Now, in a recent post on Instagram, the beloved actress is getting praise for being brutally honest about something she's been living with but has been fearful to speak out about, until now: social anxiety.
After being invited to the 2021 InStyle Awards, where Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles was honored, MacDowell took a moment to pay tribute to the athlete for talking openly about her mental health struggles, during which she opened up about her own experiences, too.
"I was thrilled to be there with everyone to celebrate Simone Biles being honored," she wrote. "People have a hard time talking about their mental instabilities and she has been so brave to show her vulnerability along with all her acolytes and strengths."
"I have some social anxiety," she added. "I’m always analyzing myself if I’m doing an OK job when I go out. It’s as if I carry this critic with me and sometimes I can’t have a decent conversation because the critic‘s voice butting in. Other times I’m completely relaxed, comfortable and present. It’s so important to be social, to make the effort to get out and be with people and enjoy life even when you live with this kind of critic in your head. I have to have a #strong conversation with the critic the day after I go to out and I tell them not analyze every move I make. I had conversations that were valuable, lovely, warm and generous."
"We are human and we are here to support and love each other and understand how vulnerable we really are," she continued. "Absolutely stellar people to celebrate that evening, all of them very deserving. But my heart has a special thank you for Simone."
The Groundhog Day star dazzled the red carpet in a black Dior dress, and after posting the heartfelt tribute to Simone and for anyone living with anxiety, she welcomed a slew of support from commenters.
"You are ridiculous," wrote Kathy Griffin. "I want to be you someday! So amazing."
"What a beautiful and genuine post!" a fan added. "Thank you for being so honest and speaking about this as we all struggle in some way with it. You are truly beautiful and admirable!"
"Thank you for your honesty!" another wrote. "The inner critic is tough to beat. But admitting it exists in our heads while knowing it’s separate from who we are in our hearts is key IMHO to keeping it in check. So happy you got to be part of this special celebration!"
"My hair hero!!" a commenter exclaimed. "Love your show and your authenticity!!"
Of course, MacDowell has been rocking her natural gray hair on the red carpet and in her latest screen roles, telling her Multiplicity co-star Michael Keaton for Interview Magazine that she feels “better” when she’s not fighting the aging process.
“Honestly, it’s exhausting to have to be something that you no longer are,” she explained. “I was finally like, ‘You know what? I’m not young. And I’m OK with that.’ I hate the word ’embrace,’ because it always sounds like you’re having to accept something, and I don’t feel like that. We’re beautiful at every age and glorious in our own way, and we have so much to offer. I feel so much more comfortable. It’s like I’ve taken a mask off or something.”
"I'd been wanting to do it for a few years," she explained of setting her gray hair free in a separate interview with TheZoe Report. "And then when COVID happened and I saw the roots coming in, I thought it suited me."
"I think women are tired of the idea that you can’t get old and be beautiful," she added. "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."