This Is Her Youth

Peaking young certainly has its consequences (see Lindsay and Britney).

Peaking young certainly has its consequences (see Lindsay and Britney). But how many actually embark on their first career at 65? Mimi Weddell, the subject of the documentary “Hats Off,” out Friday, did just that. Without any training under her belt and on the way to her husband’s memorial service, no less, Weddell auditioned for and got the lead in the 1980 cult horror flick “Dracula’s Last Rites.” Since then, she has amassed a collection of roles on “Sex and the City,” and in films such as “The Purple Rose of Cairo” and “Hitch,” and modeling gigs in print campaigns for Burberry and Louis Vuitton.

Directed by Jyll Johnstone, “Hats Off” follows the actress over the course of a decade, including interviews with her children (daughter Sarah, her husband and children live in Weddell’s Upper East Side flat), sessions in the dance studio (she takes ballet and tap lessons) and trips to Elizabeth Arden, where she has her hair done three times a week. The 93-year-old Boston native (and Mayflower descendant) offered her words of wisdom to WWD.

Why hats are “the only romantic thing left in life”: “You put on a hat and you change your whole being and outlook. Even if I just go to Gristedes, I couldn’t do it without a hat. I think [my hairdresser] Raoul at Arden’s wonders. He’ll whisper, ‘Are you going to put on a hat when you go out?’ I pretend I don’t hear him. I have wispy hair. The slightest bit of wind, if it blows, you age about 20 years because of the wisps.”

On being noticed: “A couple of times this year a photographer will shoot me the entire way on the street….I think it’s because I walk slower. I walk with a cane. I don’t necessarily look as though I had spent the day finding the perfect suit to wear. I’m always a little helter-skelter.”

What men want: “They respond to ankles. Especially if you have a long skirt and it shows the ankle. I will wager men will look more at that ankle than they will with somebody who has a skirt up way above their knees.”

This story first appeared in the March 27, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Extramarital attention: “I am always looking for some man across a crowded room who will flirt. What is more exciting? It’s more fun than anything in the world if there’s a man on the bus who has looked at my hat and I catch a gleam in his eye. It’s a great feeling….I don’t date anybody. There’s too much going on in my life and men are slower as they get older on the uptake of things. I would drive them out of their mind.”

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