Geena Davis learned a valuable lesson from the late Polly Bergen, her costar on the 2005 TV series Commander in Chief.

“She was in her 80s at the time,” Geena tells Closer Weekly, on newsstands now. “She was a firecracker who used salty language and I was so shocked! Polly said, ‘Oh, honey, when you get to my age you just don’t give a [damn] anymore!’”

Growing up in Massachusetts, Geena “was raised to be such a demure, polite child,” she recalls. “So, it’s been my life’s work to become more authentic.” Part of that journey has been about finding the things that make her happy. “It’s been my motto that if a person can do it, I can do it,” Geena, 64, says. “It’s kind of ambitious, but I really believe there are no limits on what we can do and learn no matter what age we are.”

Geena Davis Vanity Fair Oscar Party 2020
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Geena lived up to her beliefs by taking up archery at 41 — and becoming a semi-finalist for the 2000 Olympic trials. Not long after she decided she wanted to have kids, and at age 46 gave birth to daughter Alizeh. She had twins Kian and Kaiis two years later. “In my case, I became a parent at exactly the right time,” she says.

Like many people, Geena feels she’s grown wiser and more in touch with herself with age. “I honestly feel that every year has gotten better,” she says. “I like how I look better every year. I feel better.”

The Oscar-winning actress wishes that mature women were represented in a fuller light. That’s why TENA, the incontinence protection brand, has teamed up with The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media to examine the ways women over 50 are portrayed on-screen.

“So often they are stereotyped as being cranky, unattractive and dowdy — not the vital, thriving people that we are,” says Geena, who has made it her mission to defy those clichés. “It’s a lifelong challenge to own your life and be in charge of your destiny.”

Reporting by Lexi Ciccone

For more on this story, pick up the latest issue of Closer magazine, on newsstands now.