Where Age Is No Object: Greece

At MORE we believe we’re not getting older; the lighting’s just getting worse! We also believe that America’s youth obsession is not shared around the globe. Proving our point are these two women from Greece, where aging is celebrated as part of inner beauty

by Julia Savacool
two smiling women holding hands and jumping in greece image
Joanne Vranos & Maria Massiou: In Greece, the definition of what makes a woman good-looking is refreshingly inclusive.
Photograph: Christian Witkin

American culture may tell us it’s all downhill after 18, but our own eyes tell us that while a woman can’t be forever young, she can be perceived as forever beautiful. Especially if she lives in France. Or India. Or Ghana. Or a surprising number of other places where one’s value doesn’t diminish after adolescence. And though there’s no denying the worldwide creep of America’s fondness for the under-30 set (China, known for its veneration of parents and grandparents, now has the second-highest face-lift rate in the world), not every country buys into that concept. Read on for locales where age brings rewards.

Joanne Vranos & Maria Massiou

In Greece, the definition of what makes a woman good-looking is refreshingly inclusive.

Who they are Sisters Massiou and Vranos live near Athens, where Massiou is a business manager and Vranos is the head of human resources for a large maritime company.

Greek beauty defined It’s fitting that the founders of democracy also developed a concept of beauty that’s eclectic and accessible. “Just look at Maria Callas and Melina Mercouri,” says Massiou, noting that their strong facial features do not fit the mold of more delicate Western models. “But to Greeks? They are classic beauties.”

Why aging is attractive “Youth is an easy form of beauty,” says Vranos. “Even an ugly baby is adorable. But in Greece a woman who respects and nurtures her body will always be considered beautiful. I know women who are long in years and very beautiful, because they treat [the routine of maintaining] their appearance as a privilege, not a punishment.”

Getting older is a good thing “I want younger women to know that they have absolutely nothing to worry about,” Vranos says. “I promise you, just as you no longer miss playing with Barbie dolls, when you are my age you will miss very little about being twenty-something.” Massiou agrees: “I don’t feel pressure to look younger,” she says. “Why would I even try? There’s something defeatist about believing your twenties or thirties were your peak.”

The Greek beauty regimen Sunscreen and moisturizer are a must in this climate. Vranos swears by Avene products (aveneusa.com) for sensitive skin. And, of course, “a diet of feta cheese and plenty of olive oil,” adds Massiou.

Next: Where Age Is No Object: Ghana

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First published in the December 2012/January 2013 issue

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I am also a Greek 40something living in Greece and must mention than despite the massive six year on going recession, Greek women are still trying to defy ageing with the few euros I their pockets. That means Botox and fillers (no longer 3 times a year but at least once). A friend who is a manager at a very expensive Swiss luxury skincare line says sales are still high because due to the crisis, Greek women will choose quality over quantity. And while plastic surgeons complaint he masses have vanished, there are still many undergoing procedures. I would tend to disagree with my fellow Greek ladies mentioned I your article: your average 40-60 year old Greek lady who is educated wishes to defy age by dressing (not always) age appropriately and spending much money on blowouts, manis, high end skincare & cosmetics as well as cosmetic procedures. Who wants to look old? I love being forty-four but wish my body & my skin were like my early thirties...

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