Older Than They Look

If she tells you she's 26, and looks 26, she's damn near forty!
Chris Rock, "No Sex (in the Champagne Room)" note 

Sometimes characters don't look their age. Whether it was a deliberate artistic choice on the behalf of the creator (usually to make the character more attractive or to legally fulfill a fetish) or something much deeper and linked to their characterization and the plot, this character will be older than they look. Although still within the normal range of the human lifespan (for that setting, anyway), this character will look noticeably younger than their age. Sometimes even improbably younger; it's not unheard of for a seeming teenager to be over the hill chronologically.

This is an extremely common trope in Speculative Fiction, where Functional Magic or Applied Phlebotinum can be used to explain the characters appearance being at odds with their age.

When science fiction or fantasy takes this trope to its illogical extreme, it leads to Really 700 Years Old, The Ageless, or a Time Abyss. See also Age Is Relative and Improbable Age. Not to be confused with Older Than They Think. Contrast with Younger Than They Look. If they're just drawn in a way that makes them seem older, it's Artistic Age. When a character is played by a much younger actor, it becomes Hollywood Old unless the difference is justified. When the actor is older than the character they portray, it's Dawson Casting (although the actor themselves may just fit this trope, justifying the Dawson Casting)

Compare Mistaken Age, Age-Inappropriate Dress. Contrast Animation Anatomy Aging.

Very Truth in Television. In fact, some scientists believe that this is increasingly becoming the norm as people in North America, Europe, and certain parts of Asia are living longer lives (many people, especially if they are women, can now not only hope, but expect to live to be 80 or older): the body is responding by slowing down the aging process to match the increased time span. Unfortunately, according to the theory this phenomenon also applies to mental and psychological maturity: the Psychopathic Manchild is becoming a reality in certain individuals because the frontal lobe (the area of the brain that regulates social behavior), which used to fully mature in the teenage years, is now remaining undeveloped in some people until well into the twenties.

Remember, this trope only covers characters who aren't impossibly old, just much older than they look. For characters who are impossibly old, see Really 700 Years Old and Time Abyss.


    Professional Wrestling 
  • Cheapened example in Matt Classic, a cryogenic experiment from the 1950s revived in the super secret bunker that Wrestling Society X takes place in.
  • Thunderkitty was at least seventy years old while she looked no older than a woman in her twenties, having debuted in 1952. Dave Prazak insists such a thing is impossible but his SHIMMER broadcast partner Portia Perez insists it's true, based on the "fact" no one born in this day and age would consciously choose to dress like Thunderkitty.
  • Layla, the 2006 Diva Search winner, was the longest-tenured diva on the WWE roster with the retirement of Beth Phoenix in 2012, up until her own retirement in 2015. By then, she was almost forty but looked like she hadn't aged a day since she first arrived in the WWE.
  • AJ Lee is in her late 20's but could easily pass off for 17.
  • Booker T is fifty, and looks to be in his mid-to-late thirties at the most.
  • Japanese pro wrestler Cherry (no, not the one that was in WWE) had a gimmick where, when questioned about her age, would claim she was "Forever 18". However she recently lost a match where she would be forced to show her passport and thus reveal her true age: turns out she was born on May 14, 1974... 37 going on 38! Twenty years older than what she was billed at yet looking far, FAR closer to her gimmick age.
  • Terry Funk is over twenty years older than Mick Foley at 71, yet he still looks pretty much the same as he did in the mid 90s (He's certainly aged better than Ric Flair as the first picture shows). Amazing when you consider that after all he's put his body through (past and present) he should've been dead years ago.
  • Mick Foley is now 50 (born in June 1965) and apart from his greying beard and occassionally shorter hair, still looks the same as he did in the Attitude Era (though he was younger than he looked back then. His well being on the other hand...
  • Former AJW star Mimi Hagiwara (on the right). 56 years old but you'd easily think she's at least 15 years younger.
  • Kane is 48, but looks at least ten years younger.
  • This is Jerry Lynn in the old ECW (circa late-90s to early 2000s). And this is Jerry Lynn in 2012. Aside from the lack of facial hair, he doesn't look much different than he was a little more than a decade ago. Can you believe that, as of 2013, Jerry Lynn's 50?
  • Apart from his shorter hair, Diamond Dallas Page, who is now 59 looks pretty much the same as he did in WCW. Though he was already in his forties when he got his main event push.
  • Sting was 37 when he transitioned to Crow Sting, 47 when he debuted in TNA, and 55 when he debuted in WWE. In all instances, he looked at least 5 years younger. (The face paint does hide most of the wrinkles). He's starting to look his age now that his hairline's receding.

Alternative Title(s):

Fauxli, Older Than He Looks, Older Than She Looks