever that may mean for them as an individual. As the incomparable Betty White said in a Huffington Post article, dreading older age is “a waste of a lovely life.”
The 10 women we’re profiling today have done anything but. Spanning the decades from age 65 to the triple digits, they continue to be active, vibrant, and charismatic. Many are pioneers in their career fields. Every one of them is beautiful.
1. Esther Tuttle, 102
Resolution, resourcefulness and resilience—those are the three qualities centenarian Esther Tuttle says are must-haves for aging gracefully. In a New York Times article in 2010, she said, about her longevity, “I am blessed and I’ve worked on it. You’ve got to work, be cheerful and look for something fun to do. It’s a whole attitude.” She says she maintains the ongoing habits of a healthy diet, hard work, exercise, and community service. For her, life has been beautiful—and continues to be so.
2. Tao Porchon-Lynch, 95
“Don’t go by age. It means nothing.” That’s what Tao Porchon-Lynch has to say on the subject of aging gracefully, according to the Huffington Post. She’s been practicing yoga for over 70 years, and is the perfect example of the health benefits of yoga for fitness and stress management—and for feeling youthful and vital.
3. Alice Munro, 82
Prolific and disciplined Canadian author Alice Munro published no less than 14 short-story collections, the latest of which came out just this year. Her busy, award-winning writing career did not stop her from raising three daughters and helping her first husband run a bookshop, although she now says, in a New York Times article, “I do things quite purposefully now to get out on the surface of life.”
4. Gloria Steinem, 79
A journalist, women’s rights activist, and breast cancer survivor, Gloria Steinem is a true icon of the feminist movement. In addition to helping found New York and Ms. magazines, she’s been an outspoken social critic as well as a thoughtful writer on topics such as the women’s movement, self-image, and aging. And she has no plans to quit. On Biography.com, she says, “The idea of retiring is as foreign to me as the idea of hunting.”
5. Ernestine Shepherd, 77
For some of us, retirement is just another chance at a second calling. Ernestine Shepherd didn’t get into bodybuilding until she was 56, but by 2010, she had earned the Guinness Record for World’s Oldest Performing Female Bodybuilder. Besides waking up at 2:30 a.m. and running 10 miles before 5 a.m., she follows a strict diet and fitness regimen every day. And she’s doing what she loves. “Don’t listen to anyone who says you’re too old or starting out too late,” she says, on Time.com.
6. Jane Fonda, 75
Can you believe this actress, activist, and guru of fitness is 75? Me neither, but take a look at her accomplishments and you’ll see she’s lived life to its fullest and is still going strong. The daughter of actor Henry Fonda, Jane Fonda starred in classic films like The China Syndrome (1979) and On Golden Pond (1982), and her anti-Vietnam War stance briefly earned her the nickname “Hanoi Jane.” She’s still speaking out on social causes, still acting—and still making fitness videos, this time aimed at an older audience.
7. Tina Turner, 73
Born in Tennessee as Anna Mae Bullock, Tina Turner started singing and dancing onstage in her teens, and she’s hardly stopped for breath since. Her 1984 solo album Private Dancer sold more than 20 million copies, and she’s one of only 50 women to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, says the Austin Chronicle. Though she’s mostly retired now, she still occasionally tours and shows off her famously fit legs.
8. Helen Mirren, 68
Imagine being voted “Body of the Year” in a fitness poll and beating out women decades your junior. That’s what Dame Helen Mirren did, just two years ago. The British actress and Oscar winner is truly a star of both stage and screen, and attributes her continuing fitness to walking her dogs—and a little Wii Fit here and there, reports Shape magazine.
9. Susan Sarandon, 66
Though she’s also recognized for her social and political activism, most of us know Susan Sarandon through her work as an actress, starring in films ranging from cult classics like The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) to Academy Award winners like Dead Man Walking (1995). More recently, she traced her family roots in Wales on the program Who Do You Think You Are?
10. Linda Rodin, 65
On starting a new business just a handful of years ago—her own line of all-natural skin-care products—this former model and stylist for the stars tells FabOverFifty that she’s “never too old for anything!” Her beauty regime is fairly simple, and she advocates a good night’s sleep for staying healthy and rejuvenated. “Sleep is the key to everything.”
Who do you think has aged gracefully and stayed beautiful beyond 60? Let us know your favorites in the comments, whether they’re famous icons or living family legends.