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Thread: 'I feel sexier now': Andie MacDowell

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    Default 'I feel sexier now': Andie MacDowell

    Now in her 50s, Hollywood actress Andie MacDowell has been the iconic face of one of the world’s top cosmetics brands for more than two decades. So what’s her secret? Singledom and self-help books play a helping hand, she tells Liz Jones



    Andie MacDowell is sitting on a plump sofa at London’s Dorchester while a make-up artist does a few last-minute retouches before she meets me. As the face of L’Oréal’s anti-ageing products, Andie could be forgiven for being paranoid about looking young, and dewy, and perfect.
    Does she wake up every day thinking, ‘Oh God, I look tired, I’m going to be sacked!’ I ask. On the contrary, she says. ‘I used to be the oldest, then they [L’Oréal] hired Diane Keaton who’s 63, and then Jane Fonda, who’s 71. Not only were they keeping me, but they were hiring people older than me! That sent a message to me that I still have great value – not just to them but to society. As women age, we are getting stronger, healthier, we have more of a voice and we are more independent.’
    I tell her I think it’s fabulous that she’s still working when most models’ careers are over once they hit 25. ‘It’s important that women of all ages are represented. Diane Keaton was a big role model for me. As you get older, it’s not just about how you look. It’s about your interior life as well.’
    I remind her she said once she felt sexier at 40 than she did at 30. How does she feel now that she’s 51? ‘Oh, Gaaaad,’ she drawls in that slow southern accent, reminding me of Elizabeth Taylor in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. ‘I feel sexier now than I did then: it’s what’s in my head that’s sexier. If I could go back and be in my 25-year-old body with my head, boy, would I be dangerous.’

    Except for a few lines around her eyes, Andie has barely changed since she began modelling in the late 1970s

    I wonder if she has strict anti-ageing rules written into her contract with the cosmetics giant, a contract she first signed an almost unbelievable 23 years ago, such as that she must never leave the house without sunblock, or must never drink alcohol, or must drink at least two litres of water a day.
    She laughs. ‘The only thing they stipulate is that I have to use the products, which I do. Even when I go to the hairdresser – they have to use L’Oréal. I never dye my own hair, I don’t know if I could get every spot, and I have a good bit of grey.
    'I moisturise a lot, but I have good genes. My mother and grandmother both had beautiful skin. My mother also preached about not lying in the sun and about wearing sunblock – she was before her time in a lot of ways.’
    Bar a few lines around her eyes, Andie has barely changed since she first started to appear on magazine covers at the end of the 1970s. ‘I can still fit into a size 28in pair of jeans,’ she says proudly.
    How does she do it? ‘I exercise every day – different types of yoga, while I’m here I’ll ride a bike. At home, I’ve got a trainer. Exercise is the most important factor in looking young. If I don’t exercise every day, I’m disappointed. I feel sorry for those women who have to force themselves to do it.’
    I ask her if she has read The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf, which posits that women swapped the shackles of domesticity for the fascism of worrying about their looks? Does she think, for example, that women can dye their hair and still be feminists?
    ‘Women who make the choice to have grey hair – I think that’s beautiful. But when my sister had her second child she was going grey, and someone mistook her for a grandmother, and that was it.

    'If I could go back and be in my 25-year-old body with my head, boy, would I be dangerous’

    I’ve read books like The Beauty Myth. I guess I see it very differently. I don’t use beauty products or dye my hair to please anyone else; I don’t do it to capture a man, I do it because it’s something I enjoy. I think it’s innate, something you’re born with. Femininity is an amazing quality and with it comes wanting to dress beautifully – as a little girl, it’s in your nature. I watched my daughters do it – you don’t teach them.’
    As a teenager herself growing up in South Carolina, the youngest of four sisters (she still lives near the others, who are based in North Carolina), was Andie aware she was a beauty?
    ‘When I went through puberty and I got really long legs, I had an inkling that I might have something a little unusual. I would walk into stores and people would say, “You should be a model.” But what I really wanted to do was act. I thought that to be able to “be” someone else would be the greatest joy in the world.’
    At 20, she left home and got herself signed to the prestigious Elite Model Management in New York, knowing it could prove a useful route into acting. It was the era of Studio 54 and Jerry Hall and Bianca Jagger, though Andie says she never really got involved in that scene.
    ‘At the beginning I went to Studio 54 but it wasn’t what I was looking for – it was too crazy. I like my sleep, I’m real quiet and when I went there I was so naive. When I moved to Paris, my first job was for Elle, and I remember having my make-up put on and Gia [the model who became a heroin addict and died from Aids at 26] was there, and I was scared to death. Oh, and Jerry scared me to death. She had that whole lioness thing going on.’

    With daughters Rainey (left) and Sarah Margaret

    You realise, though, that beneath the homeliness and the southern charm (‘You’re my age?’ she says when I tell her, ‘I’d have thought you were much younger’) lies a steeliness that meant she was able to survive the madness of modelling: she had her first great love affair in Paris in her early 20s with Olivier Chandon de Briailles, the champagne heir (who later died at 27 in a motor-racing accident).
    It was director Hugh Hudson who first cast Andie as an actress – spotting her potential as the perfect Jane to Christopher Lambert’s Tarzan in his 1984 film Greystoke. But though she did the bare-faced jungle look well, she couldn’t lose her Carolina drawl, and Glenn Close was famously drafted in to dub her voice in the final cut of the film – a fact that left Andie bruised, though grateful for the experience.
    I tell her she was brave to carry on working in film after such an inauspicious start; she went on to prove herself, in films such as Green Card and Sex, Lies and Videotape, and opposite Hugh Grant in Four Weddings and a Funeral. ‘What amazes me
    is how I survived without anybody giving me guidance. I had no credit card, I travelled all over.

    I broke my leg on a job in LA at 21. I had to have surgery and ended up having to fly back to New York. I had no insurance, it cost $15,000 and that was when I finally got a business manager – until that point I’d been winging it.
    ‘I’m much more hands-on than my parents were. I know what my kids are doing, I talk to them all the time.’ Andie’s mother, Pauline, died aged just 53, in 1981, when Andie was 23. She had been an alcoholic. Her father left when Andie was six. Andie admits there were times she felt ‘100 years old’ trying to help her mother, but also says, ‘What my mother did give me was the belief I could do anything.’
    A great big billboard of Andie with her own 19-year-old daughter, Rainey, is in the room with us. They shot a Mother’s Day campaign for L’Oréal together. Her daughter is stunning, with Andie’s incredible eyes. Does she want to follow in her footsteps?

    'I like being single. I took a sabbatical [from men]. I took time to discover who I really am'

    ‘She has been studying dance and musical theatre – she has a beautiful voice. Now she has decided she wants to go to New York to study acting. And I said, if she doesn’t have a job after two years, then she should come to London for a year, and she liked that idea. But I have told her she must want to act, not want to be famous. She knows and she understands.
    I have just finished making a film with Aidan Quinn [The 5th Quarter, based on a true story, in which she plays the mother of a teenage boy killed in a car crash], and we were talking about how we’d both managed to get just the right amount of success, because we’re not living in the tabloids all the time unable to live and breathe. For me, it’s not about being super successful. I wasn’t chasing fame, I had no idea I was going to be famous.’

    Perhaps it has helped that Andie has never dated high-profile actors, or been a part of that paparazzi magnet, the celebrity couple, even though she’s had a far from conventional love life.
    It was on an assignment for Gap in 1984 that she met fellow model Paul Qualley. They got married, and had three children: as well as Rainey, she has a son, Justin, 23, who is studying business, and another daughter, Sarah Margaret, 14.
    After they broke up in 1999, Andie went on to marry her childhood sweetheart, Rhett Hartzog, two years later. That marriage lasted three years. I’d read that she had not long ago married a local used-car salesman. Is that true, and how is it going?
    ‘Oh God, that was nothing, that was very short-lived,’ she says, without denying it. ‘I’m single and I have been for quite a while.’
    She does realise, though, that she never got over the pain of her parents’ divorce. ‘I was never allowed to cry, so I never mourned that loss. So when I went through my first divorce, I mourned the original one, I mourned the loss of my father, which is classic. I suffered for a while. My second marriage was a rebound; I hadn’t really resolved all my problems.’

    'It's not about being super successful. I wasn't chasing fame, I had no idea I was going to be famous,' says Andie

    She has had to ignore the pressure put on her by other people, mostly married friends, that she simply has to be with someone.
    ‘I think it’s their discomfort with you being single. Now, though, I like being single. I took a sabbatical [from men]. I took time to discover who I really am. I think you make so many sacrifices in a relationship to be who they want you to be that you lose track of who you are. It was during yoga that I started thinking about the things about myself that I really enjoy. It’s OK to be alone.’
    She still loves men, but is now ‘enjoying the process of making male friends and not jumping into the fire’. But doesn’t she find dating soul destroying? Wouldn’t she rather stay at home watching TV?
    ‘These new relationships are not about falling in love – look at it as making a friend who happens to be male.’ I tell her I got divorced a year ago. ‘You did?’ She grasps my arm. ‘Then you have to give yourself more time.’
    Enthused nonetheless with the idea of finding me a boyfriend, she scribbles down a list of the self-help books she has found invaluable.
    ‘You should read the Robert A Johnson trilogy, He, She and We, and The Eden Project: In Search of the Magical Other by James Hollis.’ Isn’t it interesting that one of the world’s great beauties is reading relationship books by the shelf load? ‘I’ve been rejected plenty,’ she says.
    Will she still be starring in skincare adverts when she’s 80? ‘I hope so. Do you know that poem “If I Had My Life To Live Over”? In it a woman writes about all the things she would have done differently. You can’t live your life because some man or some newspaper article tells you what you should or shouldn’t do.
    'The older you get, the less you worry about what people say and the more you worry about what you want, because this is it. I don’t hang out with people I don’t want to hang out with. When you’re young, you go to more trouble to be nice, but now? My time is way too valuable.’

    'I feel sexier now - it's what's in my head that’s sexier': Andie MacDowell on single life | Mail Online

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    i like her ,but i bet she does more to her face than use loreal !

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    For some reason, her eyebrows ruin her whole face for me. Never thought eyebrows had that much power!
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    She may feel sexier, but she doesn't look it. I'm surprised she can move her face at all.
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    She looks amazing and her daughters have inherited her fab hair.....or is Loreal THAT good? lol
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    Her daughter, Rainey, looks beautiful. I like the dress on her in the second picture.

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    Quote Originally Posted by levitt View Post
    She may feel sexier, but she doesn't look it. I'm surprised she can move her face at all.



    She looks good enough.

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    Quote Originally Posted by celeb_2006 View Post


    She looks good enough.
    Yeah, I think I went a little far there...but my housemate absolutely hates her and it's rubbing off on me!
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    Her daughters are far better looking than she ever was.

    She says all the right words, but something about her puts me off. I don't know what it is, but I get a definite undercurrent of bitch in there. And not the fun, tell it like it is, don't take any shit kind - I mean the vicious, devious, cunty kind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by asha22 View Post
    She looks amazing and her daughters have inherited her fab hair.....or is Loreal THAT good? lol
    No, its crap. Ask any stylist. It ruined my hair. I only use salon color and redken products now.

    She is lovely. I still laugh, though, they had to dub a voice over hers in Greystoke.

    ETA: the daughter on her right looks like a cross between Ellen Pompeo and Laura Bush.

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    Funny, just saw her today on TV, watching 'Groundhog Day'.

    She SUCKS as an actress, at least everything I have seen her in. SUCKS.

    But yet, I strangely like her. She appears to have some issues, and doesn't shy away from them. And her daughters are beautiful....just gorgeous.

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    Jess Nevins, who authored the "A List" said the rumor about her was that she was borderline retarded.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LynnieD View Post
    Funny, just saw her today on TV, watching 'Groundhog Day'.

    She SUCKS as an actress, at least everything I have seen her in. SUCKS.

    But yet, I strangely like her. She appears to have some issues, and doesn't shy away from them. And her daughters are beautiful....just gorgeous.
    Ha, me too. And I agree, her acting sucks. Yet she was bearable in Groundhog Day, and Four Weddings and a Funeral too. Oh and Sex Lies and Videotape.

    It must be the accent that makes her likable...try to imagine her talking like Fran Drescher and I bet you'd hate her guts.
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    I absolutely adore her. And it's obvious she hasn't gotten an eye lift. I don't think she's had any plastic surgery, actually. I saw a commercial with Natascha McElhone's new eyes the other day and I wanted to run away and hide in a corner.
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