Published May 6, 2022
Actor, activist, cancer survivor, and 84-year-old cover model: Jane Fonda, as usual, continues to impress.
The ageless beauty graces the May cover of the iconic Glamour magazine for the first time since 1959, when she was virtually a no-name. Now, the Los Angeles-born legend proudly speaks for the many tireless, glamorous people of a certain age who are still out there living their best lives.
“When I was about to turn 60, I realized that I was approaching my third act—my final act—and that it wasn’t a dress rehearsal,” Fonda told Black-ish star Yara Shahidi of her internal aging process. “One of the things that I knew for sure is that I didn’t want to get to the end with a lot of regrets. I realized the importance of being intentional about how we go through life.”
“I thought, If somebody had told me that, at almost 85 years old, I’d still be working as much as I am and feeling as good as I do, I wouldn’t have believed them,” Fonda told Black-ish star Yara Shahidi for the May issue. “At that time in my life, I doubted I would live past 30. Just thinking about that filled me with hope. I didn’t give up. I kept going. I tried to get better. I did.”
The Grace & Frankie star also expressed what a show like that has meant to her as a feminist. Fun, complex women, in their 70s, not playing the dying grandmother? “I thought, I’m going to be on global television, loving on another woman and her beautiful skin, not in a sexual way, but just friendship, two women loving each other. And it made me so profoundly happy because you just don’t see it very often.” The Netflix show, which also starred Lily Tomlin, just streamed its final premiere after seven seasons, and scored dozens of nominations over the impressive run.
Fonda will be continuing her own impressive run, as she is already involved with back-to-back projects. The former fitness guru, who made a splash as the biggest face in fitness in the ’80s with her at-home workout videos, is voicing the dragon in the film Luck, in production, and she also just wrapped the film Eight For Brady with fellow legend Sally Field.
Still, Fonda’s off-screen life, her activism included, is more impressive than her on-screen life. Not only is the former Vietnam War-protester a cancer survivor, she is a cancers survivor.
“I’ve had a lot of cancer,” Fonda said in an interview with British Vogue a few years ago. “I was a sun-worshipper. When I have a day off, I frequently go to my skin doctor and have things cut off me by a surgeon.”
She had cancer on her lip, and was candid about it while promoting her show Grace and Frankie in early 2018.
“I just want to explain the bandage. I just had a cancer taken from my lip,” Fonda said. “I thought it was going to heal in time before I came before you, but it’s fine. I just want to explain it. I don’t normally go around like this.”
Fonda is also a breast cancer survivor, and announced the news in 2010 on her blog. “I had a scare with a non-invasive breast cancer but it is ALL OUT NOW!!!’ She told fans how lucky she was and that they caught the “non-invasive” cancer early. “I want to thank my friends and fans who have written beautiful letters. It has meant a lot to me,” she said.
Fonda also told British Vogue that she had a mastectomy before the 2016 Golden Globes, when she was nominated for best supporting actress in Youth.
“I get out of the car and I have the strange white dress with all the ruffles? That’s because I’d just had a mastectomy, and I had to cover my bandages,” she said.
Fonda has always kept her body and brain active. He efforts show that men and women closer to Fonda’s age group can still work on their fitness. It’s always best to consult with a doctor to see what types of exercise may be right for you. For people living with cancer, it’s especially important to get exercise, as experts say that light workouts or even going for a walk can help manage symptoms from treatment, and keep your muscles and bones strong.
Dr. Sairah Ahmed, an associate professor in the Division of Cancer Medicine at MD Anderson Cancer Center, says that diet, exercise, (and stress control) are extremely important when going through cancer therapy, as well as once you’re done treating your cancer.
Dr. Ahmed stresses the importance of physical exercise. “The more physically fit you are going through your cancer treatment, the less side effects you’ll have and the faster you’ll get back to your normal quality of life.”
Experts also say that physical activity can even help prevent breast cancer. And for breast cancer survivors, a recent study found that exercise can also help prevent disease recurrence.