Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Economy of an Aging Sex Kitten

I wasn't sure what to make of this article:

The nut of the article is here:

With the exception of enduring stars like Meryl Streep and Diane Keaton, it's no secret that as actresses grow older, the roles start drying up. It's incredibly sexist, certainly, but no one hides it. As PR veteran Michael Levine, who has represented Barbra Streisand and Michael Jackson, told The Daily Beast, "There is a very painful joke amongst elites in the entertainment industry, which says that as actors get older, they look like Sean Connery. The problem is that as women get older, they also tend to look like Sean Connery.

"It's very painful," Levine continued, "but you either have to make peace with it or continue to fight it for the rest of your life. It's a brutal fact and it places pressure on you to act differently, if you want to remain relevant both economically and socially."

So what are 52-year-olds like, say, Sharon Stone and Michelle Pfeiffer to do? According to one publicist, the answer lies in branching out into a "horizontally integrated economic model." In other words, rather than relying on one revenue stream (i.e., fees from starring in movies and TV shows), having a much broader portfolio that is based on several different income sources. There's the cosmetics line. There's the festival circuit, in which, in exchange for showing up at, say, the Singapore Sun Festival (where Stone is a featured guest this month, a star's travel and accommodation expenses are covered. There are the speaking engagements and personal appearances that rack up thousands of dollars for a few hours' work. There are the cruises. There are books.

As a woman, should I be insulted about this article, or just shrug my shoulders and acknowledge it as the truth. What was really sad to me was that when you look at the photos of these aging "sex kittens" they all look pretty damn good.

But I guess it is the sad reality of Hollywood society is that as women get older they are devalued simply because they got older. We see women of all ages in our daily lives, but apparently we don't want to see them in our movies, or at least that's the thinking in Hollywood (I guess that's the reason why Nancy Meyer's movies are such complete flops).

So, focusing on being a "sex kitten" when you're younger is probably not a good idea since no matter what you do to look good, you just become too old, too quickly. At least in the eyes of Hollywood executives that is.


  1. It's sad really, because I find that these actresses are more beautiful as they've gotten older, because they've added grace and wisdom to their younger beautiful selves.

    I find that today's Hollywood "starlets" are quite beautiful, but they just don't seem to have any depth to them, which we all know comes from aging gracefully!

  2. It gives me hope, however, that I am not an aspiring model, in which case my career would be over by now, but an aspiring writer, who has at least 20 more years in which to make it! I review workout DVDs. Check me out at

  3. I remember reading the celeb-entertainment page last year and 3 actors got married or engaged, and all three of them to women 20 to 27 years younger. The disdain for women of a maturity is not just in the films, but in the men who work in and on and with films/tv/magazines/etc.

    Some great flicks made profit with older women--Driving Miss Daisy, Steel Magnolias, Fried Green Tomatoes, First Wives (which addressed this issue itself). If the powerful and very rich women in Hollywood and other media (Oprah, ya hear me?) pumped money into acquiring more insanely well-written scripts that have mature roles and cast the talented older acgresses, and promoted them to women, they could begin the snowballing of a whole new paradigm.

    And I really wish they'd stop immobilizing their faces. Some refreshing looks fine, but I'm sick of actresses who no longer can, actually, act cause they can't express some emotions.