Keira Knightley shares her thoughts on Madonna and why there’s no right way for women to age

Keira Knightley questioned how women are supposed to age in a new interview

Keira Knightley doesn't think there's a right way for women to age
(Image credit: Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

Madonna has been dominating headlines since first rolling around the floor in a white wedding gown back in the 1980s – and people are still talking about her some five decades on.

The proof? Her appearance at the Grammys last month is still sparking debate on the nature of aging.

While Madonna received widespread flack for her appearance – with many suggesting it was a case of cosmetic treatments resulting in her looking unrecognizable – she had her fair share of defenders, including country icon Shania Twain.

Now, Oscar nominated actress Keira Knightley has entered the chat.

Keira Knightley compared Madonna's criticism to people also condemning women who do let themselves look older

(Image credit: Getty)

And the Pirates of the Caribbean star is suggesting that women are damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

When asked if aging was a concern for her, Keira shared that "a lot of the conversations I’ll have with my girlfriends are, 'Oh my God, I’ve got a line [wrinkle]. Oh God!'"

"Change is always tricky. We’re taught that it’s bad. We’re taught that we don’t want grey hair.”

But, she then adds that she finds it tricky to work out what the correct balance is for women as they start to age, citing Madonna as an example.

She continued, "You’ve got Madonna on the one hand – and we’re told that’s not the right thing. Then you have someone else, where we’re told, 'They looked better 20 years ago'. How are we, culturally, meant to age?"

A fair point, but the Pride and Prejudice actress does offer up a “terribly good” example of a woman who is aging well – Dame Helen Mirren.

Helen Mirren was Keira Knightley's choice for inspiration as she gets older

(Image credit: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Warner Bros)

“She ages in the most sensational manner. She’s fabulous in every way. You look at her and think, ‘God, you’re having so much fun. You’re enjoying life so much.’”

Keira was interviewed by Harpers Bazaar ahead of something of a return to the spotlight for the star.

After taking some time to raise her two children, starring in smaller, indie movies, she will be leading the cast in a new Hulu original movie airing from next Friday (March 17).

A 1960s thriller, the new movie is based on the notorious case of the Boston Strangler – sure to be a must-watch for fans of true crime documentaries like the Clovehitch Killer and Luther.

While she’s frank about women’s difficulties with aging, Keira did look back at her younger years in the interview, claiming she was both in “awe” of her younger self, but also that she wasn’t in a good place.

"I was incredibly hard on myself. I was never good enough. I was utterly single-minded. I was so ambitious. I was so driven. I was always trying to get better and better and improve, which is an exhausting way to live your life. Exhausting.”

“I am in awe of my 22-year-old self, because I’d like a bit more of her back. And it’s only by not being like that any longer that I realise how extraordinary it was. But it does have a cost… Burnout.”

Jack Slater
Freelance writer

Jack Slater is not the Last Action Hero, but that's what comes up first when you Google him. Preferring a much more sedentary life, Jack gets his thrills by covering news, entertainment, celebrity, film and culture for woman&home, and other digital publications.

Having written for various print and online publications—ranging from national syndicates to niche magazines—Jack has written about nearly everything there is to write about, covering LGBTQ+ news, celebrity features, TV and film scoops, reviewing the latest theatre shows lighting up London’s West End and the most pressing of SEO based stories.