By Bernadette Morra
“I’m not hung up on trying to look young.”
But if anyone had good reason to it would be Prudence Emery. As unit publicist for many of the Hollywood films shot here in Toronto, Emery, 66, spends her days around looks-obsessed celebs.
“I’m turning into the granny on the set,” she chuckles. “But it has its advantages. I know the business well and hopefully I’m perceived with respect. I’ll go marching into anyone’s trailer and tell them what’s what.”
Emery believes that her many “crinkles” keep stars from pulling prima donna antics.
“Eddie Griffin and I got along fabulously when he was here shooting My Baby’s Mama last fall. I think the younger ones behave more politely to someone like me.”
It’s not as if Emery isn’t conscious of her looks. Though she doesn’t wear a lot of make-up and only “sloshes on” some Retin A every now and then, she does have a fondness for hot pink hair dye.
“My one concession is my hair,” she admits. ‘I used to be fuchsia and now I’m red. I think I would look too old on the set with gray hair. Red hair – that’s my facelift.”
Like many women who opt out of cosmetic surgery, and even less-invasive injectibles and peels, it isn’t the fear of pain that holds Emery back.
“I can’t say it never occurred to me,” she says. “But I’m not on camera so I don’t think it’s necessary, and l’d be afraid of what I would look like.”
Results depend largely on a surgeon’s artistic eye and ability to exercise restraint. There is also a point after which turning back the hands of time is just too dramatic.
“If I had a facelift people would laugh behind my back,” believes 62-year-old Krystyne Griffin. Statuesque and dramatic as ever in a sweeping knit tunic and ethnic accessories, Griffin combines Old World elegance with a bohemian edge. Her hair is gray and her face is bare, except for a hint of lip colour long worn off.
As an avid traveller and, with her husband Scott, the force behind the Griffin Poetry Prize, she feels no need to get dolled up.
But even when she ran the designer boutiques at Holt Renfrew and set up franchises here for Yves Saint Laurent, Giorgio Armani and Hermes, the most Griffin would stop for is a lashing of lipstick.
“Then I didn’t have time. Now I just find make-up boring,” she says with a wave of her hand. ‘I’ll get caked up for the camera, but that’s only because in photos I look older than I feel. I like people in their 70s and 80s to have real faces. And what is this fright of aging? You can’t stop it. I’m opposed to advertisements that show aging in an ugly way, with women who are distressed and anxious. It’s shocking and repulsive.”
Like Emery, she concedes she has been tempted.
“I made two appointments for Botox and then cancelled them. I decided I would rather go for a young body and an interesting face. So I want to be really fit and I work on my energy level.”
Griffin admits her philosophy has its moments.
“I’ve been mistaken for my husband’s mother (he is two years older), and for my mother’s sister. I laugh! My mother is 90 and I think she looks wonderful She always says, ‘At 20 you have the face you have. At 40, you have the face you deserve.’ ”
SAVING FACE: Still deciding whether to Botox or go au naturel? Check out the New You show to get informed on all the latest anti-aging options. A variety of topics will be covered at the second annual event, running tomorrow through Sunday at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
The show has doubled in size to offer even more information from anti-aging experts. Learn first-hand what the buzz is about Botox, and discover innovations such as Juvederm, a new injectible for lips.
Seminars have titles such as “The Best Breast” and “Designer Lips – Getting What You Want” Live demos include Dr. Sol Weiss performing a complete porcelain veneer procedure and a hair transplant by Dr. Larry Fremont
There are also experts available on longevity medicine – which tackles aging from the inside out.
“This is a chance to look at all the options, from vitamins to surgery,” says show founder Ann Kaplan. “We will have over 50 doctors speaking on a range of topics. There is something for everyone, not just the person who is thinking of having surgery.”
What procedures have impressed Kaplan the most over the last year?
“I’ve seen a mole removed without scarring. I’ve learned you can do tattooing on scars to lessen their redness and I’ve been surprised that there are vein treatments with no pain. And I believe that doctors are perfecting their use of Botox by getting better results based on experience.”
But she says that, as with any expenditure, it is best to do some research. ‘I’ve watched a lot of doctors inject Botox, and there is a wide range of how people do things.
“I also believe that laser hair removal has been perfected and does work,” she says, cautioning that success “depends on the equipment that is used and the person’s skin type.”