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Stresses of life, ‘9-1-1’ are no match for Angela Bassett

At age 65, Angela Bassett knows the secret to looking timeless can’t be bottled or bought. Lowering that trademark smooth voice, she divulges, “Like who you are on the inside and it shows on the outside.”

That’s it?

She laughs and adds: “Otherwise, just keep the stress down and the attitude hot.”

The ironic thing is Bassett has every reason to be stressed these days. Her twins, Bronwyn and Slater, just turned 18, high school graduation is around the corner and they’ve been on 26 college tours — and counting.

“Transitions are actually beautiful times in life,” Bassett says.

There’s another change that is more imminent. Her hit TV series “9-1-1” moved to ABC for a nonstop Season 7 that begins Thursday (and streams on Hulu).

New episodes revolve around Bassett’s top cop and Capt. Bobby Nash (Peter Krause) sneaking away on a cruise ship voyage for a long-delayed honeymoon. The vessel capsizes in a multi-episode arc that rivals “Titanic.”

“We are going full throttle,” Bassett says of the series — and her life.

She spent a good deal of time in a water tank during filming. “This opening was wet, wild and wonderful,” she shares.

When she’s not saving lives, fictionally speaking, Bassett lives in L.A. with her actor husband, Courtney B. Vance, and their twins.

Her good life tips:

Gravitate toward ‘the pull’

Bassett took the role on “9-1-1” largely because it just felt right. “It doesn’t have to be a role, but anything in life that yanks you in a direction,” she says. She had worked with “9-1-1” executive producers Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuck and Tim Minear on “American Horror Story.” “I knew I was in the right place here because each time I worked with them I was really excited to start,” she adds. “You should gravitate towards things where you feel challenged and pulled. I felt the pull toward this show because I knew the appreciation level would be there.”

A star is born

Bassett says she grew up poor in St. Petersburg, Florida, where her single mother raised Bassett and her sister. “My favorite possession as a child was my record player,” she says. “I’d put on my favorite music, watch the album spin, grab my hairbrush and pretend it was a mic while I sang my favorite songs. I did ‘Midnight Train to Georgia’ and ‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine.’ I guess those were my first performances.”

Don’t be average

Bassett says her dreams back then included marrying one of the brothers from the Jackson 5. “My mother’s dream was that I went to college because she hadn’t gone,” she shares. “She was constantly on my sister and me. She would look at our homework and say, ‘It’s not an A. It’s not a B. It’s a C.’ I’d say, ‘C is average mom.’ She’d say, ‘I don’t have average kids.’ It was a good lesson to push yourself.” Bassett would graduate from Yale with a B.A. in African American studies and then earn a Masters of Fine Arts from the Yale School of Drama.

What’s age got to do with it?

Don’t tell Bassett that she looks amazing for 65. “I love a compliment, but when you hear, ‘You look good for your age,’ it does give me pause,” she says. “I think people who take care of themselves look good at every age or whatever age, you know?”

She will even have a bit of fun with the numbers. When someone recently told her that she “looked so young,” Bassett says she replied, “That’s wonderful to hear, seeing as I’m 80!”

Know what matters

Bassett won an Oscar for her breakout role as Tina Turner in 1993’s “What’s Love Got to Do With It” and was nominated a second time for playing Queen Ramonda in 2022’s “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” Did the Oscar acknowledgment change her life? “Not one damn bit,” she jokes. “I’m still that mom wondering what I should make for dinner and then feeling guilty if we go out.” One recognition for portraying Turner does hold a special place in Bassett’s heart. “Tina took me aside one day and said, ‘You played me so well. Thank you.’ ”

Practice moderation

“I do try to eat well,” Bassett says, “but I do well about 75 percent of the time. I do love something sweet, but I try to counteract anything I do that’s not so great with something very good. I believe you can eat yourself well.”

As for exercise, she starts with big goals. “Maybe you plan to walk 3 miles and you only do 2, but at least you’re out there and striving toward the next goal.”

Find the joy in aging

“Every birthday is a time to reflect on life and how far you’ve come,” she says. “If you don’t like something, then you can make a plan to change it. … And as I age, the wonderful thing is that you can really appreciate all that’s around you and the people in your life and the love. And you can celebrate your own uniqueness. Everyone is an important asset to the world.”

Pick the right partner

“You need somebody in your corner who really believes in you during those moments you don’t believe in yourself,” she says. “You can just hang onto their faith until yours comes back.”

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