Nicole Kidman arrived at the 2016 Met Gala looking like a glittering, galactic queen in a fabulous Alexander McQueen gown. Although she didn’t stick to the theme of the night, Manus X Machina: Fashion in the Age of Technology (the dress was hand embroidered), the red carpet veteran proved to be one of the best-dressed stars of the night.
Kidman has proven herself time and time again to be a tastemaker who always brings her A-game to the red carpet. Yet she has been overshadowed in recent years by younger stars like Emma Stone and Blake Lively. Unfortunately, this is all too common. Hollywood is quick to abandon talented actresses once they reach a certain age, showering attention on younger women.
This is indicative of the systemic issue of sexism in Hollywood. Male actors don’t reach their earning peak in the industry until they are 51 whereas a female actress can expect to see her salary dip significantly by age 34.
This discrimination is so rampant that it seems to have become a policy. As an actor, promoting yourself and remaining in the public eye is a big part of the job description. In the days of social media, specifically Instagram, being a trendsetter has become a big part of an actress’s career. When the press starts to ignore female celebrities who are over 34, it can do serious damage, making it more difficult to land roles. The industry squelches the careers of so many talented women before they even have a chance to hone and perfect their craft.
That’s part of what makes Kidman so impressive. Not only is she an extremely talented actress who regularly dominates best-dressed lists, she has also been able to maintain her star status over the course of her impressive career. One that has lasted more than three decades. But Kidman hasn’t been completely shielded by her seemingly permanent residence on the A-list.
In 2006, at the age of 38, Kidman was the highest paid actress in Hollywood. Ten years later, Jennifer Lawrence (26) takes the top spot and Kidman does not even appear on the top 10 list. In fact, only 5 actresses over the age of 34 were able to crack the top 10 list this year. Not a single actress over the age of 50 even made the cut. In stark contrast, every male actor on the top 10 list is over 40.
As sexism in the industry gets more and more press, it has become clear that there are many older actresses that are refusing to be pushed aside. A different crop of style stars often makes their appearance on best-dressed lists, with stars like Taraji P. Henson, Kate Hudson and Cate Blanchett showing off vibrant, interesting, and spectacular gowns.
Kidman stepping out in this sexy ensemble reminds us that she is still the statement maker she has always been. Red carpet fashion isn’t just for 20-somethings. Style is for everyone.