Brooke Shields, 56, is challenging the notion that 'women can't be sexy over a certain age'

This is an interview for Yahoo Life's Unapologetically Brooke video series with Brooke Shields.

Brooke Shields may seemingly be past her prime, as the actress has been subjected to strict Hollywood beauty standards since a young age. But at 56 years old, she tells Yahoo Life that she's feeling more confident and sexy than ever before.

"I believe that it's a misconception that women can't be sexy over a certain age," she tells Yahoo Life. "The acceptance of our bodies comes at a later date. I live much more in my body now than I ever did. My body actually feels like it belongs to me and I can't say that about my youth."

After growing up as a child actor and model, Shields is no stranger to the pressure of having to look and act a certain way as a result of being in the public eye. As she's grown older, however, her relationship with her body and her sexuality has been redefined numerous times, on her own terms.

"Sex for me has really evolved. My 20s, I was always terrified of it because I was a virgin till I was 22. You know I thought I was committing an offense to humanity for being Catholic, not married. I had so much guilt," she explains. "My 30s, it wasn't really about being sexy. It was having your body work to create something. So that, that was like a 10-year kind of journey. And it wasn't until my 40s that I started thinking of sex as my experience, not someone else's experience that I just navigated."

Her experience alone challenges the way that women are made to believe that their appeal lessens as they age. "There's a misconception that if you are not of child bearing ability, you don't seem to matter in the world because you do not keep the world going anymore," she explains. "And my career, you know, I was being told sort of, oh, you're not viable once you're 40."

Shields has proven that to be untrue as she continues to work both in front of and behind the camera. She now stars in the new Netflix rom-com A Castle for Christmas that hit the streaming platform in late November, and has even embarked upon new endeavors to ensure that other women her age are reminded of their worth.

"Beginning is Now is a 360-degree wellbeing platform for women over 40 [which is when it] felt that all of a sudden I was an adult," she says. "We're not at the end, the way people are living now, we're at a new beginning. And so I kept saying, I just feel like I'm beginning. I just feel like I'm beginning. I wanted to market to that, to help women really sort of find the courage and take the chances and the resilience that they've had to get this far and really kind of embrace the next chapter."

For Shields, that next chapter involves a lot of self-love. "With age comes this sense of confidence and knowledge. And I think that that's not the predominant message out there," she says. "I'm not tied to what the outside is for my self-esteem. And I think that's a miracle coming through this business and being in it as long as I have. My currency, I made sure it wasn't the outside."

Still, she's happy to embrace the physical manifestations of that love and confidence with a few bathing suit photos on social media.

"There's vitality in us. And I think that shows itself sexually. It shows itself with an adventure. It shows itself in confidence. We walk in to rooms now and kind of think, oh, I got nothing to lose. There's an uncomplicated nature to it," she says. "Confidence is the sexiest thing that I've ever encountered."

Video produced by Stacy Jackman

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