Is 60 really the new 40? It is for these stars

HENLEY-ON-THAMES, ENGLAND - AUGUST 20:  Toyah Wilcox poses for photographers at Rewind South at Temple Island Meadows on August 20, 2016 in Henley-on-Thames, England.  (Photo by Lorne Thomson/Redferns)
Toyah Wilcox at 63 - she's looking good. (Photo by Lorne Thomson/Redferns)

Not long ago, hitting your sixties meant getting old. Grandmas and grandads, retirement, perhaps a spot of light gardening and a couple of local committees. It certainly suggested grey hair, wrinkles and a general slowing-down.

But as life expectancy extends and the Boomer population ages, plenty of sixty-somethings are starting again - dating after divorce, remarrying, launching new projects and businesses, and fitting time with the grandchildren (if they have them) in between travel and trips.

As for looks, the boom in self-care, keeping fit and better nutrition - not to mention Botox and fillers - means we can retain at least some of our youthful attitude and looks for far longer.

The old rules about not showing your knees, going grey gracefully and 'not wearing jeans after 50' (what?) have fallen by the wayside - thankfully. 

Leading the way are the stars who first lit up the '70s and '80s, and are now not only nostalgic icons for Generation X, they're rebooting their careers and looking amazing at the same time.

Singer and actress Toyah Willcox, October 1986. (Photo by Staff/Daily Record/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)
Toyah, back in 1986. (Getty Images)

This week, Toyah Wilcox, known for her wild style and 80s pop hits including It's a Mystery, appeared on This Morning, talking about her new role. Toyah, 63, looked 20 years younger and social media commentators were quick to admire her appearance - "Not having it that she's 63" wrote one, while another tweeted, "Toyah looks fantastic!"

Read more: How to live longer: Have children and move to Orkney

She's not alone in holding back the years, with fellow gorgeous sixty-somethings including Emma Thompson, Andie McDowell, Demi Moore, Madonna and Julianne Moore, all still in the spotlight and looking remarkable.

It's not just women - actors Jeff Goldblum, Stanley Tucci, Hugh Grant, Colin Firth and George Clooney have all turned 60, and still sell out movies and set fans' hearts racing. 

George is sixty. Doesn't seem to have done him any harm. (Getty Images)
George is sixty. Doesn't seem to have done him any harm. (Getty Images)

Some might justifiably argue that A-listers have an anti-ageing armoury that's out of reach to ordinary people, from regular nips, tucks and tweaks to the best hair colourists and top designer brands - not to mention the personal trainer, bespoke nutrition programmes and a fleet of staff running their diaries and households, taking all the stress of day to day life away.

But it's also true that increasingly, the sixties can be a time to blossom. Children have grown up and (often) left home, the midlife-divorced have settled into singledom or happily remarried, the career highs and lows have evened out - or ended, and sometimes, there's a bit more money in the bank, thanks to downsizing. 

Grandchildren can bring great joy, and it's a time when friendships can come into their own, too, as careers tend to be less demanding and more time is available.

Emma Thompson arriving at The Earthshot Prize Awards Ceremony, Alexandra Palace. Credit: Doug Peters/EMPICS
Emma Thompson, 62, at the Earthshot Prize Awards last month (Doug Peters/EMPICS)

Ageing also brings the freedom to say no, and to choose only what works for you, thinks Emma Thompson who recently said, "It’s fantastic being this age. I’m old. We’re constantly watching films where older men have wonderful roles and older women really don’t. 

"But I’m a character actor, don’t forget. If you’ve got form and you’re a character actor, you’re much better off because you’re not fighting the way you once looked.”

Read more: 'Happiness is youthful': 64-year-old Christie Brinkley reveals her secrets to looking and feeling young

She added in an interview with Vulture, that she feels lucky to be here. "My dad died at 52. My uncle was 51. My sister-in-law, a couple years ago at 51. I’ve got quite a number of friends who have dropped off. You can’t take survival for granted," she said.

"What else do I feel? The work I’m doing is more fulfilling and happy-making than ever. I think your 60s, if you are well, are the most fantastic decade. No more periods: resolved! Menopause over: hooray! Kids grown up,” she said. 

CANNES, FRANCE - JULY 07: Actress Andie McDowell attends the
Andie McDowell this year, in Cannes. (Photo by Marc Piasecki/FilmMagic)

Andie McDowell, who hit fame when she starred in Four Weddings and a Funeral alongside Hugh Grant, said earlier this year, "I think women are tired of the idea that you can’t get old and be beautiful.

"Men get old and we keep loving them. And I want to be like a man. I want to be beautiful and I don’t want to screw with myself to be beautiful."

Julianne Moore, Oscar-winning star of Still Alice and The Woman in the Window, recently said, "I don’t know why women do Botox. It doesn’t make them look younger, it just makes them look like they had work done. 

"Of course, it’s hard for actresses. You are not going to look the same as you did at 25. What are you going to do about it? I’m lucky that I have good genes and so I’m going to let things take their natural course."

72nd Cannes Film Festival - Red Carpet Arrivals - Cannes, France, May 16, 2019. Julianne Moore poses ahead of screening of the
Julianne Moore says she doesn't do Botox. (Reuters)

Stars are also increasingly attacking ageism. This week, Sarah Jessica Parker, star of Sex & the City sequel And Just Like That... said, "It almost feels as if people don't want us to be perfectly OK with where we are, as if they almost enjoy us being pained by who we are today, whether we choose to age naturally and not look perfect, or whether you do something if that makes you feel better," she said.

"I know what I look like. I have no choice," she added. "What am I going to do about it? Stop ageing? Disappear?"

The Queen of anti-ageing: Madonna works it at 63. (Getty Images)
The Queen of anti-ageing: Madonna works it at 63. (Getty Images)

One star who has refused to age or disappear is Madonna - and while a combination of 'tweaks' and fillers combined with a rigorous daily workout and strict diet make her look 20 years younger than her 63 years, few would want to invest the time - and money - it requires. 

Sixty can be the new forty if you have an A list budget and the time to put into remaining perfectly toned and tweaked. But better still, it can be a different kind of sixty - where you're still in your prime, with plenty to look forward to, and a few wrinkles to prove you've lived.