Award-winning actress Gillian Anderson (she has an Emmy, a Golden Globe and a SAG award under her belt) has never looked better, almost as if she’s cracked the scientific code to aging perfectly. At 47, the star of the cult-classic series The X-Files, A&E’s mini-series War and Peace, the Netflix drama The Fall and A Streetcar Named Desire off Broadway, is happy in her skin and it shows.
Gillian, who has had the privilege of being born in Chicago and raised in London (where she currently resides) and then Michigan, says that there’s absolutely a difference between how women in America and London view beauty and aging. “I tend to observe women in the UK approaching it less obsessively, than, say in Los Angeles,” she says. “There seems to be less of a preoccupation with it and more of an acceptance of the natural face and the natural aging process. I think in Europe, in general, there’s a sense that women who age naturally can be beautiful, whereas I’m not so sure that’s the perception in America, specifically in Los Angeles. I think that it’s seen as a flaw somehow, like wrinkles are a flaw,” she says.
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Whether women in the States see wrinkles as imperfections or not, for the most part, they’re on a marathon race to eradicate them in their entirety. But Gillian doesn’t necessarily think of the procedures and treatments that have become the norm to deal with wrinkles and other signs of aging as taboo. “They’ve become so commonplace. I think that it comes down to the choice that a woman wants to make about how she chooses to age, whatever that choice is. In our society, women are shamed if they do anything and shamed if they don’t. I don’t think it should be the place of anybody—specifically the tabloids—to draw them out and shame them for their decisions.”
She speaks from experience to a degree. This past February, the tabloids put the spotlight on her for speculated cosmetic work that was done. Gillian fired back to set the record straight, responding with the hashtag #agingwithoutshame on social media. “I don’t know if it’s that I really fight back so much or that I just adhere to my sense of what works for me. I guess I’ve been quite outspoken over the years about the importance of accepting yourself exactly how you are and not trying to follow what anyone else says,” she says.
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Not every woman can relate—although plenty do—to the theory that Gillian subscribes to: accepting who you are and just going with it. Even with the advent of the latest and greatest procedures and treatments that women have at their disposal, Gillian hopes, over time, that there will be even more ways for women to care for their naturally aging skin with vitamins and substances. “There will always be the desire, as women see themselves getting older, to stop the process. Ultimately, it comes down to embracing that process and embracing one’s self at the age that one is, which is hard,” she says. “I’m sure I’ll find myself along the way in some situations saying, ‘Do I, should I, would I?’”