Kate Walsh says she doesn’t ‘want to send the message’ that it’s ‘not okay to have wrinkles’

Kate Walsh opens up about life and career for Yahoo Life's Unapologetically series.  (Photo: Getty Images)

Kate Walsh opens up about life and career for Yahoo Life’s Unapologetically series. (Photo: Getty Images)

Kate Walsh is a Shondaland staple. In the Shonda Rhimes-scripted universe, Walsh plays Dr. Addison Montgomery, a world-class neonatal surgeon who has become a fan-favorite in Grey’s Anatomy before moving on to its spin-off, Private practice. Since then Walsh has starred in shows like 13 reasons why, The Umbrella Academy and Emilia in Paris — yet she’s also been open about how her career didn’t really take off until her mid-30s, when she donned a surgeon’s scrub.

“When I was wrapped up in Grey’s AnatomyI couldn’t ask for a better place to be an actress than in Shondaland, so I feel very lucky,” Walsh, 55, tells Yahoo Life. “My experience hasn’t really been with age. My life just keeps getting more interesting and better.”

He says the gift of becoming a household name later in life was developing a “great work ethic,” which included years of “flipping burgers” and “waiting.” Walsh, who started out as a recurring character The Drew Carey Show in 1997, he recalls, “I had toughness and resilience, and I was very fortunate to have a lot of people who support me. There is a lot of rejection and criticism in this industry, but I think I was quite a masochist.”

When things get particularly tough, Walsh turns to her 18-year-old cat Pablo, whom she calls a “fount of unconditional love, peace and calm.” Her passion for her pet has encouraged her to partner with Purina’s Tidy Cats Lightweight Litter, on a campaign to make holidays more pet friendly.

Walsh, who has never had children and has spoken out about early menopause before, says there is “real pressure” on their careers for childless women, though she hopes that is changing.

“I thought, ‘Oh, if you don’t have a kid, if you’re not a mother, you better be really successful at what you do.’ If not, what is your perceived worth as a woman in this culture?” Walsh says. “But I think more and more, that is changing… There are so many other stories to tell.”

Like many people, Walsh says she’s faced the pressure of overthinking what her body looks like.

“I feel like I came out of the womb with a 27-inch waist—you can’t not feel that pressure,” says Walsh. “But for me it’s about being healthy. I want to look good and I want to feel good…but as you get older, your body changes…It’s so typical. I want to look like this, like a woman.” And when you’re older, you’re like, ‘I want to look like I was 13.’ It’s just about radical acceptance, and my thing is just health and taking care of yourself.”

While she’s talked about getting facials and lasers in the past to keep her skin looking its best, she says she draws the line with injectables and Botox.

“Genetically, my mother is Italian, so she has great skin. I always said look, if I had a different skin type, I might have had botox done to my face, but I don’t,” she says. “I can’t judge it, so I break away and look at it from an anthropological point of view… For me, I don’t want to send the message that ‘you don’t look good, you’re not good for having wrinkles. ‘ We want to look and feel our best , but getting old is our right. It’s a little weird and it saddens me a little. There are a lot of looks out there, but there’s this smooth look… it’s a little Blade Runner.”

These days, many Walsh fans are excited about the star’s TV future and are hoping it will include much more time with Dr. Montgomery. By Walsh Grey’s Anatomy The return included a scene in which Dr. Montgomery attempts to treat a patient experiencing an ectopic pregnancy, who was unable to terminate the pregnancy in their state due to abortion restrictions. Given Rhimes’ comments about not being done with the stories yet Private practicemany speculate that the current state of abortion rights may make it necessary for Dr. Montgomery to return to her pregnancy care agenda.

“[Krista Vernoff, the Grey’s Anatomy showrunner,] he was very passionate, like me, about making women’s health storylines and actually tackling them – in as much detail and with as much empathy, complexity, and objectivity as possible. Shonda Rhimes, when she created Grey’s and all of his shows, he’s always addressed social issues and what’s happening and reflecting that in the culture. I think there is a lot more power in terms of social change with art than there is necessarily in the private sector or politically. It’s beautiful and I feel very lucky.”

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