Jane Fonda’s Secret to Looking Sexy at 79: Genes, Money, Martinis, in That Order

Jane Fonda attends a photocall for
Jane Fonda in Cannes in 2015. (Photo: Getty Images)

Jane Fonda, at 79, is fit and foxy — something she attributes to a mix of nature and artificial means.

“Good genes and a lot of money,” she tells Yahoo Beauty. “Sleep is important. Being happy is important. Good posture keeps you young. I get regular facials — that’s what I mean about money.” Not to mention, she adds, “In years past, I’ve had plastic surgery. I don’t think I’ll do it again, but after 80, you don’t need to keep doing it.”

What the two-time Oscar winner does keep doing is working. Fonda is eternally curious and driven, much like the character she plays on the Netflix original series Grace and Frankie, about two women thrust together when their husbands leave them — for each other. The show’s third season streams on Friday; it revolves around Fonda’s Grace and Lily Tomlin’s Frankie going into the sex-toy business. At the end of Season 2, Grace had gotten her first vibrator.

“She had never used one before. She gets carpal tunnel syndrome because she can’t stop using it,” says Fonda, adding, “This season, we go into the business of making vibrators for older women who have arthritis. We develop this vibrator called Menage a Moi. The directions are very big. It lights up in the dark. We deal with how hard it is for older women to get a business loan. Grace is a real businesswoman. And tensions arise because Frankie can’t balance a checkbook.”

When fans approach her these days, she says, they gush about the show and how it’s changed their outlook on their own confidence and sense of self-worth. “Women say we’ve made them less afraid of getting older — that feels so great,” Fonda notes. “It gives them hope. It doesn’t make people feel anxiety, which we need right now.”

Jane Fonda is shown in a Nov. 3, 1970 police mugshot after she was arrested for assault and battery in Cleveland, Ohio after she allegedly kicked a cop. All charges were later dropped. (Photo: AP Images)
Fonda is shown in a police mugshot from Nov. 3, 1970, when she was arrested for assault and battery in Cleveland after allegedly kicking a cop. All charges were later dropped. (Photo: AP Images)

For those unaware, Fonda has been politically active and outspoken throughout her life. In 1970, she was arrested during a protest of the Vietnam War for allegedly kicking a police officer. On a visit to Hanoi, she was photographed sitting on an anti-aircraft gun surrounded by Vietcong, which earned her the disparaging, hard-to-shake nickname “Hanoi Jane.” (And now, in an amusingly modern take on it all, you can wear her defiant, unapologetic mugshot on your body, in the form of a T-shirt, the proceeds of which will benefit Fonda’s organization, the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential, which she founded in 1994.)

The actress is still not shy about sharing her political views and is happy to see that others are speaking out. “Historically, actors and artists have spoken truth to power. I believe in protecting democracy,” she says. “I’m horrified by what’s happened — but the activism has increased. I believe in protest. It can make a big difference. But we have to talk about taking power back. Grassroots organizers have to find new candidates,” she says, adding that the issue is something she’s been involved with deeply these days.

But does she view herself as a feminist icon? It’s a question that makes Fonda laugh. “I’m certainly a feminist,” she says. “I don’t know about icon. I like being busy working.”

To maintain that, she keeps habits that maximize her energy — like sleeping eight or nine hours a night and planning her work-travel schedule to ensure that she gets proper shut-eye. She’s cut out wine, which she says has too many chemicals, opting to drink martinis instead.

Jane Fonda in GRACE AND FRANKIE, (Photo: Everett Collection)
Fonda in the Netflix series Grace and Frankie. (Photo: Everett Collection)

Also, she explains, “I do a lot of walking. I work out with lighter weights and resistance bands. I eat pretty carefully. When I’m working, I don’t eat after 3 p.m. I go to bed without eating. I sleep better.”

In general, Fonda is a walking testament to following your bliss and doing what excites you. She’s passionate about her work, and it shows.

“I left the business for 15 years while I was married to Ted Turner, and for five years after that while I was writing my memoir,” she explains, referring to her 2005 bestseller My Life So Far. “I wasn’t enjoying acting. And then I decided I wanted to try again. I managed to resurrect a career after 65.” That’s when Fonda moved from Atlanta back to Los Angeles.

“You have to be there. People have to see you. I’d stayed fit and in good shape,” she says. “I left because I stopped loving it. I love it right now.”

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