'At 42, I've been told to feel invisible. Then I met Trinny Woodall.'

Ageing for me, has been something I’ve been told to do, rather than something that’s happened.

Not in the physical sense of course. My reflection reveals little lines and creases where there once were none, and a once-pierced navel that looks more like a sad face than an oval these days — thanks to years of childbearing. Personalities evolve too, but that’s living, I think, more than it is ageing. We grow, we mature, and so do our values, our beliefs, our style, our interests. 

But ageing, in the sense of it being the basis for our identity, of being the definition of who we are as people — or who we should be; this is the view of ageing that is thrust upon us. That you must dress, wear your hair, play music, make jokes, in line with your age - this is taught to us. The world tells us we’re supposed to feel invisible after 40 (or 50, depending on who's talking). But would we feel that way, if we weren't told we should? Has the narrative become a self-fulfilling prophecy?

In the same way the child who’s constantly told he's naughty, continues to live up to his bad reputation, we, as women are often told to pipe down, dull down. We’re told no one cares anymore. We're invisible now. So, we do pipe down; we dull down. Until we are invisible. Until no one cares. 

I’ve been fortunate to have a wonderful role model in my mum, who has never let age define her. She happens to be a style queen and if I ever hesitate to wear something or do something or say something because of my age, she promptly chastises me (of course I’m not talking about irresponsible or dangerously youthful behaviour here). 


I’ve had lulls in life, of course, when my kids were little, when my marriage was breaking down, when life was hard. When you’re spread thin, you put less time into yourself, no doubt. But this is life, not age. 

Since turning 40, and with children out of those very early years, I've re-embraced my love of fashion, skin and hair care, hobbies, outings, exercise, having fun - as much as I can while balancing motherhood and work. It’s true what they say, about caring less about what people think as time passes. But it’s a conscious choice in a world that tells us to think twice. 

Trinny Woodall doesn't embrace ageing, she embraces life. Image: Getty.


Then I met Trinny Woodall.  

It was a lunch to celebrate the launch of her new book, Fearless. The other women in attendance ranged in age, but at a guess, more than half would have been in their twenties and thirties. All looked incredible, their outfits bright and bold. While I wore a dress I loved, I instantly regretted choosing the muted option of the two I was choosing between. Not because I don't love understated fashion, but because it went against my mood that morning. I went with should rather than want

When Trinny walked in - or rather, strode in - the room stopped. She commanded as such. Surrounded by women much younger than her 59 years, Trinny didn’t wilt, or fade. On the contrary, she radiated confidence and joy; the confidence and joy of someone who looked and felt her best.  

Age, I suspect, was the last thing that crossed her mind. I'd say it was the last thing that crossed any of our minds, as we collectively gaped our mouths in awe of an absolute style icon. Trinny’s very existence reminds us that we don’t have to become invisible. We don’t have to listen to the voices that tell us we are. And there are many of those.  


While Trinny was in Australia, I heard her speak on multiple podcasts, and she was relentlessly questioned about her age. About how and why she doesn't let her age define her. About how she feels about turning 60. About whether or not she felt invisible. And how she manages to stay so positive and defiant in the face of a society obsessed with age. 

I listened to her endless attempts to explain that ageing simply wasn’t an issue for her. That she viewed life as a continuous journey of evolution - one that's not determined by the number of years you’ve been alive. The term, 'ageing woman', offended her, she said, when it was put to her. She is, after all, simply a woman. When asked about her upcoming 60th birthday, Trinny said the only thing she’s thinking about is whether she’ll throw a party this year. 

But she doesn’t hide from her age either. In her book, she writes about feeling free from the burden of other people’s opinion post-50, about caring for skin as it changes through the course of life. Her Instagram lives are a mixed bag of facial exercises and skincare tips and fashion videos. She wears makeup in some and goes without in others. She bares her midriff and works out and does her hair. 

What I love most about Trinny’s approach to ageing is that there is no approach. She’s not embracing ageing, she's embracing life. And she sure as hell isn’t invisible. None of us are. 

Feature image: Supplied

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