The legendary actor has thrived in youth-obsessed Hollywood by being true to herself.
Andie MacDowell is many things — an actor, a model and a mother of three among them. But “a confident cook” has never been on that list. So, during the pandemic, she decided to tackle her insecurities. “The woman I’m taking lessons from cooks for Brad Pitt,” she says, letting out a full-barrelled laugh. “I just love telling people that.”
MacDowell’s trademark South Carolina accent is utterly charming, and I’m immediately captivated by the delicate creases etched across her forehead and around her eyes as well as the salt and pepper curls tumbling loosely around her face. Not to mention, she’s wearing a head-to-toe bubble gum-pink ensemble: trousers and a button-down silk blouse topped with a belted trench coat. So chic. She’s absolutely stunning.
I’m chatting with the 64-year-old in a suite in Toronto’s Shangri-La Hotel. A L’Oréal Paris brand ambassador for an impressive 36 years, Andie MacDowell, who lives in Los Angeles, was flown in by the beauty juggernaut to host the Canadian edition of the annual L’Oréal Paris Women of Worth gala celebrating community change makers.
Formerly a dark shade of brunette, MacDowell’s voluminous curls have been her biggest calling card ever since she burst onto the big screen more than three decades ago, becoming forever immortalized in ’90s classics like Green Card, Four Weddings and a Funeral and Groundhog Day.
But the American icon admits that before achieving success in Hollywood, she didn’t always embrace her natural texture. “When I moved to New York in 1979, I was straightening it,” she recalls. “Then I went to a salon and the stylist washing my hair said: ‘What are you doing? Don’t straighten your hair! You have great curls.’” I was so influenced by this person. I never fought [my natural texture after that].”
Fast-forward to today and Andie MacDowell has taken another leap toward self-acceptance by letting her silver roots roam free, a decision she made during lockdown that was influenced by the burgeoning grey hair movement she saw on Instagram. “When I started thinking about what I wanted to do, I would look to see what everyday people out there were doing — not famous people. That was inspiring for me.”
Clearly, the move hasn’t hurt her career. MacDowell has four film projects in the works plus the freshly released Netflix drama Along for the Ride, which she stars in with Dermot Mulroney.
It’s a destination that couldn’t have been a walk in the park over the course of her storied career, especially in an industry that has long seen aging as a burden — as a punchline, in fact — and told women they’d be over the hill at 40. “I always tell young journalists that when I turned 40, normal questions were ‘How does it feel to know that you’re not going to work anymore?’ and ‘How does it feel to lose your beauty?’” she reveals.
But Andie MacDowell says she sees attitudes shifting, due in large part to those coming up behind her. “I’m loving the younger generation because they recognize this and don’t like it,” she shares. “They’re very forward-thinking, inclusive and encouraging because they want to feel good about themselves as they grow older. I don’t feel like my generation felt empowered or emboldened enough to have a voice about things like this. I feel more supported and loved by the younger generation. They’re defining aging for themselves.”
Swipe through the gallery below to shop MacDowell’s go-to L’Oréal Paris beauty products.
This article first appeared in FASHION’s Summer issue. Find out more here.