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• A list of the best movies on Netflix UK "I was like a lightning rod, and I understand that,” she says today.

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“I wanted to do a television show that showed the realities of being an older woman.” Just how hard is it to be a woman seeking work in Hollywood after 50 (or 60, or 70), I ask. But I am 77 years old now, and those opportunities just aren’t there.” She holds up her hands to take in the full sweep of the suite, sculptures, chandeliers and all, before adding. So, for us, it’s all about trying to stay young.” • Jane Fonda says Hanoi Jane photo will hurt "to my grave" Unusually for someone in her position, Fonda has been open about her efforts in this department – having cosmetic surgery on her jowls, eyelids and the bags under her eyes. I have friends – one of whom is the beloved Vanessa Redgrave – who have allowed us to see them age. When I mention the phrase sex symbol, though, she scoffs.

“I haven’t been put up in the Waldorf for a long time.” Tulea, sound asleep on the sofa beside her, looks like she could get used to it. “It is OK for men to get older, because men become more desirable by being powerful. Is that kind of surgical intervention essential for an actress who wishes to continue working in Hollywood after a certain age? “Because of Barbarella, people think that I was kind of a glamour queen,” she says, looking dubious.

However, the thrice-married, thrice-divorced Fonda believes the comedy also has a serious point to make, in finally representing women of her generation on screen. It’s not like it’s too much, it’s not like you can’t see my wrinkles, right? “But I think it probably bought me a decade of work.” For the record, she looks good for 77, but without the terrifyingly frozen or suspiciously smooth appearance acquired by many devotees of the surgeon’s knife.

“We are the fastest-growing demographic in the world, and yet we have no face in the mass media,” she says, leaning forward, elbows on knees. I was a movie star, and I produced a lot of my own movies. And she still embodies well-groomed glamour, with her voluminous highlighted hair and rail-thin figure dressed, today, in a diaphanous pale-green blouse and black trousers.

“But I was brought up to believe that unless you look a certain way, no one would care for you, no one would love you.

And I will have to confess that I am very much a victim of that.” She pauses, gazing towards the window. I suffered from eating disorders.” She has said before that her bulimia, which began at high school and continued for years, was “intensified under two conditions ...The photograph of her sitting on the seat of a Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun – which she has since called “the biggest lapse of judgment in my life” – sparked widespread condemnation in the US, and saw her branded a traitor.For years after, veterans would spit on her at book signings.Jane Fonda is explaining, in her clipped, slightly raspy, no-nonsense tone, the liberating benefits of reaching a certain age.“The over-50s tend to have a greater sense of well-being, be less hostile, more positive,” she says. It could be because of changes in the brain, but also, they think, it is partly just a question of having been there, done that.” “Once you are past 50, it’s like: why the hell not be the person who I really am? You can do all the things that you are not supposed to do as a woman, like tell the truth and get angry.” I meet Fonda – Oscar-winning actress, political activist and former fitness guru – in an airy suite in New York’s historic Waldorf Astoria hotel.Her mother, meanwhile, suffered serious mental health issues; by the time the family moved to Connecticut, Frances had been hospitalised several times for depression, and in 1950, she committed suicide.

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