By Heather Dunhill
You never know who a celeb will be when they step off the screen and into your day. I’ve often been surprised, and not always in a good way. But lovely and soft-spoken Southern belle Andie MacDowell was warm and gracious when we sat down for a one-on-one chat while she was here for the Ringling College of Art and Design’s Digital Filmmaking Studio Lab. Frankly, Andie seemed more like she was making new friends in Sarasota rather acting like than the accomplished actress she is – remember sex, lies and videotape, Four Weddings and a Funeral and Ground Hog Day, which just celebrated its 20th anniversary?
What I found the most attractive about Andie is that she’s a very real woman who’s comfortable in her own skin--not to gloss over the fact that she’s 54 years old and fit into fashion designer sample sizes for this October 2012 spread in Town & Country with her daughters, Margaret and Rainey Qualley.
We talked everything from fashion to philanthropy, beauty to social media. Hope you find her as lovely as I did.
“Beauty is an action. It’s how you treat people and how you create your life. A creative energy, that’s what beauty is. You can paint yourself, do your hair or wear great clothes but if you’re not a beautiful person, you’re just not beautiful.” - Andie MacDowell
Congratulations on 25 years with L’Oreal. You’ve aged so gracefully. What’s the key to beauty after 50?
Every age is beautiful; I don’t think there’s a time limit on beauty. After doing research on health, I discovered that negative talk is one of the most detrimental things that people can do to their own well-being. Also, it’s revered in different cultures to age, [but] in our culture there’s this fear of getting older. I don’t have a fear of getting older, unless I don’t have my health. Being healthy is beautiful.
While we’re discussing L’Oreal, what are you favorite products?
Revitalift and Invisible Lift foundation; the foundation is great for your skin and makes you look really healthy. And they have a new hair product called Kérastase Masque Intense Oléo-Curl – it’s changed my hair cuticles. Each strand is thicker and healthier. They just did it for me at The Ritz; it’s really wonderful.
If you could go back in time and pull clothes from any era, which would it be?
Well, it wouldn’t be the Victorian times, those poor things! Can you imagine having to put on those horrible corsets?! I think the '20s are the most original.
In terms of beauty, what should those of us in our 40s be doing now?
It don’t think there’s any difference in age, it’s all the same thing really. My goal for my kids is to break the mold of thinking that getting old is bad. If we can get out of those Victorian corsets, then lets break out of the confinement that only the young are revered. What about finding something beautiful about a woman in her 80s or 90s? Everyone’s beautiful in their own way.
What do you like to do when you travel?
I like to go to museums and walk. I especially love Musée de l'Orangerie, the Louvre, Rodin’s garden…
So clearly, you’ve been to Paris--was it a memorable city for you?
I lived in Paris when I was young. It was pretty amazing for a kid who grew up in the tiny little town of Gaffney, South Carolina. It’s really where I got my education about the world. I learned to eat by myself and discovered Hemingway. I would take his books to a café and read; it was very romantic, really. A Moveable Feast was my favorite. It was about how life was good when it was simple while living in Paris. I was living pretty simple then, in a fifth-floor walk up, so I felt a kinship with Hemingway’s memoir of his time there.
What social media are you currently obsessed with?
I should probably be obsessed with more; I’m not doing enough. Recently my daughters introduced me to Pinterest – there are some inspirational ideas there.
What is your all time favorite movie?
That changes all the time but I really like Annie Hall.
And in closing, how about a goodwill shameless plug for your favorite charities?
I’ve worked closely with L’Oreal’s charity the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund and the women who’ve been diagnosed. I also admire Habitat for Humanity and I love anything pertaining to environmental issues and preserving land.