During the pandemic, millions of women stopped going to the salon and stopped dyeing their hair — and quite a few were surprised to discover that they loved their gray locks. Andie MacDowell was one of them, and she’s speaking out about all of the positives of going natural.

This week, she opened up to Katie Couric about how aging makes her feel, how it’s affected her career, and how embracing her gray has helped with all of it.

She started the conversation by explaining that aging in Hollywood is extremely difficult for women — beginning as early as their late 30s.

“Working in your 30s is fantastic in my business. The casting is so much easier. And then it gets tougher,” she said. “There’s a lot of relevance and truth to the aging face of a woman and the aging face of a man and how it affects your career.”

She told a story about how a young reporter once asked her how it felt to lose her beauty — before she had even turned 40 — and how that made her feel bad for the woman, who would age too someday.

Now, at 64, MacDowell says that she loves being older, and that includes her hair.

“I’m so in my age, because my hair really does help that,” she said.

She also said that she had been wanting to go gray for a long time, but people kept telling her that it was too soon.

“It was something I had wanted young, at a younger age,” she said. “I thought that it would suit me, I really did,” she explained. “I thought that the idea of a kind of salt and pepper would suit me. I thought it would look good on my face.”

And yep, she was right. When the pandemic hit, she took the opportunity to try.

“When it started growing out during COVID I saw I was right … It looks good on me,” she said. She also said she was inspired to take the plunge by her father and by George Clooney, both of whom also looked great transitioning to gray.

She went on to say that she both looks and feels better now.

“As it was growing out, my eyes popped, the color of them looked a little different. I liked the way my skin looked better,” MacDowell said. “And there was a feeling. It empowered me more. I felt more powerful and I felt more genuine and I felt more myself.”

Jemal Countess/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

The Maid actor said that comments about how her gray hair makes her “look older” don’t bother her at all.

“How old do you think I look? You know, I’m gonna be 65,” she laughed. “What, do you think I look 75 just because I let my hair go gray… I don’t care. I want to be old. I’m tired of trying to be young. I don’t want to be young. I’ve been young.”

She also wants to focus her time on more important things than trying to hold on to her youth.

“And to be an older person trying to be young? What an effort! It’s a lot of effort. I’m already working on staying in shape, taking good care of my body, nourishing my skin, working on my brain. How much can I possibly do? I can’t keep up with the charade! I can’t!”

How much more refreshing, open and inspiring can a person be? It’s clear why Andie has hit icon status — no matter what color her hair is.

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