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If there’s anyone we can learn a thing or two from, it’s Jane Fonda. The activist, actress and one of the most Glamorous-with-a-capital-G women in world sat down with CTV’s Marilyn Denis at the L’Oréal Paris In Conversation with Jane Fonda event during TIFF. What worldly style and beauty knowledge did we gain from the woman who Rihanna says she wants to be when she grows up? From her number one beauty must-have to her exercise routine to what’s truly beautiful in life, Fonda shares the lessons she’s learned throughout her illustrious life and career.

She does exercises specifically intended for older people

Though Jane tells Marilyn that she didn’t start working out until her 40s, nowadays the star will always make time to hit the gym. And at 81, she emphasizes the importance of an exercise practice that keeps an older body in mind. “I work out pretty much everyday with a trainer who specializes in older people because the way older people work out is different. It’s got to be slower and very careful and so it’s important to maintain muscles to protect our bones and to stay flexible. So I walk and I work out.”

The actor jokes, “A young body is forgiving, but when you’re older, just turning around when you’re driving to look over your shoulder, getting in and out of an SUV, you got to stay strong. Not to mention making love.”

And to those who feel like giving up? Fonda’s got some words of encouragement. “I’ve got fake knees, fake hips, this thumb is a cadaver… I’m basically f*cked. But I work out, I keep moving, I stay healthy and fit,” she says with a laugh.

Katharine Hepburn taught her to be ‘conscious of self’ (and to pop her collar)

Though they didn’t always get along, Katharine Hepburn, who worked alongside Fonda in On Golden Pond, was someone who truly mentored her.

“One of the earlier days of shooting there was a mirror on the stage and I was getting ready to shoot and suddenly she comes up behind me and says, ‘Jane what do you want to do with this?'” motioning to her Fonda’s cheeks and face. “She said, ‘This is your box, this is what represents you to the world, what do you want to say?'” It took Fonda many years to realize Hepburn’s message. “I didn’t know what she meant … and thought about it for years and then I realized that she was upset with me because I didn’t pay very much attention to how I presented to the world because I was brought up to thinking that being self conscious was a negative.”

“Katharine Hepburn was really conscious of self… she had a presence, and I didn’t have that. Once I realized what she was really saying to me, I started to pay more attention to the clothes I put on, to the makeup I put on, and I think she would be very happy that I work for L’Oreal.” Of the company and the beauty industry in general, she states, “Mass movements around the world have forced people to open their hearts and minds and eyes to a more expanded view of what is beautiful.”

And who taught Fonda to pop her collar in that glorious way we’ve all come to know and love? Hepburn.

 

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On her Oscar dresses

In 1986, before Fonda hosted the Oscars with Robin Williams and Alan Alda, the actress pulled a dress from a Holt Renfrew window display and decided to wear it for the momentous occasion. When questioned by Marilyn if she remembered the incident, Fonda replied,”I certainly do, I saw it in the window, I went in and got it and I wore it.” And to Canadian designer Wayne Clark’s surprise, Fonda has kept the dress after all these years. “I still have it, I’ve worn it to many weddings.”

When Fonda won the Oscar for Best Actress in 1972, her attire was a little different. “I wore a black wool suit because the Vietnam war was raging and I wanted to not get all dressed up and frilly and I wanted to make a statement.”

Though the actress is still very much involved politically, nowadays sartorially, she also admits to channeling another star whenever posing for photos. “I try to channel Gwen Stefani… I’m very self conscious, I don’t like red carpets, I don’t know what to do, but I’ve studied Gwen Stefani,” she jokes.

The beauty and fashion essentials she can’t live without

When Marilyn asks how she does it all, Jane admits she typically gets nine hours of sleep every evening. She gets up early and is usually in bed by 9 or 10pm. Apart from catching up on beauty sleep, what’s the other beauty essential she can’t live without? “L’Oreal’s matte lipstick. When you get older, you don’t want to be shiny,” Fonda says.

As for Fonda’s number one fashion essential, comfort is key. “Yoga pants.” It’s all about being comfortable, she notes, and that goes for shoes too. “My favourite ex-husband Ted Turner used to say, ‘What’s the use of money if your feet hurt?'”

On what is truly beautiful

“When you embrace the fact that you’re mortal and you’re gonna die, it’s wonderful because it then defines how you’re living and it makes your living much more intentional.” Our most important lesson from the icon: “Living intentionally, knowing where you want to go and why and as Katharine Hepburn would say, “Put your best self forward.”