This week, we applauded the beautiful woman – formerly known as “Keanu Reeves’ girlfriend” and now recognised as Alexandra Grant – on her stunning silver hair.
We silver sisters have been thrilled to see photographs of the loved up couple together. How radiant and happy they both look and how refreshing it is to see a woman with silver hair on the red carpet.
News and social media commentary has been mixed, ranging from what a lovely couple they make and how chic Alexandra looks, to tired tropes about her being his mother, and granny emojis.
It’s some progress. As their relationship continues to bloom, is the media finally accepting that its version of beauty – with all the airbrushing, buttock inflating injections and Rapunzel hair extensions – is not what many of us aspire to?
When news emerged that Keandra or Alekea (not to be confused with Ikea’s modular storage solution) were dating, Twitter hurtled faster than the Seabourn Legend liner in 1997’s ‘Speed 2: Cruise Control.’
Bill (or was it Ted?) was dating a woman with #grey hair? #WTF? Why? He should be dating Sandra Bullock with her mane of eternally chestnut brown hair. Who was this Dame Helen Mirren lookalike anyway? How old was she? (Oh, eight years younger than Keanu.) Frankly, she was lucky to be dating him at all. And, wasn’t Keanu a thoroughly decent chap for stepping out with a woman with grey hair?
Let’s flip this around. Actress Renée Zellweger, 53, is dating Ant Anstead, the British star of Wheeler Dealers, 42. There’s no mention of his silvers, no reference to her dating her dad, and definitely no grandpa emojis. I’ll even wager that he’s been dubbed a “silver fox.”
George and Amal Clooney (61 and 44, respectively) haven’t been subjected to memes of the old guy from ‘Up’ or suggestions that he should dye his hair. It’s not completely a match, as George is 17 years older than Amal, and while Keanu’s beard is bristling with silvers, Renée remains steadfastly blonde.
Silver hair in Hollywood
As a woman approaching 49 (Alexandra’s age), I know that you have to have steel to go the distance with silver hair transition. Alexandra has been thrust into the showbiz spotlight, and she’s on her own out there.
She’s a 40 something in a world where stars her age are flogging box hair colour on TV and where the very mention of a: “20 year cast reunion” sends shares in L’Oreal rocketing for both males and females. Shout out to Matt LeBlanc, for his sparkling silvers in ‘Friends: The Reunion’ by the way.
“But the news is full of silver sisters for all the right reasons,” I hear you say, as Andi MacDowell 64, and Dame Helen Mirren 76, are pictured spinning around like glitterballs from Stuido 54. Then there’s our silver stalwarts Dame Judi Dench, 87, Jane Fonda, 84, and Diane Keaton, 76, always promoting hair positivity.
I love them, but I cannot relate to them because they’re decades older than me and being silver in your 70s and 80s – while still shunned by some, including my own mother – is not unexpected. But in your 40s, it can be a lonely place.
Leading ladies my age are eerily silent on this. To be fair, the men are few and far between, but they are there – and they’re praised for it.
In their 50s, I’m inspired by British actress Victoria Hamilton and Melissa McBride (Carol from ‘The Walking Dead’). In the ‘Sex and the City’ reboot ‘And Just Like That’ Cynthia Nixon (Miranda) rocked a gorgeous grey do, and Sarah Jessica Parker was in the headlines with her silvers, talking about the double standards in Hollywood.
The 40s and younger, and I’m struggling to name any silver haired female stars, apart from Alexandra, who is in the media glare unintentionally.
Fortunately, I know from the groups and pages I follow on social media, that we have silver sisters in their 20s, 30s, 40s and beyond, leading the charge. These are the rock stars of silver hair.
What price do we pay for silver hair ?
But whether you’re a celebrity or an average woman, is ditching the dye career damaging?
Look at Kelly McGillis, 64, who didn’t get a look in with ‘Top Gun: Maverick’. She says it was due to her being “old”, “fat” and looking “age appropriate.” She adds: “I’d much rather feel absolutely secure in my skin and who and what I am at my age, as opposed to placing value on all that other stuff.” Kelly, I salute your integrity!
Tom, at 59, is still sporting his boot polish brown hair and Persil white teeth (although I did like his silvers in ‘Collateral’), and I’m sure audiences would prefer to see hero Maverick speeding on his Kawasaki than going for a Sunday drive in the family Volvo.
This powerful post sums up my thoughts on Tom, Kelly and her replacement: https://tinyurl.com/KellyandTom
The industry doesn’t exactly encourage women with silver hair to shine. I also understand that actresses are frequently required to change their look for roles and that hair colour can be transient. Cynthia Nixon is no longer silver haired and I’m not sure if SJP is still sporting her silvers.
I felt obliged to ‘come forward’ with my silver hair, to publicly ‘announce’ them – in the manner of a Jane Austen novel – as debutantes at a society ball.
You can read all about it here: https://shinyhappysilver.com/2022/04/28/month-by-month-one-year-of-silver/
Some of us do a ‘Scooby Doo’ style grey reveal like ‘West Wing’ Actress Allison Janney and others, like Jamie Lee Curtis, just do it without apology or explanation.
Where are the silver sisters in my world?
How can there be so few silver haired sisters in their 40s? Look around you, Anna. If I can’t even locate any in my local Asda, where anything goes and shopping in your onesie is encouraged, why would the showbiz industry be lined with silver?
Is this a strange ‘The Midwich Cuckoos’ plot with women walking around with the exact same dyed hair? When I’m at a restaurant or a gig, men with silver hair are all around me, but women with grey are few and far between – and that is their choice. However, I guarantee if I spoke to them they would be fed up with the dye, rinse and repeat routine.
And what would aliens make of all this?
E.T. “Let me get this right, women pour toxic chemicals on their heads every fortnight for fear that their naturally grey hair will appear? And these dyes might leave hair with the colour of mustard and the texture of sandpaper?”
Anna: “Yes, and we pay heavily for the privilege.”
E.T. “While men are encouraged to grow their grey out naturally, and they’re praised for being distinguished. Or, if they’re bald like me, that’s celebrated too? Either way, it’s no big deal, just expected?”
Anna: “Generally, yes.”
E.T.“But if women grow out their grey that’s discouraged and stigmatised? And this pattern in society is both reflected in and perpetuated by the media, so that it becomes the norm for men to be grey, but women cannot or do not want to break the code?”
E.T.“So, getting older, especially when you’re a woman, is frowned upon? And so people try to look younger with poisons and trickery? But why do people want to look younger, what’s wrong with ageing anyway, and therefore looking your age?”
Anna: “I don’t know. You’re the evolved species here.”
E.T. “Hmm, and you’re modelling this to your daughters?
E.T. “You’re saying that it’s perfectly acceptable to walk around with fried hair the colour of Mars, a bottom pumped up to the size of Jupiter and a face so altered that it can no longer form any facial expressions? But if somebody like me arrives, society can’t deal with it?”
Anna (nods): “To be fair, you go around naked.”
E.T. “That’s how free we are.”
Anna: “True. But if you think that we can’t talk about ageing and silver, then wait until you find out about grey pubic hair.”
E.T. “Time to phone home. You’re all weird on this planet.”
As women, we have fought for the right to look and behave how we want. If we want to dye our hair, or wear wigs, or go silver, then that should be our freedom of choice.
After all, another dame, Joan Collins, looks incredible. I don’t with dyed hair, and that might be the difference.
I can see Joan now, in a wide rimmed sun hat and white trouser suit, sipping Cinzano and rolling her eyes at silly little bloggers making silver a “thing”. “My dear, can’t you just get on with it like men do? Who made you the hair police?”
I know I’m passionate about silver and that not everybody wants to be grey or even suits grey, but I just want the ratios between male to female to be comparable and for the expectations placed on women to be the same as men.
I love that Alexandra is silver and I think that she and Keanu are totally bodacious.