Is there anyone more #AgeGoals than Angela Bassett? Twenty-five years after famously sculpting her body into super-toned shape to play music icon Tina Turner in What’s Love Got to Do With It, Bassett’s face remains flawless and her 59-year-old body (she turns 60 in August) is still sleek, muscular, and shown off to perfection as the latest cover star for online retailer Net-a-Porter’s magazine, The Porter Edit.
Rocking a mane of naturally-textured curls and a series of animal-print looks by Saint Laurent, Solace London, Isabel Marant and more, Bassett is every inch the superstar she once proved herself to be with scene-stealing appearances in Boyz n the Hood, Malcolm X and Waiting to Exhale. Of course, these days, she’s winning new audiences with her roles in the television series 9-1-1 and as CIA Director Erica Sloan in the upcoming Mission: Impossible - Fallout. And then, there’s her recent participation in a little flick called Black Panther, which the actress tells Porter she’s especially proud of:
Black Panther has definitely brought me a broader audience ... The audience for it has been from six years old to 86. Every now and again, something comes along that moves movie culture forward, and Panther definitely sits on that throne. To have a black male superhero, but also to have strong, complicated, vivid, black female characters was special. Usually we are just the mothers of, the lovers of … Culturally, socially, it just resonates on so many different levels, and I’m so proud to be a part of it.
But Bassett warns that despite the sea change films like Black Panther seem to represent, major change still needs to occur in Hollywood.
“There are more roles, but if you look at the statistics, there are more platforms, more opportunities, for everyone,” she tells the magazine. “So, when you actually dive into the percentages, they’re still the same. There’s always still work to do on this house.”
Bassett’s work includes remaining choosy about the roles she’s offered.
“I’ve had to protect myself from being led by the finance of it; I can’t start with, ‘Well, how much are they paying?’ I can’t be led by that,” she says. “You cannot dance to every record. You must sit some out.”
But should she decide to dance, Bassett looks decidedly ready for it. How does she do it?
“Diet is 85 percent of the whole thing for me,” she tells the magazine, saying that she’s “regimented and rigorous” about what she eats. And that famously toned body, which viewers of 9-1-1 can attest is awe-inspiring, even in lingerie? Her diet may be strict, but Bassett, who sees a trainer four or five times a week when home in Los Angeles, has a surprisingly relaxed approach to fitness on the road:
“I’ll try to get to the hotel gym and do 30 minutes of cardio, and lift a couple of weights or something,” she says. “But I’m not getting up at 4 a.m. to work out.”
So, is it all in the genes for Bassett, whose age-defying looks now get as much attention as her acting? “I guess it’s a high-class problem to have,” she tells Porter. “But you don’t really know what to say when someone says: ‘Oh my God, you look so good.’ What do they expect? For you to be completely broken down?”