Sexy Mama at 60: Meryl Streep

At 60, Meryl Streep is a woman on a mission – and we love her for it. We all know she's America’s foremost actress. She can do dialects. She's incandescent when called upon to be beautiful, and she’s unafraid to make herself ugly. In Julie & Julia, she portrayed Julia Child with a perfection that matched the original chef’s bouillabaisse.

Streep, a wife and mother of four, just got nominated for a Golden Globe for playing Julia, and money is on her to win the Academy Award. She nailed every tick, movement, and tone of voice of the familiar culinary figure, but she also made her warm, real; a woman with a loving long-term relationship to her husband – and to food.

Streep earned another best actress Golden Globe nomination for the comedy It’s Complicated. Let’s just say flat-out that she’s no natural comedienne. She doesn’t a hold a candle to Tina Fey. But what we love about her contemporary roles is that even when she’s not working so hard with accents and corsets and heels, she still brings it.

Streep’s integrity in digging deep to the center of each character – the Devil in Prada, the winsome earth mother of Mamma Mia!, the divorcee who gets her groove back (pictured above) in It’s Complicated – is unwavering.

Give Streep a role, and she gives it a soul. Take The Devil Wears Prada -- the most memorable moment isn't one that's owned by the ingénue protagonist played by Anne Hathaway. It’s the moment when Streep, as the Anna Wintour-modeled editrix, washed ashore in a luxurious Paris hotel room the likes of which few of us will ever see, experiences a loneliness and pain that's shown on her face without her usual war paint. The character is washed-out, tired, old, fretting, alone and afraid. Then, next day, its' back to the armor, stilettos and beauty products. By then, Streep has shown us who that bitch on heels really is.

With It’s Complicated, she furthers her commitment to portraying women of her pre-Sex and the City generation. It’s as if she’s on a mission to make sure that women over 50 aren’t all sexless mothers and grandmothers buried in the subplot and away from the action. She wants her contemporary experience, of success, wealth, children, marriage and friends’ divorce, to be viewed with as much clarity as her period pieces.

In It’s Complicated, her sexually frustrated divorced baker, Jane, has an affair with ex-husband Jake (Alec Baldwin). She may giggles a bit too much in this sex comedy, but we love the scenes where Jane’s unwilling to show her ex-husband her body more than a piece at a time or when lying down. Gravity has taken its course, and she’s understandably shy about sharing it, even with the father of her three kids.

Streep looks at the camera with wrinkles on her beautiful features, surrounded by a thinning lioness mane, and seems to be saying: this is my sixty, and I’m still laughing, even if I’ve made my living crying. And I’m still sexy.

She’s right, and that’s why we love her.

Do you feel sexier now than you did when you were younger? Chime in below!

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