At 86, Sophia Loren feels 20, shares six key life lessons


Age ain’t nothing but a number — and for five-time Golden Globe-winning actress Sophia Loren, 86, her number isn’t dictating the youthful vibes she feels inside. 

“Sometimes when I say I’m 86, I don’t believe it. I feel 20,” confessed Loren, shining as the cover girl for AARP The Magazine’s December 2020/January 2021 issue. 

Loren, reclaiming her crown as one of cinema’s most prolific leading ladies as she portrays a Holocaust survivor in the new Netflix film “The Life Ahead,” went on to share the wisdom of the six key lessons she’s learned to abide by over the years that help make her life a living “dream.” 

“When I look in the mirror, I cheer for myself. I don’t ask, ‘Are you great?’ or ‘Are you beautiful?’ No! It’s how I feel inside, how secure I am, how happy I am. That’s what matters,” the Italian icon noted as her principal rule of thumb. 

Actress Sophia Loren, circa 1965, and in 2019.

At 86, Sophia Loren — shown circa 1965 and in 2019 — told AARP she still feels 20.

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Sophia Loren Italian Actress

Sophia Loren poses in New York City in 1959.

Tony Vaccaro/Getty Images

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The Oscar-winning star of the classic World War II film “Two Women,” Loren — who resides in Switzerland — went on to say that maintaining a close connection with her children and grandchildren was the next greatest ingredient of her winning formal.

“My two sons each have two kids, but I’m far away [in Geneva, Switzerland], so we talk on the phone, send pictures,” she said. “I just try to have that moment of happiness during this pandemic, as we all wait for a better tomorrow.”

Enlightened by her long-standing practices of “savoring the little things” and “shooing away negativity,” Loren then went on to credit her belief in “aging naturally” as a means of nurturing her inner joy. 

“Why change your body and be somebody else if you are happy inside?” she questioned. “I never thought of that — never. I like what I have. I like me!”

Rounding out her guidelines for a good life, Loren — whose husband of more than four decades, Carlo Ponti, died at age 94 in January 2007 — noted her unwavering commitment to “accepting what is.”

“I was very sad when my husband died because you can never get over this kind of feeling,” she said. “Never. Each time you think about it, there’s a moment of the loneliness, which is very strong, but that’s life.”

Loren’s long-awaited return to film in “The Life Ahead” remains a top-10 hit on Netflix.