Why Angela Bassett hates it when someone tells her she 'looks good for her age'

According to Angela Bassett, telling women they look good for their age is actually not a compliment

Angela Bassett
(Image credit: Arturo Holmes / Staff)

In a new interview, legendary actress Angela Bassett opened up about her true feelings surrounding her age, 63, specifically arguing that "you look so good for your age" is not a compliment she particularly cares for. 

"I think [that], when we take care of ourselves, we do look good for our age, whatever that age is, you know?" the Black Panther actress said.


"In Hollywood, there was a time when people believed that once an actress turns 40, it's over," she told InStyle (opens in new tab). "But no, those things that make us who we are — our sensuality, sexuality, compassion, and intelligence — that doesn't come to an end. It deepens and ripens, you know? It's all in the attitude." That sounds remarkably like something Stella, the role she took on in Stella Got Her Groove Back, would say.

This is not the first time Angela has argued against the go-to phrase. Back in 2018, she told Allure (opens in new tab) about the time a woman that was packing up her groceries leaned over the counter and said to her, "you look so young." In response, the actress said, "hearing that is a wonderful thing—seeing as I'm 80!" She clearly has a sense of humor.

Angela Bassett

(Image credit: Matt Winkelmeyer / Staff)

In her latest interview, Angela also digs deep into the evolution of Black characters in cinema. "Thirty and 40 years ago when I started out, Black characters were weighted too heavily in the negative," she says. "I was always mindful of those images. What are you saying about me and who I represent as a woman of color? There's complexity to us. There's beauty to us. There's strength to us. There's compassion to us. There are so many wonderful things."

Still filming Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, in which she reprises the role of Ramonda, Angela has also recently taken on the voice role of Dorothea Williams in the beloved Disney+ production of Soul—a heartwarming film that touches upon the same themes of inclusivity and history that the actress constantly sheds light on.

Anna Rahmanan is a New York-based writer and editor who covers culture, entertainment, food, fashion and travel news. Anna’s words have appeared on Time Out New York, the Huffington Post, Fortune, Forbes, Us Weekly, Bon Appetit and Brooklyn Magazine, among other outlets.