Jane Fonda: Advice From The Icon Herself
Patient Perspective Award-winning actress, writer, political activist and fitness guru — Jane Fonda has accomplished much over her 77 years.
Although announcing her retirement in the early 1990s, Jane Fonda returned to acting in 2005, the same year she wrote her autobiography.
Four years later, she published Prime Time: Love, health, sex, fitness, friendship, spirit—making the most of all of your life, sharing her perspective on how to better live your later years. Now she is starring in the Netflix hit series “Grace and Frankie”, and is having a total resurgence.
Jane Fonda spoke with Mediaplanet about healthy aging and her plans for the future.
"I want to get better as an actor so I’ve begun working with an acting coach and I’m finding it fascinating."
Mediaplanet: What does “healthy aging” mean to you?
Jane Fonda: It means being able to enjoy the day, remain curious, strong enough to play with grandchildren or nieces and nephews, and be able to enjoy work and play.
MP: Many see you as “the face of graceful aging.” What do you attribute your aging well to?
JF: I have a lot of curiosity about things, I learn something new just about every day. It’s largely a question of attitude— having a youthful attitude. Also, I take care of my body through regular exercise, walking and resistance training, and I eat fresh, healthy food.
MP How has your career changed as you’ve aged?
JF: It’s slowed down. I used to make two feature films a year. But now I have a hit Netflix series, “Grace and Frankie” which begins shooting its second season in July. I want to get better as an actor so I’ve begun working with an acting coach and I’m finding it fascinating. I enjoy the Netflix series because I’ve long wanted to give a cultural face to older women.
MP You have spoken out about ageism in Hollywood. Can you tell us about that, and is it true elsewhere?
JF: Alas yes, especially in the U.S. ageism is rampant, but as people are living longer and healthier (older women are the fastest growing demographic in the world) the marketplace is going to have to deal with that! The ageism may start to diminish.
MP: You have mentioned that you’re actually happier in your older age than you were when you were younger. Why is that?
JF: Youth is hard. One has all these questions: What do I need to know? Who do I need to know? Who am I? How can I define success? With age, it’s “been there, done that.” You kind of know what you need in life, what will do you in, and what isn’t important. You’ve made the mistakes and they didn’t kill you. You can relax and develop wisdom. My personal youth was troubled and kind of sad. Life is better, easier for me now.
MP: You have been described as a major “sex symbol” at certain points in your career. How has that changed throughout your time in the spotlight?
JF: That time is long past, I am happy to say.
MP Do you have any advice to boomers and seniors about reinventing yourself later in life?
JF: No. Each of us comes to it in our own time and own way. My best advice is to stay active. Use it or lose it is true.
MP: What do you have going on in your third act? What’s next for you?
JF: I want to devote my non-working time to stopping global warming. This is the issue of our lives. This includes creating jobs in renewable energy for the people currently for big oil.