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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Catherine Shoard

Charlize Theron attacks Hollywood beauty standard: ‘I’m just ageing! It doesn’t mean I got bad plastic surgery’

Charlize Theron at the premiere for Fast X in Rome, May 2023.
Charlize Theron at the premiere for Fast X in Rome, May 2023. Photograph: Elisabetta A Villa/Getty Images

Charlize Theron has said she wants to “fight against” what she perceives as unjust double standards for female actors over 40 in Hollywood.

The actor, 48, said she “despise[s] the concept” that while men “age like fine wines” women do so “like cut flowers”.

“I also think women want to age in a way that feels right to them,” Theron told Allure magazine. “I think we need to be a little bit more empathetic to how we all go through our journey. My journey of having to see my face on a billboard is quite funny now.”

She also spoke about her own experiences of getting older: “My face is changing, and I love that my face is changing and ageing.”

Theron emerged as a star in the 1990s before winning an Oscar for Monster in 2003, in which she played serial killer Aileen Wuornos. Other key roles include Mad Max: Fury Road, Snow White and the Huntsman, Young Adult, Tully and Atomic Blonde. She is currently to be seen in the latest Fast and Furious film.

The star has also worked extensively in modelling, most notably for Dior, and said that despite being accustomed to scrutiny, she remained frustrated by assumptions people made about whether she’d had work done to her face.

“People think I had a face-lift,” she said. “They’re like, ‘What did she do to her face?’ I’m like, ‘Bitch, I’m just ageing! It doesn’t mean I got bad plastic surgery. This is just what happens.’”

Theron also discussed how much harder it was to shed weight gained for a role as she became older. While losing the 40lb gained for Monster was simply a case of “miss[ing] three meals and I was back to my normal weight”, it was much greater challenge to lose the weight gained for Tully in 2018.

She said: “I remember a year into trying to lose the weight, I called my doctor and I said, ‘I think I’m dying because I cannot lose this weight.’ And he was like, ‘You’re over 40. Calm down. Your metabolism is not what it was.’”

She added: “I will never, ever do a movie again and say, ‘Yeah, I’ll gain 40 pounds.’ I will never do it again because you can’t take it off.”

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