Melissa Gilbert isn’t one to hold back. Whether detailing her IBS distress and colonoscopy prep or sharing her thoughts on Botox and fillers, the 58-year-old tells it like it is. She’s evolved from her days playing Laura Ingalls Wilder on Little House on the Prairie—and though she left the Ingalls family in the past, she didn’t leave the Prairie behind. With the help of her new website, Modern Prairie, the 58-year-old is on a mission to show that women matter at every age.
“My least favorite thing to read on a cream or a wash is ‘anti-aging.’ It seems nonsensical to me. It’s inevitable,” she says. But, she admits, the fight against time gets harder.
“As we age, women tend to fall into two categories: either she’s that cute old doddering lady, or she’s the wicked witch of the west—stay away from that angry woman.” Gilbert tells Prevention. “There’s so much more in between. It’s so dismissive of our ability to contribute to society, to the economy, and be really powerful people.” She said out of this, Modern Prairie grew. “It became a celebration of women, women’s accomplishments, women’s businesses, women’s art, and who we are. Who we should be.”
After leaving Hollywood behind and heading East, Gilbert notes that a lot has changed for her—including her priorities. Now, instead of focusing on turning back the clock, she says that her health is “more important than anything,” especially as she ages.
“The most important underpinning in all of it is my emotional well-being. I’ve let go of a lot of deep, entrenched bitterness and discomfort, and fear,” Gilbert says. She notes that she went through therapy and did the work. Now, to stay well she tries to start her day in a “zen place,” as well as some intermittent fasting. And, she says, “trying to be mindful, taking care of my body, eating healthy and greener foods is a part of that.”
She also credits her husband for his constant support—and willingness to make a change and move across the country. Ironically, Gilbert’s life on the East coast looks a bit similar to her time filming for Little House on the Prairie. She spends time doing what brings her joy, including baking pies, painting, and helping build the Modern Prairie community.
These days, she’s shedding the idea that just because she’s a certain age, she needs to fit into someone else’s mold.
“I lived so much of my life being what other people want me to be,” Gilbert says. “The quote that pops into my head daily: ‘It’s none of my business what other people think of me.’ It’s just not healthy.”
Readers receive 25% off per customer at Modern Prarie through 1/31/23 when using code: Modern25
Emily Goldman is the senior editor at Prevention. She’s spent the last few years editing and writing health, wellness, beauty, food, and more for Marthastewart.com and Bridalguide.com. She’s loved all things health and wellness since starting her bi-weekly podcast Pancreas Pals—a series all about the highs and lows of living life with Type 1 diabetes. When not podcasting, she spends most of her time curled up with a good book or watching a period piece on BBC.