Kristin Scott Thomas, 53, on aging: ‘Men grow in gravitas while women just disappear’

Kristin Scott Thomas will always be “K” in my book. SIGH. I love her, I have loved her since Four Weddings and a Funeral and especially since The English Patient. For me, she is always Katherine, the mistress of the Austrian count and while it must be difficult to be so closely associated with that one role so strongly, there are certainly worse parts for an actor to be closely associated with. So considering that, for me and many others, Kristin is stuck in film amber as the tragic, lustful Katherine, it’s startling to learn that Kristin is actually 53 years old right now. And she has a 24-year-old daughter and a 21-year-old son. What the hell?! When did that happen? Anyway, KST is in Only God Forgives, that new Ryan Gosling movie (which is getting terrible reviews), and she recently spoke out about aging in the film industry:

She is a classically beautiful award-winning actress who starred in some of the biggest British films of the Nineties. But Kristin Scott Thomas fears she will ‘just disappear’ now that she has reached middle age. And she admits she would consider having cosmetic surgery because she feels like an ‘old ragbag’ next to her younger co-stars.

Miss Scott Thomas, 53, has revealed that she felt ‘invisible’ while surrounded by young actresses at the Cannes Film Festival in May. Voicing the fears of so many women of a certain age, she said: ‘I’m not talking about in a private setting, at a dinner party or anything. But when you’re walking down the street, you get bumped into, people slam doors in your face – they just don’t notice you. Somehow, you just vanish. It’s a cliché, but men grow in gravitas as they get older, while women just disappear.’

And echoing Miranda actress Patricia Hodge, who last year said that all the best roles go to a small group of actresses, she added: ‘The Great British Dames, like Helen Mirren and Judi Dench, have all managed to do things marvellously. They go in, swoop up all the attention, and then swoop out again. I could handle that, quite happily.’

Miss Scott Thomas, best known for The English Patient, for which she was Oscar-nominated, and Four Weddings and a Funeral, was at Cannes for the premiere of her most recent film, Only God Forgives. The film, which also stars Ryan Gosling, tells the story of a drug smuggler in Bangkok whose brother is murdered.

Miss Scott Thomas, who has never remarried after divorcing her husband of 17 years, French obstetrician François Olivennes, in 2008, plays Crystal, the drug smuggler’s foul-mouthed mother. She joked that she will probably be single for life because ‘all the men will run for the hills’ when they see it.

The actress told the Sunday Telegraph: ‘It’s incredibly difficult keeping relationships alive when you have a lifestyle like mine. I’m never more than a few weeks in one place.’

Miss Scott Thomas, whose children are Hannah, 24, Joseph, 21 and George, 13, admitted that her personal life often suffers because of her career. She said she uses work as ‘an escapism thing’ when things get difficult at home and is enjoying the fact that her children can look after themselves.

She said: ‘If I’ve signed on to do something, then I have to do it properly. So I have to switch off the personal life. I can just about squeeze in a phone call at lunchtime, but anything else I just can’t deal with. So it’s a bit of an escapism thing, actually. Things complicated at home? Get a job! Go off somewhere else and pretend I’m someone else.’

[From The Mail]

It’s sad/weird that every actress over the age of, say, 30 has to talk about “aging in Hollywood” and they have to talk about themselves always in the context of their age and whether or not their age signals the end of their career. I think Kristin is speaking about aging more widely, though – not specific to Hollywood, she seems to be saying that no one pays any attention to women past a certain age.

Kristin also has a great interview with W Magazine where she basically says she got Botox specifically for the role in Only God Forgives. She said, “I had the blonde wig, the fake bosom, I even had Botox in my forehead so I would get that kind of look… I had the whole thing completely frozen. I went to the dermatologist and said, ‘I want you to give me an American forehead.’ It was so weird not being able to raise my eyebrows.” You can read the W piece here.

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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159 Responses to “Kristin Scott Thomas, 53, on aging: ‘Men grow in gravitas while women just disappear’”

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  1. Virgilia Coriolanus says:

    I think this is actually a time where you can say, hey that made sense. From what I understand, from the supremely stupid and boring trailer of the film, is that she plays as the mother of a gangster in some foreign country. For some reason I want to say China or something. Don’t know why. But a woman in her position-wealthy, older-she would most certainly get something done to her face.

  2. j.eyre says:

    I fell for her in Four Weddings too. She is so well spoken and always stands out performance-wise.

    I like what she said about work being an escapism thing. I think that is true for many people, whether they admit it or not.

  3. LadyJane says:

    I think Kristen IS talking specificall about aging in Hollywood (she mentioned feeling invisible at Cannes, not at a dinner party) because that is what they are asked about. She seems to be talking about it honestly here. It is a bit sad, the disappearing part. It seems like women in entertainment either disappear after a certain age or just become a cartoon of their younger self.

    • cat says:

      I have a friend in her early 60s (who looks good!) and she repeated this as her own experience, feeling invisible. So it may go beyond Hollywood. I notice it a bit too and I’m in my ’40s but I never felt particularly ‘noticed’ so it’s harder for me to tell.

      • Nina says:

        It’s absolutely a universal experience, not just Hollywood. Wait until you get in your md40s… It starts to happen. And, I can only imagine it’s magnified in Hollywood, where it’s basically mostly about ones appearance. Truthfully, I think men experience this too but it can happen to men later, like when they’re in their sixties and for some powerful men, not at all.

      • MoxyLady007 says:

        I am starting to feel this way already. I am 31 and just had my first child. And I am invisible to people I never was before. It’s not like I counted on the attention or something. It’s just the dismissiveness of it is startling.

      • Bijlee says:

        Can I ask you ladies a question? How does this feeling manifest? Like what actions are people taking that make you feel that you’re invisible? What’s the difference between how people treat you before and how people treat you after a certain age?

      • BooBooLaRue says:

        Gad, i thought it was just me. I’m STILL HERE I want to shout. To Bijlee, it’s so subtle sometimes, not being served at a counter, someone ignoring you for some chicky with boobs and a tube top. People being rude. Wait you will see.

      • Bijlee says:

        @BooBooLaRue Lol I feel like I’m invisible now. I’m unashamedly unattractive and no one really talks to me when I go out, but maybe that’s just my perception and people pay more attention to me than I think. I don’t know.

        Honestly, I’m just asking because MoxyLady007 said she was invisible to people she never was before. I’m surrounded by a lot of older women, I don’t want them to think I don’t see them.

      • Cazzee says:

        I am in my mid-forties and if I dress up and wear makeup and ‘try’, I can still get noticed. Otherwise it is starting to be as KST described, bumped in the street, doors dropped in your face, and most infuriatingly of all, poor service.

        My partner is in his early fifties (he is a professional white male) and it is sickening how service people – male and female, black and white, young and old – are all like, “How may I help you, sir? Special treatment? Why certainly!” Whereas if I ask the same question the result is outrage. This is only in the last two years…it’s really starting to get to me.

      • BooBooLaRue says:

        To Bijlee, WALLFLOWERS UNITE! As a woman over 50 (and literally beyond my biological usefulness), I try to treat older women as the interesting people I know they are because they have been around for so long (acutally do this for all older women and men). I try to do the same for younger ones too and not just focus on the appearance…sometimes the most interesting people are the wallflowers!

      • tessy says:

        I actually found it liberating, I didn’t realize how much it made me uncomfortable to be ogled at. Honestly, I have discovered that there is nobody more anonymous than a middle aged woman and I can see how Hollywood people whose business is their looks would get upset with it. I don’t mind other than some of the body changes like the extra poundage.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        I think that a lot of people should watch Dustin Hoffman’s video where he talks about Tootsie…and gets misty eyed thinking of all of the women he ignored before because they weren’t the most attractive. He asks something like, “How many amazing people did I miss out on?”

      • Bubbles says:

        I can not help but cringe when women complain how they fell invisible because they aged ( in general, not in Hollywood because that’s another story). You were young and attractive, now you’re not. Boohoo.
        I was fat a huge part of my life I felt like that every day. Life isn’t fair. Deal with it.

      • Spooks says:

        @Bubbles, as a fellow former fat girl, I kinda know what you mean.
        The only difference is, I always wanted to be invisible, because I always felt uncomfortable in my body. It’s hard to sympathise with former pretty girls.

      • Tara says:

        I have seen these things to be true. My experience has been slightly different, however. I have always looked like i am 30. I was always embarassed by this because i was in my 20s but didnt look sexy or young. I was considered “attractive” which sucks when you’re 24 and want to be Victoria’s Secret smoking hot. But it wasnt a huge deal and i sailed into my 30s. Finally i looked my age and i felt comfortable in my own skin. Believe it or not confidence makes you glow and i was complimented heavily. But then came the late 30s and the realization that my looks are frozen at 30. What a piece of luck, i think, but not the norm. At 25 everyone gawked at my girlfriends when we went out for drinks. At 35 i made a NYC bicycle cop run off the sidewalk looking over his shoulder.now at 39 now and i have to prove to people my real age. My sister is 34 this year and when she went to the grocery store once a woman made a snarky remark to her friend about “those teen moms” my baby sister is 32 now but she just looks like a bubbly college girl. I always used to be jealous of them lol but now that i am “smoking hot” i am amazed at how meh it is. My husban is much older than me and sometimes i worry that people think he is my sugar daddy, so i secretly am looking forward to settling down more in my looks as i age. Women are especially gorgeous in their late 50s i always thought. Hell, women are beautiful at any age! Also i wonder if we can turn things around by using our economic power to support markets that honor the value of women at all stages. If there is a magazine cover with a photoshopped or rail thin starlet on it leave it on the shelf and email the editor. If Julianne Moore or Lauren Hutton is on the cover then buy as many copies as you can carry!!

      • Anastasia says:

        I’m 42 and haven’t experienced this at all. I have more self-confidence now than I ever did when I was younger. Perhaps that’s why I don’t feel that invisibility thing? Perhaps I’ll notice it later.

        But for now, definitely not.

    • Alexis says:

      She is overstating the difference between men and women. Yeah, there is one, but it is not so dramatic. A man with an average income, average hairline, average middle age spread, and average looks is invisible to most twenty somethings and teens by the time they hit 40, if not before. And it hurts them too. It’s just less socially acceptable to complain about it. Also rich, powerful, and attractive women can easily date far younger men. They are just a class that has only started to exist more recently. And everyone’s a little less used to it

      • Joblog says:

        I think women over a certain age know how men have felt their whole lives. The majority of men never get attention from women.when they turn 40 even less. Im 29 and i must admit i dont feel young enough to be attractive. I think alot women deal with aging by convincing themselves they look younger than they are . I have never seen a woman who looked more than 5 years younger than their age. It just doesnt happen. Salma hyack still thinks she look 25. Thats her coping with the fact that she is aging, but in reality its not true. You can still look sexy at 45 but you probably look at best 40. Just accept that. When people ask me how old i think they are i lie to make them feel better. Secondly men get better roles even as they age its because 97% of hollywood directors are men. It would be nice to see some more women aspiring to be directors instead of actors/ model/singers.

    • Alarmjaguar says:

      I think this can also be liberating, however. Anyone remember the poem, Warning? I love it and plan to follow that advice:

      When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
      With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
      And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
      And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
      I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
      And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
      And run my stick along the public railings
      And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
      I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
      And pick flowers in other people’s gardens
      And learn to spit.

      You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
      And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
      Or only bread and pickle for a week
      And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

      But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
      And pay our rent and not swear in the street
      And set a good example for the children.
      We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

      But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
      So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
      When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.
      Jenny Joseph

    • Sloane Wyatt says:

      @Bijlee: You are a sensitive caring person, so you needn’t worry that you would inadvertently ignore the older women in your life.

      Being invisible to the general public is liberating. Getting attention and different treatment due to my appearance felt shallow to me when I truly enjoyed the other perks of youth so much more. Now, interactions are on a realistic footing, and there’s no baggage or expectations to wade through.

      • mercy says:

        Oh my, yes, yes, a thousand times yes. It feels shallow and makes me feel awkward, to be honest. But listening to others speak, I do wonder if it’s something I will miss. I don’t think so, but you never know. I hope I’ll be happy enough in my own little world that I won’t notice one way or the other lol.

    • mercy says:

      I was going to ponder how much of her feelings are related to being in the business she’s in, but judging from the responses it sounds like this is a common experience among women of all walks of life. Going to try to start preparing now now not to care if I’m ‘noticed’. I can fall into my own little world quite easily so maybe I have an advantage there. ;)

    • Tiffany :) says:

      LadyJane, I don’t think she was talking about Hollywood or Cannes. She specifically said ” But when you’re walking down the street, you get bumped into, people slam doors in your face – they just don’t notice you.”

      I think she is talking about society in general.

    • Trashaddict says:

      I’m her age. It ain’t just Hollywood. I watch the world slow down for young 20 somethings crossing the street. Slowly. I’m not courting danger and I walk a decent pace but I’ll be damned if the cars don’t actually speed up! I’m ambivalent about wanting to spruce up my looks and thinking I should enjoy that it just doesn’t matter any more. I liked KST before. This just reinforces it.

  4. Kiddo says:

    As much as she considers herself worldly, she resides in a Hollywood bubble. “American Forehead”? Really, she thinks this country is full of people with frozen faces? She should get out and meet people in their 50s who really have problems, like getting laid off from long term careers, not finding any work and losing their houses because they can’t pay the mortgage or rent.

    • Frida_K says:

      Well said.

    • magda says:

      You’re a bit harsh. As a person from Europe, I get what she say with phrase ‘american forehead’. for me it’s also very “american” thing, because this kind of look I see more often in american media than european.

      • Kiddo says:

        Well then you need to get out more. It’s a Hollywood thing, not an American thing.

        I understand her complaints about gender and ageism in Hollywood. But I would like it if some of these actresses would occasionally recognize the privileges they have. Perhaps they can refer to Maslow’s hierarchy once in a while, and recognize that they are at the top of the scale when most others aren’t. Further, what are all the older women who make good money in Hollywood doing with it? If they are spending it on frozen faces instead of parlaying it into work and projects for themselves and other women like them, then they are complicit in the system as it stands.

        Or, you know, they could retire on their earnings and not give too many Fs about what people think about their appearance.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        I get what she was saying but it IS a stereotype. Most Americans don’t have $600 to waste on injections every couple of months.

        I still like her though, and I think her observation was an important one.

      • Kiddo says:

        @TheOriginalKitten, I think she is a fine actress. I just tire of the bitching and moaning when they have the resources to make change. And if there isn’t change to be had, and all the world’s culture remains youth obsessed, then people, maybe women more so, need to look at an acting career as something with an expiration date and early retirement, save money, and appreciate the opportunity for what it once was and move on. Just like people who have big careers in sports, they can’t do it until they are 60 for the most part, with the exception of perhaps golf.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        Yeah I mean…I don’t have much to add to that, kiddo. Your point is well-made.

        It’s just par for the course with aging in general. I spent a good chunk of my twenties wanting to be the hottest girl in the club. When I hit my late-twenties, I started looking inwards, becoming more introspective, and wanting to be a better, more developed person. At 34, I think I’ve realized that looks don’t matter much anymore, we’re all gonna look like shit eventually. Still, I wouldn’t last a day in Hollywood, where vanity rules.

      • bluhare says:

        It’s not just acting. It’s life, and if you haven’t experienced it yet, you probably will.

      • Kiddo says:

        @bluhare, everyone grows old, or they die prematurely. It’s better to be well-heeled in the later years than scraping together to make ends meet. Those with less suffer greater indignities, largely. I wasn’t addressing the human condition, in general, I was responding to her bemoaning the politics of age in Hollywood and her cultural snobbery in regard to the American forehead comment.

      • mercy says:

        @kiddo,

        Oh yes! The more you have, the more time you have to think about what you don’t have. Or ‘first world problems.’ But I do applaud Kristen for her honesty. I think it’s important to hear everyone’s experiences.

      • bluhare says:

        As I said below, kiddo, I think her comment applies to Hollywood and life in general. If you know people her age. go ask them if they think it’s true.

        As to the American forehead comment, I don’t quite understand what you’re getting at. American actresses DO botox and fill themselves — we snark on it all the time.

      • Trashaddict says:

        I know plenty of people who should be putting money away spending 100$ on their manicures, people on the dole finding out of pocket money to pay for plastic surgery and half the people I run into have had something “done”. It may not be everybody in America but it sure happens a lot….

    • Emma says:

      Ughhhh whinge whinge. You know exactly what she meant and so does everyone else

      • Louise says:

        This. ^

      • Kiddo says:

        No, I really didn’t, and yes, she was whinging.

      • bluhare says:

        Kiddo: OK, how about this. This is when you aren’t invisible.

        I went grey prematurely and my hair’s white. I have a nice build and face. I was out jogging one day, and two kids drove by and yelled out the window, “looking good, grandma”. How would you react to that? I was depressed at the time, and I cried.

      • Kiddo says:

        @bluhare, I am sincerely sorry for your pain. Kids can be cruel.

      • bluhare says:

        Doesn’t bother me now, kiddo, but thank you. I’m used to people thinking I’m older than I am.

        I’m not quite sure what your point is now. Hollywood aging or life aging? Because her comment applies to both. I’m assuming you haven’t hit Those Years yet.

    • hadleyb says:

      I lol’d at the “American forehead” . I thought it was funny.

      I am guessing she is just referring to the real housewives type of culture we have on tv that is everywhere on all channels etc. I am sure she doesn’t mean anything serious about it.

      It was funny, for example if I were doing a movie about an English stereotype, I might ask for British teeth. Doesn’t mean they all have them ( bad ugly teeth), and the country also has econ problems.

      • Kiddo says:

        You know, okay I’ll accept that, but if Paltrow would have uttered the same words, everyone would have been all over her shit.

      • Grant says:

        That’s pretty funny considering that Katie Price, Jodie Marsh, and everyone on The Only Way is Essex are solely British exports.

    • Drop Bear says:

      She doesn’t reside in Hollywood at all. Never did. She lives in France and has done for over 30 years. She also mainly acts in French films where she still gets lead roles unlike in the UK or US

    • manta says:

      I seriously doubt she thinks it’s the case of all women in the USA.
      I understood it this way: at equal financial means and level of privileges, identical media exposure,the frozen forehead seems (again I live outside North America) more frequent in the US;
      Let’s just say Emma Thompson, Charlotte Rampling,or Vanessa Redgrave vs all the Courtney Cox,Demi Moore types (the ones you see when you click on an entertainment page, NOT every american woman).

  5. It'sJustBlanche says:

    No men get old too. She just bought into the stereotype.

    She’s always been beautiful and is beautiful now but she’s always had an “old” face even when she was young, if that makes sense.

    • Anna says:

      When men get old, their sex symbol status only solidifies. Look at Connery, Brosnan, Clooney et al. And they keep getting 20-something love interests.

      • Elodie says:

        …solidify eh? tell that to Marlon Brando whom Hollywood only wants to remember when he was young, Mickey Rourke before the clusterf!ck of a surgery, Michael Douglas, Roger Moore remembered sexy only as Bond, etc.

        Point is only a very few make it into being “immortalized” in that sex symbol status (James Stewart, Clark Gable, Humphrey Bogart, Gregory Peck defy the decades and apologies to those I ommitted to mention…) nowadays men in Hollywood their days are counted too, even Brad Pitt, he used to be sexy and even if he does look good as a father of 6, he has lost that thing… same goes for Johnny Depp, he is Benjamin Button, still looking young buuuut goodness his sexiness is fading big time regardless whether he dresses like a rag doll… and the young chaps they are trying to push down our throats regardless of their lack of talents are fading from the spotlight just as fast, Hollywood nowadays is a chewing machine, barely looking for quality all about being superficial, and men aren’t that much of an exception imo, sure women are more scrutinized but men aren’t the exception to that “rule” either.

      • It'sJustBlanche says:

        In Hollywood, sure. They have the power to have young female co-stars and wives. Same goes for all powerful men. But the average guy? Sorry but the 50-something women at my gym look a lot better than their counterparts do.

      • Joblog says:

        As a woman in my 20s i can tell you clooney was hottest 20 years ago. Young ones are now attracted to their money and publicity they receive. I find gosling so much hotter. I think most younger women do. Powerful older women can get young hot guys. Maybe their into the publicity as well but who cares who would rather bed a 25 year old with a hot bod than old wrinkly cloo ey

    • Jen34 says:

      I hesitate to type this, but her face does not look good for her age. She looks older than her 53 years.

      • Emma says:

        …..so? What is that relevant to?

      • stinky says:

        She’s always come across as a lil’ uptight to me, so i’m interested to hear her voicing such an honest perspective. I didnt care for the “American forehead” snype, either. It really just proves my point – She’s ‘better than’. Right?

      • Drop Bear says:

        @stinky, She is not uptight at all. I have met her at a party and she is nice and very funny. The American forehead was a joke. On the flip-side many Americans make jokes about British teeth and other stereotypes all the time

      • Suze says:

        She looks good. I’m not sure where you’re hanging out with all these youthful 53 year olds, but she doesn’t look older than 53.

        She’s always had a serious face, not cute one. That might be what you’re seeing.

        Besides “looking younger” doesn’t equal “looking better”.

      • Rena says:

        I thought the same thing when reading this. Actresses always lie about their age, wouldn’t surprise me if she’s in her 60′s.

  6. lisa2 says:

    That happens to all women. I think women that have been use to having people look at them for their beauty feel this more strongly than a woman that was never considered “beautiful” but good looking to average. Those women on whole I think don’t feel this to the same degree. These women have always had to rely on something else in themselves to feel validated and noticeable. It is why you see so many women trying so hard to hold on to that period in their lives when they were “most attractive”.. that is the sad part. Because I could name a few actresses for example that have embraced their age. They are not or at least they don’t seem to be struggling.

    Being invisible happens to everyone and will. It is the nature of life. And yes it happens to men too. Just in a different way. Sometimes women think men don’t struggle to keep that “glow” they do.

    • lucy2 says:

      I was thinking the same thing – if someone is valued mainly for their appearance, sooner or later that value is going to diminish. But if you are valued for talent, intelligence, humor, etc, you won’t be invisible – at least not to the people who matter.

      • Jayna says:

        That’s what she said. She wasn’t talking about in her personal life, social life with friends and social circle where she is valued for more than looks, but was stating her experience in general on the street, on red carpets, etc., the invisiblity you start to notice that wasn’t there before.

        I saw it mentioned in a TV show with Richard Dreyfuss and a female actor I love (can’t think of her full name, Harden). She played a professor on the show. They had a scene where he talked about aging and all of a sudden he felt invisible in ways he hadn’t before, even just walking down the street, and she understood. It was an interesting scene and dialogue.

    • TG says:

      Totally agree @Lisa2 and @Lucy2. This piece seemed really sad but honest, especially about the part of men or people in general shutting doors in her face.

      • Nina says:

        It’s sad but think about your own behavior and whether you notice women of a certain age on rhe streets, or dismiss them as some dowdy middle aged lady. Or whether you even notice them to begin with. Sadly our society is very youth centered, and this applies throughout society. Even outside of Hollywood, the power of youth is strong, mostly because we all don’t want to face mortality!

      • lisa2 says:

        YOU know NINA.. I notice older women more than younger ones. I think because I have left my 30′s now and I am in awe of older women. My mother, aunt, grandmother. all fascinate me. Because of their life experience. It is the same OT a bit for Older couples. I love looking at older couples. They have a sexiness about them. (no that is not gross). I just see them and think about all the years that they have traveled together and are still together. I saw this couple in the grocery store the other day. They had to be in their 70′s. She was picking out corn, and he was standing behind her rubbing her back and talking. It was so sweet. I found it very sexy in way.. So yeah

    • bluhare says:

      Anthropologically speaking, it’s because women are child bearers and once we get past that men look for women who can still have kids. We may have developed exponentially in a few years, but biology takes longer to catch up.

      Case in point: Trophy wives.

      • stinky says:

        note to self: put ‘Logan’s Run’ back in ther Netflix queue.

      • Sloane Wyatt says:

        @Stinky: HA!

      • Estella says:

        I believe this but still found it shocking when it happened to me in real time. My gynecologist (a male)seemed to stop caring about my sexual health once I entered chemo-induced menopause. At 36 years old, I can no longer make his practice money by having children so I am less valued as a patient. He even told me I should get my tubes tied because – as a cancer survivor – I shouldn’t take the risk of having children. I am post-menopausal! I think he was just trying to make money off me anyway he could. I have switched to another practitioner.

        I also noticed this when I lost my looks going through cancer treatment. People do not give the same amount of attention or respect to average-looking people or older people. It has taught me several valuable lessons though; mainly, 1. To respect everyone and value them the way I would like to be valued and 2. To not place so much emphasis on appearances. I am trying to work on improving other aspects of my personality so that this isn’t so crushing as I age.

        I agree with Ms. Thomas that women suffer this more severely than men.

      • Cazzee says:

        Actually, anthropologically speaking, the human race owes its survival to post-menopausal females (I am a PhD in anthropology, and this is a common misconception).

    • Karen says:

      Honestly just make your breasts look huge. You will always get attention no matter what!

  7. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    Two things:
    1. Enjoy your beauty when you’re young, but don’t depend on it as the basis for your life, self-esteem, career or relationships because they will crumble as it changes. (I like to think it changes, not disappears). Female actors who withstand the aging process do so because they have perfected their craft. Being an actor is sort of like being an athlete in that you know there’s an expiration date on your career and you have to plan for that.

    2. I think the whole “men get better looking as they age while women turn into hags” is a myth. Look around at your average middle aged men and women and tell me if you still think that’s true.

    • tracking says:

      Well said!

    • LadyJane says:

      I too believe that beauty changes. I see myself and my friends faces changing. But I don’t think, “wow, we are all ugly now”. Just see a thinning of the face, perhaps more lines around the edges, less plumpness. But we are getting wiser and funnier, more wry. Snappier, sassier, less inclined to take or dish bullshit.

      I will take that trade.

    • Dawn says:

      I agree and would add that you have to be prepared to reinvent yourself as you age as well. Like taking television roles where once it was just movies.

    • Sixer says:

      What LadyJane said. And also that society changes gradually, as generations cycle through. Modern feminism isn’t very old. Its pioneers are growing older now but there’s some way to go until the changes cycle through. I will have a slightly different outlook on growing older than my mother, who had a slightly different outlook than HER mother. Hopefully, by the time our daughters are meeting middle age, things will be better.

    • mercy says:

      I agree with most of what you’ve said, but what about male actors?

  8. Liz says:

    The sad part is that for many women, finding ourselves suddenly invisible technically ‘should’ feel good. Finally, we can live without being harassed and objectified, like your average man. It should be freeing. But it’s not, and that’s when you realize how much of a patriarchy you still live in, regardless of whether you wanted to believe that existed. And even though you are invisible, you are also being judged as no longer being worthwhile or valuable.

    • tracking says:

      It’s true, liz. I’ve discussed this issue with friends, and I think you’ve nailed it. It should be easy to detach from such superficial stuff, patriarchy etc., but it *is* bound up with a more general notion of value. Even if that value is misplaced in connection to looks, it makes one realize it was THERE and one must come to terms with it diminishing.

      • Nina says:

        Again, I do think it’s more than relying on your youth and beauty. This is about the denial that wer’re mortal. It’s why men have midlife crises and want that younger model of wife and flashier car. It’s about how youth equals vitality and currency. You can be a powerful woman– look at Madonna– and yet in your fifties, people criticize you for not being as beautiful as you were, or for trying hard or losing your grip. It happens to men but just later like maybein their 70s like Mick Jagger- and even then, it’s sort of like, oh how cool he’s still out there!

    • Lindy says:

      Reasons why I really, really love CB:

      There are so many interesting, thoughtful commenters. In addition to the obviously fun celebrity gossip.

    • bluhare says:

      Amen Liz.

    • NYC_girl says:

      I am happy that I don’t get harassed on the street by construction workers any longer. :) However, as a woman in her mid-40s who looks several years younger, it has NOT been easy trying to find a job. I’ve been unemployed for over 2 years. I had yet another interview today and am praying it works out; I have enough money for another month’s expenses and then I’m broke. That’s what makes me most distressed, not wrinkles or veins on my legs or grey hair.

  9. Anguishedcorn says:

    I found so many of her comments very sad, and lacking in a foundation of self-esteem. There seemed to be some sour grapes about the ladies who have done it well, on top onit. sw certainly could age well and have the confidence of wisdom and beauty, which she has in spades. But not with that lousy attitude. As that comment that she’s glad her kids are self sufficient, by that she’s used her work to escape, said to me she hasn’t enjoyed motherhood all that much.

    • RHONYC says:

      i feel that it’s the ‘looking’ for attention that is shooting yourself in the foot. when you concentrate on what’s lacking, you’ll attract more of the same. :?

      • Anguishedcorn says:

        Sorry– my reply was actually more coherent than it came out– autocorrect rendered a lot of what I wrote into drunken nonsense.

    • bluhare says:

      You don’t have to have poor self esteem to notice it, anguishedcorn. Noticing it and letting it affect you are two different things.

  10. freakylady says:

    “Miss Scott Thomas, who has never remarried after divorcing her husband of 17 years, French obstetrician François Olivennes…” Sounds like they’re writing about an 80 yr old who’s been divorced for 20+ years.

  11. Esti says:

    What she’s saying about Helen Mirren and Judi Dench is something Angelica Huston has said about Meryl Streep — there are so few parts for older women, and then studios cast the same one or two women in all of them. Off the top of my head I can name 2 dozen actors over the age of 60 who are steadily getting interesting roles. I can think of 3 or 4 actresses about whom I could say the same thing. So, so many actresses who are truly talented–and weren’t just getting roles where they had to look good and not much else–reach a certain age and stop being able to work. It’s great that we have Meryl and Elen and Judi, but I do wish there were more roles AND that they got spread around more.

    • Alarmjaguar says:

      My husband and I recently watched Skyfall (James Bond) and after the movie were talking about how it was strange to see an older woman’s (Judi Dench’s) face on screen for so long and with many close-ups.

  12. Barrett says:

    My father was a good looking man. He was forced into retirement by his company before he was ready. As a result, he has become depressed and gained a lot of weight. He looked 9 months pregnant. My mother has wrinkles but has maintained her weight and dresses well. She always looks more together than my dad. Again another male family friend also at age 70 looks 10 months pregnant.

    • It'sJustBlanche says:

      This drives me crazy. We are so easy on men and hard on women, yet in my experience, when you put real people next to each other, a lot of times the women look better. Maybe 100 years ago men aged better–but women had harder lives back then. I hate that so many women have bought into the whole idea that men age better than women. Well if bald and fat is your yardstick, yes they do.

  13. Tig says:

    I think she’s talking about life in general re “the invisibility” issue- it’s just heightened in Hollywood/ film. She is one of my favorite actresses- have no plans to see her in this hyper-violent mess, tho.

    Also, didn’t interpret what she said to mean that men get better looking, rather that their visible aging is viewed as being “stately, gravitas, weathered”", etc whereas women aging are referred to as “old, tired, withered,”etc. Sad but true, at least for now.

  14. Jayna says:

    Dark hair does not suit her. Her soft blonde color was much more flattering and brightened her face. This article depressed me. I think it has to do with her being single in her fifties and noticing things more. She’s right about acting. A select group get the older female roles. Sadly, she’s right about the men thing as they get older. They are considered handsome, sexy, and women are considered sexless a lot of times. Andie McDowell looks amazing at 55 and a great style, and she talked about dating at her age is daunting. I’ve heard it before about the invisibility women feel as they age, not having heads turn, and noticing when it first happens. It must be a hard transition at first but part of life.

    I always thought Kristen was such a striking woman in her thirties and forties, classic look, sophisticated, not trendy. Still an attractive woman (without the dark hair).

  15. A says:

    Same old story told again and again….
    When will women, especially older women who now know better, start doing something about it? Someone like Kristin who has the right connections and works in the industry could start a production company and make films featuring older women.
    Start writing, producing, directing…
    I’m so tired of the complaining – Do something about it! Be the change you want to see!

    • Kiddo says:

      Thank you. I said this above.

    • Drop Bear says:

      But she is starring in films about older women all the time. She is one of the busiest actresses working, but she works mainly in France.

      She is talking about Hollywood and UK films where they do only cast a handful of older actresses. In Europe older actresses can work constantly. As she can speak French (and I think German) fluently, she works constantly. She has only just finished doing a play in London

      She made a very true comment about Hollywood, she is not touting for work.

    • Runs with Scissors says:

      @ A: I agree! A wave of women filmmakers IS building where we will simply do it for ourselves and create our own funding for films, but we need to stick together.

      Kiddo, it actually sounded (above) like you were saying, hey, just accept the blatant sexism and the fact that the men who fund films don’t find women interesting beyond their f*ckability and move on when your time is up.

      The time limit on actresses isn’t only for those who were mainly cast as s*x kittens, but for ALL women. Imagine applying that attitude to any other industry… just give up teachers, plan ahead, save your money, once you’re 40 you’ll be put out to pasture.

      • Kiddo says:

        NO, not in the least. My point was that she was fortunate to have made riches in a profession that tends to value looks and youth above else. I said if you have the money to make change, then do it. If it is impossible to make that change, then at least be grateful for what you have received. Successful actors and actresses make more than most people even dream about. If you go into a situation where your looks are your most prized value, it won’t last forever. You read your own interpretation or bias into what I wrote.

        Teachers aren’t, for the most part, hired for their looks, sexiness, and so on.

    • manta says:

      I think she does something. As someone said, in France she’s constantly working and she is one of those who regularly stars in films directed and/or written by women(Catherine Corsini, Lola Doillon).

      Sam Taylor Woods had only directed short films before Nowhere boy,and Kristi Scott-Thomas was probably the main name in the credit.
      Her co stars in french movies are often older actresses. She’s an actress, why should she start a production company to prove she’s doing her part in supporting women? She does it in her field and that’s already something.

      • mercy says:

        I tend to agree with you. There definitely needs to be more women in positions of power, but I’m not really a fan of people who do anything just to make a statement when that’s not where their hearts, education, experience, or talents lie (and what are the odds of turning out a good film without that passion or skill set?)

  16. GeeMoney says:

    Honestly, when I read this, the first thing I thought was that she seems “lonely”.

    She’s not saying anything that isn’t true, but eventually we all get to an age where we get noticed less and less, and it’s hard. That’s life. Sucks, but it is what it is.

    • Trashaddict says:

      It only sucks as much as you let it. Screw the “that’s just the way it is” philosophy. It does not have to be that way if we don’t let it.

  17. Ann says:

    The only reason why ancient male actors are cast with love interests decades younger is because men rule Hollywood and, above all else, everything must flatter their ego. I don’t spend money on movies like that.

    Men age just like women do and become invisible.

  18. truthful says:

    I’ve always loved her work, she NEVER disappoints!!

    love her

  19. Prim says:

    I admire her candour and her ability to speak about something painful without seeming to be full of self-pity. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t to some degree hitched their self-esteem to their appearance, whether positively or negatively. Inevitably losing your youth involves some kind of grief, there’s nothing superficial about owning up to that.

    • mercy says:

      +1 Well said! I also admire her candour when speaking about what it’s like for her to do her job and be a parent.

  20. K-Rock says:

    I think she is beautiful. I loved her since she was in Prince’s movie “Under the Cherry Moon”. If ya’ll every have a chance to see it, she is stunning in it. It shot in black and white, she is so pretty. And a great actress.

  21. Kasia says:

    He was not an Austrian count but a Hungarian count…albeit these two countries used to be united.

  22. Mitch Buchanan Rocks! says:

    Thinking of a friend who never even got to grow old or even experience her thirthies, these people should not complain and thank their lucky stars that they even get to ‘age’ – not everyone is so fortunate. RIP May.

  23. Mandy says:

    Do you know I’ve never seen The English Patient? It’s true and I am so very ashamed. I must watch that soon.

    • Jayna says:

      Don’t. It’s awful. Good first half, boring second half, and especially the last portion of the movie is ridiculous. Of course, I’m in the minority. We are a hidden group. LOL

      I felt like Elaine in the Seinfeld episode, where she had to fake liking it because everyone loved it and she hated it, until she was forced to go to another viewing and she got up and screamed something, which I won’t say because it gives the plot line away. But it’s how I felt and my sister.

      • binturong says:

        Jayna, I completely agree about the film The English Patient–it’s awful, and I’ve tried to watch it twice and couldn’t get more than 1/2 hour through it. Maybe because I read the book first, which was incredible–I recommend it to everyone here. All Michael Ondaatje’s books are great–I wish someone would make a film of his novel In the Skin of a Lion!

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        I couldn’t get through that movie. I found it so unbearably dull.

      • bluhare says:

        All I know is I haven’t heard Silent Night quite the same way since.

      • Nina says:

        Yes BORING!

      • Liberty says:

        yes! It was so boring, god.

      • Virgilia Coriolanus says:

        All the scenes that didn’t have to do with Ralph (Gah! My first crush!), Kristin, and those scenes at the end when he’s with Juliette w/ the morphine….those are the ones I didn’t like. I found the story between the nurse and the hot Indian guy to be boring on screen-it was way more interesting in the book. So I just watch those scenes….

    • mercy says:

      I loved The English Patient. Granted I was a young teen crushing hard on Ralph Fiennes when I first saw it, but it still holds up. It’s just a beautiful movie, and what a cast: Fiennes, KST, Colin Firth, and Juliette Binoche, among many other fine performances.

  24. bamster says:

    Totally get what she’s saying about being invisible, its definitely not just hollywood.

  25. palermo says:

    I’ll be 59 this year. The only way I can explain it is this, for decades everywhere you go men stare, comment, rush to open doors or carry things for you. Then, at a time when you really could use some help, you are invisible. It’s hard to get used to at first but I have to admit as time went on I did feel free, it was more like walking around in a man’s world, you just live your life without all the scrutiny. Other women staring at you when you are young is another thing I hated. Always judging, what are you wearing, those shoes etc. Like others have said, make sure you develop a personality and are more than just your looks, cause they leave you sooner than you would like. The other way to experience the invisibility when you are younger is of course to gain weight. Anybody who has been slim and then heavy knows just what I’m talking about. If you lose the weight then all the men want to talk to you again. What a world …

  26. Chutzpah says:

    For those who just arnt that keen on her English speaking roles ( where she is terribly stereotyped as the uptight upper class woman)

    Look up her French films – I always hated her brittle performances in English but after seeing some French films realise how amazing she is.

  27. CatJ says:

    Wow, I am having just the opposite happen. I just turned 56 and have had more men randomly saying hello, and initiating conversation with me, than I have ever experienced in my life. I was single up until I was 48, and never in my life received the male attention I am getting now. And I can afford to lose 30 lbs, have never had any facial surgery, and just put a grey streak in my hair….

    • Sloane Wyatt says:

      Catj: Perhaps they are responding to your pheromones? It looks like you are *ahem* satisfied with your life.

    • Suze says:

      Fifty-four here and the same weird thing is happening to me.

      And I’m not doing anything much to enhance whatever I have going on, not dying my hair, not botoxing, and not dieting so very much (watch what I eat, sort of.)

      I think it’s the being relaxed thing that’s working for me.

  28. user00005 says:

    She just needs mild skin work to up her look if she feels the need – not extreme surgery. She looked so glamorous in Gosford Park.

    Something for her eyes and the lines between her eyebrows, and she’ll look a decade younger. She should call Angelina Jolie or Tom Ford. They seem to have the best dermatologists on the planet working on their faces. The help they get seem very subtle and refined.

    So not everyone who visits a dermatologist end up looking like Madonna or Melanie Griffith.

    • BooBooLaRue says:

      Seriously? Why does she have to do anything? 53? Are you effn kidding me? She looks awesome!

      • user00005 says:

        She says she may consider surgery. Visiting a dermatologist is far less severe than that.

        The dark circles under her eyes do need some help. I get what she is saying – as a woman, she may want to feel a bit more flashy especially considering the industry she is in. Nobody ‘needs’ to do anything, but she says she feels the need to change something herself, doesn’t she?

    • Suze says:

      She doesn’t need to do any of those things.

  29. BooBooLaRue says:

    Have you forgotten about Kathy Bates in Fried Green Tomatoes? That scene in the parking lot becomes your daily life over and over again!

  30. Bizzyb says:

    As long as my husband pays attention to me I could care less what other guys think of me.

  31. TheOriginalKitten says:

    Man…this might be the most depressing thread I’ve ever read on C/B….

    …and I’m a veteran of this site.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      I agree.

      As a 30-something, I have really started to be aware of the way women are treated as they age. It makes me want to do something about it. So far…that means watching movies/tv shows where 40+ actresses are featured (aka voting for more of the same with my $$). I wish there was something more constructive I could do, though!

      • mercy says:

        Vote with our pocketbooks, absolutely!

      • Bijlee says:

        Lol this reminds me of a friend who I adore who will not watch a movie without a strong female lead. She realized this is how she is a long time ago and then found the genre on Netflix. She was like “It’s like they made it for me!” She’s not doing it out of some charity or political motivation to hollywood, it’s just what she likes. It makes it so hard to watch a movie with her though because she cannot watch a movie without women who play a significant role. I’m a sci fi girl and she abhors that genre so any strong females there aren’t considered. It takes a lot of research and arguing to settle on something. I tried to get her to watch Sherlock (I thought Cumberbatch’s magical powers would sway her)…she fell asleep. But The Help she loved.

    • Tig says:

      Hey, aging isn’t for sissies- LOL! I found this thread pretty interesting, and sure beats the back and fro on some of the other topics on CB. Do miss the fashion ones- hope to see those again once film fests get going in the fall.

  32. Grace says:

    Hi ladies! (and gentlemen???)! I don’t get to comment often here b/c I am usually at work, but….gotta throw in my two cents too! I have experienced the same thing of “diminishment”. It feels like people just don’t quite invest as much in you as they would, say, a 30 year old. It’s ever so subtle. And oh so weird, and sad. Not the looks and appearance stuff, but that feeling of being dismissed!And I say this as someone who is fit, healthy, engaged in work, and I look younger than my age, but still, I am “OLD” and it shows….What’s that saying? “Getting old is not for sissies?” Truth!

    • Trashaddict says:

      Especially when you are the only person in the conference room with an “institutional memory” which the rest of the assembled group completely ignores…ah, s/he who does not learn from history is doomed to repeat it….the only problem is those young dummies are screwing up my work life….

  33. mercy says:

    I know the focus is on her aging comments, but I was particularly struck by her unusually frank assessment of what it’s like for her as an actress and a mother of three:

    “‘If I’ve signed on to do something, then I have to do it properly. So I have to switch off the personal life. I can just about squeeze in a phone call at lunchtime, but anything else I just can’t deal with. So it’s a bit of an escapism thing, actually. Things complicated at home? Get a job! Go off somewhere else and pretend I’m someone else.’”

  34. TheWendyNerd says:

    I was in a restaurant with my mom a few weeks ago, and this waiter was flirting a little. After he left,my Mom turned to me and said, “you know when you get to be around my age, it starts becoming so wonderful to have a man notice or flirt with you. It’s just so rare for it to happen anymore.” I just felt so awful hearing her say that, especially given that my Mom looks GREAT for her age, takes care of herself, and is a wonderful person. I think she’s noticed more than she realizes, but it always makes me feel so sucky that any woman, especially ones as great as her, feel that way just because they’re older. My mother has a masters degree, was a well-regarded army officer, had a successful career, came from a very blue collar background and a pretty unpleasant upbringing wrist business for top contractors, has been married for over thirty years and raised two healthy, well-adjusted kids who are doing well. And yet, she feels less noticed and valued because she’s older. It’s pretty sick. It’s pretty clear evidence of far we have to go, how much progress we still have to make.

    • Jen34 says:

      Your mom is right, though. When I was younger, the attention used to irritate me. Now at 50, I appreciate a little attention from the opposite sex.

      I also now fully understand that adage that youth is wasted on the young.

  35. Leah says:

    I love her as an actress and i think she makes valid points.

  36. Nev says:

    The English Patient was lovely and is one of my fave movies ever!

  37. llna horne says:

    im 50 and dont find any of this the case at all-im happy

  38. Kiyoshigirl says:

    As I age I am pleasantly content with the opportunity to live life a bit more incognito. I absolutely hated it when other people seemed to “observe” every move I made, the cat calls, ulterior motives, etc. Now I feel that people, men in particular, seek me out because I have something to offer other than a need to satisfy them. On the other hand, so much of it is attitude. If you feel invisible you will cease to be noticed. If you feel vibrant and happy your attitude will engage others. This is going to sound horrible, but I’m at a rather selfish point in life. I don’t necessarily want others to enter my orbit unless they’re invited.

  39. Mrs.Krabapple says:

    She’s a great actress. My favorite role of hers was as Lady Sylvia in “Gosford Park” – such a cold, haughty bitch! She was overshadowed by Helen Mirren and Maggie Smith, but all the women in that movie were FANTASTIC, and one of the greatest travesties in Academy Award history is that Jennifer Connelly won for supporting actress that year instead of one of the great actresses from “Gosford Park.”

  40. Wendy says:

    get yourself some hormones and shut up already

  41. LilyT says:

    I think a major part of the problem is that we, as women, perpetuate this idea that we fade away into obscurity as we age.. This is not to deny the reality that this is a patriarchal society in which a lot of a woman’s value is measured by her degree of youthful attractiveness.. But I think progress can and is being made.. There are mature beautiful women out there who are powerhouses killin it, setting an example. we do ourselves no favors by buying into old, chauvinistic definitions of a woman’s worth.

  42. Ravensdaughter says:

    How distressing! A “rag bag”-oh Kristen, honey, I want to give you a hug!
    I turn 50 in February, and I, too, am out in the dating world (actually, I’ve been divorced 5 years) after being married for 16 yrs. I feel like meat, but I have decided to be who I am and focus on my life and my kids and if I’m alone, so be it.
    We can’t let the society of youth (especially for women!) bring us down.
    I loved how she asked for the “American forehead” and hated it-she should have asked for the Australian forehead=Nicole. In any case, there are women like Julie Christie and Meryl Streep and the Dames who are still beautiful because of genes (KST has them too) and attitude.
    Growing old gracefully may be an act of defiance not just in Hollywood, but in any well-to-do community in the developed world. But those of us who have stepped up as feminists can step up on this issue, too.
    In the film industry, I am sure that great actresses can still make great films, even if they don’t get catered to at Cannes or hit box office in the US. In the life of commoners, women can still be witty and wise and sexy as they age.

    We’re not dead yet, dammit!