Sophia Loren Turns a Glamorous 80 Years Young

September 20 was the day screen legend Sophia Loren blew out 80 candles. The legendary actress is a testament to tenacity and wisdom and is what many consider the epitome of class and style without compromise.

Born on September 20, 1934, Sophia Loren was the baby of an unwed mother in a world of poverty as war loomed over Italy. A scar on her chin came from being knocked down as a child during an air attack, says Biography. As a child, Sophia Loren was thin, lived in abject poverty, and under the stigma of illegitimacy in a very strict culture. From this, she became one of the most renowned, powerful, and beloved screen actors in the world.

“Two big advantages I had at birth were to have been born wise and to have been born in poverty.”

Today, Sophia Loren is celebrated globally. For her 80th birthday yesterday, the whole nation of Italy put on a party, according to Business Insider. The icon of the cinema has not lost her glamor or sex appeal in all these years, and remains one of the most celebrated women in modern times. Her new memoir, published under the title Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, released as her birthday gift to the world. Loren celebrated the event with Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim and her son Carlo Ponti, Jr. in Mexico City at a gala dinner two days before Sophia’s big day. She then went to Milan to launch a photographic exhibition of her at 80 titled Sophia Loren – style icon.

“Sex appeal is fifty percent what you’ve got and fifty percent what people think you’ve got.”

Sophia Loren began her career as a teenager entering beauty contests. At the age of 15 when she met Carlo Ponti, then 35, and embarked on a career in acting, following in her mother’s footsteps. Loren eventually married Ponti and remained married to him throughout her career as a sex symbol and sultry goddess of the screen. She had two children with Ponti, won an Oscar for a film she considered closest to her heart, and was with her husband when he died in 2007.

That Oscar-winning performance was Sophia Loren’s portrayal of the mother in the film Two Women, which featured a mother and daughter in a situation very close to Loren’s own childhood experiences. It was one of many performances the actress took up during her long and highly-acclaimed career in both Europe and Hollywood.

“Everything you live through helps to make you the person you are now.”

The actress is also a multi-time author, having produced several cookbooks during her lifetime. Sophia Loren is considered one of the most popular Italian cooking experts, having written more than one best-seller in a book market that rarely recognizes cookbooks at all. The most popular of these thus far was Sophia’s 1999 book Recipes & Memories.

Without a doubt, Sophia Loren is one of the most beautiful women in the world, even at 80 years of age.

All quotes are from Sophia Loren in her various books or magazine interviews.