Stop kidding us Jane - and act your age
'Yes I've had more plastic surgery -- that's my prerogative'
At 73, Hollywood sex symbol Jane Fonda doesn't just look good for her age -- she's got the face and body of a woman with a third of her life experience.
She may not be able to hide all her wrinkles, as our picture (right) suggests. But that doesn't mean she didn't try to camouflage most of them when she was promoting her new book.
With an almost wrinkle-free face, honey-kissed hair and an impossibly tanned and taut physique, the age-defying actress drew gasps of incredulity when she unveiled her latest look in a magazine photo shoot last week.
In fact, since she shot to fame as the perma-orgasmic Barbarella in 1968, Fonda has scarcely looked better.
So it's no big shocker that her newest incarnation coincides with the release of a new book divulging all her anti-ageing secrets.
In Prime Time, the glamorous granny passes on such appearance-preserving pearls of wisdom as getting enough sleep, not smoking or abusing alcohol, eating healthily and the importance of exercise.
"I made a list of everything I would have wanted to know when I was in my forties about getting older and decided to write a book about it," says the Hollywood royal, who's the daughter of actor Henry Fonda.
"I exercise regularly -- about five or six days a week if I can -- even though I've had a hip and knee replacement.
"I also watch what I eat, I meditate, I have enough money to get a trainer and have massages."
But she's also had some help to preserve her assets. The former fitness guru fully admits to going under the knife as recently as last year to pause the ageing process.
"I've had plastic surgery," she confesses. "I have a genetic problem with bags under my eyes, and years ago I had the fat removed from my eyelids and the jowls corrected, too."
Granted, it's bloody great work -- but turning the actress into a walking ad for plastic surgery could also nullify the wholesome healthy-living message of her book.
"It's remarkable work," agrees Dr Wim Danau, a plastic surgeon with Cosmedico clinic in Wicklow. "She looks stunning -- 20 years younger.
"But for regular women, I think it's an unrealistic result -- the difference is too big.
"I always tell clients that the most I can take off is 10 years," he adds, "and even to obtain a result like that, they'd have to have a very good lifestyle and not smoke."
Nonetheless, just as her fitness videos sparked an aerobics revolution in the '80s, Fonda's most recent makeover could spark an increase in nip/tuck among nanas.
"There's definitely been an increase in the number of older women coming to us for cosmetic surgery," says Dr Danau. "I've performed facelifts on women in their eighties.
"But I wouldn't like to see a client coming in holding a picture of Jane Fonda because, for most women, it's unachievable. So when it comes to cosmetic surgery, at least, I don't think she's a good role model for older women."
Preened and plumped, Fonda is perhaps not the best candidate to promote anti-wrinkle potions either (she's the face of L'Oréal Age Re-perfect).
Although tellingly, she was careful to preserve some of those money-making wrinkles during the self-improvement process.
"I didn't have the wrinkles taken away," says the three-time divorcee, who's in a relationship with music mogul Richard Perry. "I still wanted to look like me, only a more rested me.
"But good surgery takes money and if you don't have money don't do it. I've seen lots of women massacred by poor-quality plastic surgery."
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To her credit, the mum-of-two is refreshingly honest about the army of experts it takes to make her look this amazing: "There's a hair person, a make-up person, a stylist -- it doesn't just happen."
But fans of Fonda who followed her advice to 'Feel the burn' in the '80s, splashed out on the face cream she flogged in the noughties, converted to vegetarianism and, now, buy her book in a bid to look sexy at 70 may feel duped.
In 2000, the actress-turned-political-activist swore off the scalpel for good and began lobbying for a more natural type of beauty in Hollywood: "I'm going to try to organise other women in my profession and my friends to say no to the duck lips and getting rid of the wrinkles."
Since doing a U-turn, she's been forced to confess: "I caved -- that's my prerogative. I'm writing a book about getting older, so I had to admit it."
And though she claims to be "the happiest I've ever been" entering what she describes as her 'third act', Fonda's ongoing expensive and painful pursuit of perfection hints otherwise.
"Young or old, any woman who wants to go under the knife should undergo a full psychological assessment to find out the underlying reasons for such an undertaking," says psychologist Owen Connolly of Counsellor.ie. "Among clients I've treated, trauma in childhood is usually the number one reason.
"A person's self-worth is fuelled by the meaningful people in their life. So if, for example, you have a mother or father who convey that you're not good enough or pretty enough, that can impact on your understanding of yourself right into late adulthood."
Certainly, after battling bulimia, losing her mum to suicide, weathering three failed marriages and a troubled relationship with her dad, it's understandable that the star wanted to erase some of the evidence of the past few decades from her face.
Despite her feisty public persona and enviable looks, Fonda concedes she's been wracked by body-image issues for most of her career.
"I was the product of objectifying parents and also a product of the '50s, when the way a woman looked was so important," she says. "It's why I pay attention to my appearance now. I believed that to be loved you had to be perfect, and even though I've got over that now, it took a long time."
Now having beaten the process that terrifies most women -- for the moment, at least -- it remains to be seen if Jane Fonda can finally age gracefully.