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Angela Bassett, 63, Explains Why ‘You Look Good for Your Age’ Is Not a Compliment

“I feel like so much of who we are is on the inside.”

  • Angela Bassett has said it before and she’ll say it again: “You look good for your age,” is not a compliment.
  • The 63-year-old recently opened up about why she feels this way.
  • “When we take care of ourselves, we do look good for our age, whatever age that is, you know?”

    At 63, Angela Bassett knows she looks good. She doesn’t need anyone to tell her, especially if they’re going to add “for your age” to the end of the compliment.

    If you think about it, the overused phrase, “You look good for your age,” is kind of a backhanded insult—why must age be a factor in someone’s beauty? That’s what Bassett wants to know.

    “I think when we take care of ourselves, we do look good for our age, whatever age that is, you know?” the actress recently told InStyle.

    This isn’t the first time the 9-1-1 star has resisted the cliché, either. In 2018, she told Allure of the time a woman bagging her groceries leaned over the counter to say, “You look so young.” Instead of thanking her, Bassett had a little fun with it. “I said, ‘Hearing that is a wonderful thing—seeing as I’m 80!’” she laughed.

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    Although she admitted to Allure that it “feels good that they wonder,” she knows her value is rooted in much more than appearance. That’s something she’s paid close attention to throughout her career, especially as someone who has stepped into the shoes of legendary characters like Rosa Parks, Betty Shabazz, Tina Turner, and the Black Panther’s Ramonda, the Queen of Wakanda.

    “Thirty and 40 years ago when I started out, Black characters were weighted too heavily in the negative. I was always mindful of those images,” she told InStyle. “There’s complexity to us. There’s beauty to us. There’s strength to us. There’s compassion to us. There are so many wonderful things.”

    That may be why she doesn’t have a ton of advice when it comes to looking youthful—she has more important things to talk about. And when it comes to her radiant skin specifically, she admitted that she can’t take much credit for it.

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    “My aesthetician is a big part of it. I found a great one, Skin by Mamie [Mamie McDonald]. She is so gifted at what she does,” Bassett raved. “As August Wilson once wrote, after two hours with her, ‘I am shining like new money.’ I don’t really wear makeup if I don’t have to. I’m trying to just keep healthy skin that I don’t need to cover up.”

    And although it may be hard to believe, she does have problem areas that pop up, “like hormonal changes and melasma,” she said. And when McDonald isn’t working her magic on Bassett’s skin, the actress previously told the Los Angeles Times that she loves using Dr. Barbara Sturm’s line for darker skin tones.

    “But I feel like so much of who we are is on the inside,” she told InStyle. “So if you’re stressed, it shows, and it shows in your skin.”

    In fact, in Bassett’s opinion, staying as stress-free as possible works better than any anti-aging cream on the market. “As we advance, 60 is the new 40, or 70 is the new 50. It keeps getting pushed,” she told Allure. “But you have to keep the stress down and the attitude hot.”

    Now those are some words of wisdom we can live by.

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