There's no question that ageism is alive and well. It's so prevalent, in fact, that it's the jumping off point of TVLand's comedy Younger. The series, about 40-year-old woman who lies about her age to score a coveted job at a publishing house, is definitely relatable to anyone who felt like they had "aged out" of their industry. When that industry is Hollywood and you're a woman, it's particularly challenging: often, formerly leading ladies will receive fewer roles as they get older, and the roles that they do get often aren't as complex. Sutton Foster's character Liz may lie about her age on the comedy, but has anyone in the cast of Younger actually tried the trick?
While things haven't gotten quite as dramatic off camera, the stars of the series admitted to Vulture that their age is a big factor in making career moves. Miriam Shor, who plays Diana, told the site that she had been encouraged to fudge the truth about her age in the past — and that, when she didn't, things didn't turn out so well.
"I watched someone ask for my age, and I was like, 'I know I am supposed to lie right now, but I am not going to,’ and I watched that job slip away as I was saying it," Shor revealed to Vulture. "But I have played a man. I find it hilarious that it is believable I have different genitalia, but I cannot be four years younger than I am."
Foster told Vulture she has a more optimistic view of aging — but that even she knows she might have to lie about her age one day in order to keep working.
"I have never felt the need to lie about it, I have always felt really proud of my age. When I am 60, I might have to lie about it," she confessed to the site. "But I feel like every year I have earned. And to lie about it seems to cheat it. I feel proud to be 42."
Fortunately, ageism is now something that Hollywood seems willing to talk about. In addition to exploring the unfair disadvantage older people often have in the workplace, season 1 of FX series Feud explored how Hollywood often ignores women after a certain age. While the series is focused on the real-life story of Bette Davis (Susan Sarandon in the series) and Joan Crawford (Jessica Lange), the themes are still relevant today.
With more conversation comes more awareness — so major props to the stars of Younger for admitting that their show isn't totally fiction.