Helen Mirren Said She Isn't Growing Old — She's 'Growing Up'

The 76-year-old actress opened up about her thoughts on the beauty industry and aging.

Helen Mirren wearing a pink dress at Screen Actors Guild Awards 2022
Photo: Getty Images

Helen Mirren was just announced as the cover star of People's 2022 Beautiful Issue. During a recent interview for the issue, the 76-year-old actress had plenty of refreshing takes on aging and the beauty industry to share.

In the interview, Mirren admitted that she was "gobstruck" after finding out she was chosen for the cover, since she's never considered herself beautiful. "Don't get me wrong — I love beauty, and I love looking at beautiful things," she said. "But I don't like the word beauty [as it's] associated with the beauty industry." The Oscar-winning actress further explained that when she thinks of the beauty industry, she thinks mainly of makeup and skin-care products, and standards that exclude most people.

"There are incredibly beautiful people in the world, and it's an absolute delight to look at them, male or female," Mirren told People. "Beautiful people are a wonder to behold. But most of us are not beautiful. We have other stuff, which is just as powerful as beauty. And I would like to see us celebrate those things." (Related: The 'Toxic Beauty' Documentary Shines a Light On the Dangers of Unregulated Cosmetics)

Mirren suggested abandoning the phrase "beauty industry" altogether and suggested changing the term to focus on confidence instead — an idea that plenty of people can surely get behind. "I love the word swagger because I think swagger means I'm confident in myself, I'm presenting myself to the world, I'm enjoying the world around me," she said in the interview. "I think what is called the beauty industry should be called the swagger industry." (Related: Peloton's Tunde Oyeneyin Shares How She Grew to Become the Confident Queen She Is Today)

There's no denying the London native has embodied swagger throughout her career and continues to do so. Interestingly enough, her secret to gaining confidence has nothing to do with beauty or the "swagger industry" at all but rather time and life experience. "Other people call it growing older, but I call it growing up," she said. "And one of the advantages is that you literally get to be wiser." (Related: Jamie Lee Curtis Is Uninterested In the Term 'Anti-Aging')

Mirren doesn't believe in ruminating on negative thoughts related to aging. In fact, she's "very against" the word "anti-aging" because "it happens," and there's nothing anyone can do, she said in a 2021 interview with The Cut. "It's a part of the human condition," she told the publication. "So to talk about 'anti-aging' is like saying 'anti-human,' 'anti-real,' 'anti-wisdom,' 'anti-experience,' and so on, you know?"

Mirren's thoughts surrounding self-image and aging are a breath of fresh air. They're a friendly reminder that if you have enough confidence, like Mirren certainly seems to, nothing can stop you from looking and feeling your best.

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