To define her, one image stands out: her smile. Andie MacDowell’s smile is an invitation to listen to a woman of experience, full of common sense, who knew how to pursue a career in Hollywood without sacrificing her personal life. A woman both discreet and radiant who assumes her age – 64 – and lets white hair appear in her long curly mane. At the Cannes Film Festival last May, her appearance on the red carpet with this graying hair had ignited the Web. But the smile she wore, so disarming, cut short any negative comments. Well in her skin, the actress continues to climb the stairs in time. The L’Oréal Paris muse is an example, a symbol for many women. When we meet her on the Croisette, Andie MacDowell is not there to promote one of her films, but to attend the second edition of the Lights On Women prize, created by L’Oréal Paris, which rewards a short film director, and who this year distinguished Mai Vu for “Spring Roll Dream”. The actress also came to encourage her daughter, Margaret Qualley, to star in “Stars at Noon”, a film in official competition by French director Claire Denis. As if the heroine of the mythical “4 weddings & 1 funeral” and of “Sex, lies and video”, palme d’or in 1989, accomplished a passing of the torch without hanging up the gloves. Interview with a beautiful, generous woman, a woman of today, quite simply.
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SHE. You have just finished filming “Red Right Hand”, alongside Orlando Bloom, and for the first time you play a villain…
ANDIE MACDOWELL. One of the privileges of age! As you get older, you can play interesting roles. I think the “Maid” series, in which I play a bipolar artist, opened the eyes of some directors. Until then, I was only seen in romantic roles, a repertoire that I adore by the way. Breaking this image took time. “Maid” really served as a springboard for me. The character of Paula, her complexity, her suffering, her depression, moved the public, it is the most beautiful reward.
SHE. It was also an opportunity to play with your daughter Margaret Qualley. Did she impress you?
AM In fact, it is she who is at the origin of the project. It was Margaret who asked the production people to hire me! A peak, right? “My mom would be great in the role! she whispered to them. The perfect girl! I respect her a lot. I honestly think she’s a great actress. She has a gift, she is made for this job.
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SHE. You have another daughter, Rainey, and a son, Justin. What did you pass on to them?
AM I was born in the southern United States. I grew up in a very conservative environment. There were obviously no actors in my family. I couldn’t tell anyone about my anxieties about the job. I understood on my own that you shouldn’t be ashamed of yourself if a role required you to undress. On the other hand, if it was purely free, I had the right to say no to the director. What may seem like an act of courage is simply self-confidence. Today, my children are adults, I leave them alone. But before their majority, I insisted on it a lot, considering that it was part of my job as a mother. I think they are down to earth and confident.
SHE. How did you manage to maintain a balance between your work as an actress and your family life?
AM All working women know how complicated it is. Many times, I wanted to stop acting because I wanted to stay with my children. Turning unfortunately meant leaving them. Rainey, my eldest daughter, was old enough to understand what I did for a living. She was proud of me and the thought of me quitting terrified her. She said to me: “No, impossible, you don’t have the right! I admit that his reaction relieved me. But I sincerely think that being a parent is difficult. We constantly juggle between what is really important and what is not. We want everything to go well for everyone. Sometimes we get there. Sometimes we fail.
SHE. How did you gain your freedom in Hollywood?
AM I have been living in Los Angeles for a short time. I think that protected me because the pressure in Hollywood is hellish. You are always asked for more. Even if the previous year your film was a hit at the box office, you have to do even better, bring in more money. And we are only interested in the business of cinema… Me, I made a choice very early on: my children before my career. Now that they’re grown up and they’ve left home, I’ve moved to LA, and I admit that I have a lot of fun, I talk about cinema all day… I feel like I don’t I have nothing more to prove. It’s the benefit of age! And I continue to work.
SHE. Big roles for women over 50 are rare. Do you think movements like #MeToo or Time’s Up have changed the game a bit?
AM The patriarchal system is rooted in us, whether we are a man or a woman. So, yes, it is difficult. Yes, it will take time to change habits. I really like talking to men younger than me. I find that they have an interesting reflection. They are aware that patriarchy hurts everyone, every gender. I am a big optimist. It will eventually change. Roles for women will become more important. You just have to be patient.
SHE. You are one of the few actresses to assume your white hair…
AM I decided not to be ashamed of it. Men assume them well, them – well, not all! -, So why not me ? Men are beautiful at 60, why not me? Why shouldn’t I have their power of seduction too? My older sister has had white hair for a long time and it made me jealous. I think it’s so beautiful… The Covid arrived and, during confinement, it seemed obvious to me, I said to myself: why not me? My daughters encouraged me. And I also thought of my parents, my father, so sexy with his salt and pepper hair. Unfortunately, I lost my mother when I was 23, I didn’t see her grow old. This is one of the great regrets of my life. I always wondered what it would have looked like… All these elements made me consciously decide not to dye my hair and to accept it as it is. Because I am a woman of character, I refuse to be considered a diminished woman, weakened because of my age. I do what I want. If I want to wear clothes with big yellow stripes, that’s my problem!
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SHE. You are a yoga enthusiast. Has this discipline helped you find peace?
AM Yoga calms me down a lot. I also practice meditation by walking for half an hour every day. It clears my head and it makes me feel good. Meditation is beneficial for longevity, physical appearance, skin. I never go out without a hat and sunblock cream. I try to walk in places with trees, it helps me to balance my cortisone levels, so to sleep better and to control my emotions. My daughters are also followers of this discipline. I tried to convince my son. He is the only one resisting!
SHE. You have been the face of L’Oréal Paris since 1985. How do you explain the close bond that unites you?
AM They have been present in all the important events of my life. They never let me down. I posed for campaigns when I was eight months pregnant and had just given birth. Now that I have gray hair, it’s there. This relationship developed over time. It is undeniable that the slogan “Because I’m worth it” makes sense. Anyway, as far as I’m concerned. Be aware of your value, of who you are. Me, I believe in myself, I’m not ashamed of being what I am. It’s a way of being a warrior and fighting for the values we defend. I repeat: I am a woman who assumes and assumes herself.
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Andie MacDowell: “I decided not to be ashamed of my white hair” – She