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Carole Radziwill, Vanessa Williams and Marlo Thomas Talk Life After 50: 'You're Smarter, Wiser, Funnier'

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Fifty is the new 30, and never has that been more evident than at Good Housekeeping and L’Or al Paris’ lively “50 Over 50” event during which a panel of accomplished over-50-year-olds spoke about #ThePerfectAge.

The panel consisted of Carole Radziwill, Marlo Thomas, Vanessa Williams, Ali Wentworth and Ellen Levine.

“Everything is really great about getting older,” Radziwill, 52, told PEOPLE before the panel. “You’re smarter, wiser, funnier, you don’t take any crap, in a good way.”

The Real Housewives of New York City star said that she was now at the right age for her.

“I was never good at being my age. I always kind of wanted to be older so now that I am, I feel like, oh I’m finally that age that I wanted to be.”

RELATED VIDEO: RHONY Carole Radziwill Reveals Why She’s Not Surprised Her Former Beau George Clooney Got Married!


However, 50 is not exactly what Radziwill expected.

“I expected to look older, I don’t know what I expected, to be more mature or something. But again, I wasn’t good at being 20 and I’m really not good at being 50. I’m sort of like Benjamin Button; I’m in some ways regressing a little but it’s okay. Because you can do that if you’re aware of it.”

The writer also loves the confidence that comes with age.

“This feeling of being empowered,” she said during the panel, moderated by Editor-In-Chief Jane Francisco.

“When I think of turning 50, what surprised me was that I still had incredible curiosity about life and the world. For me, my 20s – the whole world was ahead of you, you’re curious about everything … And when I turned 50, I felt for the first time in a long time, this curiosity again,” Radziwill said. “I can do anything, I know myself better, and I have the confidence. There’s all this hard work behind me.”

Actress and activist Marlo Thomas agreed.

“Things are easier to do. Things seem more fun,” the That Girl star said during the panel. “I’ve realized I know how to do what I’ve worked my whole life to do. There’s less anxiety.”

It wasn’t until Williams turned 50 that she finally felt completely comfortable being herself.

“The older you get, the more comfortable you are with being different. It’s okay to be yourself and be individual,” she told the room of mostly women.

What Thomas admires about actors and actresses today is that they found that freedom much earlier than she did, citing Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Scarlet Johansson as among her favorites.

“What I like about them is that they are really doing what they want to do and they say what they want to say,” Thomas, 78, told PEOPLE. “I like how they’re going about their lives without too much looking over their shoulder as to, ‘is it okay to say this? Should I not have said that?’ They don’t apologize, that’s great.”