‘What Has She Done To Her Face?!’ For A-list Women Like Jennifer Aniston, There Is Simply No Right Way To Age

The Friends actress has been subjected to further scrutiny about her appearance

Jennifer Aniston

by Jessica Barrett |
Published on

A minute-long advert to air during last weekend’s Super Bowl has brought a fresh round of speculation about Jennifer Aniston’s appearance - specifically her face. The 54-year-old Friends actress appears alongside former co-star David Schwimmer in the Uber Eats commercial but it is - predictably - her ageing process, not his, which has caused a stir amongst online commentators. One wrote, ‘Pity about her face, she lost all her cuteness. why cant they  just leave it  alone and age naturally..? [sic]’ Another added, ‘Honestly people. You look a lot better without getting anything done. Small things …okay fine. Even a nose job here or there, fine. But the fillers, botox, eye lifts, lip injections, chin implants etc etc . You just end up looking like a freak.’ One user even wrote, ‘Oh my god, what on earth has she done to her face????? She looks bloomin' awful. Fancy paying to look that bad!  Surely it is better to have a naturally aging face than that [sic].’

Should we be surprised that a woman, who has been living in the public eye for thirty years, is having her appearance so casually dissected online? Hardly. It would be almost impossible to name a female celebrity who had managed to get away without seeing comments about the way they look, whether it be about their weight, style or ageing process, at some point or other. It might be argued that it simply ‘comes with the territory’ but we also know by now that this judgement doesn’t start and end with famous women, we also internalise the judgement we see and it ultimately impacts how we feel about our own looks - the unrealistic standards we set celebrities, and they set themselves, end up applying to us too.

Jennifer Aniston has long fielded criticisms about her appearance. She was forced to speak out in 2016 after a US tabloid published paparazzi photos of her and suggested she might be pregnant. Writing in an op-ed for Huffington Post, she wrote, ‘For the record, I am not pregnant. What I am is fed up. I’m fed up with the sport-like scrutiny and body shaming that occurs daily under the guise of “journalism,” the “First Amendment” and “celebrity news.”’

She added, ‘The objectification and scrutiny we put women through is absurd and disturbing. The way I am portrayed by the media is simply a reflection of how we see and portray women in general, measured against some warped standard of beauty. Sometimes cultural standards just need a different perspective so we can see them for what they really are — a collective acceptance... a subconscious agreement. We are in charge of our agreement…We use celebrity “news” to perpetuate this dehumanizing view of females, focused solely on one’s physical appearance, which tabloids turn into a sporting event of speculation. Is she pregnant? Is she eating too much? Has she let herself go? Is her marriage on the rocks because the camera detects some physical “imperfection”?’

And yet, despite these powerful words, eight years on Jennifer is still routinely subjected to such speculation, more recently about whether she has or hasn’t had surgical enhancements to her face. A TikTok video by a user called Dr Jonny posted this week delved into why Jennifer Aniston ‘looks so different recently’. In the video the aesthetician lists the surgical procedures Jennifer ‘may’ have had done including eyelid surgery, filler and a face lift, and uses comparison photos from both 2015 and this year to fully assess her ageing process. But whether Jennifer has had these procedures or not, is it really any of our business? Analysing her face in great detail only serves to highlight the bigger issue: there is no right way for women in the public eye to age.

Julia Roberts, 56, spoke on this same subject in comments which resurfaced on TikTok last week. Referring to a photograph of her posted by her niece Emma Roberts in 2018, Julia revealed that she had been a victim to trolls discussing her appearance. She told Oprah Winfrey during an interview, 'The number of people who felt absolutely required to talk about how terrible I looked in the picture, that I'm not aging well, that I look like a man, why would she even post a picture like this when I look that terrible!' Julia added that the experience taught her 'a lot'.

Then there's Sarah Jessica Parker, who has been open about her decision not to partake in anti-ageing procedures - and the backlash it has caused her to receive. ‘I know what I look like. I have no choice. What am I going to do about it? Stop ageing? Disappear?’ the And Just Like That star said when asked if she was concerned about comments about her appearance when the rebooted Sex and the City landed in 2022. Speaking about ageing ‘naturally’, Parker said, ‘You know, I missed out on the facelift. Like an old-fashioned good one that you have when you’re like 44.’ And on Botox and filler she said, ‘I do understand why people make the choice, because there is so much emphasis put on, especially women, and primarily women, about looks.’ She couldn’t have put it more perfectly and, indeed, viewers of the hugely successful reboot did comment negatively on her natural looks, whilst in the same breath criticising her co-star Kristin Davis for having ‘too much work done’. Davis spoke about the impact on her mental health of the ‘relentless ridicule’ she faced for having Botox and filler, telling The Telegraph last year, ‘It’s a challenge to remember that you don’t have to look like that. The internet wants you to - but they also don’t want you to. They’re very conflicted…’

'What am I going to do about it? Stop ageing? Disappear?'


This is something currently being faced by Nicole Kidman, 56, another star who has dared to grow older in the public eye - and has faced huge amounts of criticism for doing so. Her appearance in new series Expats has drawn negative comments from viewers keen to criticise what they perceive as work she has had done to her face. One user wrote on X, formerly Twitter, ‘I was watching Expats last night and couldn't help thinking, what has happened to Nicole Kidman's face? How can you be an actress if you've had so much botox your face doesn't move properly?! I wish women (and society) didn't feel the need to do this to themselves.’ Another wrote, ‘A prerequisite for good acting is the ability to portray expression. I'm currently watching "Expats" starring Nicole Kidman, and she exhibits none. Her Botox'd face remains immobile…’ And yet, it is exactly these kinds of people, who feel so confident in criticising a woman’s appearance on the internet, which has made it impossible for women in the public eye to age at all.

Too much work? Not good enough. No cosmetic work done? Not good enough. The procedures, then, that women must have, must straddle an almost impossible line: they need to be subtle enough not to be noticeable, but strong enough that the women don’t look their actual ages. It’s exhausting to witness, so heaven knows it must be exhausting to live. For women to feel comfortable and confident in their own skin is such a rare phenomenon and it’s clear why: we are under constant scrutiny and pressure to look a certain way. Here’s an idea: how about we sit back and let women look however the hell they want? Beauty standards will only exist as long as we let them.

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