I just got home from a short speaking tour. 4 events. I realized that’s about my limit because it requires me to be awake, rested and present. When Dona (a long-time blog follower) told me her daughter thought I was very “present” at the event in Madison it made me truly happy. Present is what to strive for. It sort of stunned me that 4 events was my new limit. I remember in the 70s and 80s I would go out for 3 months at a time and give speeches all day. On one of those nationwide tours I was pregnant and on the next I was nursing…my son Troy. But I was only in my 40s then. I forgive myself for not being up to the same routine and glad that there was a time when I actually did that.

Here’s something I noticed during those 4 recent events that bothers me: People are much more excited to see me these days; they pay more attention; they think I’m really cool. But here’s the thing: This has happened because of “Grace & Frankie.” I’m in a hit series so I’m more famous, more current, taken more seriously. But guess what? I have done nothing special to deserve this added attention so it makes me feel a wee uncomfortable. Before “Grace & Frankie” I was saying the same things, I had gathered just as much wisdom, had just as much to offer the audience. I’m no smarter now than pre-Netflix. I suppose there’s nothing to be done about this. Fame is what it is. It’s just a shame that so much emphasis is put on it. And I want to simply say to my blog community not to put too much stock in fame. There are people smarter and wiser who aren’t famous. Don’t give too much of yourselves over to famous people. Distance and skepticism is healthy when it comes to fame.

That said, I had a really good time, learned quite a bit from the audiences questions about what was on their minds, and got to chat–albeit briefly–with folks backstage where people told me moving and interesting things. For instance, there was the young Pakistani man who whispered in my ear that the chapter in my memoir called “Leaving My Father’s House” had given him the courage to leave his own father’s house. It was clear from the way he said it that this was life-saving.

I also get a close sense of our country on these tours– the flyover parts. When I was little, I spent a lot of time in Omaha, Neb. cause that’s where my father’s family came from and my brother and I would visit them and some cousins. That’s where I learned what a sock hop in someone’s basement with a victrola was like and what it was like to cruise down main street with the top down and go to a drive-in for milk shakes. I love those old brick towns and how they end abruptly and then the fields and woods. Still true in many places. It disturbs me though how the downtowns of places like St Paul, Minn and Kansas City, Mo seemed to be food deserts.

Enough! I’m still jet lagged.

P.S. I filmed the audiences at my events and I’d put that here but they didn’t come out well enough.

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  1. Jane, my name is Karine and I’m Brazilian. I’m your fan. I admire you and inspire myself. I loved reading your story. I agree!! I love you! Affectionate kisses.

    • Dear Jane,
      Somethimes I think if is possible love a girl with 81 years as you, the answer is yes just yes!

  2. Dear Jane,

    I went to your event in Saint Paul, MN. It was an amazing experience and I really enjoyed it. I felt like I could relate to and learn from a lot of what you said. I watched your documentary a few days before your event and I really related to what you said about feeling old at 20 and that you felt darker and sadder. I’m in my early 20s and I feel the same way. I feel less alone now after listening to you speak more about this at your event. Thank you.
    I would like to have a career in acting and music and I hope that someday I get to work with you. I was also wondering if you have any advice for this? Especially since going for it is really scary to me.
    I am a fan of your films but I also just love who you are as a person. You inspire me in so many ways. I wanted to thank you for sharing your experiences, wisdom, and your heart.


  3. Dear Jane,

    What you talk about fame is very interesting.
    It is a fact that people become more visible and heard if they are famous. I understand that this should cause a certain indignation to be more heard when it is more famous, but if we think on the positive side, you are exactly the same person, with more experience and wisdom and with more public to listen to and learn from his legacy.
    I follow her life trajectory today, because since 2011, when the film ” Peace, Love & Misunderstanding ” was released, I was delighted with her life story and her teachings.
    I love to read because it allows my imagination to create scenarios and I truly feel what the words translate. After reading all your books and learning so much, so much, to complete the documentary, Jane in five acts, brought color and images to all those words I had read about her incredible, arduous and beautiful life.
    I am a better person and more aware of my actions with your shared experience.

    Thank you for this
    with all the affection and admiration, Fernanda

  4. Fame, perhaps has allowed people to be reminded of you and pay attention in a crowded world. I have found for better or worse, people listen to those that they like and feel are relevant. Perhaps also G&F has simply reminded people of how truly special you are. I am just very happy to be a beneficiary of your wisdom and find you inspiring. I also am guilty of not being “aware” of what you were doing until I was reintroduced to you through G&F. I am 57 so like so many people, I did not really know you growing up.

  5. Dear Jane – I can see why it bothers you that you’re receiving a lot of attention after Grace and Frankie than before. I don’t think it matters that people think you’re cool now, I think it matters what they think you’re cool for that does. Unfortunately, people often only tune into change-makers when it’s something that affects them personally or something they relate to.

    I’ve never been much of a celeb follower, but recently been watching documentaries of artists and thought-leaders, as I’ve been curious about what sparks and how they get people on board with change. I’m 26 now, and through a lot of self-work over the past few years something has shifted or unblocked and my mind feels like a sponge. I am curious about so much.

    After watching the Feminism documentary on Netflix, you featured and mentioned ‘Jane in Five Acts’ so I added that to my watchlist. (I recognised you from Grace and Frankie, I was like “she’s cool” 😉 , I should watch her documentary) My mind was blown at the bold, colourful life you have lived. It’s been a great fuel to my new found fire. There is so much I want to do in this lifetime that I sometimes get overwhelmed ~ you’re a true example of what is possible.

    Your use of “Fame” as a platform to activate change is so smart and admirable. Using art or entertainment as a way of translating a message seems to get people’s subconscious thoughts ticking towards a new idea. Growing up in South Africa, I have never felt my potential has been inhibited because of my gender. There are definitely elements of gender roles though. I had no idea that this history and movement was so recent and now feel responsible to make use of my power as a young woman. Not sure how to go about this just yet, but I’ll find a way.

    I was in Cannes by chance over the film festival this year and thought to myself “Hmm I wonder if Jane Fonda is around?”.. Second thought “Yeah but she’d be pretty busy anyway, I actually just want to hang out, chat and ask questions” haha..

    So there ya go, I think that you’re “cool” because of your energy and capacity to keep pushing towards something greater than yourself. Not quite sure how you do it, so let me know when you’re free for that coffee 😉 Jokes, haha. I am going to try to make over to the States this year, hopefully it overlaps with your evening with Lily Tomlin.

  6. Hi Jane, I have seen some of Grace and Frankie and also your TED talk on aging, and wanted you to know that Olga Mikhailovna, a lawyer and Director of International Relations at the Grabovoi Education Center in Belgrade, saw your TED talk and mentioned it to me (I’m in the U.S.). Dr. Grigori Grabovoi is a distinguished Russian scientist who was known at the Russian Academy of Sciences as an expert in Noospherics, and he uses some amazing consciousness-related methods for anti-aging, restoration, rejuvenation, and regeneration. These methods enabled his clients to grow back a thyroid, uterus, lung tissue, urethra, teeth, etc. The results were undeniable because the medical doctors of many of these clients had removed the organ in surgery, and the removed organ and the restored organ were confirmed with medical scans. No other intervention could have grown these organs back, so as you can well imagine, some of these doctors were astounded! The implications of this for anti-aging are pretty incredible. Dr. Grabovoi has been doing this for decades and has 6 volumes of documented (signed, sealed, and delivered, so to speak) results – Volumes 1-3, his results, and Volumes 4-6, his students’ results. The reason he is somewhat of an unknown here is mainly because of the language barrier, although now that is starting to change. Many are starting to know about him in Europe, and many will soon know about him here. If you’re interested, you could contact me, or if you would like to talk to Olga about it (she speaks English), you could reach her at https://www.grigori-grabovoi.world. Click on the X at the “Dear Visitors” overlay to remove it, and then click “Contact” at the top menu – Best regards, Sandy

  7. Hola Jane. Cómo estás? Hace mucho escribí en este post t pero no sé cuál será el motivo por el cual no me lo aprobaron. Eso me apena. Usé el traductor cuidadosamente! Sé que no puse nada disparatado.
    En realidad quería decirte que no te apenes por la gente que “te sigue por tu fama actual”. Creo que tú eres más que “famosa”. Tú eres una estrella que con su luz guía por la senda del activismo. Creo que si bien Grace and Frankie te ha puesto en la cresta de la ola desde 2015, tú trasciende más allá. No sólo por tus películas o por “ser hija de Henry Fonda”, sino por tu gran entrega a las múltiples causas en las que entregas tu verdadera pasión. Yo admiro eso de ti. Tu entrega, tu energía, tu compasión y tu enorme humildad.
    Me gustaría conocerte, escucharte personalmente pero es imposible. No me atrevo a escribir en inglés porque temo cometer errores gramaticales serios… Espero esto no sea rechazado y tú puedas leerlo mediante el traductor de tu página!!!
    Dios te ilumine y te guíe siempre fortaleciendo tu lucha. Sé FELIZ y te envío un beso y un fuerte abrazo. Me encantaría que se lo des a Lily Tomlin también, porque con Netflix descubrí a una extraordinaria comediante aunque el personaje de Ernesthine lo conocía!( Es el nombre de mí mamá) Gracias a “la fama” ambas mí vida se ha vuelto mucho mejor. Me han impulsado a cambiar algunas cosas a mis 63 años de edad. Por eso….MIL GRACIAS!!! ABRAZOS Y BESOS!!!😍😍😍😍

  8. Dear Jane, I do not know if you are reading this, but I try it. I am new here in the blog and come from Germany. I just wanted to tell you personally how much they inspired me. I love “Grace and Frankie” like our souls at night and of course Book Club! You are such a great and fascinating woman and actress. I love your movies and you as a person and your personality. I wish I could meet her in person, but unfortunately this dream will never come true. I have also sent you two letters if they ever received them personally. They radiate so much positive and unique that can hardly be described in words. I hope you will see this blog post. I wish you all the best. Feel warmly hugged. Greetings from Germany Your Barbara

  9. Hello Jane,
    my name is Virginia and I’m 21, I’m from Italy. I really didn’t know you before I started watching Grace and Frankie. One day my mum was passing by the tv and she said “hey, is that Jane Fonda?” And I was like “well I don’t know”. So I’m glad Netflix made this show with you and I’m glad I watched it. I think you said a lot of true things in this post, and I agree with the fact that people are attracted to fame for a lot of wrong reasons, but fame also means that people may listen to you, because they acknowledge your existence in this world and actually care what you have to say. Even thou you are saying the same things you were saying when you were less famous, the main thing is that now we get to hear them. I am really happy for your fame right now, because it really is impossible to have eyes and ears everywhere, everybody have to focus on something and this fame brings some of the focus on you. And I love that it does, because now I can too akcnowledge your existance, and I can listen to you and learn something I didn’t know yesterday, or be intrigued by something I didn’t think about. And I also can start watching all the movies you’re in because I got a crush on you (ooops). So, please don’t feel bad about all this emphasis, I think it is a good thing that people can now relate to you. I don’t think that people pay attention because you’re famous, I think that they choose to pay attention because they like you. Fame it’s just the thing that connects you to us, it’s the channel of communication.
    With much much love,

  10. Jane,
    I think the thing I admire most about you is your strength and the fact that you always find something to smile about. I love your smile it’s beautiful 😊

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