real life

'Thank you, Kerri-Anne, for being so honest about what you do to your face.'

Surgery. Fraxel. Botox. The horror of thick-gel fillers forced down a wide needle.

When Kerri-Anne Kennerley visited Mamamia recently, she didn’t flinch about discussing what plenty of women hate talking about – our faces and what we choose to do to them as we age.

Kerri-Anne told Mia Freedman – and a room full of watching women – that she decided to step-in when she felt like her outsides no longer matched her insides.

“I would wake up every morning with really heavy eyelids… They were getting droopier and droopier. I would look in the mirror and I would look tired without feeling tired. So I had that cut out.

“I’ve had Botox, I don’t like the fillers… It’s like a gel thing and it hurts like hell, so that doesn’t work for me,” she went on.

Listen to Kerri-Anne’s conversation with Mia below. (Post continues after audio…)

There’s nothing revolutionary about any of the things the inimitable, 64-year-old KAK is discussing here. Australian women are sick of being ‘in the closet’ when it comes to both the pressure to ‘stay young’, and the things they’ll do to do so.

But for Gen X feminists like me, leaning in to KAK’s frank discussion of what’s worth splashing your cash on and what’s not, the decision of whether or not to mess with nature is still a confusing, confronting one.

My car radio is always telling me to get something fixed on my face.

On commercial radio, in between Ed Sheeran and Demi Lovato I’m being urged, ‘Embrace your face. Make the most of ageing. Dermal fillers. Only $79.99 a ml.’

On this morning’s drive, Bigger Lips were sponsoring the news. Smoother skin was in every ad break. And best-deal on fillers followed the weather.

It feels like a recent development that cosmetic injectables are so mainstream they’re being served up in the car at 7am. They’re the subject of every second Groupon deal, and spelled out in peeling transfer letters from every second suburban salon window. BOTOX, FILLERS, JUVEDERM – $$$$$$$$$$.

My ageing face can’t take it. Seriously. Some days it’s like my wrinkles are actively trying to stretch towards the nice lady with the needle. But my face is at war with my brain, which tells me that women with visible pores and crows’ feet are still interesting, energetic, creative beings.

It didn’t used to be like this. Once upon a time, you were young and unlined, puffy and smooth. And then you weren’t.


People looked for different admirable traits in “older” women: Wisdom and wit. Elegance and experience. The Knowing that comes with letting go of both the trials and the perks of youth and beauty.

Not any more. Age is not an excuse for any kind of crumpling or softening. There’s no letting go. Or giving up. Or giving in. Every tiny touch of the years must be erased. We must all freeze time at a silently agreed age that seems to be around 32, whatever your birth certificate says.

Kim Kardashian getting botox on Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Image: E!

Like KAK, these days my face doesn't match my energy, either. The once shadowy circles under my eyes are now more like permanent trenches that no amount of concealer can fill. But I feel the same. Like I can achieve anything. After coffee, of course.

So to fill, or not to fill is the question of my particular age. And women who are honest about what they're doing to look so darn glowy are very welcome to weigh in on the debate.

Because once you're over 40, 'I woke up like this' just doesn't cut it any more.

Do you wish more women were honest about what they do to their faces as they age? 

You can listen to Mia's full interview with Kerri-Anne, below.

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