Do you remember the waves Demi Moore made when she graced the cover of Vanity Fair in 1991 seven months pregnant, naked and gorgeous? Or a year later when she appeared wearing only a suit of body paint on the cover of the same magazine? The striking thing to me was that rather than appearing vulnerable in her nudity, in both shots she owned it ─ personifying compelling variations of female power and confidence.
Fast forward 20 years and various cinematic incarnations later (from a shaved head in the movie G.I. Jane to a jaw-dropping bikini bod at age 40 in Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle),it was sad to hear about her apparent downward spiral earlier this year after the breakup of her marriage to Ashton Kutcher.
As disturbing to me as the reported return to substance abuse were the visuals of her looking gaunt and a shadow of her former self. While I was never a big fan of her films, I admired the strength and determination she must have possessed to grow from a trailer park kid to a Hollywood heavyweight, the fact she appeared to be a loving mother and, yes, that she was shaking up our ideas of what it means to look middle-aged (even if she’s had the help of some “enhancement”).
So it was disappointing to hear the tragic clichés of her recent story: the younger husband stepping out on her with younger women, the solace-seeking in drugs, and her attempts to prove she’s still “young” by club-hopping with her 23-year-old daughter.
Aging in Hollywood
Despite some of her choices, I find myself feeling for her rather than judging her. Hollywood is a brutal place for aging beauties, including those who still look damn fine, and even people shod in designer heels can lose their footing.
It’s also another stark reminder of how we value women of a certain age compared to their male counterparts ─ just look at George Clooney, at 51 he’s still a leading man and box- office gold. I’m also rooting for her because I bet the 49-year-old incarnation of Demi Moore now knows more about what’s important in life than the Vanity Fair cover girl possibly could.
More than enough
It was heartening to see the shots of Demi in April appearing publicly for the first time since rehab and looking healthier and more like her old self, and also to hear she’s changed her @mrskutcher Twitter handle to @justdemi.
Let’s hope Ms. Moore realizes that “just Demi” is more than enough.