Ten hottest women over 50: Cindy Crawford, the original supermodel, tops our list as she turns 50
March 19, 2016 | By:
These ten women in their fifties are strong, sexy and beautiful – not always in the conventional way. They have a lot more than looks: it's their talent, awesome achievements and individuality that makes them hot right now
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Cindy Crawford, centre, 50 this weekend, in the Balmain ads that could be her last work as a model

1 Cindy Crawford

Cindy Crawford will be 50 on Saturday (20 February) – and these stunning images of her in Balmain’s SS16 ad campaign, along with this week’s beach holiday photos, show why she’s at number one on our list.

The photoshoot reunited her with Naomi Campbell and Claudia Schiffer. Balmain’s designer Olivier Rousteing summed up the lasting appeal of these mid-life models when he said: “These three women are what made me love fashion yesterday, make me love fashion today, and are going to make me love fashion in the future.”

Cindy has always been known for brains as well as beauty, and was one of the first models to turn herself into a brand. As well as being one of the most famous models in the world – ever – she’s also a businesswomen. Her company turns over around $100m a year and interests include homewares, exercise videos and her own beauty range.

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At the end of last year, Cindy’s book Becoming marked her 50th, bringing together stories, iconic images and previously unseen photos from her legendary career. It now appears to have been the model’s equivalent of a ‘Best Of’ album, as since the Balmain ads she has suggested that was her last job as a model.

She said: “I’ve worked with all these incredible photographers. What else do I need to do? I can’t keep reinventing myself. I shouldn’t have to keep proving myself. I don’t want to.”

But, with her other interests, and as one quarter of the most world’s most glamorous friendship (she and husband Rande Gerber are besties with George and Amal Clooney), her lustre is not fading any time soon.

2 Julianne Moore

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Is it just us, or is Julianne Moore, 55, getting more and more awesome as she gets older?! She didn’t even really hit the big time until nearly 40, with her first Oscar nom for Boogie Nights, and has since become one of America’s most prolific and acclaimed actresses.

In her forties and fifties she has picked up a string of awards, and proved equally at home in smaller, critically acclaimed films as in bankable blockbusters. Raw portrayals of emotionally troubled women have become a specialty. And finally, at 54, she won the Oscar – and a Golden Globe and Bafta – for one of them: her heartbreaking, eye-opening portrayal of a professor with early-onset Alzheimer’s in Still Alice.

Her acting talent is not the only reason we love her. She’s a charity ambassador, writes children’s books, and is an activist, campaigning for causes including gun control and gay rights. When asked recently about using her public profile to speak out she said: “Everybody has a voice. I feel very much that I represent women of my age and demographic, women who have a job and have children.”

She was interviewed on ITV this week (see video above) and her newest film, Freeheld, is out this weekend.

3 Tilda Swinton

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Tilda Swinton looks the sexiest she ever has in A Bigger Splash

No one else on earth looks like Tilda. Her striking, androgynous appearance has had as much attention over the years as her acting skills and choice of roles.

Her 30-year career has been a fascinating evolution, from arthouse films through more mainstream to commercial – but always intriguing – successes, winning an Oscar and a Bafta along the way.

In between, there’s been performance art and music videos (including Bowie’s The Stars Are Out Tonight), touring a mobile cinema around the Highlands, founding a local film festival in Scotland, fashion collaborations with Victor + Rolf and Chanel, and starring in Nars 2015 spring ad campaign.

Now at 55, she has become one of Britain’s best actresses, and her current performance in A Bigger Splash puts her at number two on our list. In this beautifully shot film, a masterclass in simmering tension and desire, she is sexy, mesmerising and all the more compelling because she barely speaks for most of it, conveying a gamut of emotion only through expression and gestures. She’s a tour de force, and a British eccentric in the most wonderful way.

4 Monica Bellucci

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When the Italian model turned actress became the first 50-year-old Bond ‘girl’ she told the Telegraph: “I’ve never really been in the Hollywood system. But in Europe, all the actresses I see – Nathalie Baye, Kristin Scott Thomas, Charlotte Rampling and Isabelle Huppert – are still playing great, strong, feminine roles. And just look at Judi Dench! Things are changing, and there is a new way to look at actresses and women nowadays.” Hear hear!

5 Yasmin Le Bon

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Yasmin Le Bon in Armani’s New Normal spring 2016 ads

Yasmin, 51, is one of the world’s most famous and enduring models, with a career at the top level of fashion lasting 30 years. She recently described herself as “unphotogenic” but we beg to differ – and so did Giorgio Armani when they cast her in the ads for their New Normal spring 2016 collection.

She is of course as prone to the effects of time as we all are, and talking this month about what she wears, she said: “My body has changed so much, which has really had an effect on my decisions. I have boobs for the first time, which is quite an extraordinary thing to deal with. It’s happened over the past five years.

“I spent my life quite happily looking like a boy, but certain necklines don’t work on me now. I love looking quite masculine and androgynous but it’s becoming harder!”

6 Inès de la Fressange

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Ines de la Fressange. in her chic concept store in Paris

Inès, 58, is a model, designer, perfumier, muse to Karl Lagerfeld and a French style icon. She added businesswoman to that list with the opening last year of her concept store on the Left Bank in Paris.

She shared her take on style in her 2011 book Parisian Chic, has just followed it up with Parisian Chic: A City Guide, her insider’s guide to the city, and writes a regular newsletter in the style of a notebook filled with her tips and finds.

As for her next move, she says: “Now that I’m an old lady, what I wish is to have more free time. I’m happy about all this success, but what is more difficult is to learn to live with the present. My wish for 2016 is to have more time with my friends — as my daughter says, ‘chilling’. Doing nothing. I’m a lazy French girl.”

7 Elle Macpherson

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Elle was one of the most successful models of the 80s, one of the handful who were so famous they were known only by their first name, and so fit that Time magazine nicknamed her The Body – and at 51, she is in as good shape as ever.

She’s been an actress, with roles including Sirens and five episodes of Friends, and she hosted and exec-produced Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model and NBC’s Fashion Star. Today, she is as well known for being a businesswoman whose ventures have earned her millions.

Over 20+ years a string of enterprises have included workout videos, beauty products, suncare and her very successful lingerie range, Elle Macpherson Intimates. Her most recent is WelleCo, making an alkalising green powder supplement called The Super Elixir – which she launched on her 50th birthday. Now that’s hot!

Related: Elle shares her beauty secrets

8 Sandra Bullock

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Sandra Bullock was voted the most beautiful woman in the world by People magazine last year. She was shocked – but we weren’t, because she’s the total package. Looks, talent, humour and an ability to be down to earth at the same time as shining like a Hollywood star give the 51-year-old a universal appeal; sexy but girl-next-door at the same time.

Career-wise, there have been flops (Speed 2, All About Steve) in between the successes (Crash, Miss Congeniality, The Proposal). But she came through them unscathed and won an Oscar in 2010 for The Blind Side and nomination in 2014 for Gravity, arguably her best work yet, at the age of 50.

This week, with boyfriend Bryan Randall moving in with her and her two children, she’s been reported to be “the happiest she’s ever been”.

9 Natalie Massenet

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Natalie Massenet, 50, revolutionised fashion shopping with Net-a-Porter, which she co-founded in 2000. By the time it was sold last year and she stepped down, it was the world’s largest luxury fashion site and she pocketed a reported £100m in the deal.

On leaving Net-a-Porter, she said: “My entrepreneurial drive is as strong today as it always has been, and my passion for innovation will continue to be my greatest guide in business.” She has since set up her own company, and the fashion world waits with bated breath to see what the venture is.

She was awarded a Damehood in the 2016 New Year’s Honours list, and is chairman of the British Fashion Council.

10 Nigella Lawson

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The cook, food writer and broadcaster is not only the poshest cook on TV, she’s also the sexiest. With her dulcet tones, long looks down the camera and handling of the food, she manages to turn whatever she’s cooking into a seductive experience. But there’s a lot more to her than that: her range of cookware and ten cookbooks have sold in their millions.

Nigella, 56, is famed for her love of comfort food over clean eating and health fads, but said last year: “Recently, I have been particularly alive to the power of food to make us stronger and, as I get older, feeling well and vital is more central.”

Related: This model is over 50 and so are all the crew behind the images

Jacqui Gibbons is the editor of High50’s health channel, edits beauty and lifestyle features, and writes about health trends. Twitter @Jacqui_Gibbons