Iconic Brigitte Bardot, 89, Shares Her Candid Stand on Why She Refuses to Get Plastic Surgery
Brigitte Bardot is a name that evokes beauty, glamour and controversy. But as well as being a screen star, Bardot is also a passionate animal rights campaigner. Since retiring from the entertainment industry in 1973, she has dedicated her life and fortune to the protection and welfare of animals around the world.
How her career flourished.
Brigitte Bardot, a famous French model turned actress, gained worldwide acclaim for her role in the 1956 film ’And God Created Woman’, directed by her then husband Roger Vadim. Although it was not her first film, it marked a turning point in her career. Bardot continued to star in well-known films such as ’La Vérité’ and ’Contempt’ throughout the 1960s. Her distinctive style, including her bouffant hairdo and bold eyeliner, made her a fashion icon, popularising off-the-shoulder outfits.
She retired at the age of 39.
But in 1973, at the age of 39, Bardot decided to leave the entertainment industry. While animal activism became her main focus, her decision was also influenced by a desire for privacy and weariness with the demands of fame.
Author James Clarke, who was working on a book about Bardot, said that after two decades in the spotlight, she felt she had achieved enough. In his own words: “That is one of the things that come out a little bit [in this book] ... She got to that point where it’s just like, ’I’ve kind of done it and 20 years has been sufficient.’”
She had enough of fame.
Although Bardot publicly cited her animal activism as the reason for her retirement from acting, the truth is more complex and heartbreaking. Even after retiring from the screen in 1973, Bardot remained a public figure, using her platform to advocate for animal rights and other causes.
Brigitte Bardot reflects on her career as an actress, revealed, “In the beginning, I enjoyed having people talking about me, but very quickly, it suffocated and destroyed me. Throughout my 20 years starring in movies, each time filming began, I would break out with herpes.” She further expressed, “Humans have hurt me. Deeply. And it is only with animals, with nature, that I found peace.”
She stopped making films to look after animals.
In 1986, she founded the Brigitte Bardot Foundation for the Welfare and Protection of Animals, which has helped thousands of animals in need around the world. In a candid moment, sitting in her Paris office under the banner of her animal rights foundation, Brigitte Bardot, when asked about acting, declared,"It’s over. It’s another world. I have no more friends from those days. I have no time for that. I only live in the world of animal protection. I speak only of that. I think only of that. I am obsessed.“
With conviction, she added, “I always loved animals. But when I was making films, I discovered there was a difference between loving animals and fighting for them — and I didn’t have time to fight for them. So that’s why I gave up cinema. I stopped making films to look after animals.”
With these words, Bardot summed up her transition from the glitz and glamour of cinema to the dedicated world of animal welfare, where her passion and focus now lies.
She rejects plastic surgery.
Brigitte Bardot has proudly embraced ageing without resorting to cosmetic surgery. Her biographer notes that she looks in the mirror without hesitation and gracefully accepts the passage of time.
However, her peaceful existence in Saint-Tropez was marred by the incessant attention of fans and paparazzi. This constant intrusion, according to her biographer, has led her to develop a distorted view of the world. As a result, she devotes her time exclusively to her animal welfare foundation and finds solace in her mission to protect animals.
According to Dennis Nothdurft, curator of the Fashion and Textile Museum in London, Brigitte Bardot made a refreshing choice by stepping away from the spotlight and rejecting plastic surgery. In his own words, “Brigitte Bardot has bowed out of the limelight, has refused plastic surgery and hasn’t tried to maintain her looks. That’s quite refreshing because it’s realistic. It is aging on her own terms, not buying into the system.”
What she has achieved with her foundation.
The Brigitte Bardot Foundation has been involved in many projects and campaigns to improve the lives of animals and raise awareness of their plight. Some of the Foundation’s achievements include:
- Creating sanctuaries for elephants.
- Reintroduction of several species that had disappeared from Senegal and participation in the reintroduction of wolves in the Alps.
- Provision of mobile veterinary clinics.
- Educating children and adults about animal welfare and environmental issues.
- Support other animal welfare organisations.
With Bardot’s bold stance against plastic surgery making headlines, one can’t help but wonder: who else in the limelight shares her sentiment? Find out the answer in our next feature.