Thursday, August 14, 2008

Like Fine Wine

How old do you think she is? This question occasionally comes up when watching television or a movie. Either the person is a long time public figure and still looks great, or is aging before our very eyes. Professional makeup and photographic air brushing create a warped sense of what people should look like at a given age. We watch actors and actresses age gracefully, read countless articles on the forty and fifty fabulous set, and forget that artists and modern technology make it easy to erase years of a person’s face and body. On the flip side we have an up and coming generation of stars and starlets who take the teenage desire to look older to a whole new level with heavy makeup and provocative clothing. With the old looking young and the young looking old, it is increasingly difficult to play the age guessing game and even worse, answer the question “do I look my age?”

Today is my thirty-third birthday, and it is actually much less traumatic then thirty-two. I am old enough to understand how the beauty, fashion, and entertainment industries promote unhealthy and unattainable goals but young enough to still obsess with what I look like. I am old enough to know that airbrushes enhance the cleavage of Victoria Secret models but young enough to hope their bras can still grant the dream of gravity defying boobs. I am old enough to know that Demi Moore, Halle Berry and other “aging” stars have a team of doctors, makeup artists, nutritionists, and photographers working to hide wrinkles and cellulite; but young enough to pray that good genes and excellent skin care will render me a bombshell at any age. I have the age and wisdom to know the games Hollywood play, but have yet to lose the naivety and arrogance to believe the rules of the game actually apply to me.

Whether it is because of a more mature look, the confident swagger that no person in their twenties possesses, a change in body shape, established career, or more classic clothing, there comes a certain point where it is very apparent that you are in your thirties. Thirty-three is around the age where it becomes nearly impossible to pretend you are twenty-nine, no matter how good you look.

To determine how I looked in comparison to other women my age, I searched wikipedia for women born the same year as me; 1975. Some highly esteemed company share my birth year, many are undoubtedly gorgeous, but do they “look their age?”

Heather Chadwell: Bret Michael’s runner up in season one of Rock of Love, currently on I Love Money, is who sparked my curiosity on what women born in 1975 look like. When I say curiosity I really mean “scared the crap out of me and fueled a skin product shopping spree”.

Stacy Ann “Fergie” Ferguson: The Black Eyed Peas singer turned solo artist has a killer body, but her years as a meth addict make her look a bit worn around the edges. Her body is still kicking, but the meth and cocaine diet is not endorsed by the American Medical Association.

Angelina Jolie: One can’t help but look older than their age with six children under their belts. She is a beautiful woman, but did anyone think for a moment think she was only 33?

Melanie Brown: Perhaps it is the stress of a public battle with Eddie Murphy regarding the paternity of their child, but Scary Spice is looking a little scary these days (although not as scary as Posh Spice, Victoria Beckham).

Kimora Lee Simmons: She looks good, but it is hard not to think she’s older due to her ex-husband, Russell Simmons, being 18 years her senior.

Tara Reid: She still parties like she’s in her twenties, but will turn 33 this November. My father used to say “it’s not the age, it’s the mileage” and Tara has certainly put on a lot of miles in her 33 years. She still looks okay despite years of bodily abuse, but plastic surgery can only help for so long before Tara starts looking like Joan Rivers.

Lauryn Hill: All I can say is wow, she used to be so ripped, so gorgeous. 5 kids really can age a person.

Mayim Bialik: Blossom from the show by the same name. She hasn’t changed a bit, she still looks like a socially awkward teenager.

Milla Jovovich: As a super-model she has a leg up on the rest of us mere mortals in the looks department, but her skin seems to be thinning a bit; she looks translucent.

Sara Gilbert: Darlene Conner from Roseanne looks around the same age as me, so do we look 33 or younger then 33? She looks older then her days as a teenage TV star, but is still recognizable.

Natalie Imbruglia: I cannot help but think she had some work, but this music star from Australia, best known for her song “Torn,” is somehow avoiding the sun damage that occurs living in a country with a thin ozone layer. She looks good.

Danica McKellar: Winnie Cooper from “The Wonder Years” is still adorable, and adorable is hard to pull off at 33.

Drew Barrymore: Drew looks fantastic, and the only reason I would think she looks older than 33 is because she’s been around FOREVER. Of course I could be biased; Drew’s Great-Grandmother and my Great-Great Grandmother were sisters or cousins or something like that, making me a fourth cousin twice removed. No matter what the connection, women in my family age beautifully!

Eva Longoria: This Desparate Housewives star is the youngest of the housewives, but does she look as young as 33? I’m torn on this particular starlet, she’s beautiful, married to a much younger man, but something about her eye area makes me question whether she’s really 33.

Charlize Theron: Bitch. No seriously, Charlize is a timeless beauty who will continue to grace magazine covers for decades to come. Part of the beauty is a natural glow and presence that few people possess.

Kate Winslet: Kate looks the same today as she did in Titanic ten years ago. She is somehow comes off as both elegant and down to earth at the same time. Hollywood is always looking for her to lose 10 to 20 pounds, but she maintains her stance that she is a curvy woman and won’t give in to those demands. Her strength in the face of societal pressures makes her more attractive, and me proud to share a birth year with such a buxom beauty.

So there it is; the good, the bad and the ugly ladies of 1975. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and everyone could have a different opinion on how these women, and I, are aging. Ultimately age is just a number, but there is so much pressure to maintain the looks of a 19 year old that it is a number that is sometimes scary. I’m not 19 anymore, or 29. My laugh lines reveal 30+ years of smiles, crow’s feet disclose decades of deep thoughts, and sun spots show years dancing in the sunlight. Perhaps thirty-three is the age where we start to realize that some people are like fine wine; we only get better with age.


Claire said...


I don't really think you can call yourself "aging" at to me when you hit 39, sweetpea. =)

Seriously, have the best!!

LucyinStLou said...

Happy Birthday! I was born in 1975 too, although I will not hit the big 3-3 until next month. Thanks for the list of all women born the same year we were. Some were a big surprise.

Steve and Stepher said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY You Gorgeous Young Thing. (I can say that b/c I'm seven years older than you.)

Fergie - thought she was older.

Jolie - same as Fergie.

Tara - I actually thought she was younger - mid to late 20s.

Blossom - she looks her age.

Winnie Cooper - looks younger but seems she should be older for the same reason as Drew.

Eva - she looks older.

Darlene Connor - same as Blossom.

You - younger. You have a natural face that hasn't been nip/tucked. You look rested and fresh. Additionally, you look HAPPY. And really - looking and BEING happy has to be the best anti-aging remedy there is.

Ronald said...

You don't look a day over 32! ;) Haha, seriously though, you look like someone who takes care of herself, and enjoys living life to the fullest, and that looks good at any age!

Happy Birthday, Chelle!