Jane Leeves, Valerie Bertinelli and Wendie Malick, popular actresses now in their 50s and 60s, have starred in some of the highest-rated comedies and movies on television over the last four decades, and thus have aged as their fans have watched.
Yet the women, now working in their fourth season (along with Betty White, 91) of the TV Land series Hot in Cleveland, say they feel as good now as they did in their heydays on, for Malick, Just Shoot Me!, for Leeves, Frasier and for Bertinelli, One Day at a Time. (Watch the video playlist at the bottom of this page to see Hot in Cleveland's ladies in action.)
Aging in Hollywood can be daunting, particularly when roles for women over 40 are harder to find than those for men of the same age. But the women of Hot in Cleveland, who play entertainment-industry types from Los Angeles who decide to move to Cleveland because in Ohio they will be seen as glamorous, are actually hot in Tinseltown, as well as anywhere else.
Here's how they do it.
1. They stay active
The actresses take to heart the fact that exercise is a key to good health and good looks, and all three women have incorporated exercise into their daily routines.
Malick, 62, has taken up Pilates, which she says helps her posture. That's combined with caring for her five horses, two dogs and two miniature donkeys, she says, and she starts every day "by hiking with my dogs and riding a horse and shoveling manure — which I find very life-affirming, and it sort of keeps you grounded."
Bertinelli, 53, who married second husband Tom Vitale in 2011, may not be shoveling manure, but she has been a serious fitness fanatic since she lost 40 pounds as spokesperson for the weight loss company Jenny Craig several years ago. She asks readers of her blog, "My Very Best," to "commit to just 30 minutes of exercise a day…. Maybe you walk the dog in the morning, do some sit-ups or push-ups in the afternoon and take a family walk after dinner. The benefits are immediate and long-lasting."
Leeves, 52, a former dancer, tries to exercise at least five times a week: "I'll do three miles on my treadmill," she says, "usually at an incline — just walking, because I don't like running."
Next page: Eat fresh, and have a fresh attitude. »
2. They eat lean, light and fresh
Each actress has figured out what works for her, diet-wise. Malick, a former model who played model Nina Van Horn on the NBC series Just Shoot Me!, considers herself a "pescatarian," which she describes as eating "lots of vegetables and fruit and fish. I avoid the bread basket, pasta and things like that."
Leeves and her family are also all about the fresh. "We don't buy packaged foods in our house," she says. She has to juggle the dietary needs of her vegetarian daughter and a son who only wants to eat meat, she says. But she likes to cook: "I make a lot of quinoa dishes, and I'm lucky my kids eat vegetables."
3. They know which styles work
Leeves, who has been an outspoken critic of plastic surgery, has long, flowing hair, which she finds easier than short hair, which is "so much work." She says she often puts it up in a ponytail, since "I think it's very elegant as an older woman to wear your hair up." And, as a fashion lover, she tries to stay on-trend, but only to a point: "On the show I wear things I'd never wear in my life, like shorts and high heels. It's not something I'd walk around in because I think that's not appropriate."
Malick says she's been changing things a bit as she has gotten older, but she keeps it classy and comfortable. She says, "I wear things a little longer than I used to, and lower heels than I used to because it just feels so much better." Long straight hair doesn't work for her, she says, so she goes with "a little bit of a fringe, a little shag that can help faces feel a little lifted naturally."
4. They have the right attitude
In the year she turned 50, Bertinelli told AARP, "I've never been a big age person. I've got the lines. I'm aging. But so what? Now is the best time of my life."
But it can be challenging to keep the right perspective, says Leeves, because the actresses work in an image-obsessed business. "There is a certain amount of pressure to look good. But I think you can put that on yourself, you know? I'm quite happy to be 52, I feel great."
Malick says, with much more confidence than her old Just Shoot Me! character would have, "When you get to a certain point you just don't worry about the little junk as much as you used to. There is something kind of freeing about getting to the stage when you become, for lack of a better word, a crone…. You can be sort of an example to the women who come behind you, and really try to demonstrate by your behavior that you're a citizen of the world and not completely self-absorbed."
Christina Ianzito writes about lifestyle and entertainment topics for AARP Media.
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