Actress Naomi Watts is now adding advocacy to her list of remarkable achievements, which already includes parenting two children and receiving two Oscar nominations. She did this by founding the menopausal beauty company Stripes. The menopausal conversation will be improved by Stripes, which will formally launch on October 18 in collaboration with Amyris. Stripes offers a variety of items for women going through "the transition," including a cooling facial mist, hydrating vaginal gel, and probiotic supplements.
Watts has already ventured into the beauty industry; in fact, in 2014, she co-founded the online retail portal ONDA Beauty. She tells BAZAAR.com, "We have up to 80 different brands at a time. "I have always been interested in wellness and excellent health, as well as skin care. And it just became painfully clear that there was no place for women in this particular age group to find representation in narratives and media. Given that everyone will experience it at some point, it ought to be a time of encouragement. This is a topic that has been overdue and needs thoughtful analysis and innovation because it really should be a dynamic time of one's life. I believe that through storytelling, you can build the power to alter things. It's not over yet."
The actress continues, "After going through the physical and psychological changes of menopause for myself, the concept for Stripes evolved." Stripes was created as a result of Watts' own experience of feeling somewhat irritated and alone during this time, which was in her early 40s and immediately after having children, she adds. "And because I had already experienced a period of secret and guilt related to the reproductive phase, I was determined not to go through it again. In fact, I had no idea how to approach doctors about it or how to approach friends about it. Additionally, I never got the impression that it was open when I gave it a mild try. So that just sort of struck me, and the fact that it's not included in pay or schooling is just unbelievable."
Stripes will, according to the entrepreneur and celebrity, serve as a forum for young people to discuss "the transformation" as well as a community for women. It feels like a more intimate version of storytelling, which is the line of work I already do and which brings people together to develop feelings and see themselves mirrored in.
To learn more about Watts' opinions on ageing in Hollywood, how to take care of one's mind and body in their 40s and beyond, and her go-to Stripes products, read the interview with her below on BAZAAR.com.
I feel like a lot better version of myself now that I've been with it for a while. I'm now beyond the hardest part of it, but it's still in the early phases, when you really don't know what's happening with the physical and emotional changes.
Your hormones go up one day and down the next at the beginning, and everything is just a big ol' s*** sandwich. However, the good news is that we're now opening the doors to eradicating the stigma and normalising the talk so that you can be prepared and have a fantastic support network. Because half of the population will experience it, doctors are now specialising in it; formerly, there were many competing theories on what to do.
My mother told me her last period was at age 45, so I knew she had entered what is known as early menopause. However, I was unaware that she had experienced a significant amount of loneliness and difficulty during that period. Why didn't you tell me, I asked? "Well, it's a topic I never had with my mother because she never had it with hers," the woman responded.
Generation after generation has passed down this code of silence, which has given us the impression that we should just put up with things and get by. It's a disgrace that there has been no education there because it sends the dreadful message that "It's the end, you're invisible from here on out, you're not relevant." In order to foster empathy for our elders who did suffer silently in the absence of a community, medical assistance, or anything else, I want to approach it from an intergenerational perspective. Throw the ladders to the younger generations as well so they feel comfortable asking for assistance.
How did your collaboration with Amyris begin?
I still have my day job, which I really enjoy, so I knew I wanted to work alongside a partner. After hearing about Amyris from ONDA Beauty a few times in the beauty industry, I knew I wanted to work with a lab that would only use pure substances. I essentially made a cold call to them because I was aware that they were developing formulae for other companies but was unaware that they were building whole new brands.
They were undoubtedly a business that valued sustainability and clean practises; they also had excellent resources and were well aligned in every manner. They immediately embraced the idea, vision, and mission of the brand when I physically went out to them at the start of the pandemic. It has, in my opinion, happened very rapidly, but it has also been a good 18 months, or almost two years, since that call.
What self-care techniques do you employ to help smooth the transition to menopause?
First, discussing it with friends. Even after spending 18 months seriously researching it, there are still several competing hypotheses, unanswered questions, and contradictory data to be discovered. There is therefore much more to learn, and it is helpful to compare these stories with others and learn from their experiences with the procedure.
Humor, in my opinion, is a crucial component of it and can help you overcome suffering and get through unpleasant situations. To demonstrate to others that we can laugh at ourselves and that this isn't the worst time of our lives, we attempt to incorporate comedy into our platforms. And we've done that with things like product naming. Any small means by which we can lessen its intolerableness.
What Stripes product, if any, would you say you use the most at the moment?
I adore the serum with a passionate passion. It is not need to have a moisturiser on top of it; it can survive without one. It's loaded with five distinct types of hyaluronic acid, mushroom extract, and works wonders for both cellular hydration and skin barrier strengthening. That is my fave by far.
However, I also adore The Full Monty, which serves as our body oil. It is non-greasy, leaves a stunning, velvety finish, and is packed with antioxidants. And it smells just lovely. It's interesting to note that during menopause, your sense of smell increases, and things you once loved may become intolerable. The aromas are therefore faint, yet they are exactly right. If I'm not going out, I tend to wear perfume less frequently. The body oil gives off a wonderful small aroma because I don't want to apply perfume every day like I might have in the past.
You've obviously lived in Hollywood for a while. How, if at all, has the industry changed in how it accommodates ageing since you first entered it?
Without a doubt, the industry has evolved. By Hollywood standards, I was in my early 30s when I began to become actively involved, which was thought to be rather late. It's all over at 40, so start moving and don't waste any time; just work, work, work, I was advised. And that was really spooky. I believed to myself, "Why wouldn't there be tales of women in their fifties and beyond? They're still present, I think, because I keep running into them."
The theory was, I believe, that when you reach that stage of being unfuckable, that's when the stories stop coming in. I then went, "What do you mean by that, then? Why does that matter?" I then tried to calculate and examine that claim on my own, and it essentially suggested that you stop being sexy when your reproductive organs stop functioning, which is ludicrous. Women in this age range and beyond have so many inspiring tales to share.
Therefore, I do believe that the industry has evolved, and I believe that the Internet has been a major factor in that change—certainly for menopausal women taking it upon themselves to be their own greatest advocates. We're all ready to yell once you crack open that door just a little bit, and I believe that sort of trickled down to Hollywood, where we're seeing those tales more frequently mirrored.
Do you have any opinions on how menopause is currently portrayed in Hollywood?
We're still making progress. Although up until now it has been treated as a nasty word, ageing has undoubtedly been discussed in Hollywood and in everyday conversations. There is now more information available, though. I really hope that by opening up the dialogue, there would be an increase in empathy, compassion, and understanding.
I don't want to be limited to only portraying the insane bad guy, you know? I would be open to it even though that is a nice component as well. But we are more than just that. For our collective experiences, we should be valued. But I've seen a change. Your career used to dry up at 40, but it seems that that number is no longer relevant. There are undoubtedly more of these stories than before, but I believe they are less accessible and plentiful than before.