Photo Credit: ELLE Magazine; Harper's Bazaar
What do the fall issues of Elle, Harper's Bazaar, Vogue and Glamour have in common, besides chic fashions? They all feature an A-list celebrity over age 40 on the cover: Julia Roberts, 42, Jennifer Aniston, 41, Halle Berry, 43, and Jennifer Lopez, 41. Add Julianna Margulies, 44, on Redbook and you've got five major magazines sporting September cover girls who would better be described as cover women. So: does this mean that 40 is the new 20? Au contraire -- it means that 40 is the new 40! And that is a very good thing.
For the first time in Hollywood history, the most desirable leading ladies are women who have passed, or are approaching, the big four-oh. Sandra Bullock, 46, and Aniston, 41, are the reigning queens of the romantic comedy -- and now, nobody blinks if they're older than their leading men. (Aniston was paired with Ben Affleck, four years younger, in 2009's He's Just Not That Into You; Bullock teamed with Ryan Reynolds, 13 years younger, in The Proposal). The ad campaign for Eat Pray Love is based almost entirely on the beauty and likability of Julia Roberts. And Jennifer Lopez may be a mother of two, but she can rock a miniskirt like nobody else.
Celebrating the sex appeal of an older woman was once taboo, but now actresses seem to be saving their nude scenes until they're good and ready -- even if it means being 42 like Marisa Tomei in Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, or 57 like Diane Keaton in Something's Gotta Give, or 44 like Mary Louise Parker on the series Weeds. Aniston has yet to do a nude scene, but you can bet that when she does, people will be lining up to see it.
Not only are older actresses now bona fide sex symbols and fashion plates, but they're also raking in unprecedented salaries. Bullock was just named the highest-paid actress of the year, earning $56 million dollars. Other Top 10 earners: Aniston, Roberts, Sarah Jessica Parker, 45, and Meryl Streep, 61. Once upon a time, these women would have been relegated to playing housewives and nurses as they aged out of "ingenue" casting opportunities; now, they're competing for romantic leads with younger actresses -- and winning! It's about time.
When asked about older women dominating September covers, Julia Roberts joked that she'd rather see the headline: 'Cute Girls Dominate September Covers.' But that kind of misses the point. Everybody knows these woman are cute (that's why they're on magazine covers, silly). The fact that they're all over 40 shouldn't matter in an ideal world -- but to get to that ideal world, we first have to acknowledge that women over 40 are as sexy, as talented, and as worthy of attention as their younger counterparts. And this September's magazine racks are a fantastic step in that direction.
Do you think older women will continue to dominate Hollywood, or is it a passing trend? Chime in below!
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