Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Meg Ryan and Kelly McGillis at 50; a cautionary tale

Look at these before and after photographs of Meg Ryan

and Kelly McGillis.

If you're like me, you think Kelly looks better than Meg. The phrase "aging gracefully" comes to mind.

There are ways of being fifty (or in Meg's case, almost-but-not-quite 50.) There's the do-anything-you-can-to-look-younger way, starring a lot of plastic surgery, hair dye, frantic gym time, and multiple dermatological interventions: Botox to erase lines, collagen to plump lips, and Restylane to fill in hollows.

Frankly, this seems like an awful lot of work, with inevitably diminishing returns. Because you're working so hard to stave off old age ... and yet, you just keep continuing to get--and look--older.

Then there's my approach, which is a lot more laissez-faire. Yes, I dye my hair. I'm pretty rigorous about taking care of my skin. Sure, I think about getting veneers for my teeth and Botox shots for my lines, but I settle for using an occasional whitening strip, and not scowling quite as much.

It's not that I'm cheap. Or lazy. (Although I'll admit to being both.) It's that I refuse to spend all my time and energy trying to reach a goal that will always be out of my reach. Life's too short for that kind of nonsense.

On top of that, I'm chicken. I'm scared of doctors, and frankly? I'm even more scared of ending up looking like some kind of freak.

That's the difference between us and Hollywood stars. They start intervening with nature earlier and do it more and oftener than we do. Britney Spears hasn't seen her actual hair color since she was 17, and at 28, she has been using Botox for years.

I figure I've got the rest of my life to become totally high maintenance. In the mean time, Kelly McGillis, who dresses well, wears makeup, but refuses to dye her gray hair, is my role model. How about you?


  1. IDK...Kelly needs a better haircut. That is an old lady cut if I ever saw one. And what she's wearing isn't very flattering. It's rather schoolmarmish, don't you think? My role models for aging are Nurse Hathoway, Diane Lane, Brooke Shields. They seem to be getting better with age for no particular reason. That's how I'd like to do it.

  2. I'm with Kalisa. My first thought about the second pic of Kelly was "she looks like my mom". Kelly is only 5 years older than I am so that is a thought I should NOT have!

    Gotta agree with Kalisa about Diane Lane, too. That is a woman who is gorgeous and aging gracefully. Nice!

    As for myself? I color my hair and wear it - carefully cut and styled - longer than shoulder length. But I can't see myself ever turning to Botox or any other invasive measure. I agree with you about the unreachable goal. Seems like I can always see the age behind the plastic curtain.

    (Funny - my word verification is "megas")

  3. I'm not sure how I feel about this one. If it makes them feel better who are we to judge... They are most likely judging themselves more than we ever could/should. It is hard getting older.

  4. Hi - I've just started following your blog - great stuff! I agree that Kelly looks so much better than Meg. I've been staring at the latter's pic trying to work out what she's had done. And why. Kelly looks a bit mumsy in that pic (I'm sure she can look more glam if she feels like it), but poor Meg looks pitiful.

  5. Poppy,

    You get an Amen to that one and an additional applause with a Bravo!
    Great post,and thank you.

    Postscript: We older ladies don't want to "let ourselves go" we just want to embrace who we are"

  6. I knew this would start a discussion! Personally, I'd like to be more au courant and less mumsy than Kelly ... then again, I wish I had started out with her degree of natural beauty!

    And Jen, thanks for the correction! Either I actually know someone named McGinnis, or I was thinking about having a beer. McGuinness FTW!

  7. I agree that Kelly looks fantastic for 50. Meg looks a little plastic to me.

    I have to admit that I possess a certain amount of vanity so I dye my hair but as for the rest of the stay-young nonsense, I'll pass.

  8. I dye my hair too...I vote for Kelly and I'd like to know what got into Meg...she was so sweet before all this intervention.
    I love how Julie Christie looks these days...I just say her in Away from Her and was so healthy and fresh looking.

  9. You.
    You're my role model.
    Happy now?

  10. Meg looks like The Joker in that photo. Such a shame. She was SO DARN cute on As the World Turns.

  11. I think Madonna is doing rather well. She was definitely my gym role model for years.

  12. At 46 y.o., people tell me that I don't look my age (my profile pic was taken last month) and I chalk it up to good genes. Unfortunately, I can't say the same thing about my thighs.

    Meg is well on her way to looking freakish. But it's not just women. Can you say "Kenny Rogers"?

  13. Great post! Meg has ruined her lips...and I agree with the rest about Diane Lane...although I wonder how many of these women look when using a photo finish that is not softened...my favorite aging gracefully actress is Michelle Pfeiffer...

  14. Kelly McGillis. No doubt.

    I coudl never do anything as I have needle fobia. So I am stuck.

  15. I think the 50 year old that has found the perfect middle ground is Jennifer Grey. She looks fantastic!!!

  16. JJ is right the men are almost as bad as the women. It is so obvious when they have their eyes done. All I can do is stare at Al Pacino's eyes now. Hard to pay attention to anything else.

    And on the women. Hollywood has women starting to have work done so early that Poppy is right they have to work extra to keep it up as they age. And most of them look so plastic.

    And interesting that the last comment mentions Jennifer Grey who is famous for the nose job that made her unrecognizable. But it seems she learnt her lesson and looks so much less plastic than the rest.

  17. From the Hollywood group, Jamie Lee Curtis gets my vote. She exudes unpretentious beauty and the quintessential (did I say that?) sense of humor to go along with it. Not that I'm feeling the need to judge, but she is great public example of grace for those struggling with plastic metamorphosis.

  18. Judi Dench. That woman looks fantastic. Helen Mirren. Another fabulous looking woman and if either of them have had work done, it's been done well and is very understated.

    Kelly whatsit looks good, too, but her clothing is kind of atrocious. Hair and face, though, are fab.


Gentle Readers:

For the time being, I've turned off comment moderation. Please don't spam; it's not nice.

xxx, Poppy.