Kate Walsh on aging in Hollywood and beauty standards

Welcome to On beauty, a series in which we take a look at a person’s relationship with beauty, how that relationship has transformed over the years and how they experience being seen. This week, we are speaking with Kate Walshstar of Emilia in Paris, Grey’s Anatomy, and more. Off screen, she is the founder of Fiancéa line of fragrances she created after a breakup in 2009 hoping to evoke the scent of an ex. While preparing for another apparition Grey’s Anatomy next month, Walsh shares in his own words his love of fragrances, his approach to aging in Hollywood and how eye care is a form of self-care.

When I was a little girl, my best friend’s mom was a Mrs. Avon, so I remember seeing her boudoir covered in all these beautiful perfume bottles. Then, my mother would put Olaz Oil all over her face. That was her night ritual. In the meantime, I had one of those doll heads that almost looked like a mannequin head, but you could do some makeup on. Even though I was a real tomboy, I really enjoyed it [playing with] That.

Perfume has always been my love, not only perfume, but also its packaging. I think this definitely influenced my fragrance, Boyfriend. The appearance, but also the romance. I’ve always loved the idea of ​​a woman sitting in her vanity with a mirror and with these rituals that were all hers, [just like my mom]. I don’t usually wear makeup, but one of my oldest friends and makeup artists, Sergio Lopez-Rivera, who won an Oscar last year for working with Viola Davis on The black background of Ma Rainey, talks about that memory of being a kid and seeing his mother wearing makeup and wanting to do her own makeup. He is still delicious.


Walsh at NBC’s All-Star Cocktail Party in 1999.

Photo: Sam Levi / WireImage via Getty


Walsh in 2021 with a bottle of her fragrance, Boyfriend.

Courtesy of Instagram / @katewalsh

For women’s health, self-care and beauty, we can’t talk enough about eye care. There still seems to be this void in women’s health culture. You can never have enough people talking about it, particularly as it relates to aging. I have been wearing glasses since I was little, then I had contact lenses, then I had Lasik years ago. In 2015 my vision was starting to get blurred and I was having a hard time concentrating so I went to the ophthalmologist and they told me my vision is still 20/20, but my eyes are dry. That’s why working with Systane Complete felt like a truly natural collaboration. My best effort was to use a saline solution, but I loved the fact that there is actually a special formula made by Alcon called Systane Complete Preservative Free Lubricating Eye Drops. I carry it with me everywhere, there’s a bottle in every handbag and one drop lasts me, like, eight hours.

I’ve been acting since I was a kid, but I didn’t start earning a living until I was 28 or 29. Grey’s It didn’t happen until I was 36, so I was kind of a laggard if you like. At that time I still felt that if you had such a job, you couldn’t get pregnant and have a baby. Things have really changed a lot. I feel very lucky for the opportunities I have had, but also because I have persevered. I was told you must have very thick skin. I was told I was too tall, even that, that too, I would never make it, but I was just very fond of [acting], so I continued. I really feel that things get better and better with age. It is an exciting time for women. There is a big one [reckoning] for women, for women of color and for people of color. I am a big believer in taking care of myself and I feel like I am just getting started in terms of beauty and health.

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