Actress Uma Thurman attends "The Slap" premiere party at The New Museum on Feb. 9, 2015 in New York City.
Jim Spellman—WireImage
Ideas
February 11, 2015 5:11 PM EST

Sarah Miller writes for The New Yorker, The Hairpin and other publications

Imagine my surprise when I returned home from doing errands yesterday and discovered that Uma Thurman had a brand new face.

I Googled “Uma face” and clicked on some article by some guy who insisted that Uma Thurman “doesn’t look that different,” that Uma Thurman simply “doesn’t look how she did in Pulp Fiction, crawling around with a black bob,” and that Uma Thurman merely looked “smooth.”

I sent a friend of mine a link and called her. “Would you say that she ‘doesn’t look that different’ or that she simply ‘doesn’t look how she looked in Pulp Fiction?’ or that she just looks ‘smooth?’” I asked.

“No,” my friend said. “And if I did, I would add ‘None of these facts is remotely as significant as the fact that Uma Thurman has a new face.'”

I said goodbye so I could be upset about Uma Thurman’s new face alone.

Uma Thurman? Really? Renee Zellweger you kind of half expected to get a new face. Even the first time I saw her in Jerry Maguire standing in the airport yelling “Ray! Ray!” to that little kid with the glasses, even though I liked her, I may have had the ghost of a thought “she’s going to get a new face someday.” But Uma Thurman? Her father’s a famous Buddhist, and BFFs with the Dalai Lama. Her brother’s a yoga teacher. Getting a new face hardly seemed like a Thurman Family Value.

In the morning I read another article patiently explaining how her makeup was just different. I think this is possible, and I can see why people would want that to be true and how the argument could be made, but really, it seems unlikely. Also I have seen recent photos of Uma Thurman with more minimal or no eye make up and in all of them she had Uma Thurman’s face — and I am sorry I could be wrong certainly but this does not look like Uma Thurman’s face, and again, I understand that she’s aged and that makeup is a transformative substance but age doesn’t do this to a face last time I looked at anyone, or, for that matter, myself.

I confess this whole new face business upset me for personal reasons. (Isn’t that why everything upsets everyone?) Uma Thurman and Renee Zellweger and I are all the same age (Thurman is one year younger). I know that I look different at 45 than I did at 35 or 25. I don’t jump for joy when I look in the mirror and see lines between my nose and mouth or around my eyes, and as of recently I added eyeliner to the list of things I will not be seen without, except at the grossest supermarket I go to where, frankly, looking good seems to only inspire resentment. But I have never ever looked in the mirror and thought, “Whoa, I need a brand new face,” which is good, since I’m not currently making the brand new face dollars.

Being forty-five is weird. You’ve got the new face people. Then you’ve got all this chatter: “Oh my God J Lo is 45 and so hot/oh my Gwen Stefani looks great and she’s 45/oh my God Jennifer Aniston looks so good and she’s 45?! Can you believe that?” And I’m like, yeah, I can, because 45 is really not that old! I mean with the amount of surprise and amazement routinely expressed that all these women are “still” so attractive you’d think they were being unearthed after 100 years in a crypt instead instead of relatively young-ish naturally beautiful women who still have a decent quantity of hormones in circulation and take obsessively good care of themselves.

The other day I read that Iggy Azalea said “I want to be gyrating in a leotard when I’m thirty five,” and I burst out laughing. What does Iggy Azalea think she’s going to be doing when she’s 35? Eating Stouffer’s Creamed Chipped Beef with a spoon and watching Wheel of Fortune? Or burying trinkets in a time capsule “To be opened in ten years, when I get my new face?”

Yes, certainly there’s a lot of pressure on women in Hollywood, and women everywhere, to look young. But forgive me if I don’t then automatically translate that into “Oh, I’m going to just not care about this, or pretend it didn’t happen.” Noticing something and being like “Whaat-the…” about it is not necessarily shaming. Forgive me, forgive all of us, who think it’s a little weird that in the last few months two famous middle-aged women suddenly look like different people. Forgive us as we mourn a more innocent time when we all freaked out about Meg Ryan’s lips. No, I am going to go out on a limb and call the Zellweger/Thurman 1-2 punch a rather significant moment in human history about which people are going to, I don’t know, react? As the owner of a face exactly as old as Zellweger’s and Thurman’s who finds enduring that face’s slow demise fairly tolerable — and at this point, really, kind of mild — I feel I’m entitled to a little head shaking. And I’ll take eyeliner tips if anyone has them.

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