Sarah Paulson: ‘There’s this notion that women fall apart after 45’

11.2018 SP Cover

Warning: spoilers ahead for American Horror Story: Apocalypse.

If you can’t get enough of Sarah Paulson, you’re in luck. The 43-year-old actress is playing three roles on the latest season of American Horror Story. In the show’s eight season, Apocalypse, the actress played Wilhemina Venable, who was the leader of Outpost 3 – and her first true villain role. She’s also revived her role as Coven witch Cordelia Goode and will soon bring back medium Billie Dean Howard from Murder House.

Hopefully, you haven’t grown too attached to Wilhemina, as Sarah revealed on Jimmy Kimmel Live last week that the character, unlike many in the AHS universe, will not be returning from the dead, telling Jimmy, “she’s dead now. Sorry, spoiler alert. She took a bullet, and she went down like a ton of bricks.” She also revealed that she’s making her directing debut with the series’ sixth episode, which airs next week. She described working behind the camera as “the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

Sarah is profiled in Elle Magazine’s November Women in Hollywood issue, where she discusses her career and her personal life, including her “unconventional” relationship with 75-year-old actress Holland Taylor. Sarah, who has never had a problem speaking her mind, once again gives great interview. Here are some highlights:

On balancing her personal and professional life:
“I don’t have children; I’m not married. But I have a lot of intimate relationships—my nieces and nephews, and a wonderful circle of friends. I don’t see them enough. This idea that you can have it all is another thing to be challenged. Somebody once said to me, ‘You can have anything you want, but you can’t have everything.’ You can’t be awake and asleep, or here and also at home. You have to make choices. But I’ve gotta strike while the iron’s hot. Right now, people are calling. They may stop really soon. So I want to make hay while the sun shines. That’s a lot of things I just did there…iron, hay. But you know, the window is open. I’m just trying to muscle it open as long as I can and get it as wide as possible.”
On ageism in Hollywood:
“Interest in me sparked when I was in my very late thirties. I have absolute terror and fear that someone’s gonna go, ‘You turned 45. Bye-bye.’ I hope I don’t get told to go back to bed. I have a lot more to do and say. But there’s this notion that women fall apart after 45. It’s been perpetuated by Hollywood by not putting the stories of women over certain ages front and center. They’re dictating what they think is interesting, and we are consuming it and deciding that what they’re telling us is true.”

On her relationship with Holland Taylor:
“I didn’t choose to fall in love with the person I fell in love with. But I think why it’s interesting to people is that on paper, it’s unconventional. For a person who might find themselves in a situation that they fear will be misperceived or judged, maybe they could see me living my life in a way that is authentic to me—just trying to be as real as possible. If that inspires anybody else, that can’t be a bad thing.”

On equal representation:
“This movement can be misconstrued as ‘Hey, men, get out of the way.’ I just want a seat at the table where they’re all sitting, and have been for so long. I want a cushion—a cushy seat—and a sense that I have value and I’m allowed to stay. I have been very lucky because a lot of my sense of empowerment has come from working with Ryan Murphy. It’s a bit of an anomaly to have found my voice because of this one particular man. But it’s also a way of saying this can happen. You don’t need to push any gender out of the way to find your spot.”

[Via Elle Magazine]

I love every single thing that comes out of this woman’s mouth and, as much as I miss Wilhemina already, Sarah is killing it on AHS: Apocalypse. I’m looking forward to seeing her directorial debut, as I’m sure she’s going to excel as much behind the camera as she does in front of it.

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Photos: Elle/Zoey Grossman received by email from publicists, Getty

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20 Responses to “Sarah Paulson: ‘There’s this notion that women fall apart after 45’”

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  1. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    She redefines Hollywood celebrity for me.

  2. Case says:

    I ADORE Sarah Paulson. So genuine, so funny, so supremely talented (see what I did there?).

  3. SilverUnicorn says:

    She’s right about ageism, in some way it is also true in real life where us women cannot access some jobs anymore after a certain age. I would love an over-45 actress coming out of nowhere and becoming famous. One can dream!
    I couldn’t stand her for some reason but she’s growing on me. Go Sarah!

  4. Esmom says:

    She’s cool. And I don’t blame her one bit for striking while the iron is hot. Good for her.

  5. Isabelle says:

    I put on a lot of weight when I was in my 30s because of grief and life changes. I’ve recently took off that weight in my early 40s. I’ve kept it off for about 2 years now in my mid 40s and feel better than I’ve ever felt. My acne is disappearing for the first time in my life, my cycles are much easier, men are asking me a lot more, and know how to take care of myself better. I feel much better in my 40s than 30s. It is a myth, you do need to actively take care of yourself but it isn’t as much as we have been led to believe. You only need to make a few life changes or just keep up your healthy lifestyle.

  6. Babadook says:

    As someone who used to work behind the camera, I can say that if it’s the hardest thing she’s ever done, she’s pretty lucky.

    • Isabelle says:

      A woman’s self esteem is often based on age, body changes and etc. No matter how hard your life you can still worry if you are attractive enough and young enough. You may live in a bubble if you don’t think all women go through this, hard life or easy life, we all go through doubt about our age.

  7. JeanGrey says:

    I have loved her since she played Vicki in the movie “Down with Love”. And I absolutely adore her on AHS. So happy Cordelia and the Coven are back. That was one of my favorite seasons. I think she is divine and looks great for her age. I’m only 2 years behind her . I think our generation of women are changing the standards. This ain’t our mama’s 40’s. My mother really wasn’t into working out and the extent of anti-aging creams she did was Oil of Olay, although I will give both my parents credit, they both have baby faces. My mom is 73 and she has very few wrinkles, it’s just her body she didn’t stay on top of. She’s also way too skinny. I told her if she gained about 10lbs and dyed her hair darker (shes’ embraced her silver) she could still get away with looking 50. But she’s over it and happy with herself so who am I to tell her anything? I’m constantly told I look much younger than I am, especially when I’m not wearing makeup. I’ve been mistaken for my daughter’s sister. I am literally 22 years older than her lol. I love it!

  8. Kim says:

    She’s great!

  9. Kristen says:

    I adore her, and that black-and-white photograph of her is stunning.

  10. Enough S Enough says:

    1) Adore her

    2) Laughed Out Loud at the headline. It took me a minute to realize she was speaking of age. I looked at “…Notion that women fall apart after 45” and thought at first “45” meant TRUMP!

    Whereas we certainly have reason to fall about in his wake — with women like Ms. Paulson, we remain strong and unbeatable.

  11. mx says:

    45 is my DREAM age.

  12. laura-j says:

    Main takeaway, Jimmy mentioned Jessica Lange… praise the lord, my girl is coming back.

  13. LT says:

    Huh. My experience has been very different. I got divorced right before I turned 44 and while that was of course a pretty rough time, the mid to late 40s have been overall really great. New love, new physical activities/sports, great relationships with my friends – if anything, life gets more solidified and less mired in BS after 45.

  14. Ramona Q. says:

    I’ve never heard that notion about 45. Where did she get that weird, in-between number?

  15. meh says:

    She looks BEAUTIFUL in that Elle shoot! Those photos are perfection.

  16. Haapa says:

    I’ll always remember her from Deadwood!