Naomi Watts is bucking the idea that a woman’s career in Hollywood ends when she turns 40.
The Gypsy actress, 54, opened up to InStyle about her menopausal skincare and wellness line Stripes, and reflected on how she feels about aging in the industry. “My career didn’t really start until my early 30s; that was when Mulholland Drive came out,” she said. “At that time, I was also being told that your career would be over around your 40s. That didn’t make any sense to me.”
The two-time Oscar nominee, who currently stars in Netflix’s new thriller The Watcher, added, “Someone said to me, ‘Well it’s when you become unf***able.’ I was so put off and struck by that statement. I guessed that meant when you can no longer produce children, but so then what? Oh, I get it, the older women play the villain or the mad, crazy lady.”
Watts pointed out that while women are perceived differently as they age, men don’t face such a stigma.
“We as society look at men as they age and think they get more attractive,” she noted. “They get wiser, more powerful, and more desirable, and no man is talking to another man really about how they wish they could look better. They may talk about their aches and pains, but there’s no real pressure. It just feels like an unfair playing field, and I wish the conversation wasn’t there at all.”
She shared a similar sentiment to Entertainment Weekly earlier this month, explaining, “I was told, ‘You better get a lot done because it’s all over at 40 when you become unf***able.’ And I’m like, ‘What? What does that mean exactly?’ Then you think about it, and you go, ‘Oh, right. When you are no longer reproductive, when those organs are no longer functional, you are not sexy, so, therefore, you are not hirable.’ That just made me so mad.”
Watts, who has spoken about having children in her late 30s while also contending with pre-menopause, shared her thoughts on older women being cut out of the conversation in a June 2022 Instagram post.
“I think it’s time to see women in this phase of life or this age group be well represented,” she shared at the time. “We’ve been under-served in media, stories and marketing far too long. Particularly since more than 1 billion people worldwide will be menopausal by 2025. … When you spotlight uncomfortable conversations, they get easier. Progress is made. Why has this particular one taken so long? Let’s conquer the stigma and address the secrecy and shame we’ve felt and help create a healthier foundation for future generations. Getting older is a privilege and a time for us to feel proud of our cumulative experiences — to feel empowered, so unapologetically. I think being part of a change-maker generation is exciting. No more walking through this alone.”
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