Here is living proof that 40 really is the new 20. —Alex Daniel
If you’re a male of a certain age watching “Big Little Lies,” HBO’s smart new drama about wealthy, dysfunctional couples living on the California coast, you may feel like you're in a 1990s-era time-warp. (And no, not because the show’s written by David E. Kelley, creator of TV’s “Ally McBeal” and other Clinton-era gems.) It’s because its trio of leading women—Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, and Reese Witherspoon (combined age: 139)—are looking just as beautiful as they did when they first stole our hearts over two decades ago.
Of course, they’re not the only middle-aged women these days showing that age is just a number. With the help of some beauty and fitness experts, we've compiled the definitive list of women who are not only looking their very best—but who are also going all Benjamin Button on us. Here they are—and if you’re looking to impress your own significant other, don’t miss The 13 Sexiest Things You Can Ever Say to a Woman.
1. Nicole Kidman, 49
The ageless wonder from Down Under continues to rake in accolades—most recently with an Oscar nomination for the tear-jerker Lion—and look as youthful and radiant as ever across red carpets. “Nicole Kidman was a show-stopper at the 2017 Oscars,” writes Gibson Johns over at AOL.com. “She dropped jaws in the embroidered ensemble that matched her famously flawless, porcelain skin.”
2. Kate Beckinsale, 43
Beckinsale has always looked supernaturally amazing—and not just because she spends a lot of time killing werewolves while wearing skin-tight, black latex. Whether she’s rocking corsets for period films or navigating the Underworld universe, Beckinsale is, in her own words, “the fittest I’ve ever been.” (And though we’re avowed superfans, we are becoming increasingly concerned with the sheer oddity of her Instagram posts.)
3. Sandra Bullock, 52
Yes, she’s like the female George Clooney—roughly the same age, roughly the same star wattage, and now officially the same character (Bullock will play the alpha in the forthcoming Oceans Eight film)—but, of course, she looks way better. Need proof? Clooney was People’s “Sexiest Man Alive” in 1996 at age 36. Bullock? She was People’s “World’s Most Beautiful Woman” in 2015 at age 50. Need we say more?
4. Elle Macpherson, 52
“Nearly three decades has passed since she first graced the cover of Sports Illustrated and they’ve still invited her back. You know she's made some good decisions,” says Andrea Orbeck, fitness expert, FitFusion trainer, and creator of fitness DVDs such as "Supermodel Sculpt." Or, in the words of InStyle, MacPherson looks “just as hot” as ever.
5. Heidi Klum. 43
“As I have personally trained this woman through all of her pregnancies and births, I can attest that her ageless beauty is beyond genetics,” says Orbeck. “Her sunny disposition, priorities to family and relationships, and exercise routine account for her gravity-defying body.”
6. Cate Blanchett, 47
If we were betting men, we'd wager that there are more articles online devoted to the eternally youthful Cate Blanchett’s “beauty secrets” than there are GIFs of Lebron James’s dunks. “Yes,” writes Glamour, “Cate Blanchett’s skin really does glow.”
7. Marion Cotillard, 41
There is something undeniably sexy about the way Cotillard plays morally ambiguous characters, from Mal in Inception to her turn as Lady Macbeth to her steamy, delicious role as a spy in last year’s overlooked film, Allied.
Don't even get us started on the French accent.
8. Salma Hayek, 50
“Salma Hayek Proves She's Still Got It On The Oscars Red Carpet!,” gushed Perez Hilton, a few weeks ago, in response to the actress’s bra-free gown. For the record: we agree. And we’ve forgiven her for starring opposite Adam Sandler in the Grown Ups films.
9. Julia Roberts, 49
“Ever still the Pretty Woman, there's a reason why this mom in her 40s still looks like she's in her 30s—she acts like it,” says Orbeck. “She's enthusiastic, makes really smart eating choices, drinks a lot of water, gets her rest, and her squats could rival that of Olympic downhill skier. As someone who personally works with her, I'm always astonished that I am the one who's winded during our workouts.“
10. Jennifer Lopez, 47
As Hollywood Life put it, “Jennifer Lopez Slays the Grammys Red Carpet with Chic Nude Beauty.”
11. Jillian Michaels, 43
“If anyone is wondering if vigorous activity and clean eating is the key to define age, Jillian is the resounding ‘yes,’” says Orbeck. “With the body of an elite athlete 20 years her junior, lifting weights and eating lean is the secret to turning back time.”
12. Jennifer Aniston, 48
The former “Girl Next Door” looks just as hot as she did on the cover of Rolling Stone in the 90s. As Lisa Singer, a fitness instructor based in Manhattan, puts it: “She promotes yoga and a healthy lifestyle and dresses to show off her figure—without being overly provocative.”
13. Gwyneth Paltrow, 44
Anyone who’s seen her Goop newsletter or cookbooks knows how hard Paltrow works to stay healthy and sexy (even if she's occasionally tone-deaf about it). But the work is clearly paying off.
14. Cindy Crawford, 51
“She exudes time-capsule beauty and sex appeal,” says Orbeck. “If her disciplined training regimen has anything to do with it, I will happily try to follow in her footsteps and onto her yoga mat.”
15. Kelly Ripa, 46
While it’s unpredictable who’s going to be sitting in the co-host chair at “Live with Kelly” from one week to the next, you always know Ripa’s going to be there, looking perky and beautiful. Plus, “she speaks out about her body and fitness and her love of being healthy and exercising,” says Singer.
16. Halle Berry, 50
Whether her hair’s short, long, or (as seen at the Oscars most recently) dramatically, voluminously curled, Berry’s hotness shines through. “She’s always been fit, and even having a child later in life remained fit and healthy with a positive attitude,” says Singer.
17. Kylie Minogue, 48
Though her U.S. fame peaked with “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” in 2001, Minogue continues to top the charts in her native Australia, with a 14th studio album on the way, and a tour planned this year—giving audiences a chance to see her dancing and singing for hours without breaking a sweat. And as many have noted, she is perhaps equipped with the world’s perfect set of legs.
18. Leslie Mann, 44
Not just beautiful, but Hollywood's biggest scene stealer. Mann’s oddball energy only adds to her attractiveness.
19. Sofia Vergara, 44
Colombian accent? Check. Sultry attitude? Check? Killer curves? You bet. You can always count on Vergara to heat up any scene—whether she’s cracking jokes on Modern Family or pitching us Diet Pepsi.
20. Julie Bowen, 47
21. Demi Moore, 54
A true icon of graceful aging.
22. Christie Brinkley, 63
“Growing up in the early 80's, Christie Brinkley was the most gorgeous woman,” says Elyse Kaye, a fitness trainer and founder of sports-bra company Bloom Bras, based in San Francisco. “Thirty-some years later, she is still turning heads. Christie said she is always multitasking, doing squats when drying her hair and arm presses while watching her kids play sports from the bleachers. She has claimed no surgery and it shows with her radiant natural beauty.” Here are photos of her triumphant return to the beach this year.
23. Cameron Diaz, 44
“There is something really beautiful about being strong enough in who you are to allow yourself that freedom. I’m just learning it myself,” Diaz recently told InStyle. Even as she’s settled into a place near the top of the Hollywood food chain, Diaz still comes across as fun, grounded, and unpretentiously cute.
24. Mariska Hargitay, 53
After nearly 400 episodes as Olivia Benson in "Law & Order SVU," no one can touch Hargitay when it comes to balancing just-the-facts authority with undeniable hotness. She’s booked more bad guys than Joe Friday, Vic Mackey, and a dozen other cops combined—and looked a hell of a lot better doing it.
25. Michelle Obama, 53
She may not call the White House home anymore, but the former first lady—and those killer biceps—have left their mark on the nation. “She has the arms that women of all ages dream of,” says Kaye. “She touts in her video logs about the combination of boxing, plyometrics, weight training, and drinking a lot of water to her seeming fountain of youth.”
26. Helen Mirren, 71
Mirren may be in her 70s, but “she is still considered one of the sexiest ladies on and off the silver screen,” says Kaye. “She attributes her amazing physique to simplicity in routine. In addition, her style is impeccable—knowing just the right amount of skin to show.”
27. Drew Barrymore, 42
In Santa Clarity Diet, Barrymore’s got to be the sexiest flesh-eating zombie we’ve ever seen (even including Aubrey Plaza).
28. Alyssa Milano, 44
Though her acting has taken a taken a backseat to her family, her humanitarian work, and her devout baseball fandom, Milano continues to maintain her undeniably hot edge.
29. Charlize Theron, 41
As she’s shifted to full-blown badass mode in films like Mad Max: Fury Road and Prometheus, Theron has only gotten hotter.
30. Michelle Pfeiffer, 58
Though she’s been laying low the last few years, Pfeiffer is looking at a big 2017, and she's looking as stunning as ever. She has three films coming out, including the new one from Darren Aronofsky and a part in Kenneth Branagh's reboot of Murder on the Orient Express.
For more amazing advice for living smarter, looking better, feeling younger, and playing harder, sign up for our newsletter—delivered every day!