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Jane Fonda shares the advice she'd give her 21-year-old self: ''No' is a complete sentence'

The actress spoke about everything from aging, plastic surgery and relationships to the importance of having women friends.

Jane Fonda shares the advice she'd give her 21-year-old self: ''No' is a complete sentence'
Cover Image Source: 2023 Palm Springs International Film Festival: World Premiere Of "80 For Brady" - Getty Images/ David Crotty

Jane Fonda sure has a lot of wisdom to share with people around her. In a recent interview with Julia Louis-Dreyfus for the premiere of the "Veep" star's new podcast, "Wiser Than Me," the actress shared the piece of advice she would give herself at 21: "'No' is a complete sentence,"

According to AARP, in her series premiere, Louis-Dreyfus discussed how "we don't hear a lot about the lives of older women." The 62-year-old said: "When women get older, they become less visible, less heard, less seen, in a way that, really, it just doesn’t happen with men. We are ignoring the wisdom of, like, more than half the population."

Jane Fonda speaks onstage during a Luncheon & Panel in support of Paramount Pictures’ “80 For Brady” at Wallis Annenberg GenSpace on January 30, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)
Jane Fonda speaks onstage during a Luncheon & Panel in support of Paramount Pictures’ “80 For Brady” at Wallis Annenberg GenSpace on January 30, 2023, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)

Fonda revealed that before she turned 60, she put a lot of effort into "researching" herself. Calling it a "life review," she said: "As you get older, you realize the importance of being intentional. That’s why doing a life review is important — understanding what things have meant in your life. That’s how you become wise."

​“What I discovered as I prepared for my third act was you spend your life exploring, as I have,” said Fonda. “You go back to your girlhood, and you become all the things that she was supposed to be, that you never knew at the time was really who she was, because you were trying to be what other people thought she should be." She added that it is really hard to be young: “I personally think that it’s important to let young people know that it’s not you, honey. It’s just really hard!” Moreover, Fonda believes she is "mentally, spiritually and psychologically, way younger." 



 

“One of the things that I’ve learned as I’ve gotten into serious old age is when you’re inside it, as opposed to looking at it from the outside, it’s not nearly as scary,” she said. Fonda revealed that she moves a lot to stay fit. The aerobics pioneer explained that the "operative word" is "slow'... I do kind of the same moves, but slowly and with less weight."

She also shared that she appreciates her body. “I don’t criticize it and hate on it anymore, but I live alone... I don’t have to show it to anybody. I’m vain enough so that it would be hard for me to get naked in front of [someone]. Not if I lived with somebody for 50 years — which I wish that had been my fate — but, you know, I wouldn’t be able to get undressed in front of a new lover. No. I’ve got too many nicks and, you know, scars and holes and all kinds of things. I mean, I’ve got two fake hips, a fake knee and a fake shoulder, and even a fake thumb,” said Fonda.



 

Talking about plastic surgery, the actress said that she is "sorry to say" she has had it. “I wish that I had been able to grow old at peace with my face, but I wasn’t able to. I don’t feel good about it, it’s not real, but I can’t do anything about it now,” she said. However, Fonda also spoke about the different standards that are set for men when it comes to aging. “Their jowls are hanging, and nobody cares!” said the actor.

Speaking of her love life, Fonda clarified that she is not interested in being in a relationship anytime soon. “I, unfortunately, don’t think that I can totally be myself in a romantic relationship with a man,” she said. “I’m not willing to try again... I don’t have it in me.” Fonda has been married thrice.

(L-R) Rita Moreno, Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Sally Field attend the Los Angeles premiere screening of Paramount Pictures'
(L-R) Rita Moreno, Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Sally Field attend the Los Angeles premiere screening of Paramount Pictures' "80 for Brady" at Regency Village Theatre on January 31, 2023, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

The actor also mentioned the importance of having close female friends. “I never knew it. It was only when I was older... From the very beginning of my life, as far as I was concerned, if I’m going to make it through life, I’m going to hitch my wagon to my father’s star, or some other man’s star,” she said.

“It was the women activists that were the most responsible for my new consciousness and transformation. Being with them was like looking... through a keyhole at the world that we’re trying to create," Fonda added. "They behaved like what we should all behave like, with kindness and generosity, and humanity... I thought, men have never treated me this way before."

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