Dame He­len Mir­ren wants to help you get bat­tle-ready.

With her re­fresh­ingly hon­est and un­var­nished take on life, He­len Mir­ren is the kind of woman we should all want to be when we grow up.

Fashion (Canada) - - Contents - By Lesa Han­nah

W hen Dame He­len Mir­ren greets me at the door of her ho­tel suite, my im­me­di­ate re­ac­tion is to curtsy. Not just be­cause she has played the Queen and is the fe­male equiv­a­lent of a knight but be­cause the woman is so well re­spected that, quite frankly, she de­serves it. But rather than tut-tut­ting and nod­ding, as you would ex­pect from some­one with a dis­tin­guished ti­tle, she ra­di­ates warmth with a wide, open smile and ush­ers me in. The pub­li­cists quickly scat­ter, and sud­denly we’re one-on-one. Her out­fit of a long-sleeved black and white polka-dot dress cinched with a pa­tent-leather belt and ac­ces­sorized with pearl drop ear­rings and black leather booties is el­e­gant with flour­ishes of badassery—just like the ac­tress her­self.

Mir­ren is in Toronto to host L’Oréal Paris’s Women of Worth Awards Gala as one of the com­pany’s brand am­bas­sadors, and whether she is think­ing of #TimesUp, the Women’s March or the con­ver­sa­tion about the pay gap in Hol­ly­wood, the cur­rent cli­mate around the fu­ture of fe­males is def­i­nitely on her mind. “Some­thing amaz­ing has hap­pened,” she says, tak­ing a seat. “Why has it taken so long? It’s very an­noy­ing. It’s the first time in my life that I wish I were younger.” At 72, Mir­ren is other­wise very happy with where she is in her life. “It’s more in­ter­est­ing, I’m freer, I’ve got more money,” she ex­plains. In fact, her mother made a point of telling her not to worry about ag­ing, as­sur­ing her that some­thing won­der­ful would hap­pen. “I have to say it tran­spired to be ab­so­lutely true,” she says. For Mir­ren, this hap­pened around age 50, when she felt “that sense of ‘Oh, I see—this is the ad­van­tage of get­ting old.’” She ex­plains, “When you reach each age, you find that the re­al­ity of be­ing that age is great and you wouldn’t change it.”

Which is why she was thrilled when Al­lure put her on its Septem­ber cover last year as part of its ban on the term “anti-ag­ing.” “It was some­thing I al­ways said to L’Oréal when I first came on board,” she says. “I so per­son­ally dis­ap­prove of it; I think it’s wrong. It puts women at a dis­ad­van­tage.” The other opin­ion she shared with the beauty com­pany was that there should be no re­touch­ing of her in photos. (Clearly, nei­ther re­quest cost her the con­tract.) Mir­ren sees ad­vo­cat­ing for these changes in the beauty in­dus­try as part of the larger pic­ture that has con­trib­uted to the cur­rent sea change. “It’s all these lit­tle build­ing blocks to­ward what’s hap­pen­ing now at this mo­ment,” she says.

At the same time, Mir­ren rec­og­nizes the value in beauty prod­ucts them­selves—es­pe­cially for what they can pro­vide men­tally and emo­tion­ally. Last year she was quoted as say­ing that al­though she loves mois­tur­izer, it “prob­a­bly does f--- all,” but to­day she clar­i­fies that what she meant was it’s about how these prod­ucts make you feel. “If you feel good, your whole de­meanour—your whole way of look­ing at the world—is a com­pletely dif­fer­ent thing,” she ex­plains, adding that she loves makeup and wears it al­most ev­ery day. “The world is a com­pli­cated, dif­fi­cult, chal­leng­ing place to be, so any am­mu­ni­tion for your bat­tle with it is a good thing.”


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