PICS: Meryl Streep, 62, Stuns in First-Ever Vogue Cover

 Annie Leibovitz/VOGUE

With two Oscars (and 16 nominations!), seven Golden Globes (25 nominations), two Emmys and way, way more accolades, there's seemingly not much that Meryl Streep hasn't yet accomplished.

And yet perhaps the most acclaimed and celebrated actress of the modern era had one major milestone to reach: Gracing the cover of Vogue!

And now, finally, at age 62, Streep gets the honor for the January 2012 issue of the ultimate fashion bible.

"I was joking with the ladies earlier," Streep, promoting her predictably acclaimed turn as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, tells the magazine. "And I told them I was probably the oldest person ever to be on the cover of Vogue."

Indeed, Streep (who played a thinly veiled version of Vogue editrix Anna Wintour in The Devil Wears Prada) knows she defied the odds and outdated limitations for women in Hollywood, with her roles getting even better as she enters senior citizen-dom.

She admits that, in 1989, when she turned 40, "I remember turning to my husband [sculptor Don Gummer] and saying, 'Well, what should we do? Because it's over.'"

And, soon after reaching the big 4-0, Streep reveals that she received three offers to play witches in films. "Once women passed childbearing age they could only be seen as grotesque on some level," she surmises, and then portrayed older, or terminally ill, woman in films like One True Thing — "women whose usefulness had passed."

But richer roles followed — like the recent middle-aged, post-divorce sex comedy It's Complicated. "In the period of Silkwood [1983], [It's Complicated] could never have been made, with a 60-year-old actress deciding between her ex-husband and another man. With a 40-year-old actress it would never have been made!" she says.

She was thrilled to play British prime minister Thatcher, despite her significant political differences with the leader "With any character I play, where she is me is where I meet her. It's very easy to set people at arm’s length and judge them," she explains. "Yes, you can judge the policies and the actions and the shortcomings-—but to live inside that body is another thing entirely. And it's humbling on a certain level and infuriating, just like it is to live in your own body. Because you recognize your own failings, and I have no doubt that she recognized hers."

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