Jane Fonda Thought She’d Be Gardening When She Was 80, Instead She’s Protesting

Fonda fully expected that “we would have a woman president” by the time she hit her latest milestone.

Black and white photo of Jane Fonda in a shimmery black dress with a plunging neckline

Last year, Jane Fonda celebrated her 79th birthday out in in the streets, protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline with her friend Lily Tomlin. Don’t get the wrong impression, though, when you hear that this year she’s celebrating her 80th with a lavish-sounding eight-day party called “Celebrating Eight Decades of Jane.”

The festivities, which started with an evening of eight courses of meals, are actually a fundraiser for her sex-ed and pregnancy prevention group in Georgia, G.C.A.P.P., and Fonda has already continued her tradition of keeping it real by simply speaking her mind, as she did in October when she pointed out that people were only suddenly listening to women—and therefore making way for the post-Harvey Weinstein reckoning—because many of those whom he targeted and were then speaking out also happened to be “famous and white.” (“This has been going on a long time to black women and other women of color and it doesn’t get out quite the same,” Fonda continued, making a point that many of her famous and white peers still seem to have missed out on.)

Whether it was because the big 80 is approaching, or the sexual assault scandals have only multiplied since then, Fonda decided to get even more explicit when speaking recently with Vanity Fair: “I thought that we would have a woman president [by my 80th birthday]. I thought that I could maybe take up gardening. I didn’t think that I would be back on the barricades, no,” she said, referring to her activism most decades of activism most remembered by her anti-Vietnam War efforts—which she recently brought back to mind by making merch out of her mug shot from that time that she was arrested in 1970.

“I didn’t think that our freedoms, our democracy would be in jeopardy the way they are now,” Fonda continued. “I am utterly terrified.”

How Celebrities Protest in the Streets: A Visual History of George Clooney Getting Arrested, Kanye Occupying Wall Street, and More

Emma Watson attended her first-ever march when she made it to the Women’s March on Washington earlier this year—and brought along her mom, who dutifully wore a pussy hat. Though Watson is a United Nations Women Global Goodwill Ambassador and often speaks up about gender inequality, this time around, unlike the other celebs in attendance, she stayed on the streets instead of onstage, opting to yell instead of use a mic.

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Muhammad Ali, who was sentenced to five years in prison and had his championship title revoked after he refused to serve in Vietnam, also protested with members of the Black Panther Party in New York in 1970.

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In late September of 2001, Brooke Shields, Glenn Close, Bebe Neuwirth and more Broadway stars, some even in costume, rallied in midtown Manhattan to support the New York entertainment industry, when Broadway and the city’s tourism in general took a hit after 9/11.

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If you couldn’t tell by the fact that he founded his eponymous nonprofit group dedicated to promoting environmental awareness at age 24, in 1998, Leonardo DiCaprio, who’s also starred in a climate change documentary and even flown commercial to his annual foundation fundraiser, is so dedicated to environmentalism, he recycled a manila folder to use as a sign when he showed up at the Climate Change March in Washington, D.C. earlier this year.

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Meanwhile, back in the capital, Jessica Chastain, one of the industry’s most outspoken voices and advocates of women, passed out buttons to the hundreds of thousands gathered at the Women’s March.

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Despite the snow, Laura Dern also took part in the Park City Women’s March while at the Sundance Film Festival, regretting not being able to make it to the capital but grinning all the while.

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In 2011, Kanye West and Russell Simmons both made it all the way downtown to Zuccotti Park to take a peek at Occupy Wall Street, apparently in support of the movement. “I love how sweet and tolerant he was to the crowd,” Simmons, who in fact made several appearances, later tweeted of West, who unlike Talib Kweli and Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeff Mangum, refrained from performing. Simmons also spoke up for a silent, stony-faced West at the protest: “Kanye has been a big supporter spiritually for this movement … He wants to give power back to the people. That’s why we’re here.”

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Before attending the Women’s March on Washington and marching arm-in-arm with Jesse Jackson, Cher attended another rally in New York a few days earlier, where she called Trump “this unbelievable narcissist” and went off about “those assholes in Washington.” “I tried not to have a potty mouth, but it’s just me, okay? You must never give up, because the thing that will help us, that will get us through this is anger,” she said in a real-life extension of her long stream of all-caps, emoji- and anger-filled tweets.

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A Cate Blanchett sighting might be rare in the U.S., but the actress marched along her fellow Australians (and husband) in 2006 in the Walk Against Warming rally.

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Madonna didn’t get to do too much marching at the Women’s March on Washington—she kept it mostly backstage, hanging with Gloria Steinem and Amy Schumer—but she did deliver a powerful speech to the hundreds of thousands present. “The revolution starts here,” she told the crowd, after lamenting that “it took this horrific moment of darkness to wake us the f— up.”

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Here, in 1971, Jane Fonda was picketing a Safeway in Denver with the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee in protest of the chain’s lack of support for unions, but that was hardly the only time she’s taken to the streets: Starting with supporting the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Panthers in the ’60s, she’s long made a name for herself as a political activist as well as an actress, to the point that she and her husband were at one point monitored by the NSA. Still getting arrested en route from an anti–Vietnam war fundraiser in Canada and infamously earning herself the nickname Hanoi Jane haven’t stopped her: She also showed up at the Women’s March on Washington earlier this year.

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George Clooney was arrested—alongside his father, Nick Clooney—during a demonstration outside the Embassy of Sudan in Washington, D.C. at a rally held by Amnesty International and the nonprofit United to End Genocide to call for humanitarian aid for the thousands facing governmental violence and starvation in South Sudan in 2012. After paying his $100 fine to avoid a court appearance, Clooney, who’d recently visited Sudan, then met with President Obama to discuss the crisis.

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In 2014, Alicia Keys organized a protest in New York to raise awareness about the more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls that Boko Haram had kidnapped for six months at that point, which her husband Swizz Beatz dutifully attended.

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Marlon Brando joined the Congress of Racial Equality to protest an all-white housing area in Torrance, California in 1963, a full decade before he boycotted the Academy Awards and asked Native American activist Sacheen Littlefeather—who asked the crowd for better treatment of Native Americans—to accept the Best Actor award for The Godfather in his place.

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Before he made a splash at this year’s March for Science, Bill Nye, aka the Science Guy, showed up in a bowtie to New York’s take on the Global Climate March in 2015 to talk environmental advocacy on the steps of City Hall, as Mayor de Blasio was gearing up to head to the Paris Climate Summit.

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Liza Minnelli, Joey Gray, Patti Austin, Lily Tomlin, and Cleve Jones were just some of the celebs to march at the forefront of an AIDS candlelight Memorial March past the White House in 1992.

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Rarely afraid of, well, just being Miley, Miley Cyrus showed up to L.A.’s Women’s March in a smiley face-covered unitard, declaring her nonprofit the Happy Hippie Foundation’s support for fellow nonprofit Planned Parenthood while marching alongside Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin.

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Woody Harrelson has been arrested multiple times, but the time in 1996 that he scaled the Golden Gate Bridge with members of the group Earth First! to hang a banner in defense of redwood trees was definitely the most scene-stealing.

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Last year, after a sniper killed several police officers in Dallas at a protest following police killings of two black men, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, Snoop Dogg and The Game led a peaceful march to the Los Angeles police headquarters in an effort to promote unity amongst people of color.

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Susan Sarandon, Christopher Reeve, Alec Baldwin, and Robert Kennedy Jr. all got together in 1995 in favor of protecting New York City’s watershed before an EPA hearing on the safety of the city’s water.

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Shailene Woodley and Rosario Dawson both protested the Dakota Access Pipeline in New York’s Union Square last summer. Woodley ultimately made it out to North Dakota in October, too—and was arrested for criminal trespassing and engaging in a riot. She pleaded guilty—and wrote a personal essay for Time saying she hoped the publicity would spur others into action.

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The night before Trump’s inauguration, Cynthia Nixon joined thousands of New Yorkers and plenty more celebs outside Trump Tower to promise her continued attention to causes such as healthcare, climate change, social justice, and immigrant rights throughout the president’s term.

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Alicia Keys and __Janelle Monae also made it to the Women’s March on Washington, where both also spoke out and performed. (The latter also invited the mothers of Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner, as well as more murdered at the hands of the police, up onstage.)

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Like any good star of an adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984, Olivia Wilde joined Mark Ruffalo and Michael Moore at Trump Tower, a few months after taking care to rid of her Melania-like hair.

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Scarlett Johansson joined the scads of celebrities speaking out at the Women’s March on Washington, but chose to focus her speech specifically on Planned Parenthood and women’s healthcare. (Before it was cut short by a sound outage.)

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At the Sundance Film Festival during the Women’s March, Charlize Theron still took part in the action in Park City, Utah, carrying a banner and crying while marching alongside other celebs like Laura Dern, John Legend, and Chelsea Handler.

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Before showing up to the L.A. Women’s March, too, Jamie Lee Curtis became an early advocate of the #NotMyPresident hashtag, speaking out immediately after the election results.

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Back in 1996, Jesse Jackson gave Bruce Springsteen a hug at a rally opposing prop 209, which would end affirmative action based on race and gender in state and local government, in front of the Federal building on Wilshire Blvd. where Springsteen also spoke and performed.

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Shortly after Trump’s inauguration, Bella and Gigi Hadid, who are both not only supermodels but proudly Muslim, managed to sneak into New York’s #NoBanNoWall march in response to Trump’s moves to build a wall bordering Mexico, and to place an indefinite ban preventing Muslims from seven foreign countries from entering the U.S.

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Over the years, Mark Ruffalo has spoken up—and hit the streets—in support of reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, and the environment, and against fracking, with the latter to the point that he claimed in 2010 to have been placed on a terror advisory list. It’s no surprise, then, that he not only showed up at Occupy Wall Street to speak out against fracking the next year, but also just this week led a protest with Michael Moore against Donald Trump, whom he’s gotten increasingly real about, and in remembrance of Heather Heyer, who was recently murdered by white supremacists.

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Fonda, who said that she’s happily single, brought along her ex Ted Turner as a date to the celebration’s kick-off, which has already raised $1.3 million for her charity—one which she took care to point out is also taking particular care to educate adolescent boys in this cultural “tipping point.” (A great PR move, yes, but one that she made while also making a very valid point.)

“The sense of entitlement that to be a real man you have to grab women and paw women and assault women and knock up women is the underlying problem here,” she said. “Men do it because it makes them feel like real men. It shows that they have power, and whether you’re at the top of your game in Hollywood or a young kid in Appalachia, that toxic masculinity is gonna affect how you treat girls.” Fonda, for her part, is not about to forget that young kid in Appalachia: “That’s what celebrities do, if we’re doing our job right. We’re picking up the voices of people who can’t be heard and broadcasting their story.”

If she’s said and done all by this point in December, who knows what she’ll have also accomplished between the rest of the month and time she actually turns 80, on December 21.

Jane Fonda, Actress and Activist, Is a Style Chameleon

Jane Fonda had style right from the start—as evidenced by this chambray shirt and pants ensemble in 1956.

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Kate Middleton may have wowed onlookers with her post-pregnancy style, but it’s hard to beat the red coat and knee-high boots Fonda wore leaving Paris’s Belvedere Hospital with her new daughter Vanessa in 1968.

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A black hat, big sunglasses, and boot-cut Levi’s? Jane Fonda invented easy, off-duty style.

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Quintessentially ‘80s, the actress’s fuchsia blazer, floral bustier, and super-high-waisted trousers were surely a hit at the American Film Institute celebration of Gregory Peck in 1989.

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Fonda embraced the early ‘90s in the decade’s best trends—a windbreaker, red turtleneck, and big, curly hair—at StanleyK. Sheinbaum’s 70th birthday celebration.

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Stepping out with her third husband Ted Turner, Fonda was a vision in a black and white checked print gown and black silk gloves at the 1995 Academy Awards.

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Later that year, the actress epitomized Beverly Hills-chic at the Television Critics Association Awards Dinner with a white high-necked dress, beige pumps, and brown sunglasses.

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Easing back into the spotlight after a nearly 10-year hiatus from acting, Fonda stunned in a simple black dress and gloves at the 2004 Golden Globe Awards.

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Aside from her acting and activism, Fonda is known for being a fitness fanatic. So it’s no wonder she’s continued to embrace form-fitting styles, like this all-black look from 2011. If you’ve got it, flaunt it.

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Over the past few years, the actress has adopted a more covered-up approach to red carpet wear—without sacrificing style, of course. In a zebra-printed jacket and black flared pants at the 2011 Women in Entertainment Breakfast, Fonda stole the show.

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The actress gave the younger generation at run for their money at the 2013 Berlin International Film Festival in a gold sequin dress and coordinating tan fur. Stay golden, Jane.

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“I took one look at that Balmain jumpsuit, and I said, ‘That’s it!’” Fonda explains in W’s June/July issue. When you know, you know.

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