Beautiful at Every Age

With the help of a few famous faces – Vanessa! Halle! Christie! – these gorgeous gals prove true beauty is timeless. By Karen J. Quan

01 of 41

VANESSA HUDGENS, 22

VANESSA HUDGENS, 22
Sara Jaye Weiss/Startraks

She's has come a long way since her junk-food eating High School Musical days. In fact, the newly single star, who credits her healthy lifestyle for giving her confidence, shows off the bikini benefits of hard work as Shape's cover model. "When you're putting good stuff into your body, you feel so much better," says the star of the action-fantasy film Sucker Punch.

02 of 41

BLAKE LIVELY, 25

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Jemal Countess/WireImage

Her onscreen alter-ego Serena van der Woodsen thrives on the glitz and glamour that New York City offers, but the Gossip Girl star likes to keep things a little more low-key when the cameras aren't rolling. "I don't really like to go out," Lively, who's married to Sexiest Man Alive Ryan Reynolds, told W magazine. "I'll go listen to live jazz, but the club scene isn't so fun for me."

03 of 41

MEGAN FOX, 26

MEGAN FOX, 26
Lionel Hahn/Abaca

Her sexy turn in 2007's Transformers solidified Fox as one of Hollywood's hottest leading ladies. And while the Tennessee native snagged the coveted title of FHM's 2008 Sexiest Woman in the World, the outspoken actress remains modest. "I'm not a 'sexy' 'beautiful' woman," she claims. "It takes a lot of work to make me look like a girl."

04 of 41

AMANDA SEYFRIED, 25

AMANDA SEYFRIED, 25
Ramey

She starred opposite Channing Tatum in the romantic drama Dear John and plays eldest daughter Sarah in HBO's Big Love. But this Allentown, Pa., native is most recognizable from her ditzy turn in 2004's Mean Girls – a role nothing like herself. In fact, the low-key Red Riding Hood star tells InStyle: "I don't dye my hair and I can go without makeup. Waxing my legs is pretty much the only thing I have to maintain."

05 of 41

FREIDA PINTO, 27

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Steve Granitz/WireImage

Pinto has followed up her Slumdog Millionaire debut with box office hits Immortals and Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but the Indian stunner is taking her newfound fame in stride. "I still consider myself to be a regular Mumbai girl," she told Blackbook. "I'm just one that has been extremely blessed."

06 of 41

AMERICA FERRERA, 27

AMERICA FERRERA, 27
Jean-Paul Aussenard/WireImage

While she's lived both extremes of the beauty spectrum – glammed up for the red carpet, toned down for her Emmy-winning role on Ugly Betty – the L.A. native finds her happy medium within. "I am all for beauty, and I love feeling pretty," she told InStyle in 2007. "But it's more important for me to look in the mirror and feel good about myself than worry about what other people think."

07 of 41

ANNE HATHAWAY, 28

ANNE HATHAWAY, 28
Splash News Online

Over the years, the actress has gamely transformed herself for roles: an ugly duckling turned elegant royal in The Princess Diaries, a determined fashionista in The Devil Wears Prada and a recovering drug addict in Rachel Getting Married (which earned her an Oscar nod). But don't expect this New York native to fret about her features. "You have to work with what you've got," Hathaway told InStyle. "Don't judge what you have, just love it."

08 of 41

BEYONCé KNOWLES, 29

BEYONCé KNOWLES, 29
Charley Gallay/Getty

She debuted a saucier, edgier alter-ego with the release of her third solo album, I Am ... Sasha Fierce, but the actress-singer can still wow us with her style savvy – all thanks to her mom, Tina. "[My mom] taught me the importance of looking good and feeling good," Knowles told The New York Observer Style. "But also that beauty comes from within, because it fades."

09 of 41

JESSICA ALBA, 31

JESSICA ALBA, 31
Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

Turning 31 on April 28, the sexy mom of two says she has finally reached a point where she's finally comfortable in her own skin. "I'd been so afraid of criticism ever since I was young," she told Elle. "Now I have no problem with it."

10 of 41

ROSARIO DAWSON, 31

ROSARIO DAWSON, 31
Steve Granitz/WireImage

When it comes to healthy living in Hollywood, the native New Yorker is not afraid to speak her mind. "When I see a woman who is all gaunt and emaciated, I don't think she's beautiful. She reminds me of a Chihuahua that's freezing and shaking all the time," she told British Elle in 2007. So, what's her advice when the urge to indulge hits? "I say if you want to eat the cookie – eat the cookie!"

11 of 41

KATE HUDSON, 32

KATE HUDSON, 32
Kevin Winter/Getty

2008's Most Beautiful cover girl admits that growing up, she was quite the tomboy. "I was the girl with the dress on that always came back in the house filthy with scrapes and bruises," the star, who's expecting baby No. 2 this year, told PEOPLE. "But I was always very girly. I had to be able to twirl so that my underwear showed."

12 of 41

JANUARY JONES, 34

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Pacific Coast News

The model-turned-actress, who welcomed son Xander a year ago, found fame as icy trophy wife Betty Draper on Mad Men – a role that earned the blonde beauty comparisons to Hollywood legend Grace Kelly. "It's hard to think I have to live up to that, because I'm not her," Jones told Allure of the comparison, "unless Grace Kelly drank beer."

13 of 41

KERRY WASHINGTON, 35

KERRY WASHINGTON, 35
Imago/Zuma

As a spokesperson for L'Oréal Paris, the Scandal star loves to see beauty through the lens of different cultures. "I can feel beautiful naturally when I'm on vacation," she told PEOPLE. "I don't even bring makeup with me. But I do love to shop for products in other countries – you get a sense of what beauty means in a different society."

14 of 41

REESE WITHERSPOON, 35

REESE WITHERSPOON, 35
Semmer/face to face/Abaca

She's an Oscar winner (for 2005's Walk the Line), but to children Ava, 11, and Deacon, 7, she's "a regular, embarrassing old mom," the newlywed told Parents magazine. "Realizing you're not anything special to the kids is always a great sort of reminder that you're just a regular person," Witherspoon said.

15 of 41

AMY ADAMS, 36

AMY ADAMS, 36
Evan Agostini/AP

Though she's starred opposite Meryl Streep, Mark Wahlberg and Leonardo Dicaprio, the three-time Oscar nominee (for The Fighter, 2008's Doubt, and 2005's Junebug) still gets recognized for her role as a doe-eyed Disney princess in Enchanted. "It's interesting to be perceived as innocent," she told Blackbook. "I misbehave. I just do it in private."

16 of 41

EVA MENDES, 38

EVA MENDES, 39
Leon/Retna

The Miami native has no problem showing a little skin. Or even a lot of skin. Just check out her racy ads for Calvin Klein. "I'm not at all ashamed or frightened about showing my body," she told the Spanish edition of Vogue. As for being labeled a sex symbol, Mendes says, "I like it when it doesn't limit my career. It's a part of my life, but on a secondary plane."

17 of 41

JENNY MCCARTHY, 38

JENNY MCCARTHY, 38
Dave Allocca/Startraks

Some women fear getting older, but the model-actress embraces it. She gets facials here and there, and the occasional Botox. She may even one day indulge in plastic surgery – but only after she turns 50. And, contrary to her days as a Playboy Playmate, McCarthy has learned to love what she's been given, admitting, "I feel so much better now than I did in my twenties."

18 of 41

JENNIFER GARNER, 40

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Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

She may be the face of Neutrogena and a rom-com leading lady, but Garner's most beloved role is that of mom to her adorable brood of three with hubby Ben Affleck. And motherhood agrees with her: "She's never more beautiful," says close friend Victor Garber.

19 of 41

TARAJI P. HENSON, 42

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Dee Cercone/Everett

Although she endured the magic of movie makeup to gracefully age in 2008's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – and earned a Supporting Actress nod – Henson prefers a light touch when it comes to her everyday look. "My makeup philosophy is definitely 'less is more,'" Henson told Essence.

20 of 41

GWEN STEFANI, 41

GWEN STEFANI, 41
Vince Flores/Celebrity Photo

Whether she's walking a red carpet, or playing in the park with sons Kingston, 4, and Zuma, 2, the No Doubt frontwoman manages to always look ready for the spotlight – thanks to her signature red lipstick. She remembers putting it on at 18, she told InStyle, "and looking in the mirror going, 'Good, I like that.' Never again did I stop wearing it."

21 of 41

LUCY LIU, 42

LUCY LIU, 42
Byron Purvis/AdMedia

When it comes to staying beautiful, the actress doesn't indulge in facials or peels. She doesn't even wear sunscreen! So what's her pick for pampering? "I splurge on acupuncture," she told InStyle. "It's preventative medicine. It has been a part of my culture and my life for a long time, and it really, really works."

22 of 41

KATE WALSH, 43

KATE WALSH, 43
Jeffrey Ufberg/WireImage

After turning 40, the Private Practice star admitted she grappled with the same issues about aging that many women do – looks, work, fertility. But she has since learned not to sweat the small stuff. "I went through a phase…where I obsessed over every flaw," she told Marie Claire. But, "I'm so happy that I got through it and didn't take any action."

23 of 41

HALLE BERRY, 44

HALLE BERRY, 44
Vince Flores/Celebrity Photo

No stranger to PEOPLE's Most Beautiful list – she took top honors in 2003! –, Berry was also named as Esquire magazine's 2008 sexiest woman alive. But don't expect the actress to take the title too literally. "Sexiness is a state of mind – a comfortable state of being," she told the mag. "It's about loving yourself in your most unlovable moments."

24 of 41

CINDY CRAWFORD, 45

CINDY CRAWFORD, 45
Alexandra Buxbaum/Everett

She may have hung up her heels from the catwalk, but the former supermodel still turns heads with her fabulously fit physique. By simply "doing the right things," and consistently exercising for the past 20 years, Crawford has maintained a healthy lifestyle. And she admits that Mother Nature waits for no one, saying, "Time marches on ... so you just suck it in a little more and tuck it in a little more and hope nobody notices!"

25 of 41

MARISA TOMEI, 46

MARISA TOMEI, 46
Jason Merritt/Getty

Though she had to strip down for her Oscar-nominated role as a stripper in The Wrestler, Tomei looked on the upside of the part – getting into great shape. "It's really physically hard!" Tomei said. "That pole work is crazy hard; to be really good on that pole you have to be really strong."

26 of 41

MARISKA HARGITAY, 47

MARISKA HARGITAY, 47
Flynet

She's the daughter of legendary bombshell Jayne Mansfield, but for this Emmy winner (for her starring role on Law amp Order: SVU), looks were something she kept on the backburner. Raised in a predominately male household, Hargitay told Ladies' Home Journal, "I developed this attitude that makeup detracts from your inner beauty." .

27 of 41

DEMI MOORE, 48

DEMI MOORE, 48
George Pimentel/WireImage

"I would be lying if I said I don't have moments of panic when I look in the mirror and see things creeping in that weren't there before," Moore told Harper's Bazaar about getting older. Her remedy: "I think that laughter and smiling are one of the best antidotes to aging."

28 of 41

SHERYL CROW, 49

SHERYL CROW, 49
Kevin Mazur/WireImage

As a singer-songwriter looking for her big break in the music business, the Grammy winner found herself at a crossroads. Struggling "between being a vamp and being credible as an artist," the single mother to sons Wyatt, almost 4, and Levi, 11 months, has learned that it doesn't have to be one or the other. "I can look pretty and wear makeup and not be afraid it will take away my credibility," says Crow of coming to terms with her looks and talent.

29 of 41

JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS, 50

JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS, 50
Brian Ach/WireImage

How does the New Adventures of Old Christine star stay fit and fabulous at 49? The good old-fashioned way, with working out and eating right. "I have to work at not being fat," she told Shape magazine. "I'm always trying different things to see what sticks." Among her tips? Eat breakfast, buy local and indulge now and then.

30 of 41

PATRICIA CLARKSON, 52

PATRICIA CLARKSON, 52
J. Graylock/JPI

Honored with a 2009 ShoWest Independent Award for acting excellence, Clarkson has maintained a steady two-decade-plus career in Hollywood being an on-screen chameleon. But when it comes to real life, the New Orleans native is both a Southerner and lady at heart. "I am a girly-girl," she told the New York Times. "When I'm on my deathbed I'll probably say: 'Go get me my curlers! Please.'"

31 of 41

ANNETTE BENING, 52

ANNETTE BENING, 52
David Longendyke/Everett

For Bening, the decision to get into acting was never a conscious choice. "I felt like it was just there, like a heartbeat was there," she told CBS's 60 Minutes in 2005. "It's just so much a part of me. Once I got interested, that was it." And the career that seems to have chosen her has certainly paid off. In addition to four Oscar nominations – The Grifters in 1990, American Beauty in 1999, Being Julia in 2004 and The Kids Are All Right in 2010 – this California girl even managed to turn notorious playboy Warren Beatty into a one-woman man since 1992.

32 of 41

MICHELLE PFEIFFER, 54

MICHELLE PFEIFFER, 54
Joerg Carstensen/EPA

"I have to be honest, for a woman there's not a lot about turning 50 that is fun," the actress half-joked to InStyle. But Pfeiffer, who gracefully turns 54 on April 29, admits it's not all bad. "[Part] of feeling sexy is feeling comfortable in your own skin, and less inhibited, and that goes along with getting older."

33 of 41

ANN CURRY, 55

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Scott Gries/Getty

"My face announces to the world that I come from a long line of very open-minded lovers," the former Today Show host – whose background is a mix of Cherokee, French, German, Irish, Japanese and Scottish – once told Marie Claire of her gorgeous heritage.

34 of 41

IMAN, 57

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Theo Wargo/WireImage

In a business filled with blonde-haired, blue-eyed beauties, the Somali-born supermodel says she had to learn to embrace her one-of-a-kind look. After retiring in 1994, the model-turned-mogul launched an eponymous cosmetics line whose mission is to celebrate beauty of all color, shapes and sizes. "Beauty is being comfortable and confident in your own skin," says Iman. "I want my legacy to be that I've opened the gates to what's considered beautiful now."

35 of 41

LORRAINE BRACCO, 56

LORRAINE BRACCO, 56
Brian Zak/Sipa

She earned an Oscar nomination back in 1991 for her role in Goodfellas, but Bracco is most recognizable as Dr. Jennifer Melfi from the hit HBO Mob drama, The Sopranos. Grateful for the opportunities the show opened, Bracco is also proud of the charitable gifts she and her fellow castmates were able to give. "We've really done the right thing with our celebrity," she told AOL TV. "[We've] enjoyed it, and helped a lot of people along the way."

36 of 41

CHRISTIE BRINKLEY, 57

CHRISTIE BRINKLEY, 57
Jason Kempin/WireImage

She started modeling at age 19, and 38 years later, Brinkley is still looking as young and fresh as the day she started. What's her secret to staying young? By staying active, and going vegetarian. "Nutrition has always played a huge role in my life," Brinkley told PEOPLE. "I became a vegetarian when I was 13 and then got my entire family to become vegetarians. And I have always been active my whole life. I genuinely enjoy sports and I spend time on my total gym."

37 of 41

LYNN WHITFIELD, 58

LYNN WHITFIELD, 58
Jill Johnson/JPI

She won an Emmy in 1991 for her leading role in the HBO film The Josephine Baker Story, and starred in 2008's all-star ensemble The Women. What's next for the Baton Rouge native, who turns 58 on May 6? Two movies, Mama, I Want to Sing opposite Ciara an Things Fall Apart with Ray Liotta and 50 Cent.

38 of 41

CHERYL LADD, 59

CHERYL LADD, 59
Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage

She got her big break playing the sexy Kris Munroe on the classic television show, Charlie's Angels, and was seen most recently opposite James Caan on NBC's Las Vegas. And while this avid golfer often hits the green to stay young, when it comes to aging, Ladd sets her sight on French actress Catherine Deneuve as a role model. "She just stands tall," Ladd told PEOPLE. She "enjoys her life and is authentic."

39 of 41

JANE SEYMOUR, 60

JANE SEYMOUR, 60
EPA

When she became a contestant on the fifth-season of Dancing with the Stars, she was the oldest participant to date (Cloris Leachman has since taken that honor). And though she had competed against those much younger, Seymour is proud of the body she's developed and the face she sees in the mirror. Having resisted liposuction, she proudly declares, "I haven't had a face-lift," she told PEOPLE, saying she is what a " woman looks like with wrinkles."

40 of 41

MERYL STREEP, 60

MERYL STREEP, 60
Rachel Kelly/Photo Image Press

If there is one thing Streep resisted over the course of her 30-year career, it's getting wrapped up in the glamour game. Instead, the multiple-Oscar winner focused on giving life to the characters she embodied. "I never thought I would be on the cover of magazines wearing fashions," she told Entertainment Weekly. "That wasn't the career I chose as a drama major in college, and at Yale, where I played a 90-year-old woman and a really fat person."

41 of 41

BARBARA MANDRELL, 60

BARBARA MANDRELL, 60
Aaron Crisler/Retna

Grammy winner Barbara Mandrell has a lot to be happy about. With a string of No. 1 hits in the '70s and '80s, she starred in her own NBC variety show, Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters, and is the only woman to receive two CMA Entertainer of the Year Awards. And come this spring, she will be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Crediting Barbara's success to "hard work and determination," her sister Louise said, "She didn't waver one inch from her priorities: God, country and family."

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