By Marcia Barhydt

One of Oprah’s recent shows included 3 TV stars as her guests – Linda Evans (born on November 18, 1942), Teri Hatcher (born December 8, 1964) and Cybil Shepherd (born February 18, 1950) and they talked about being Famous Aging Beauties.

So, in case you’re mathematically challenged as I am, that makes Evans 68, Shepherd almost 60 and Hatcher 46. (Oprah was born January 29, 1954, which makes her almost 56). I’m not sure Hatcher even qualifies for this group!

Each of the guests professes to, if not embracing, then certainly accepting and making the best of her age.

Teri Hatcher says, “We need to hear that beauty is encapsulated in the whole of a being, not just a flawless, perfect moment captured for the cover of a magazine.”

Cybil Shepherd says, “I was scared that when I got older, I would no longer be valued. You were disposable in this disposable culture.” Shepherd now says she has since discovered that her value exists in her inner wisdom, and that she strives to find things she loves about her body every day.

Linda Evans says, “What you look like has nothing to do with what you think about yourself, and that’s where we get confused. The outside has nothing to do with the inside. And the thing that’s so mysterious to me is everything we’re basing our value on is outside of us. I’m happier because I don’t define myself by what other people think. You get older and wiser, that’s the great thing about aging. You get more certain in yourself and who you are and what you want.”

In spite of all this bravado, I was struck by how, um, processed these 4 women looked. I wondered how long it took them before the show to have their hair and their face done. And I wondered if they were just talking the talk. They’re all saying that they’ve accepted the aging process with as much grace as they can muster, yet their highly polished appearance makes me wonder if they’re authentic, you know?

Their words were wise, absolutely. I hope they actually lived their words when they weren’t on a TV show as a guest. They were an inspiration to any of us with qualms about aging, absolutely. I hope they actually believed their own words when they’re at home. I hope they spend most of their time at home wearing no makeup with unstyled hair, just like I do. I hope they wear ‘comfy’ clothes that they’d never wear outside their house, just like I do. And I hope they have a good level of comfort doing that, just as I do.

However, if you go to Oprah’s website, you’ll see a picture of her in the top corner, her logo…

Am I looking at a 56 year old woman who hasn’t been airbrushed, retouched and digitally modified? Am I looking at a woman who looks like the rest of us do at 56? Or am I looking at a woman who seems to be walking into an omnipresent wind tunnel to make her hair look like that? And am I looking at a photo of the same woman I see on her TV show? There’s such a difference that I have to question her own dedication to aging with grace and wisdom.

My point is that even though all 4 of these beautiful women, beautiful in so many ways, even though they all profess to learning our inner beauty, aren’t they each still over-trying their outer beauty?

Am I suggesting that these 4 or any of us stop trying to look our very best? Never. I just think there might be a smaller gap, chasm even, between what I say and what I do.

© Marcia Barhydt, 2010