Growing old Gracelessly!

It was actually my mother who reminded my daughter about the Oscars on Sunday and she in turn reminded me that I love keeping up with the fashion. This is true and since we missed the “pre-show” we watched bits of the awards ceremony itself. Judging from the stats, millions of other viewers had the same idea or, they were actually looking to be entertained by some of the greatest entertainers in Hollywood. And entertained we certainly were though not all of it pleasantly! For all the planning and effort, not to mention money expended, the Oscar crew must be quite frustrated that the next day the big news is Angelina Jolie’s repeated leg flashing and J Lo’s wardrobe malfunction!

Yes many in Hollywood dressed elegantly and beautifully for the occasion and then there were those who wanted to make an impression even if were an unflattering one – to say the least! Jennifer Lopez is an extremely physically beautiful woman who would look good in sack cloth. It is unfortunate that she chose a dress that had people holding their breath on her behalf, waiting for the malfunction moment. Mind you, Cameron Diaz’s dress though not transparent or trying to slip off, did lack a good lining or built in undergarments which would have left some parts of her anatomy undisclosed. Angelina Jolie chose to make herself the laughing stock both at the awards itself and also in the news this week.

I tried to logically understand why someone who has much to lose, would take a huge risk like the possibility of your dress falling off or unceremoniously sticking a pale, bare leg out of your dress where you risk being the object of ridicule. Not being in that kind of limelight myself, I can only imagine that it must be devastating getting old in an industry that values and sells youthful physical beauty. Growing old gracefully is not easy for most anyone, judging from the billions spent on cosmetic surgery and potions touting the fountain of youth! It must be extremely difficult to watch the contents of your basket dwindle down to nothing before your very eyes because the eggs in there were only youth and physical beauty.  I read a headline in the last couple of days where Sarah Jessica Parker was being replaced by a “younger” actress to play the character of Carrie Bradshaw. (I don’t know the details of why and I don’t really want to know so please do not feel compelled to educate me.) I conclude this vain (pun intended) attempt to desperately hold on to the attention at any cost is what causes one to act gracelessly; thereby further precipitating the eventual “end”.

I admired Audrey Hepburn – an actress who won much praise and acclaim (yes, including Oscars) for her physical beauty and her acting capabilities but an actress who didn’t seek cosmetic surgery to prolong her youth nor tawdry gestures and clothes to keep the attention. She used her fame to call attention to suffering children and conducted herself as a “Fair Lady”. I guess she didn’t see her value as fading since she had more than physical beauty to offer the world and to quench her own need for self fulfillment. Now, there’s a Hollywood representative who exemplified growing old Gracefully!

Marisa Pereira


Marisa Pereira is a mother, fashion designer, currently runs a Design and Image Consulting business in Atlanta, GA, is a freelance writer and volunteers at her church and in the community. She holds a BA in Fashion Design and a BA in French with a minor in Psychology and has worked in the Fashion Industry for over twenty years. Frustrated at her inability to find appropriate church clothes for her 14 year old daughter, she heeded God’s call, and created the stylish but modest, Michaela-Noel clothing collection, now available on-line. Having lived in multiple countries, she is acutely aware of the emphasis cultures place on visual appeal. She analyzes the importance of presenting the best image of ourselves and passionately insists that it starts within. She regularly addresses adult and youth audiences – encouraging and teaching them to make a memorable first impact but more importantly - to create a lasting impression. Her websites are: and

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  • Ecollins

    If a woman can afford plastic surgery and chooses to look and feel better about herself, she should do so without being castigated for her choice. There is nothing wrong with wanting to look one’s best. If Ms. Pereria chooses to grow old without cosmetic help that is her choice. Personally, I think she should consider rethinking her decision.

  • Pat

    I think you missed Marisa Pereira’s point.  How one spends their money is their business, but what they spend their money on/for says a lot about their character.  Your response (a woman, about herself, her choice, one’s (her) best, I think) focuses primarily on self.   

  • bronwyn

    I totally agree with you about Ms. Hepburn. She was a style icon (a muse for Givenchy) and a graceful woman who maintained her dignity in dress. Having lived through WWII she was concerned about children in war torn countries and became an Ambassador for UNICEF.

    We could say it was “another time” but there were a lot of actresses who dressed provocatively in Ms. Hepburn’s day too.

    Trying very hard not to judge we must remember that Ms. Lopez always dressed provocatively at the Oscars except for that one time she appeared with her husband. Odd isn’t it?

    As for plastic surgery it seems to fall under the category of vanity. HOWEVER, it has prolonged Meryl Streep’s career because how can she play a 40 something woman in Mamma Mia if she let her true self show her age?

  • Pete Pereira

    Perhaps a little soul searching is in order if wanting to look one’s best or wanting to feel better about one’s self leads a woman to bare ler legs or wear clothing that is primarily designed to sexually attract strangers driving by or standing alongside a red carpet and ogling, much like a typical scenario on the streets of any town’s “red” district. That sort of “choice” says a lot about the state of a physically mature woman’s mind.
    Marisa’s article isn’t about being able to afford to look one’s best or resorting to cosmetic surgery to do so. It is, I believe, about what an individual considers “looking ones best” to be. The stark contrast between how Ms. Hepburn chose to look her best and the choice Ms. J Lo made to achieve the same says it all.

  • Frank Farrell

    Not sure the article “castigated” anyone for having cosmetic surgery.  It’s simply true that physical aging is difficult for most people in today’s culture.  This is particularly the case in fields (entertainment) that emphasize physical beauuty.  J Lo and Ms. Jolie are very attractive women but they behaved somewhat foolishly that night.  I know because my teenage daughters ridiculed them for “trying too hard”.  Nothing is more silly to kids than adults not acting their age!