The pains of being beautiful
Former “Charlie’s Angel” Cheryl Ladd talks “Unforgettable” and cherishing her age.
Cheryl Ladd is happy she’s in her 60s.
When the “People vs. O.J. Simpson” actress first hit the big time, it was for playing Kris Munroe on “Charlie’s Angels.” Controversially, she had replaced Farah Fawcett, and she was thought of mainly for her looks. Cut to four decades later and she’s getting more interesting roles — like Katherine Heigl’s manipulative, domineering mother in the new thriller “Unforgettable.”
The actress says she’s not a lot like her character. She tried to shield her own daughter, Jordan, from the limelight, because it wasn’t her choice to be a public figure. (She’s since become an actress anyway, appearing in “Cabin Fever” and Quentin Tarantino’s “Death Proof.”)
Ladd’s “Unforgettable” character, meanwhile, demands Heigl have a great job, be a great mother, and be flawlessly refined in her looks and manners. (She has a daughter as well as a stepdaughter.) It’s driven her crazy — which is partially why she flips out on her ex-husband’s new fiancee (Rosario Dawson) and tries to make her life hell.
“You really get this sense of this perfectionism women have,” Ladd tells us. “We’re supposed to have all of these things [like beauty, exquisite clothes and social graces] lined up like little ducks. It doesn’t leave a lot of room for your true humanity.”
Society may be getting cooler to the idea of gender equality, but the flipside is that women now have more on their plate. Men certainly don’t have to do nearly as much. They don’t have to be great dads, and sometimes it doesn’t matter what they look like. (Our president definitely isn’t a looker.)
“It takes them 10 minutes to look good,” Ladd says. “They shower, they shave,
they put on a nice outfit, they brush their teeth, and off they go. Is that fair?
“All little girls want to play dress up. But to do it all over again, day after day after day, it gets … tired. That’s why I like going to the supermarket with a ponytail, blue jeans and sneakers. I’m just this person. It’s a nice way to live.”
Still, things are dramatically different than when she came into the spotlight in the ’70s.
“It’s changed enormously,” Ladd says. “Charlie’s Angels” may have been about attractive women, but they were also very strong and independent. That wasn’t seen a lot in those days. “We kind of broke the mold for acceptable jobs for women at that time,” Ladd says.
“It wasn’t that long ago that women were supposed to be teachers and nurses and secretaries.”