Poor Nicole Kidman has been getting a lot of criticism lately, all because of her strangely immobile face.
Has she had a facelift, Botox or fillers? The star is unlikely ever to tell us for sure, but, much like actress Renee Zellweger set tongues wagging when she appeared in public looking almost unrecognisable from her Bridget Jones character, people have already drawn their own conclusions about Nicole’s suspiciously smooth complexion.
I’ve never had any sort of plastic surgery or Botox and I don’t think I ever would. Not because I’m a raving beauty who doesn’t need all the help she can get, but because at heart I’m a cowardly chicken who would be terrified that something would go wrong on the operating table and I’d end up looking like the Bride of Frankenstein.
That’s not the only reason I’ve never succumbed to the lure of the needle though. I also firmly believe that the most beautiful women are those who embrace aging as a natural part of life, instead of plumping out every little line until they’re expressionless androids.
Getting older doesn’t mean that you have to lose your joie de vivre or become invisible.
Hats off to Twink for wearing a bra top on the red carpet recently, for example. She exuded confidence, which is something that society can very quickly knock out of you as you age.
I’ve definitely had my own wobbly moments with body image. Just before I turned forty, I felt the march of time bearing down on me more than ever before. Every morning, I examined the cursed crow’s feet and fine lines that seemed to be appearing almost daily and wondered would I ever feel really good about myself again?
A no-nonsense friend put me back in my box pretty quickly. “Don’t be so ungrateful,” she lectured firmly. “Not everyone lives to see forty, make the most of it.” Her honesty certainly put everything in perspective.
Worrying about ageing is a pointless waste of time and energy. And yet, it’s hard not to focus on how you look because, as a society, we are obsessed with impossible ideals of youth and beauty.
Every day, we’re confronted with images of perfect’ women. It doesn’t matter if we know that the pictures we see have probably been digitally altered, the cumulative effect of being bombarded with them all the time is a feeling of dissatisfaction and inferiority that’s hard to shake.
Is it any wonder then that ordinary women and glamorous Hollywood actresses alike feel the need to keep age at bay for as long as they possibly can? The pressure to look a certain way, and to keep on looking like that even when nature (and gravity) is working against you, is intense.
Choosing how to battle or accept the ageing process is an individual decision. I’d never condemn another woman for trying to hold back the tide of time by having Botox.
If it makes you feel better about yourself, then go for it. But if you feel you must have these sorts of procedures because of outside pressure to be perfect then think twice.
What I personally try to bear in mind is that with age comes wisdom - hopefully, at least.
I now have knowledge and experience that I wouldn’t trade for even the smoothest, plumpest skin of a teenager. That’s not to say that I’m about to let myself go completely, however.
I might say no to Botox, but I still use creams on my skin and I still dye my hair. I’m not in the business of scaring small children after all.
Being comfortable in my own skin is what I strive for. I might not totally love what I see in the mirror every morning, but at least my laughter lines show that I’ve enjoyed my life. Why erase them? After all, age is just a number.