04/13/2012 10:35 am ET Updated May 23, 2012

Jane Seymour: 'Everything Doesn't Fall Apart At A Certain Age'

Over the years, actress Jane Seymour has played ingenue, leading lady, Bond Girl, serial killer, trailblazing medicine woman, and minx-of-a-mother (that list, of course, isn't even close to exhaustive).

Busy as ever acting at 61, Seymour can next be seen in the film adaptation of Shannon Hale's novel "Austenland" and as Mark-Paul Gosselaar's mother on TNT's "Franklin and Bash."

And when she's not performing? Seymour is painting and honoring her mother's legacy with the Open Hearts Foundation, a nonprofit operating on the philosophy that in the face of adversity, giving selflessly to others is paramount.

Huff/Post50 chatted with Seymour about scoring comedic roles later in life, how "Dancing With the Stars" cured chronic back pain and why "wine:30" should be a time on everyone's clock.

What's the one thing you know now that you wish you knew when you were growing up?

When I was younger, I remember thinking, "I have to pass this mark" or "I have to get this role" or "I have to do this or that" and then that will mean I have accomplished something. But life is actually all about the process and not about the goals.

At this stage of life, what's the one rule you feel you can break with impunity?

"Wine:30." At the end of the day, I let myself have a glass of wine. I work from home with a team of people and we'll say, "It's Wine:30" and we take off our serious working hats and we just decide we're going to be people who appreciate the sunset. Wine:30 is more than just a glass of wine: It means stopping and smelling the roses and saying, "Okay, I'm done," even if it's for a short amount of time.

What is the riskiest thing you've done in your life since you've turned 50?

"Dancing With the Stars." I had back surgery years before and it had never really healed. Why I thought I'd be able to dance, I don't know, and my mother was dying from a stroke. The commotion of dealing with the loss, and the bad back, and then doing the dance moves I'd never done in my life, that was definitely the riskiest and most rewarding thing I've done. The challenge turned into a gift for me, both emotionally and physically.

Do you still dance?

I've danced ever since. I just did a film in which I had to be a dancer and I was able to do all kinds of extraordinary things. A lot of people turn 50 and talk about what they're not going to do anymore. I embarked on something that I'd wanted to do when I was 5.

What ignites your creativity?

Beauty. The beauty of nature, the ocean, art. I'm a painter so literally every waking minute I see things visually: I'm constantly looking at how the light hits things, whether it's expressions on people's faces, body language between people, children playing on the beach or the extraordinary flowers and vegetables that grow in the garden.

What is the best advice anyone ever gave you?

My father always told me, you can only be your own best. In other words, if you feel you've done your best, you've done well enough.

What social or political cause are you most passionate about?

I've always been in love with anything that protects children and the rights of people who can't protect themselves.

What is your biggest regret?

Marrying too young. In the day and age that I got married, it wasn't like today where with impunity you live with someone. In my day, you were supposed to get married before anything else happened.

What is your greatest accomplishment?

My family. I'm really proud of my kids and my sisters and my nieces and nephews.

If you could say one thing to the next generation, what would it be?

My mom survived a concentration camp in World War II in Indonesia, and she taught me that when life is tough and you think it's insurmountable, open your heart. Accept what happens. Be in the present. Reach out and help someone else in the way that you uniquely can, whether it's the kindness a phone call or a cup of tea or the ability to form a group. There's always someone worse off than you. I would give them my mom's advice: Open your hearts, develop your unique gifts and see how you can help others.

If you could reincarnate as anyone or anything, what or who would it be?

That's one thing I can't think of because it means stepping into someone else's life, warts and all.

What kinds of style risks do you like to take now?

I would never attempt to try to look like a teenager, but there are elements of fashion that younger people wear that I like to integrate into my own style. I will take the accessories, the odd top, the colored jeans. I definitely am not ready to be mumsy, as they say.

What misperceptions are out there about style and beauty after 50?

I think this whole idea that you hit a certain age and everything falls apart -- I think it's as much as anything a mind-set. I'm fitter and slimmer now than I was at 17.

You've had some memorable performances as the vixen older woman, both in "Wedding Crashers" and in "How I Met Your Mother." What appeals to you about this type of role?

The freedom to be completely outrageous and an older woman. Ann Bancroft in "The Graduate," of course, was the first, and I guess I got to be this generation's embarrassing mother. One of the greatest gifts from when I did "Wedding Crashers" was everyone realized I was very comedic, and it wasn't until I was older that people would accept that.

What's the secret to continuing to secure great roles?

I haven't changed my look. I've embraced who I am. If I need to be someone a little older, they can do that with a little lighting. They can make me look my age, and with better lighting, they can make me look a little better.

Check out our slideshow below for Seymour's unique style and a performance from "Dancing With The Stars."



Jane Seymour