These days, plastic surgery is so common that thespians who age naturally belong to an exclusive club.
Although this club is small, it does have its fair share of acting titans including Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Dianna Rigg and Brigitte Bardot.
Of all these naturally aged actresses, the once stunning Bardot (now 85) looks the least like her youthful self.
Bardot always wanted to be a dancer but injuries prevented her from pursuing a ballet career. Instead, she married movie director Roger Vadim who cast her in And God Created Woman and her reign as an international sex symbol began.
Before her retirement at the age of 40, her performances were heavily criticised for lacking depth and she was dismissed as nothing more than a pretty face. Ironically, Bardot says that critics now praise her for the same performances they once panned.
Bardot doesn’t mourn the loss of her beauty. She says it was a curse. The lustful male gaze made her feel like a hunted animal.
But what if she had undergone the plastic surgeon’s knife? What might have been the result?
Britt Ekland’s face provides a clue.
Britt Ekland was once a Swedish starlet whose big break came when she won a a Brigitte Bardot lookalike contest.
Like Bardot, Ekland could sing and dance and was trim, blonde, and beautiful. Like Bardot, she also dreamed of being an actress.
Ekland married Peter Sellers, an eccentric English actor whom she eventually divorced after claiming he was crazy and abusive.
She eventually met the singer Rod Stewart and during her time with him released the song ‘Do it One More Time with Feeling,’ sang on one of his compositions and appeared in the video.
After decoupling from Rod Stewart, she posed for the cover of Rolling Stone and married the drummer from the Stray Cats band, a man many years her junior.
Unlike Bardot, whose animal advocacy keeps her in the media spotlight, Ekland isn’t associated with any causes and has faded from public life.
Both women chose to age differently. However, when images of the outlandish, surgically-enhanced Ekland surface from time to time, it makes Bardot’s natural, deeply lined face a preferable–and far less unnerving–alternative.