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Andie MacDowell, 65, On Reclaiming the Word “Old”—and Not Using a Stunt Double for an Upcoming Skinny-Dipping Scene

 Andie MacDowell.
Andie MacDowell.

When it comes to aging in Hollywood—or just aging in general—we’d all be wise to follow the lead of actress Andie MacDowell, 65, who got candid on growing “old” with Today—and filming a spicy scene in the latest season of her Hallmark series The Way Home. “I say it to people all the time—‘I’m old’—and they’ll go, ‘No, you’re not,’ and I go, ‘Yes, I am,’” she said. And that is more than okay, she added: “I saw a clip of Brad Pitt when I was scrolling [on Instagram] saying, ‘I’m old,’ and I was like, ‘Yes! That’s what I’ve been saying. I’m old!’ Of course, look at Brad Pitt. But he was saying it.”

MacDowell said she doesn’t consider aging a negative, but rather something to embrace—and certainly not something to be ashamed of. “I don’t think ‘old’ is a bad word for me,” she said. “What is bad, however, are all the negative connotations around aging, especially for women. Even younger people. We’re so hard on ourselves.”

Andie MacDowell
Andie MacDowell

MacDowell is a force in redefining what it means to age in the public eye. In recent years, she has made headlines for letting her trademark dark curls go gray—“a shocking choice, at least by Hollywood standards, but one that’s gained her both respect and admirers,” Today reports.

“I love when you see Andie MacDowell, in all her power, walking down the runway with this gorgeous shock of gray curls,” Gwyneth Paltrow told Today during a recent interview.

Of being called inspirational and powerful, MacDowell said “I do think there is power in owning where you are. And it’s not to say that if you’re coloring your hair, that’s a bad thing. I do think it can make you look younger. But there’s also great beauty in having no shame about being an older person, particularly an older woman.”

As women age, unlike men, they often lose the status of being a “sexual being” after a certain age: “We do it to ourselves because we’ve been taught it, so we procreate it,” MacDowell said. “Even ourselves. We diminish each other. If you dated a younger man, everybody would think it was scandalous. They would make fun of you. But a man does it and it’s, of course, normal. All of those guys, they all do it. But if it were a woman, it would be front page news.”

In Hollywood in particular, “Casting for men in their forties and fifties—it’s easy,” she said. For women? Still, not so much. Despite that, MacDowell said, she’s at peace with it. “I’m in a great place now because I’m only going to play old,” she said. “I don’t have to worry about it anymore. I’m just old. I’ve got silver here. I know what I’m going to be cast as. But they’ll never cast me with a younger man.” Nor, by the way, does she have any interest in dating one. “I don’t want to do it,” she said. “It’s just way too much work for me.”

Andie MacDowell
Andie MacDowell

MacDowell said she wants to play characters that are perceived as being “sexual,” “alluring,” and “strong” and, in The Way Home, she proudly did her own skinny-dipping stunt rather than outsource the work to a stunt double. (The Way Home, by the way, premieres on January 21.) The scene was shot on a frigid November night in Canada and saw MacDowell run into Lake Ontario sans clothes. “The director said, ‘We can do it in one take if you want to do it,’” MacDowell said. “And I said, ‘Yes. I want to do it.’ I have on my underwear, but I thought it was pretty brave for Hallmark to do, or anybody—a 65-year-old woman. And I loved how I played it.”

To prepare for the scene, “I didn’t diet or anything,” she said. “I didn’t worry about my body. It’s like, at a certain point, you’re so tired of having to think about those things. I stand in front of the mirror, and I can see all the bits and pieces that I just hate. And I only have X amount of time left. I’m 65. So how long will I live? I don’t know. Am I going to do this for the rest of my life? Am I constantly going to expect myself to look like a 20-something-year-old? I just can’t do it. I just can’t. Not my hair, not my face, not my body.” Instead, she said that she simply “ripped my clothes off” before running into the water. “I haven’t seen the scene yet,” she said. “I hope it looks good and I hope I look decent.”

MacDowell—mother to actress Margaret Qualley, along with Justin and Rainey—said she’s not only okay with where’s she’s at now that she’s 65, but she’s proud of it. “If you saw where I came from, what I’ve been through, how I was raised,” she said. “I wasn’t given great opportunities. I created opportunities.”

Andie MacDowell
Andie MacDowell

If she could go back and give her younger self advice, knowing what she knows now, MacDowell said she wouldn’t change much. “I would tell myself, ‘You’re really smart, and everything’s going to turn out just fine,’” she said. “‘And trust yourself. And you make good decisions.’ I really wouldn’t correct too much because I’m honestly astonished with what I’ve accomplished.”

In addition to creating meaningful work and boldly running into life—onscreen and off—MacDowell wants to continue to celebrate aging. “I’ve always looked to older people and revered them,” she said. “I think it should be a time when you are looked up to and you’re treated like a queen because you’ve achieved something. I feel like when you get to a certain age, you look up to people, you want to ask them questions, you want to hear their stories. And their wrinkles tell a story, or however they look—it tells a beautiful story.”