when it comes to aging the right way. “At age 58, I want to say, ‘This is who I am. Like it or not. I have to be me,’” says the star of screen classics including Top Gun, The Accused and Witness.
“We all get old. We wrinkle. It’s time to start working on your acceptance of life,” says the actress.
No, she didn’t stage quick, de-aging trip to the face doctor before doing new roles. In fact, McGillis refuses to participate in our Botox culture.
“I don’t do all that Botox stuff. I tried it. I stopped coloring my hair. At a certain point, my hair wouldn’t take any more color because it was really white naturally,” she says.
“You get to an age where you say, “This is who I am—for better or for worse,” says Kelly McGillis.
Q: You have such a healthy attitude about aging, which is refreshing since you were the babe of summer in Top Gun.
A: “It’s true that your looks change. My body has changed at age 58. The truth is, I don’t want to spend all my free time at the gym and working out. I want to enjoy my life and not spend all my time getting Botox.”
Q: Do you feel pressure as an actress and a woman to try to look younger?
A: “It’s very difficult in our culture to age as a woman. Our culture is geared to celebrate being young and beautiful with long, flowing hair and perfectly thin bodies that are often unattainable. Youth is also an unattainable goal as you age unless I spend a lot of money on plastic surgery. That’s just not a realistic way to live.”
Q: And emotionally it’s tough, too.
A: “Absolutely, I think working against your age just creates self-loathing. Self-loathing is something women have to deal with anyway. We deal with it as young as 20 when it comes to looks. I don’t want to be that self-loathing human being. I want to say this is who I am, like it or not.”
Q: Do you think there is a small backlash in Hollywood when it comes to having to look young and perfect?
A: “There is definitely a backlash now. I don’t know about TV, but certainly in movies. I think actresses are starting to look more like themselves now.”
Q: Why not look 58?
A: “I don’t think there is anything more beautiful than a woman who wears her age gracefully. You can’t beat that with a stick. I love to see a woman with all her wrinkles. It’s a life that has been lived. I think the people who look strange are the ones with the pumped up faces.”
Q: At the height of your fame with Top Gun, you were a major sex symbol. How did you see yourself?
A: “I look back at all the old movies and think, ‘Gosh, I was so young.’ You know, back then I used to think I was fat. Now, I look back and say, ‘What was I thinking. I wasn’t fat!’”
A: “I thought it was pretty funny to play an Amish person again in this wonderful movie. But this character is very different from Witness. I really liked the script and there is a nice love story aspect to it. It’s so odd in this business. When you do something, people think that’s all you do. I guess I’ll be playing Amish people for the rest of my life!”
Q: What do you do now to stay healthy?
A: “I do a lot of walking. I live in the mountains in North Carolina. I love to walk and do yoga. I try to eat well, too. Otherwise, I’m just hanging out, living my life, reading books and gardening.”
Q: Any final words about aging?
A: “There have been so many horror stories about anti-aging procedures that have turned into mistakes. I don’t want to take that chance. I don’t need to look like I’m 30.”
by Cindy Pearlman