Brooke Shields, 57, on fighting ageism in Hollywood: ‘Comparison is the kiss of death’

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Brooke Shields is getting candid on life after 50 in Hollywood.

On Monday, the actress appeared on the “Verywell Mind” podcast and spoke to host and licensed therapist Amy Morin about her experience aging in the public eye.

“I’ve been fighting ageism in Hollywood probably since I was about seven,” said the 57-year-old. “It starts then in Hollywood, but it really… sexiness doesn’t have to just be a young person’s reality, the commodity of being sexy and being vibrant and not being burdened by so many of the things that burden you, whether it’s your biological clock, or the way things are laid out for you, because that’s what traditionally has done.”

“All those burdens really do shift… They take on a different look and a different meaning really when it starts in your 40’s,” she shared. “That’s when I started to just really not waste time on things that didn’t serve me, or make me feel good about myself.”

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Despite leading a successful decades-long career as a sought-after actress and model, Brooke Shields said it hasn't been easy growing older in the public eye.

Despite leading a successful decades-long career as a sought-after actress and model, Brooke Shields said it hasn’t been easy growing older in the public eye.
(STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

Despite leading a decades-long career as a sought-after model and actress, Shields admitted it hasn’t been easy to feel accepted for her age.

“I think it has to do a bit with procreation just historically,” Shields reflected. “And… then in talking about menopause, it’s looked at as you’re… this withered, dried up entity. And I think that… type of messaging is something that we got used to accepting because everything is for younger people. It’s flashy and it’s made fabulous.”

“And that’s the idea,” Shields continued. “And the idea is, oh, that’s the only time you’re really ever alive and vibrant. And I think that we’ve gotten used to it. And I obviously didn’t think to question it when I was in my 20s. It wasn’t until I got past 50 that I thought, ‘Wait a minute, there’s nobody out there talking to me. They’re overlooking me.’”

Despite the challenges she has faced, Shields said she’s proud of her age and the journey she has lived that has led her to this moment.

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Brooke Shields (right) and her daughter Grier Hammond Henchy at the Salvatore Ferragamo fashion show on September 25, 2021, in Milan, Italy.

Brooke Shields (right) and her daughter Grier Hammond Henchy at the Salvatore Ferragamo fashion show on September 25, 2021, in Milan, Italy.
(Marco Piraccini/Archivio Marco Piraccini/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)

“… Ageism exists obviously in my industry, and you expect it from my industry, but you shouldn’t expect it,” said Shields. “But… I feel finally much more confident and less complicated, and very clear about what I want and who I am. And that’s only come with years.”

“Find people who are in that age bracket, and find people that inspire you that are that age,” Shields advised. “And try to learn from them and try to find similarities with yourself in them… try to find inspiration from people who do profess and talk about why they’re comfortable… And really just say, ‘Aren’t I lucky to have gotten another year?’ Or, ‘Isn’t it amazing that I still get to wake up in the morning, and I still get to do…’ There’s a lot. We forget about that. My God, if that isn’t right in our face now with what’s going on, how do we have anything to complain about?”

“… If someone has achieved something, or they are physically fit in a way that is attractive to you, or that’s what you want, learn from them, ask questions,” Shields shared. “But when it gets right down to it, you’re only going to be able to find the happiness and the confidence and the peace and the acceptance of your uniqueness inside you… Comparison is just the kiss of death. And we all do it. And I’ve to remind myself daily not to do it.”

In 2020, Shields told Fox News Digital that she had no interest in squeezing into her coveted Calvin Klein jeans again.

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Brooke Shields caused a stir when she famously posed for Calvin Klein.

Brooke Shields caused a stir when she famously posed for Calvin Klein.
(Alamy)

“I can get into them, but it looks painful,” Shields said at the time. “I recently found them, [but] I think the last time I fit into them comfortably was probably while I was in ‘Wonderful Town’ on Broadway [back in 2004]. They’re so high-waisted.”

“When I was that age, I was built like a little boy,” the star continued. “I don’t have any desire to fit back into them. I’ve had two children and I’ve grown into a more womanly shape that I feel comfortable in and that I’m proud of.

“I’m celebrating who I am now, not trying to get the body I had when I was 15. One of the messages I want to share with other women is to celebrate yourself. Own your curves and strengths rather than trying to look like somebody else or be skinny. I’d rather be strong and fit than anything else.”

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