In the history of Hollywood, you’d be hard-pressed to find a character that’s so deliciously fascinating as that of the female villain. Conniving, capable and classically unapologetic, this all-around polarizing role is played by many, yet perfected by few. And, when a good one comes along—that character that has that sort of love-to-hate quality that goes against every societal norm while somehow still casting a spell—she captivates everyone in her tracks.
Prime time has had a handful of them, but no one has done it in recent years quite like Madeleine Stowe through her role as Victoria Grayson on ABC’s Revenge. Now in its third season, the show has taken a trove of twists and turns since its debut—dishing out the kind of over-the-top drama that is shamelessly addictive.
The Age Advantage
At 55, Stowe is striking, and in person, the word beautiful does not do her justice; she can easily outshine even the most popular of starlets 30 years younger with her looks alone (a statement the humble actress would undoubtedly scoff at) and it’s almost mind-boggling that it’s been more than 20 years since she starred in The Last of the Mohicans and Short Cuts, with her role in 12 Monkeys not that many years behind. Ageism in Hollywood is no secret, but Stowe seems to be wading in new waters, taking center stage in a category that, until now, has sort of been uncharted territory—at least in terms of how society views it in relation to beauty.
“Getting older and the whole concept of ‘aging gracefully’ was really interesting for me. You want to buck up against it,” she admits. “As soon as you hit 30, through that whole patch, it’s fabulous. Then you hit early 40s, and it’s great. Then it gets bumpy, and all of a sudden, you feel as though there’s not that much time left. You go through all this emotional upheaval and changes, and it feels almost grim in some ways—like you are just going through life and sort of mowing through it.”
“And then you hit 50. When I got to that age, all of a sudden, I finally felt this incredible sense of liberation. You sort of let go of everything,” she says, lighting up as she laughs. “I like to say I have 45 more years left. When you look at it that way, it’s wonderful. I put the burn on to do all the things I always dreamed of doing and I really became happy. It was a choice to say, ‘I’m going to be happy and there are wonderful things in this life.’ Yet, there is a terrible beauty to getting older at the same time. You just have to embrace all of those different feelings.”
“Aesthetically speaking, would I rather look the way I did in my 30s? Sure, of course I would,” she says. “But emotionally speaking, I don’t ever feel any particular sense of age. I feel happier than I did when I was younger. Is it a cliché? Maybe. But I am making a deliberate attempt to enjoy the moment and be really curious and live life. That gives me a sense of being alive. When I do that, people usually say ‘You look terrific today.’”
Beauty Secrets: “I do facial exercises. Those help a lot!”
Skin-Care Cure: “Sleep and water. I like to stick with things that have worked for years. They are the two best things out there for your skin.”
Wrinkle Eraser: “I get facials from aesthetician Nerida Joy. She’s extraordinary. She doesn’t believe in going in for things like lasers and all of those other crazy treatments. She does a long facial massage and incorporates alphahydroxy acids and oxygen therapy and I think that helps my skin tremendously.” (You can learn more about Nerida Joy’s secrets to glowing skin here.)
See the rest of Madeleine’s interview (like what she really thinks about Victoria Grayson) in the NewBeauty Fall-Winter Issue!
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