Last night at a party,I was talking with a few women who were critical of Ali MacGraw’s recent appearance on Oprah—she had gone “natural”; didn’t make an effort to doll up with clothes, hair and makeup; could use “some work.”
I didn’t see the show but happened to have it on TiVo so I was curious to watch, almost apprehensive.
Like everyone else of my era, I saw Love Story and fell in love. Not with the movie, or the book, or Ryan O’Neal—but with Ali MacGraw. Not only did she personify beauty and class with her own unique style—she was also smart, a Wellesley girl in real life.
In pictures I’ve seen of her since, she’s remained beautiful, artistic, original. Though she has disappeared from the public eye, it was hard for me imagine she had let herself go.
She walked out onto Oprah’s set, and I tried to see what these other women had seen. But all I saw is what Ryan O’Neal , also on the show, seemed to see—- a gorgeous, gracious, still stunning woman of her age, which she freely admits is 71.
In fairness, I could understand why some people might have been surprised. Though she looks like an older version of her gorgeous self—she does look different— at least different from what we expect of movie stars. Her neck is lined, her skin isn’t stretched tight; her lips aren’t puffy. You can get why she moved away from the Hollywood spotlight.
It’s not easy for an “it girl” to grow up and morph into a real woman; to age in an industry whose standards pressure its stars to practice the impossible art of perfection.
She discussed those issues openly and honestly—another change from her peers. She seems comfortable in her skin, whether or not it’s wrinkled. She seems at peace with her life, free to be herself. I think age becomes her—and she’s more an icon of beauty than ever.
She also admitted she never understood her most famous line; so maybe she’d agree with this version: Love Age means never having to say you’re sorry.