Helen Mirren Gets Real About Aging, Admits She Once “Hated” Being Considered Conventionally Sexy

When it comes to beauty — and the standards which women, especially once past a “certain age,” are supposed to conform to — Helen Mirren is refreshingly, brilliantly forthright. After all, it’s a brave L’Oreal spokesmodel who declares that her moisturizer “probably does f–k all, but it just makes me feel better,” as the Oscar winner put it at a recent panel discussion in Cannes.

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In her latest interview — a cover feature with Allure accompanied by a mission statement from the magazine vowing to ban that insidious phrase “anti-aging” from its pages — the actress is characteristically candid about everything from her thoughts on Ivanka Trump and Melania Trump (the former has “no substance,” the latter “could take [Donald Trump] down”) to space travel (“terrifying”), but it’s particularly heartening to hear the actress discuss how her confidence in and attitude towards her appearance has changed with time.

helen mirren

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Discussing the insecurities of her teens and 20s, Helen said, “It was the time of Twiggy, and I did not look like a twig. My cheeks were too fat, legs were too short, breasts too big.” And while she fell into the category of being conventionally “sexy,” she “hated [it] at the time because it was not fashionable. You had to be thin and have a cigarette and only wear black. And I just never fit into that look,” she added later in the interview.

MORE: Helen Mirren Hits Back at Interviewers for Making Remarks About Her Age

It’s perhaps for this reason that, rather than downplaying herself in the well-trodden route of the Hollywood interview (“Me? Beautiful?”) Helen took issue with the word “beauty.” “Maybe we’re attractive, interesting, or mesmerizing, but 90 percent of women are not what you’d call beautiful. Of course, beauty is inside, but still it’s a word,” she said. “When it’s tied to pictures of people and amazing outfits on girls who can wear that stuff, it’s intimidating for the rest of us.”

These days, she went on to explain, Helen is laid back about her beauty regime, but wouldn’t shame those who prefer to opt for higher maintenance procedures. “Anyone should be able to do what they want. If they look in the mirror and go, ‘I look good’ and go out in a positive way — I don’t want anyone to feel miserable,” she said. We couldn’t agree more!

This post was written by Katie Rosseinsky and originally appeared on our sister site, Grazia.

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