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Gillian Anderson was everywhere in the ‘90s as tough-talking FBI special agent Dana Scully on The X-Files. Now, she’s redefining her stardom with the iconic role of Margaret Thatcher in The Crown, which won her a 2021 Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress in a Series. A recent InStyle interview claims that she’s “never been hotter” at 52, and well, it’s not wrong.
If you would’ve told the actress 20 years ago that she’d portray such a historic figure on TV, she would’ve said, “F*** off!” she told InStyle with a laugh. “I think I would have been quite shocked.” The transformative role really flexed her performing chops, as it’s a far cry from the cheeky sex therapist she plays in Netflix’s Sex Education.
With that being said, Anderson feels like her work is just now taking off. But she has admitted that getting older in the industry is no walk in the park. “If you watch yourself on film, there is a certain point where you see yourself change. It’s arresting,” she told Vogue, per AOL. “It can either be completely traumatic or something that instigates a shift of consciousness towards thinking about what’s important. But you have to go through that trauma first, to mourn.”
Anderson, who is British, also told New Beauty that she’s trying to keep a European mindset when it comes to aging, and it seems to be working out for her. “I think in Europe, in general, there’s a sense that women who age naturally can be beautiful, whereas I’m not so sure that’s the perception in America, specifically in L.A.” she said. “I think that it’s seen as a flaw, somehow—like wrinkles are a flaw.”
In her opinion, those “flaws” deserve to be celebrated. “The thing to remember is, how one looks in the mirror is the youngest one will ever look again. So you can’t do anything but celebrate it!” she told Vogue.
Here’s what Anderson does to stay strong and healthy, while proudly embracing the years to come.
She makes an effort to use anti-aging skin products.
Anderson told New Beauty in June 2016 that she noticed her skin was “suffering” when she was in her 40s. As a result, “I began to pay more attention to it,” she said. “I started using a mixture over the years of Clinique and Estee Lauder.” Still, she added, she’s not obsessive about it. “It’s not a huge part of my life, but I’ve began making an attempt to use some of the stuff that’s out there. And you know, I think it works. I think my skin definitely feels better,” she said.
In her interview with InStyle, she admitted that the laze of COVID lockdowns have caused her to slack off from her regimen here and there. (So if you feel that way, you’re not alone.)
She knows the power of good moisturizer.
Anderson broke down her makeup and skin care routine on Instagram while sharing a photo of herself on the set of Sex Education. She loves Sarah Chapman Skinesis products “to cleanse, tone and moisturize, prime and polish” and uses Dr. Organic’s “amazingly hydrating” lotion for “all-over body moisturizing.”
She wants to eat healthy, but she’s not afraid to indulge.
It can be tough to follow a strict diet, and the actress told New Beauty that she’s not super stringent about what she eats. “I’ve always been interested in the raw food diet but I’ve been told by a couple people that it’s not particularly good for women,” she said. “I like the idea of eating that clean; that appeals to me, but I’ve never been brave enough to actually try it for any period of time.” Anderson said that she usually tries to avoid “high carbs” but she still loves having a Coke here and there. “I know it’s not good for me, but I drink it anyway,” she said.
She exercises, but doesn’t go overboard.
The actress looks incredibly fit, but she said she doesn’t spend a lot of time worrying about her exercise routine. “I don’t try that hard to stay in shape,” she told the Daily Mail. “I go through stages of yoga a few times a week and throw in some running.” She also hires a personal trainer sporadically to get in shape for new roles.
She works hard to take care of her mental health.
Anderson told The Guardian that she’s been going to therapy since she was 14—and she’s open about having struggled with her mental health in the past. “There were times when it was really bad,” she said. “There have been times in my life where I haven’t wanted to leave the house.” She also offered advice for others on mental health in her 2017 book, We: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere.
She’s all about meditation.
Anderson keeps a busy shooting schedule, but she still tries to make time to meditate every morning. “I start my day with meditation,” she told New Beauty. “Even just waking up a few minutes before my kids wake up to center my head. It makes a big difference.”
She writes a daily list of things she’s grateful for.
It’s easy to fall into a pattern of negativity when you’re late for work due to traffic or you’re stuck in an annoying situation—and award-winning actresses struggle with that, too. Anderson told The Guardian that she goes “through stages where I think I’m just complaining all the time. ...I have to constantly settle myself down from the state of being aggravated.”
That’s why she comes up with a list of things to feel grateful for every day. “I do a gratitude list every night,” she said. Sometimes it’s just in her head, but however she does it, Anderson said it helps her keep her mindset more positive.
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