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Andie at 50

By Rachel Sutherland, Style Editor

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  • WHAT: Dress for Success Charlotte's annual fund-raising event and Southern Women's Show preview. Local businesswoman Marcia Simon will be presented with the 2008 Paradigm Award.

    WHEN: 6-9 p.m. Thursday

    WHERE: Charlotte Merchandise Mart, 800 Briar Creek Road

    TICKETS: $40

    Details: 704-525-7706; www.dressforsuccess.org/charlotte



If you're not sure 50 is fabulous, you need to talk to Andie MacDowell.

The model/actress known for her work in films such as “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and “Sex, Lies and Videotape” and as a face of L'Oreal beauty products for more than 20 years says her life is full, frantic and fun. And she wouldn't have it any other way.

“(Baby boomers) are not children, and we want to see our age reflected in the media,” she said in a recent interview with the Observer.

The Carolina girl who celebrated the big 5-0 in April is the keynote speaker at the Dress for Success “Look at Her Power” fundraiser next Thursday at the Charlotte Merchandise Mart.

MacDowell was born in Gaffney, S.C., and lives near Asheville. The mother of three chatted recently by phone while en route to an Amos Lee concert in Charleston with daughter and aspiring actress, Rainey Qualley, 19.

QYou celebrated your 50th birthday this year.

Was it a big deal?

It was a relief. There is so much pressure in our culture, this idea that getting older is a hard thing to do. I don't see it that way. … (On April 21) I was working in Paris and I took one of my sisters with me. We took the day off, went to the museums. We spent the day looking at beautiful art and walking around Paris.

QWhat is your approach to aging?

I try to take care of myself. Yoga is a big part of my life. It is really good for your spirit and your bones. (Yoga keeps you) strong and flexible at the same time. I enjoy life and eat well … Our culture is slowly changing and because of the baby boomers, we are a large group … Diane Keaton is 10 years older than me. Jane Fonda is 20 years older than me.

QAs a working mother, how do you maintain a work/life balance?

It is a balancing act. My girls have been a great support to me. I come to them when I need to make a decision; they love to watch me work. That is part of the reason I've felt OK about what I want to do. They have never made me feel like I was doing something that would hurt them in any way.

QWhat advice do you have for your daughters (Rainey and Sarah Margaret, 13)?

To stay true to yourself. When you are authentic, you create a certain energy … people want to be around you because you are unique. And that preparation plus opportunity equals luck. …Rainey's heard it a million times from me.

QWhat about the Carolinas keeps you here?

I wanted my children to know my family, to grow up and establish some roots. I have a deep connection to the Carolinas, and I wanted the same for them. And it worked. They love it here, its simplicity. … (Rainey and I are) getting ready to eat boiled peanuts. I was running recently with my son (Justin, 23) and we were talking about how excited we were to be going to the beach, and what we'd eat. It was scallops and cheese grits, tomato pie, okra.

QWhat is the last book you read?

I'm always reading several books at the same time, depending on how deeply engrossed in it I am, if it's fiction and if it captures me. (I've just read) “Water for Elephants” and Eckhart Tolle's last book.

QWhat's on the horizon?

I'm waiting to find out about the pilot (she recently wrapped filming on ABC's ‘Prince of Motor City') … I'm planning on it working out. Or I'll do more yoga and grow spiritually. One or the other; both… are just fine.

Rachel Sutherland: 704-358-5440; rsutherland@charlotteobserver.com

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