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She’s long been the darling, girl next door and Hollywood leading lady. It’s the news that many fans have been waiting for after announcing eight years ago that she’d be retiring from acting and taking some well-deserved, me-time away from the spotlight, Cameron Diaz is back, better than ever – and, it seems, with more perspective and some really important insights when it comes to the hardships associated with being a woman, even in 2023. 

Renowned for her charismatic charm, she’s a firm favorite with both women and men. Most of us, as we get older and are surrounded by “perfectly” toned bodies with impossibly smooth skin, look to women like Cameron Diaz as the epitome of ageless beauty. She never seems to age a day, and that infectious smile is as brilliant as ever.

But the much-idolized Diaz still finds herself struggling with the realities of living in an uncertain world, the difficulties still faced by women, even in 2023, motherhood and unrealistic beauty standards that she admits have had a real impact on her mental health. 

Cameron shares her view on beauty standards

We all like to think that times have changed and that women are no longer anywhere near as far back in the queue as they were in the past. But the reality is that the demands on women are as unrealistic and unattainable as ever. And recently, things have seemingly gone from bad to worse. Inflation, climate change, the stress in the workplace, coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, changes to laws affecting reproductive health, and the fear and uncertainty associated with the war in Ukraine are issues that affect us all. 

Yet, it doesn’t stop there. Women are also expected to maintain full-time jobs, take care of family, raise children, make the house a “home” – and achieve all this while fulfilling the beauty standards that Hollywood continues to enforce. 

The standards for beauty in Hollywood have always been outrageous and unattainable. And while the industry goes about it a little more subtly these days, they’re not a thing of the past. While we may often perceive celebrities such as Diaz as being untouchable, she admits that these unrealistic expectations have taken a toll on her mental health.

The challenge of managing her mental health in Hollywood

In Hollywood, no one is safe from scrutiny, especially female stars as they begin to age. While men seem exempt from the unwritten “no aging allowed” rule, women on screen are analyzed for everything from their weight to sagging skin and wrinkles. 

During a chat with Michelle Visage, a judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race and host of the podcast Rule Breakers, Diaz got real about the impact of chasing “ideal”, but completely unrealistic, beauty standards. She explains that she began to pick herself apart and judge herself based on these “ideals”. The fixation quickly became a toxic fixture in her life, and she often found herself wondering, “Why am I sitting here, like, being so mean to myself?”. 

Rationally, Diaz knew that what she was doing to herself wasn’t only wrong, it was harmful. But as she began to think about her body more rationally and view it from a place of admiration, she realized that a strong, capable body is much more important than living up to societal beauty standards. She says that, since her shift in attitude, how she looks has become the last thing she thinks about on a daily basis. 

It’s all very well to idolize the skin of a 20-something actress, but nothing lasts forever. Even if you look after your skin, over time it will inevitably begin to show signs of the life you’ve experienced. But, as Diaz explains in The Longevity Book, once we stop fighting the aging process and battling to stay looking “youthful”, things become much easier. 

Breaking the habits of comparison

When asked by Visage how she overcame self-critical thoughts and ended the toxic loop of anti-aging rhetoric, Diaz’s advice was quite simple: ultimately, it’s about trying to view your body in the positive light it deserves, looking at yourself and seeing just how far your arms and legs have carried you during the course of your life, instead of scrutinizing what they look like. 

She also advises that we stop comparing ourselves to others. Getting off of social media, avoiding looking in the mirror at every opportunity, and banning selfies can all be helpful when it comes to self-acceptance. 

Cameron Diaz on Insta with Drew Barrymore

Platforms such as Instagram, according to Zara Abrams of the American Psychological Society, encourage social comparisons, where the focus is on “evaluating oneself in relation to others”. What we tend to forget is that Instagram is very much a curated view of people’s lives. What we see there isn’t a true reflection of reality. 

Cameron Diaz on gaining perspective

Most of us aren’t very good with change. Strangely, it doesn’t even seem to matter whether the change is positive or negative – it frightens us. And the bigger the change, the more averse to it we tend to be.

Diaz told ABC News that, as she got closer to the age of 40 (she’s now 49), she found that more and more women were asking her whether she was “nervous” about taking on the big 4-0.

But instead of being scared or intimidated, she began to ask why women are so scared of aging. Instead, she says, as she has grown older, she has become more grateful for each year she’s able to experience. 

Diaz recommends remembering that aging is a privilege. With each passing year, we gain more knowledge and perspective. Remembering that many people would give anything to live just one more day can help to frame it as a positive thing. 

Reframing the aging process

As women age, there are physical, hormonal, and emotional changes to deal with. But what is likely most harmful when it comes to the aging process is how much we tend to stress about it. Big birthdays such as turning 30, 40, and 50, elicit fear of how much older we’re getting. Life can seem as if it’s spiraling out of control. These milestones can bring with them immense pressure to “not look your age” or to start anti-aging procedures such as Botox. 

Diaz admits that she does understand that fear; as we age, we inevitably become less mobile, have less energy, and can lose that youthful spark. Most of what we fear is bigger than simply the aesthetic aspects of aging. Youth and virility go hand in hand, but what can be more important than anything else is how we perceive ourselves. She says she has looked after herself better in the last 15 years than she did in the first 26 years of her life. 

Diaz also shared with close friend and host of The Goop Podcast, Gwyneth Paltrow, that her daughter Raddix has played a major part in her change in perspective. Raddix, it seems, has allowed Diaz to look to the future with a new feeling of endless possibility.

Now, instead of having a negative connotation with growing older, she looks forward to seeing her daughter grow up. She told Paltrow: “It’s totally opened up. I’m excited. I’ve got 50 or 60 years to go. I want to live to be 110 since I’ve got a young child.”

Cameron Diaz on embracing motherhood

Diaz took a break from Hollywood eight years ago, and it’s clear that some distance from what is often a very toxic industry has done her nothing but good. In 2015, she married Benji Madden and has since lived a much quieter, more private life, away from the spotlight and intrusions of Hollywood. In 2019, she and Madden welcomed their daughter Raddix via surrogate. 

The distance from the spotlight has also allowed her to focus on her priorities, on a more personal level. She told Vogue that what she really wants, much more than to look as if she’s still in her 20s when she clearly isn’t is to be full of energy and be a great mum to her daughter. She says of motherhood: “I want to be the mum that runs around. I want my energy to stay vital.”

Speaking to Paltrow, the new mother also said that, during your 40s, ‘you finally start to truly appreciate your own parents and everything they’ve done for you.’ She describes becoming a mother in her 40s as a “revelation”, saying she wants nothing more than to still be around for Raddix when she reaches the age that Diaz is now. When she was asked whether she finds it difficult to be the “oldest mom” in her friend group, her response was refreshingly pure: “I’m lucky to be my age, lucky to have those girlfriends, lucky to have my daughter, lucky to have all the support I do raising her.”

Cameron DiazThe secret to youthful makeup

Aging skin tends to be less smooth, less supple, and loses elasticity, which can make wearing make-up much more difficult than it was. If you aren’t using the correct products, makeup can make your skin look worse. Powders and foundations settle into creases in the face and make them appear deeper than they are. Diaz recommends going for as natural a look as possible and keeping it simple. 

In a video for Harper’s Bazaar, Diaz and her long-time make-up artist, Gucci Westman, showcased a somewhat different take on the youthful blush look. Instead of opting for a powder blush, which might settle into any lines on the face, she dabs bright red lipstick on her cheeks. 

Another major make-up tripwire to avoid is a very high-coverage foundation, especially when it offers a matte finish, as it’s much more likely to settle on the face, deepen the look of any fine lines and wrinkles, and might even look cakey. Instead, make-up guru Westman suggests building coverage more slowly and leaving the skin quite visible. Using a smaller brush to apply everything evenly before blending also helps to stop that heavily made-up look. 

New adventures

A fan of cleaner living and the occasional glass of wine, Diaz and co-founder of Avaline, Katherine Power, started the journey towards “cleaner wine” in 2018. The two realized that the overwhelming majority of wines available for the mass market were made without organic grapes and, thus, could be legally adulterated with dozens of chemicals and flavoring components. So, it isn’t as much about what you put in the wine as what you don’t

Diaz explains that ultimately, making clean wine is about how the manufacturer farms the grapes. If grapes are farmed correctly from the beginning of the process, additives are generally unnecessary. 

The wines from Avaline are a small batch, with two varietals: a crisp and clean rosé, and a mineral-forward, dry white. 

The secret to aging well 

Cameron Diaz has come a long way since her days on the red carpet in the 1990s and 2000s, when she was considered to “have everything”, from the dream body to the girl-next-door smile that became her trademark. 

Now, she tries to avoid any kind of negativity. Letting go of societal pressures to look and act a certain way has helped to free her from a toxic mindset. Instead, she focuses on positive thoughts and mantras that allow her to be much gentler with herself. She recently told Goop that she is “looking forward to all the aspects of growth to come in [her] the 50s”. 

No longer relying on external validation, she is driven by love for herself and her family. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, she says it allowed her to have more time to spend with her family and gave her a greater sense of what is – and, indeed, what isn’t – important in life.

Cameron Diaz’s pillars of graceful aging

  • Nutrition: Diaz is one of the very few celebs who don’t advocate for fad diets, and she never misses a meal. She takes what she puts into her body very seriously, focusing on balance more than anything else. “Basically, every time I eat, I eat lean protein, some carbs and good fats for energy, and something leafy and green for nutrients and fiber. I’m not really a snacker, potentially as a result of getting everything I need at each meal.”
  • Sleep: We all know the importance of sleep, and how detrimental it can be for the body when you don’t get enough. This is especially true when it happens consistently. In The Body Book, she says: “We spend a good portion of our lives asleep – or trying to sleep – and the quality of that time spent sleeping determines our mood and our mental sharpness. And not just the next morning, but the next years of our life.”
  • Exercise: Diaz maintains that it’s essential to be gentle with yourself, and allow yourself time out to rest and recover. Ordinarily, she enjoys a wide variety of workouts, including weight training, cardio, HIIT, and pilates. 

The bottom line

Other aspects of Diaz’s daily life include, unsurprisingly, drinking a lot of water. She drinks “a liter of water straight down” before breakfast. She also values using her time in the morning to focus on the day ahead and set intentions. Meditation, breakfast, and working out all form part of her morning routine, to get her day started on the right foot. 

MAIN IMAGE CRDIT: camerondiaz/instagram
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Katie Hart

Katie Hart is a successful health, beauty and fashion blogger with a BA in Fashion Media at LISOF. Her hobbies include styling, reading, true crime podcasts and singing. She is a lover of all things fashion and beauty, but is happiest when sitting with her mini Maltese, Aria.

The content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.

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