I’m about to tell you a story.
It’s the story of a global television legend, a world-famous actress and a 22-year-old Australian babysitter – my babysitter – called Emma. In January, Emma was given about three months to live. More on my beautiful friend Emma in a moment.
You see, this week Oprah sat down to do a one-on-one interview with Cameron Diaz. The topic? Beauty, ageing and the pressure on women to forever look 25-years-old. (I wanted to do a fist pump even before I’d even seen 30 seconds of this interview, quite frankly.)
There’s a reason Oprah chose Diaz to talk to about this subject. The 42-year-old actress has been on record for a long time as saying she refuses to do Botox and recently penned the New York Times bestselling The Body Book on beauty, fitness and ageing.
So, OW and CD sat down to discuss ageing, specifically the nonsensical expression that has spawned an entire industry: “anti-ageing”. And you know things get feisty because Oprah swears right off the bat.
Here’s my favourite part of the interview (thanks to The Huffington Post):
As the actress writes in her New York Times bestseller The Body Book, Diaz says there’s no such thing as “anti-ageing.” Oprah emphatically agrees during their interview for “Oprah Prime” and shares Diaz’s frustration over the idea that ageing should (or even can) be avoided. “As somebody who just turned 60… it just pisses me off,” Oprah says.
“It’s almost as if we have failed if we don’t remain 25 for the rest of our lives. Like we are failures… Oh, I’m sorry, I apologize,” Diaz says sarcastically. “I wasn’t able to defy nature.”
AMEN to that.
I applaud Diaz for drawing a line in the sand and flipping the bird to anyone who expects her to cross it.
Here’s the thing though: we all need to draw that line in the sand. We all have a role to play in this anti-ageing crap and we need to stop buying into it. What do I mean? We need to stop whinging, whining and despairing about getting old.
So it’s at this point that I want to talk to you about my friend Emma.
Emma is 22. She’s smart as a whip, funny, wry, feisty, (like me) loves a good maxi dress, and has a penchant for super cute stationery.
She happens to be my babysitter and is an expert at wrangling Fin and successfully stopping him from eating 37 cheese sticks in one sitting. She’s a good woman.
She also happens to have been diagnosed with Stage 4 melanoma (a diagnosis which in Em’s case is unrelated to sun damage, just so you know).
Stage 4 melanoma is terminal.
That diagnosis was delivered to Em in August 2013. In January this year, Emma’s doctors gave her just three months to live. We’re hoping, hoping a trial drug will extend that by a few months. But right now, Emma isn’t allowing herself to assume she’ll still be here at Christmas.