The Childhood Warning Anne Hathaway Was Determined To Prove Wrong

Women in the entertainment industry face lots of scrutiny, and even big names like Anne Hathaway are not immune to it. Hathaway has been in the industry for a while, with her first credit going back to 1999 with the TV series "Get Real." She tries to stay out of the spotlight but isn't afraid to get candid in interviews. While speaking with Net-A-Porter in November 2023, prior to the release of her film "Eileen," Hathaway opened up about an ageist comment she was given as a teenager.

Hathaway found mainstream success in the aughts with leading roles in "The Princess Diaries" franchise and "Ella Enchanted." However, around the time her career started, she was told it wouldn't last long. "When I started out [in this industry] as a child," Hathaway said, "I was warned that my career would fall off a cliff at the age of 35, which is something I know a lot of women face."

She went on to say how society is changing and "more women are having careers deeper into their lives, which I think is fantastic." Hathaway didn't feel like the progress was all done, however. She quoted a friend who told her, "There's so much to be proud of, and there's so much to fix."

Hathaway's experienced ageism despite her success

Anne Hathaway did feel the sting of ageism in Hollywood when she was in her early 30s. She was interviewed by Glamour before the release of "The Intern" in 2015, a film with the theme of ageism at its core. In the interview, Hathaway discussed how her choice to step back and take fewer roles each year was partially her own and partially out of her control.

"There are fewer roles [for women], and the competition is just as fierce as ever," Hathaway told the outlet. She said she felt impressed by her colleagues in the industry and added, "I mean, they're so good, and we're all trying to get the same parts."

Hathaway also remarked how when she was an actor in her 20s, she received acting roles meant for older actors. As an actor in her 30s, that meant she sometimes got passed over for a younger star. "I was that 24-year-old once," Hathaway continued, "I can't be upset about it. It's the way things are. All I can do right now is think that 'Thankfully, you have built up perhaps a little bit of cachet and can tell stories that interest you, and if people go to see them, you'll be allowed to make more.'"

Hathaway doesn't 'think about age'

Anne Hathaway has had a stunning transformation, but doesn't think much about getting older. She was interviewed on "The Today Show" in September 2023 and discussed her perspective on it, also referencing the "cliff" she was warned about, where her career would presumably end. She mentioned that the career-ending marker for women "was a really young age." However, anyone who thought Hathaway's career would be done by 35 was wrong — around that time, she starred in films such as "Alice Through the Looking Glass" and "Ocean's Eight" and acted in two episodes of the "Modern Love" anthology, and has had many roles since.

"Today" interviewer Sheinelle Jones asked the "Bride Wars" actor about the concept of aging gracefully and how to respond if someone tells you that. Hathaway responded, "I don't think about age ... To me, aging is another word for living." In fact, Hathaway works with the Shiseido beauty brand as a spokesperson for their Vital Perfection products. That line's catchphrase is, "Potential has no age," which deeply resonated with Hathaway. 

She added, "And I love watching these young people, who have so much more freedom than I had, just imagine what they could do if they never had the concept of a cliff or a shelf life or any of those things." Hopefully, Hathaway's still flourishing career can motivate younger actors and help them realize they can work at any age and can keep succeeding as they grow.