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Emma Samms: Rolling back the years?

PUBLISHED: 16:00 29 April 2016

'It’s a no-win situation. We are encouraged to grow old gracefully, yet any sign of aging is widely commented on'

'It’s a no-win situation. We are encouraged to grow old gracefully, yet any sign of aging is widely commented on'


Despite the fact that I have no choice, I’m totally fine about telling people my age. But am I fine about looking it? Absolutely not.

I’m always surprised that anyone would lie about their age. Personally, I’d much rather try for “She looks pretty good for 55”, as opposed to knocking 10 years off my age and risking the “She looks a bit rough for 45” comment. Not that I could get away with claiming to be 10 years younger though, since my fully-formed breasts and I appeared in our first film (and therefore the newspapers) in 1977 when I was 17. Also, in 1978, at aged 18 I had a well-documented romance with a man 16 years my senior. I doubt he’d appreciate me saying I was 8 years old at the time.

Despite the fact that I have no choice, I am, in fact I’m totally fine about telling people my age. But am I fine about looking my age? Absolutely NOT. I am utterly dependant on the skills of Ben at Blushes Hairdressers in Cheltenham to disguise my grey hairs, I work out with Peter my Personal Trainer twice a week and I am unashamedly addicted to my Clarins moisturizers. Those are just some of the tools that I use to wage war on the encroaching years.

And yet, and this is a big ‘And Yet’, probably the very worst thing anyone could call me would be ‘Mutton Dressed as Lamb’. It’s a minefield, this ageing thing. I really don’t want to look old, but oh, the horror of being that person who is either trying way too hard to look young, or even worse, has lost track of time and still thinks they’re in their twenties.

Of course, having a teenaged daughter means there’s very little chance of me wearing something inappropriate and not knowing about it. Any occasion on which I’ve come close to making that sort of mistake, my daughter has very kindly brought it to my attention. A few years ago, in the middle of a very cold winter, my daughter was playing in a hockey match which I loyally attended. The moment she spotted me she came rushing over. It was not the warm greeting I had anticipated.

Instead she pointedly asked, “WHY IS YOUR HAT SO BIG?” I had opted for the warmth of a Russian style fur hat to counter the freezing winds of Minchinhampton Common but I was, thankfully, now aware of my faux pas and would never make that mistake again. So kind.

I have kept pretty much all my old clothes, partly because some of them actually still fit but mostly because they are beautiful. In my Los Angeles days I was given many designer clothes and a lot were made especially for me. I was given some of my Dynasty clothes, all designed and made by Nolan Miller and his team. It’s hard to give away clothes like that. I was recently asked to loan some to a museum and let me tell you, that’s a request that makes you feel old, if ever there was one!

A lot of these clothes have come back into style, but I can’t really wear them. Apparently the Golden Rule regarding ‘retro’ clothing is that if you wore them the first time they were in fashion, you can’t wear them the second time around. It’s a no-win situation, really. We are encouraged to age gracefully and yet any sign of aging is critiqued and widely commented on. As is any sign of surgical intervention.

For many years I’ve had a plan: That by the time I lose my looks, not to need them anymore. I’ve been quoted as saying this numerous times and my work as a photographer and screenwriter are a big part of that cunning plan. Am I actually comfortable living up to those lofty ideals? I’d say it’s a work in progress, so watch this space…

Follow Emma on Twitter! @EmmaSamms1


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