On August 16th, Angela Bassett will turn 60. If you’ve been watching Angela Bassett slay the sh-t out of every red carpet she’s been a part of lately or for the last 33 years of her career, you know how ridiculous that fact is. SIXTY. She looks incredible. She gets that a lot. In a new interview with Net-a-Porter, Angela talks about what it’s like to be the recipient of the classic “you look so great for your age!” compliment.
“I guess it’s a high-class problem to have… But you don’t really know what to say when someone says: ‘Oh my God, you look so good.’ What do they expect? For you to be completely broken down?”
The answer to that is yes. We do expect 59-year-old women to be completely broken down. We don’t expect them to look like Angela Bassett. We don’t expect them to be vibrant or stylish or sexy. We may not even expect them to exist since Hollywood has typically erased women, especially black women, from its narratives as soon as they hit a certain age. I think the expectation is that a 59-year-old Angela Bassett should be haggard with years of being hard-done by life showing on her face. So, when she shows up looking like THIS, we lose our sh-t.
Is that unfair? Or is it just a celebration of a woman who is aging gracefully and authentically on her own terms. At 59, Angela Bassett is starring in one of the most anticipated action movies of the summer. That is something to celebrate. Plus, she really does look SO GOOD. Angela Bassett tells Net-a-Porter that she was shocked when she got the call for Mission: Impossible – Fallout.
“I said: ‘What is that?’ I didn’t think it could be the mega-franchise,” she chuckles, softly. “It was seven in the morning, and I hadn’t had coffee yet. But I’ve also never seen anyone who looked like me in those films.”
When I see photos from the Mission: Impossible – Fallout press tour, I still do a double take every time I see Angela Basset and not just because she looks so damn good. I still can’t believe she’s there. After Black Panther, I hoped that the roles would come for Auntie Angela and they are. Thank f-ck they are. Here’s what Angela said about the change in opportunities for black women in Hollywood:
“There are more roles, but if you look at the statistics, there are more platforms, more opportunities, for everyone… So, when you actually dive into the percentages, they’re still the same. There’s always still work to do on this house.”
One of the biggest things still under construction in “this house” is pay equity. Angela Bassett is starring in blockbusters now. She’s an Academy Award nominee. She should be paid as such.
“I’ve had to protect myself from being led by the finance of it…I can’t start with, ‘Well, how much are they paying?’ I can’t be led by that.”
I think Angela is talking about artistic integrity here but as a black actress, I’m sure she couldn’t afford to be led by pay throughout her career. We know that black actresses make significantly less than their white female peers, who make less than their male counterparts. I hope Angela Bassett is demanding her worth now, even if she’s not being led by it.
I love the details about Angela’s work in this feature but I also love the insight it gives into the work she’s put into her family. Angela Bassett has been married to Courtney B. Vance for 21 years. They’ve got 12-year-old twins. She doesn’t let them have cell phones or iPads. Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance are those black parents. I’m obsessed.
Are we still saying #GOALS? Angela Bassett is the definition of goals – at any age.
You can read the rest of Angela in Net-A-Porter here.