For anyone turning 40, Brooke Shields has a message: "Get ready. The best is yet to come."
The "Suddenly Susan" actress, who spoke to TODAY during the Forbes Power Women’s Summit on Sept. 14, is a living example of that: Since turning 40, she's written three books, starred in NBC's "Lipstick Jungle," appeared in countless TV shows and — on top of all that — launched Beginning Is Now, a wellness brand that focuses on building a community for women over 40 to live their "fullest lives."
Now, Shields is representing that community by speaking out about what other middle-aged women like herself need: to be recognized and valued by the public.
Shields spoke to TODAY about how she is embracing aging and advocating for her age group, which she said is easily neglected. At age 57, Shields says she feels "great" but has realized that businesses only market to women who are young or elderly, not in between.
"You're only marketed to in your 20s or when you're in Depends or dentures," Shields said, going on to say that women in the age group 40 to 65 feel "overlooked."
"We feel not marketed to, and it's ridiculous because we have so much to offer."
In true Shields fashion, she went ahead and started her own business, Beginning Is Now, to be that support system for her age group while also spreading awareness.
"Here we are: a growing, global community of women of all ages finding strength, wisdom, optimism, humor, and so much more in each other," the official website reads. "We’re learning to live our fullest lives — on our own terms."
In recent years, Shields has opened up about how she's embracing the aging process. In November 2021, she sat down with TODAY's Willie Geist and discussed the obstacles she was facing as a middle-aged woman.
“I feel as if I’m just beginning. I feel stronger, I feel sexier,” Shields said during the Sunday Sitdown segment. “Why aren’t we allowed to be sexy in our fifties? ... I thought ‘God, why can’t we be celebrated for what our next chapter is?’ The women that I know, they’re self-sufficient. They’re not looking to be saved by anybody, and they sort of say, like, ‘Well, God, what’s next? This can’t be it. I’m not done.’”
When speaking with TODAY on Sept. 15, the entrepreneur revealed that despite loving milestone birthdays, she didn't have her current optimistic mentality about getting older until hitting her mid-50s — when she had to "unlearn" the way she spoke about herself.
"(I had to) unlearn making fun of myself in a way that could possibly become detrimental to me emotionally," Shields recalled. "And it worked when I was younger, because I needed that. But that doesn't work anymore."
“It’s such an honor to be my age and be represented," she said during the interview. "There’s a knowledge that comes with age, and this feels less like a job and more like a privilege.”
“It was important for you to see this is my 56-year-old body and to fight the retouching,” she emphasized. “I’m always like, ‘You better keep it honest.’ And we did.”