That’s right; the pop legend took to the runway at MTV’s Video Music Awards ceremony last night and knocked it right out of the park in a suitably cheeky, achingly Madonna way: in a floor-length trench coat, police officer-style hat and matching, high-cut bodysuit with short, puffed sleeves (PVC, obviously), to the strains of her 80s hit Vogue.
Opening the show, she purred: “And they said we wouldn’t last. But we’re still here, motherf******. Happy 40th, MTV! Welcome to the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards.”
As part of her grand finale, she turned around to sashay back down the catwalk, giving us all a glimpse of her derrière – and she looked fabulous.
Credit should always be given where it is due, and I can’t think of a more glittering, praise-worthy, more bad-ass sentiment than Madonna, at 63, proving that the adage of, “age is just a number” is entirely, eye-wateringly true.
Just look at the way she retaliated to social media speculation in 2019 over whether her marvellous, shapely behind had been surgically enhanced, as reported here: “Desperately Seeking No Ones Approval,” she wrote next to a photo of herself. “And Entitled to Free Agency Over My Body Like Everyone Else!!” Right on, Madge, right on.
And Madonna isn’t alone in sticking two fingers up at the patriarchy - which has long told women that after the landmark of 30, they should abide by some kind of upside-down Victorian maxim of being “heard but not seen” - either. Just take a look at another showstopper of this year’s awards season: Joan Collins.
At 88, not only is she the “new face” of celebrity make-up brand Charlotte Tilbury, but she gave a stunning performance at last week’s NTAs, when she took to the stage to present the gong for best serial drama. Dazzling in a floor-length, puff-sleeved peplum gown, Collins stepped out to the tune of Tina Turner’s Simply the Best and received a standing ovation from the crowd. She then made a cheeky quip about the response, saying that she hoped that it might mean she gets given another series. Bravo, Queen Joan, bravo.
Then, there’s J Lo. Ah, J Lo - I swoon when I look at her, I really do. At 52, she’s still making us all gasp; notably at events such as the Venice Film Festival, last week, when she donned a white, figure-hugging, fishtail dress; leaving her old-new beau Ben Affleck completely in the shade.
But it’s not all superficial simpering, of course - the thing about Maddona, Joan Collins, J Lo, Dolly Parton, Helen Mirren (to name but a few) is that they don’t appear to give a damn about ageing, or age-related expectations. The reason we are smitten with these gorgeous, strong, iconic women isn’t, in fact, anything to do with the way they look, but for their confidence.
Anyone can dress to impress (especially when TV cameras are involved), but few do it so well and completely own it – which really means owning themselves. It’s a rare skill, to inhabit your body and your skin so thoroughly, so genuinely and so completely. It’s the kind of self-assuredness and self-awareness that comes from a life lived well and lived vibrantly – and it’s something that can only truly be gleaned through years of experience.
The most recent crop of Love Islanders were gorgeous, young, bubbly girls - but there’s a subtle difference between them and the kind of women who take our breath away, and continue to take our breath away for decades.
When I grow up, I want to be Madonna’s bottom - or rather I want to be the type of woman to whom a bottom like that belongs; the type of woman who sashays simply because she can, who doesn’t give a monkey’s about what women “should” or “shouldn’t” do; who ignores the shocked stares and gasps and whispers of, “at her age!”
When I’m 63, I hope I am even half the bottom that Madonna’s bottom is. Then I could live happily ever after – with that joie de vivre, we could all live happily ever after.
From Victoria Richards / The Independent