Fashion & Beauty

A Tale of Two Faces

August 14, 2022


Jane Fonda at the 2017 awards.


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By Valerie Monroe

For nearly 16 years Valerie Monroe was the beauty director at O, The Oprah Magazine, where she wrote the popular “Ask Val” column.

If you’re interested in feeling happier about your appearance—especially as you age—you might like reading what she has to say about it. For more of her philosophical and practical advice, subscribe for free to How Not to F*ck Up Your Face at

I HEARD the miraculous Frances McDormand say in an interview (with Nomadland director Chloé Zhao) how pleased she was about someone’s assessment that looking at her face was like visiting one of our country’s national parks. Isn’t it, though? As majestic and breathtaking as Yellowstone. (Her own retelling starts around minute 12 but the entire interview is worth checking out.)

Then I thought about another miraculous actor: Jane Fonda. What does her face make us think of? (She talks candidly about her aesthetic decisions here.) And of course! Fonda’s face—fantastical and ensorcelling—is our Magic Queendom, our Disneyland.

Two brilliant actors, two very different choices, both American beauties. What do you think?







3 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Faces

  1. Christine says:

    Jane embodied an anti-war sentiment that many felt then, and which has come to be justified today. How sad that this activist, feminist and artist is still labeled like this.

  2. cynthia tilson says:

    I think one of the most interesting contrasts between Jane and Frances was the timing of how each woman came into her feminist identity. Timing in life – as they say – is everything.

    Frances found her ideal life partner – Joel Cohn- early on in life and at the start of her career. They rose to the top of their industry together.
    Interestingly enough, she had said in interviews that she hates having her photo taken, and does not own a full length mirror. That sense of invisibility seems to help her disappear into her various stage and screen role personas. Many women easily identify with her character portrayals as a result.

    Jane, raised in the Hollywood spotlight, bought into the idea that powerful men made – or broke – women. It was only when she’d achieved the wisdom that sometimes comes with age, and divorced Ted Turner, that she found her true voice. Her social activism now is real. Her words are finally her own. And her acting rings true.

  3. I never respected Jane Fonda. It wasn’t only the “Hanoi Jane” thing, when she supported the enemy while Americans were losing their lives, but it was how she became the clone of whichever man she was involved with. The Vietnam thing was when she was with Tom Hayden. No need to list the rest of them here.

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