Jane Fonda on How to Feel Great at 74
By Lois Joy Johnson
You won't believe this, but Jane Fonda is more like us than you think. Sure she's model- tall, slim, firm, beautiful and relatively crinkle-free, but I met her for brunch and up close she's also warm, candid and positively girlfriend-y. Discussing her new film “Peace, Love and Misunderstanding” (which you've gotta see ASAP), Fonda opened up about her current life and the process of personal evolution. In the movie Jane plays Grace, a "mature" but sparkling- with-life hippie chick with a long gray mane, a tie-dye/ ripped jeans wardrobe and a bohemian lifestyle who’s been living in Woodstock since, well, Woodstock. When Grace's stuffy big city lawyer daughter Diane ( played by Catherine Keener) gets divorced, she returns home, snooty grandkids in tow, after a twenty year break. Seeking refuge and breathing space all fall under Grace's spell and transform not only their lives but their relationship to one another.
Although the part was "fun to play,” Fonda says, she is "more glamorous now than when I was younger and said to be glamorous." Yup, Fonda exudes glamour and sensuality, but in a sophisticated way. In person, she's got a cool choppy elegant shag ( styled, coiffed, streaked with highlights) and she wears makeup( neutral colors, defined eyes) and dresses like a hip CEO - all long slim trousers, heels and a fitted crisp black blazer. You can't help but want to be her...even for an hour. Here are five things she shared to show how she’s kept her spark:
"Over 50 You Feel Better in Your Own Skin" Fonda is a visionary of sorts, a futurist, and a forecaster. She got us all started on the fitness/ mind/ body connection back in the 80s. So when she embraces age as a time of transformation and emphasizes the importance of staying open to new interests, relationships and challenges, we believe her .In fact, when asked about regrets or do-overs, she says, "The one thing I'd never want to do again is youth." In her best-seller “Prime Time,” Fonda emphasizes the importance of physical and mental activity. Her character Grace in “Peace, Love & Misunderstanding” illustrates that point perfectly. Grace never stops moving and doing--feeding the chickens, painting, hosting community activities--and is constantly challenging her brain with her art and friendships. One has to assume all that energy is the reason Grace can recall minute details of her hippie history--despite the pot.
"There Has to be Love for There to be Forgiveness" Fonda, who is a mother and grandmother herself, says the “Peace, Love & Misunderstanding” script was right on target about the real strength of mother/ daughter relationships. "When Diane and her kids show up on her doorstep, Grace knows she has to bring love to the relationship for there to be forgiveness.” There’s a good lesson in this for all our relationships. Learning to forgive and forget gives you a lot more energy to do what you really want. And reaching out to others--as Grace does with her parties, women's "goddess” circle and volunteerism—helps eliminate the problem of loneliness at this stage of our lives when old friends and family fade away due to illness, death or simply changes in living.
"Keep Expanding Your Sense of Humor!" The character of Grace seems to incorporate Fonda's own attitude toward expressing playfulness, creativity, forgiveness and positivity. She encounters new situations, stays calm and smiles...a lot! Or as Fonda herself puts it, "I finally learned it's OK to lighten up" and credits her marriage to ex-Ted Turner, who apparently is one over-the-top funny, zany guy. In “Prime Time,” Fonda reveals that smiling (even when she doesn't feel like it) makes her feel better, and she has the science to back it up. Even a Mona Lisa grin creates a biochemical response that activates neurotransmitters, hormones and endorphins that makes you feel better.Who knew?
Eat Healthy! Fonda had only watermelon during her meeting with reporters and interviewers. She clearly follows her own advice about sticking to colorful superstar fruits and veggies. That flawless skin has to be partly genes, but I bet her diet helps.
"Stay Passionate and Sensual" While her film character Grace naturally oozes healthy, earthy sensuality, Fonda has some advice for real life. "Staying sensual is something you need to work at and practice--that is, if you do want it to continue being a part of your life as you get older." Grace clearly continues to explore and share herself spiritually, emotionally and physically in the movie and uses it as a platform to adjust to aging. It's implied she still has amazing sex. And if pleasure itself is not enough incentive, how about the fact that an active sex life boosts the entire immune system and can help reduce depression and prevent migraines, heart disease, arthritis and stress? Sounds good to me.
About the Author
Lois Joy Johnson is a fashion and beauty blogger and the author of "The Makeup Wakeup."