Dame Helen Mirren Just Did Something Shocking

Photos: Rex

Helen Mirren is on fire right now. Just days after swearing on live TV during an appearance on Good Morning Britain – and revealing all about her relationship with Liam Neeson – the outspoken A-lister has once again hit headlines. This time, she was reacting to the news of being nicknamed ‘Gran Bod of the Year’. The ‘accolade’ was bestowed upon Helen after a survey revealed that women over 50 are now more confident than ever about wearing a bikini and the term gran-bod was coined.

Speaking at L’Oreal Paris conference in London, Helen – who recently turned 70 and looks more fabulous than ever – hit back at the unwelcome news , saying, “Disgusting. It’s horrible. I’ve never heard of that. I’m not a grandmother, but I could easily be. I love Southern Italy so much and one of the reasons I love it is that no woman there doesn’t wear a bikini – they do not wear one-pieces. It’s all about the tan and it doesn’t matter how big you are, how thin you are or how old you are, they all wear bikinis. It’s just the greatest thing and I love it. I don’t like that term, I think it’s insulting and a classic sort of tabloid-y thing – reductive and horrible. I think women should be free to wear whatever they want without people coming up with stupid terms like that”. Hear hear Helen.

Currently the face of L’Oreal Paris’ Age Perfect hair colour, Mirren has always spoken out about what she believes in, particularly ageism in Hollywood, defending not only herself but also her fellow actresses who have been subjected to age discrimination.

Reacting to Maggie Gyllenhaal’s comments regarding ageism in Hollywood, Helen explained to The Wrap:

“It’s f***ing outrageous – it’s ridiculous – honestly. It’s so annoying and ’twas ever thus. You know we all sat there watching as James Bond got more and more geriatric and his girlfriends got younger and younger. So annoying.”

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Helen Mirren at The Wrap event. Helen Mirren has spoken out about ageism in Hollywood in a seriously feisty way.


Maggie Gyllenhaal shocked the world in an interview with The Wrap when she explained that she was not given a part in a movie because was considered “too old” to play the lover of a 55-year-old man. Yes that’s right, the 37-year-old actress is too old to play the lover of a man 18 years older than her. What has the world come to?

Gyllenhaal explained, “There are things that are really disappointing about being an actress in Hollywood that surprise me all the time.” Speaking about the incident, she said, “It was astonishing to me. It made me feel bad, and then it made me feel angry, and then it made me laugh.”

In a world where we are completely used to women in their twenties playing opposite men in their fifties, this news shouldn’t come as a massive surprise. We don’t even question it, yet if a woman in her fifties played the love interest of a man in his twenties, it would make headlines or at least be a major part of the plot.

And in other really disappointing news regarding age scrutiny for women in Hollywood, Rebel Wilson has been hugely criticised in the media this week for lying about her age. The stunning actress had originally told the world she was 29, but an old classmate of hers spoke out to Women’s Day magazine stating that Rebel is actually 36 years old.

SEE: Rebel Wilson’s Funniest Moments

Maggie Gyllenhaal and Rebel Wilson. Maggie Gyllenhaal and Rebel Wilson have been criticised for their ages this week.

SEE: Why You Should Stop Lying About Your Age

It has since been confirmed that Ms Wilson is actually 35 and she responded to the whole affair with a very tongue-in-cheek and characteristically funny tweet:

“OMG I’m actually a 100 year old mermaid formerly known as “CC Chalice”…thanks shady Australian press for your tall poppy syndrome”

And then…

“Okay but all jokes aside now…My name is actually Fat Patricia x”

Rebels amazing response is telling of how little she cares what the media thinks and how little it should actually matter how old a woman is. 

So what can we learn from all of this? Well, that maybe all hope is not lost and we should hold out for a change in Hollywood.

The ever-so-inspiring Maggie went on to say:

“A lot of actresses are doing incredible work right now, playing real women, complicated women. I don’t feel despairing at all. And I’m more looking with hope for something fascinating.”

Maybe it’s time to stop focussing on women’s ages and start focussing on the amazing work they have done. From Rebel Wilson’s hilarious appearances in Bridesmaids and Pitch Perfect to Maggie Gyllenhaal’s groundbreaking performance in The Honourable Woman, the ages of these women don’t seem to be relevant whatsoever. So perhaps that’s the message from all this and hopefully it will shed light on an issue in Hollywood that has needed attention for some time. Every cloud…

By Amy de Klerk