Holywood, and America in general, can be obsessed with youth, and women in particular face challenges, as the calendar turns over, that most men will never face.
“I’m 52, which is actually 82 in actress years,” actress Annabelle Gurwitch told NPR, when she was interviewed to discuss her book, I See You Made an Effort: Compliments, Indignities, and Survival Stories from the Edge of 50. “Being a woman over 50 in Hollywood I could commit any crime with impunity, because I’m completely invisible.”
In Hollywood, the situation for women in general remains dire, with fewer than 30 percent of speaking roles in American films going to women, according to a 2016 University of Southern California study — even though in the most recent U.S. Census, women made up nearly 51 percent of the U.S. population. But there are signs that for older women who face even greater exclusion than their under-50 counterparts, it may be starting to be at least somewhat better.
According to the Forbes list of 2018’s highest-paid Hollywood actresses, six of the top 10 are at least 40-years-old. Only two women topped the $20 million mark, down from three in 2017, and four the year before that.
But on Instagram, a new wave of women in their 50s are proving unafraid to defy all stereotypes of what it means to reach “middle age” as a woman in the entertainment industry. Here are five of the sexiest women who top the half-century mark, regularly posting to their Instagram accounts.
CHRISTIE BRINKLEY, 64
Born on February 2, 1954, per Biography, Brinkley was the dominant supermodel of the 1980s, adorning more than 200 magazine covers in that decade — including the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue three times.
While she never made a full-fledged jump from modeling to acting, Brinkley will be remembered for a sexy cameo appearance alongside Chevy Chase in the 1983 comedy classic, National Lampoon’s Vacation.
HALLE BERRY, 52
In 2002, Berry became the first African-American actress to win an Academy Award for Best Actress. And as the Los Angeles Times noted, 16 years later, she remains the only woman of color to win the award.
Berry’s acting career remains strong, however. Next spring she will appear alongside Keanu Reeves in the action sequel, John Wick 3.
MONICA BELLUCCI, 53
The Italian-born Belucci saw her breakout role in the 1996 French thriller The Apartment, according to The Telegraph. And 20 years later, she made history as the first “Bond girl” over 50 starring alongside Daniel Craig in the James Bond blockbuster, Spectre.
CINDY CRAWFORD, 52
After Christie Brinkley, no woman better embodied the then-new concept of the “supermodel” more than Crawford, who became a global superstar in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, becoming one of the first models whose celebrity rivaled that of the top Hollywood movie stars, according to Biography.
Crawford spoke openly in interviews about her personal life and difficult family issues — including the divorce of her parents and the death of her brother — making Crawford a far more accessible figure than most models who often cultivated an icy and distant demeanor.
SALMA HAYEK, 52
The Mexican-born bombshell got her big break in the 1995 indie action flick, Desperado, and was nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal of the painter Frida Kahlo in the 2002 biopic, Frida. Her career remains thriving two decades later, with her latest film, the comedy Drunk Parents, in which she co-stars with Alec Baldwin, set for release in 2019, according to Deadline.