Going Grey With Grace

Young stars have enjoyed a healthy love affair with grey hair in the last year. Celebrities too young for silver strands of their own have embraced the pale, ashen-haired trend by artificial means; Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and Zosia Mamet have all graced the red carpet with silvery locks.

And then, of course, there are the celebrities who have taken to aging au natural, refusing to dye their whitening coifs. There’s been a long stigma against aging in the entertainment world, but many artists are fighting back. According to author and activist Lailah Gifty Akita, “Growing grey hair is the glory of life.” Here are some celebrities who clearly agree with her sentiments.

Dame Helen Mirren

English film and stage actor Dame Helen Mirren, perhaps best known for her role as fellow grey-haired beauty Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen, has been comfortably grey for quite some time. She isn’t completely adverse to dye jobs; Mirren delighted fans in 2013 by taking to the red carpet with a bubblegum-tinted bob, and as a spokesperson for L’Oreal she has become accustomed to using the brand’s dyes now and then. But Mirren has been vocal about her desire to age with grace. “I think the great advantage of getting older is that you let go of certain things,’ she told The Daily Mail early last year.

Jamie Lee Curtis

Few celebrities have been as outspoken about Hollywood’s stigma against aging as actor Jamie Lee Curtis. The celebrity once vented her frustrations on the subject in a blog entry for The Huffington Post, titled “Anti-Anti.”

“I am appalled that the term we use to talk about aging is ‘anti.’ Aging is as natural as a baby’s softness and scent,” she writes. “Aging is human evolution in its pure form. Death, taxes and aging…We are ALL going to age and soften and mellow and transition. All of us, if we are lucky enough to make it through this hard life into older adulthood.”

Emmylou Harris

Singer-songwriter Emmylou Harris has been rocking snow-white hair for years. Apparently it’s a genetic trait in her family; in an interview with The New York Times, she described her father’s hair as having turned a “gorgeous steel gray” as a result of his time spent as a prisoner of war in Korea. As for her own pale locks, Harris revealed that she is perfectly comfortable with them. “If I didn’t think it looked good on me, I would color it. Women should do whatever makes them feel good, but I do wish that we would accept our aging selves.”

Linda Rodin

Linda Rodin, former model and fashion editor of Harper’s Bazaar, loves her grey hair; she even has a miniature poodle named Winks with similar silvery curls! She recently shared her tips for aging gracefully in an interview with Vogue — her secret? Sleep! “I sleep a lot and I take good care of myself,” she shared. “I eat very well; I’m a healthy eater. I’m not an exercise person, so I don’t have any regime for that. I think I just sleep well and eat well. I really think that’s the key — for me, anyway.”

Carmen Dell’Orefice

American model and actress Carmen Dell’Orefice, as of the Spring/Summer 2012 season, was the world’s oldest working model. She was introduced to Vogue by her godfather at the age of 15 and graced its cover later that year.

Silver hair has become something of a trademark for the elderly model. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the decision to go grey was inspired by her relationship with her third husband, young architect Richard Kaplan. Dell’Orefice revealed to the publication that he would regularly criticize her body and pluck out her grey hairs as they lay in bed together. Today, independent and proud, the model is comfortable flaunting her white hair on the runway.

Maye Musk

Enjoying what The Telegraph has dubbed a ‘greynaissance’, Maye Musk is still modeling at the age of 68, and is happy to flaunt her silver ‘do. She told the publication that she had been asked to do runway shows as the token ‘old’ model at the age of just 28. By the time she was 42, she had modeled in her first advert as a grandmother. She was, at that time, the oldest model in Canada. She decided at the age of 60 to let her hair take its natural course.

Ellen Burstyn

In a candid interview with the UK’s The Daily Telegraph last year, 83-year old Ellen Burstyn divulged the uncomfortable truths about aging in Hollywood. The industry tends to favor the blockbuster action films, she says, which require young actors capable of stunts. “I can no longer make a living as an actor doing these kinds of movies,” she said during the interview. “Then you have the indie movies that need you to work for a scaled down fee…”

Burstyn recently starred in The Age Of Adeline, which tells the story of a young woman (Blake Lively) who ceases to age past 29. Burstyn plays the woman’s daughter. Despite the rampant ageism she has faced in the industry, Burstyn confessed to The Los Angeles Times that this film helped her to view aging in a different light. “I think in the back of our minds, we wish would stay young forever,” she said. “I realized in reading the script and then in playing it, what a curse it would be…I suddenly saw aging in a friendly light. It is the normal progression of things.”