At 85 years old, legendary actress Judi Dench just made history as the oldest person ever to grace the cover of British Vogue. The title was previously held by Jane Fonda, who made the cover at age 81 for the magazine’s “Non-Issue” issue in 2019.
The Oscar-winning actor is featured on the front page of the style bible’s June 2020 issue. Dressed in a pink, floral silk organza Dolce & Gabbana trench coat, the radiant Dench posed for a headshot for the cover.
Other images inside the magazine show her donning a cream silk Armani Prive tunic. According to the British Vogue’s editor-in-chief, Edward Enninful, Dench was photographed in early February just before the lockdown and interviewed over the following weeks.
The interview explored her career, starring in Cats, and her experiences while self-isolating at her home in Surrey, where she lives with her partner, 77-year-old local conservationist, David Mills.
“I am sure I feel like everyone else, such unprecedented times are quite hard to comprehend,” she said. “What is a good thing is that it has made people aware of the predicament of others who are completely alone. If a great deal of kindness comes out of this, then that will be a plus.”
The legendary actress has been in the industry for 60 years, with her first professional stage performance occurring in 1957 and her film debut in 1964 for The Third Secret. Dench is best known for her roles in James Bond films and Shakespeare in Love, which won her an Oscar in 1999.
While she has portrayed many award-winning characters, not all of her movies achieved enormous success. Her most recent performance was in the movie Cats as the wise feline Old Deuteronomy, and it failed majorly with critics and at the box office. But the icon takes it all in good stride.
“The cloak I was made to wear! Like five foxes f—— on my back,” she joked.
She’d hoped the character would look elegant, but that didn’t happen at all.
“A battered, mangy old cat,” she said. “A great big orange bruiser. What’s that about?”
Dench has become a social media star of sorts amid the COVID-19 crisis, all thanks to her family members sharing videos of her online.
Last month, her daughter, Finty Williams, took to Twitter to post a video of her mom wearing a novelty dog hat with pop up ears. In the clip, Dench said, “Just keep laughing. That’s all we can do.” The adorable clip has now been viewed 5.4 million times.
Earlier this month, the legendary actress and her grandson, Sam Williams, did a TikTok dance to Cheryl by the rapper Yung Gravy. That same week, a video of her washing her hands with Gyles Brandreth while reciting The Owl and the Pussy-cat gained massive attention online.
Dench dislikes the word retirement, and when asked if she liked anything about being 85 years old, the icon had a straightforward answer.
“I don’t like it at all. I don’t think about it. I don’t want to think about it. They say age is an attitude,” she said.
A few years ago, she had to stop driving for herself because of her deteriorating eyesight. She told British Vogue that it’s “terrible to be so dependent on people.” Her daughter completely understood her sentiment, as she knew Dench is used to people depending on her.
Now that the roles have been reversed, it’s been a challenge for her mother to deal with it. Thankfully, the photoshoot for the magazine cover came, and Williams knew what kind of impact it would have on her mom.
“[The shoot] meant an awful lot to her,” she said. “This age thing, I think, affects very much how she feels about herself and this gave her just that little boost of confidence to make her go, ‘Oh, maybe I’m still OK.’ Then of course after the photoshoot, she came back literally thinking she was Beyoncé.”
You can read the full feature in the June issue of British Vogue, which will be available for download and on newsstands May 7.
Judi Dench once was told she would never make it, watch the interview below as she recalled that moment in her life.