Article by Ceri Wheeldon
How we live in our 50s and beyond has changed dramatically for our generation. There are so many inspirational women who lead by example. I was recently commissioned by Sun Life to give my thoughts on this very topic.
I have chosen 7 women who inspire me. Some are public figures, others are women I have been privileged to connect with through my Fab after Fifty activities. All inspire in very different ways.
Who would you add to the list?
At a time when we are all expected to work for longer, what better example could we have than the Queen. I appreciate that she may be living a life of luxury, but nobody can question her commitment and sense of duty. She continues to work in her 90s. I don’t think I will ever forget her standing on the Royal Barge during her jubilee celebrations in the pouring rain as it was her duty to be seen. Her dedication to her role cannot be questioned.
At 81 she has seen her career take on a new lease of life. With the hit Netflix series Grace and Frankie, and a new endorsement deal with L’Oreal. After the surprise success of the first series of Grace and Frankie she took more acting lessons – showing that it is never too late to learn or improve.
In a recent interview for Vogue’s ‘Non-Issue’ celebrating ageless style and beauty, she said “ But I love age. It was Picasso who said that it takes a long time to become young. I like being over the hill because I’ve discovered there’s a whole new landscape. I’m fond of age, I’m glad I’ve lived this long“.
She is open about the surgery she has had – both cosmetic and medical (hip and knee replacements) and lets nothing stand in her way of enjoying life.
While others have graced our screens on breakfast TV for varying amounts of time, Lorraine has held her spot for more than 30 years. She has turned her personality into a brand. I have met Lorraine on many occasions – interviewing her for this site. She always comes across as being open , friendly and interested! She may be briefed before we met but she always refers back to something we discussed on a previous occasion – somehow positioning herself as a friend rather than a celebrity. I admire her career longevity and her ability to connect with people both on screen and one to one.
Mariam is an author who I first met in my early days of Fab after Fifty. She had suffered from ill health for many years, but did not let that stop her from following her dream of becoming a published author in her 50s. She used social media to create awareness of her books and goes from strength to strength. She also continues to be supportive of those who have helped her along her the way- including me! She does not let her health prevent her from travelling the world to meet up with those she has connected with online. Mariam is someone who gives more than she receives. A lovely lady.
Yoga and wellness expert Annie suffered the unimaginable when her son died at the age of 34 from a blood cancer disease. His death inspired her to start running- and shortly after his funeral her daughter-in-law suggested they run the London Marathon in his memory. For the past four years Annie, now 65, has continued to run marathons and half marathons in her son’s memory to raise money for Bloodwise.
Showing that it really is never too late, Tessa Levy had her first novel, No One But You, based on her own life, published at the age of 88! Writing a book had always been in the back of her mind- but Tessa waited until the time was right for her to do it. She plans on writing a sequel.
Very much a champion of the pro-age movement, Grace developed her own make-up brand for mature women based on the changing needs of our skin and features as we get older. Setting up and running the business, she supports and encourages to follow their dreams to do the same. She is embracing the challenge of turning her initiative (Studio 10 makeup) into a global brand…showing that age is no barrier to ambition!
We all have women who inspire us in many different ways. I would you to share your thoughts on those who inspire you.
We are a generation of women breaking new ground , challenging outdated perceptions of what it is like to be a woman over 50 today. Who inspires you?