+
Pop Culture

Andie MacDowell—what we can all learn about beauty and age from the gray hair movement

andie macdowell gray hair

Andie MacDowell in Cannes, 2003.

This article originally appeared on 02.25.22


For many, even those that proudly wave the flag of self-love, the sight of that first gray hair is anxiety inducing. That single strand is a harbinger of the doom of our youth. More than one, and you might as well weave them together to create yourself a noose. It’s time to kiss your beauty—and therefore, your value—goodbye.

But what if, instead of marking the end of our glory days, we could see this change as a new chapter with equally glorious reveals? Something worth presenting, rather than hiding?

Back in July 2021, actress Andie MacDowell made headlines for rocking the silver vixen look at the Cannes Film Festival. MacDowell’s hair has always been a defining feature, but previously she had been coloring her raven locks to maintain her signature look. This was at the behest of her managers, according to an interview with Vogue.

But after her kids officially declared the salt-and-pepper look was “badass,” MacDowell started to see going natural as a “power move.” So she followed the impulse, and you don’t need me to tell you it was a bit of a social media sensation.


MacDowell reflected on how freeing the experience was in a conversation with Interview Magazine. “I feel better like this. Honestly, it’s exhausting to have to be something that you no longer are…I was finally like, ‘You know what? I’m not young. And I’m OK with that..I feel so much more comfortable. It’s like I’ve taken a mask off or something.”’

Isn’t this a battle so many of us fight? Instead of basking in how far we’ve come, we spend so much effort trying to wind back the clock. And in all the rigamarole of trying to delay the inevitable, we forget that aging is a glorious gift. One that’s not guaranteed.

Even when we use terms like “embrace the gray,” there’s this connotation that aging is this frightening tidal wave that we simply need to bolster ourselves for. Where’s the grace in that? I mean, yes, as the end of life approaches, it is scary to think about the impending unknown. But the process of getting there? Perhaps not so much.

In the same article, MacDowell reflected that she, too, “hates the word 'embrace,' because it always sounds like you’re having to accept something, and I don’t feel like that.” I love this viewpoint. Accept it? Why not value it? Let’s come back to the original meaning of the word … and welcome it warmly.

MacDowell continued “We do have something unique to offer. You can’t be young forever, but you can always be considered beautiful, fashionable, and glamorous.”

The cynical voice in your head might say, “sure easy for someone who’s already glamorous to say that.” But MacDowell isn’t the only one who made this discovery. Tons of “real” women have had the same revelation.

Once the pandemic caused salons across the country to close down (coupled with major pay cuts and job losses), a surge of women chose to stop coloring their hair. But—as with many life aspects affected by COVID-19—what started as a forced restriction became an opportunity for reinvention. In ditching the hair dye, many women found that their silver strands were not only tolerable, they were empowering.

Now you could even say gray hair is “in” and making a comeback tour. And trust, these dames are definitely glamorous. This is not just an experience for A-listers.

Of course, this movement is not just about aesthetics. There is a bigger idea here. It’s no secret that our society has some deep-seated stigmas when it comes to aging, for women in particular. We place a high value on those "30 Under 30" lists, seek out the strongest retinol to erase all signs of life and stand mouth agape in horror at the first mention of the word “ma’am.” But it doesn’t have to be that way. All chapters of life are precious, and worth celebrating.

I’m a firm believer that glamor is only a result of confidence. And as we grow older, we only become more dynamic, more nuanced, more interesting. If that’s not a confidence booster, I don’t know what is.

Going gray won’t be the answer for everyone. I certainly don’t plan on trading in my signature red anytime soon. But the real call to adventure is: How can you feel good about yourself at every stage of life? How can you throw away the (false) notion that you somehow lose your shine with every passing year?

As the saying goes, “beauty is truth, truth beauty.” I think we can really see that in stories like these. To age gracefully is to age fearlessly. Radical self-acceptance is gorgeous.

Joy

The best and brightest come together to tackle society’s toughest challenges

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is working to eradicate disease, improve education, and address the needs of their local community.

True

Have you ever wished you could solve some of society’s toughest challenges? That’s exactly why the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) was founded.

Established in 2015 by Dr. Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg, the organization’s mission is to build a better future for everyone. CZI is working to eradicate disease, improve education, and address the needs of their local community.

Since its launch, CZI has awarded around $4.8 billion in grants to organizations whose work aligns with these values.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

28-year-old buys cruise ship apartment because it's less than renting and he can see the world

An all-expenses-paid life for about $50,000 a year? Sounds like a deal.

A cruise ship floating on azure waters.

Living the rest of your life on a cruise ship seems like the dream of the ultra-rich. You wake up every morning and have an all-you-can-eat breakfast. Spend the afternoon hanging out by the pool or touring a fantastic city such as Rome or Dubrovnik.

At night, have a drink in the lounge watching a comedian or a jazz band, then hit the sack and do it all over again the next day. Seems too good to be true for the average person, right? Think again.

Twenty-eight-year-old Austin Wells of San Diego told CNBC that he can make it happen because it’s cheaper than living onshore in Southern California and he gets to see the world. “The thing that most excites me is I don’t have to upend my daily routine, in order to go see the world,” Wells told CNBC.

Keep ReadingShow less
Science

Op-ed: Fermentation, the unsung hero of the cooking oil industry

This startup uses this ancient culinary art to produce environmentally-friendly oils that are better for our bodies and help reduce chronic diseases.

Via Zero Acre

Jeff Nobbs is the co-founder and CEO of Zero Acre Farms. Jeff writes about health, nutrition, and sustainability at jeffnobbs.com and @jeffnobbs.


Today, vegetable oils make up 20% of our daily calories and are the most consumed food in the world, after rice and wheat. Put simply, vegetable oils are everywhere, from nearly all packaged foods like chips, crackers, salad dressings, and coffee creamers to most restaurant meals, whether it’s fast food or Michelin-starred.

Oils extracted from crops like sunflower, soybean, palm, and canola were only widely introduced to our diets in the last century and have experienced a meteoric rise in prevalence. In the United States, the consumption of soybean oil alone has grown 1,000-fold since the early 20th century.


Keep ReadingShow less
Science

A juice company dumped orange peels in a national park. Here's what it looks like now.

12,000 tons of food waste and 21 years later, this forest looks totally different.

This article originally appeared on 08.23.17


In 1997, ecologists Daniel Janzen and Winnie Hallwachs approached an orange juice company in Costa Rica with an off-the-wall idea.

In exchange for donating a portion of unspoiled, forested land to the Área de Conservación Guanacaste — a nature preserve in the country's northwest — the park would allow the company to dump its discarded orange peels and pulp, free of charge, in a heavily grazed, largely deforested area nearby.

One year later, one thousand trucks poured into the national park, offloading over 12,000 metric tons of sticky, mealy, orange compost onto the worn-out plot.

Keep ReadingShow less

"It's the honor of a lifetime."

Only Tom Cruise can take a death-defying stunt and somehow make it incredibly wholesome.

On Dec 18, Cruise released a video while on the set of “Mission: Impossible—Dead Reckoning Part One.” By “on set,” I mean he was thousands of feet above Earth looking down at a beach in South Africa.

The action star used the moment to share some love with fans of another high-octane franchise. And he did it in the most epic, yet charming, way imaginable that, let’s be honest, only Tom Cruise could pull off.

Keep ReadingShow less
Identity

13 side-by-side portraits of people over 100 with their younger selves

These powerful before-and-after photos reveal just how beautiful aging can be.

This article originally appeared on 12.08.17.


Centenarians — people 100 years or older — are a rarity. Their lives are often scrutinized as holding the key to aging.

Czech photographer Jan Langer's portrait series "Faces of Century" shows them in a different light: as human beings aged by years of experience, but at their deepest level, unchanged by the passing of time.

In the series, Langer juxtaposes his portraits with another portrait of the subject from decades earlier. He recreates the original pose and lighting as closely as he can — he wants us to see them not just as they are now, but how they have and haven't changed over time. That is the key to the series.

Keep ReadingShow less
Identity

An open letter to men who will have sex with me but won't date me.

"It's one thing if you're not into fat women — everyone has their preferences — but if you want to have sex with us without being seen in public with us, that's emotionally abusive."

This article originally appeared on 06.29.18


Many years before I got together with my boyfriend, I had a sex thing with this guy that I thought was relationship material.

He not only had an amazing body but a great personality as well. I was honest when I met him that I was looking for something more than just sex, and he led me to believe that was what he wanted, too.

Between mind-blowing sex sessions, we ordered in, played video games, and watched movies — couple things but without the label. But when I tried to get him to go to a show or out to dinner with me, he refused. My frustration grew as the months went on, and one day I confronted him.

Keep ReadingShow less