You know as well as I do that for far too long, the topic of menopause has been shrouded in secrecy and whispered about behind closed doors. It’s as if society deemed it an uncomfortable secret that should be hidden away. Leaving us to navigate this significant life stage in silence and isolation.
Society’s beliefs about women and aging do little to dispel the shame and embarrassment we feel as women in perimenopause. In fact quite the opposite. As we age and our hormones shift and we become unrecognizable to ourselves, the stigma around women and aging only make us feel more lost and alone.
But no more! It’s time to break free from the taboo and start an open and honest conversation about menopause. Time to challenge midlife misconceptions and embrace the power of shared stories. And lucky for us, right now, there are more than a handful of influential and powerful women leading this charge.
Lending their platform for change
Women that we know and love from TV and movies and that we faithfully follow on social media. Women with a platform and following who are raising their voices and speaking out about menopause.
It’s likely that many of you are not as starstruck as me and you’re thinking, “So what? Why should I care just because they’re famous?” Well, celebrity obsessions aside, I really believe that by using their voices and platforms to speak openly about their menopause experiences, they are helping to change the narrative. Challenging the societal stigma. Normalizing the conversation.
Like it or not, when they speak, many people listen. So by leading discussions and raising awareness about the experiences and the challenges that so many of us face during perimenopause and menopause, they are affecting a change.
Seen, understood and supported
Their willingness to share their experiences can lead to a greater sense of understanding, support, and empowerment for women, like me and you, who are going through this transition. It helps break down the barriers of silence, reducing the shame and stigma associated with menopause, and ultimately creating a more inclusive and informed society.
And most importantly, it helps so many of us who are struggling to feel seen, understood, and supported.
So today I want to celebrate some incredible women who are fearlessly opening up about menopause and challenging societal taboos. And I want to thank them for helping us to reclaim our power and embrace the beauty and strength of menopause.
10 Celebrities Shattering Menopause Stereotypes
1. Oprah Winfrey – Media mogul, philanthropist, talk show host
Oprah started experiencing heart palpitations at age 48. She went to multiple doctors, including a female doctor who performed an angiogram and prescribed heart medication. It took two years before Oprah came across the information (on her own) that heart palpitations could be a symptom of perimenopause.
Thank you Oprah! She recently launched a menopause series as part of her “The Life You Want” classes. The goal of ‘The Big M’ series is to make menopause normal and get rid of the stigma. She gathers a super impressive crew, including Maria Shriver, Drew Barrymore, and some amazing doctors, to have a real talk about “everything everyone (including your doctors!) forgot to tell you about—from brain fog to hormone replacement therapy.” And in true Oprah-style, she doesn’t hold back!
It’s an honest, beautiful and power conversation that you don’t want to miss.
And I quote…
“So many women I’ve talked to see menopause as an ending. I’ve discovered this is your moment to reinvent yourself after years of focusing on the needs of everyone else.
2. Naomi Watts – Acclaimed actress and producer
Naomi felt isolated, scared, embarrassed and ashamed when she started experiencing perimenopause symptoms at the age of 36. Her night sweats were so intense, that she often changed her shirt several times a night and had to put down towels so she wasn’t changing sheets in the middle of the night. Now 54, Naomi is talking out about her 20-year journey through perimenopause and menopause to help the rest of us feel less alone.
Naomi’s overarching goal is support people during this transition and make it less lonely and feel more empowering. She’s out to normalize the conversation around menopause.
And she’s doing this by becoming the US voice of Menopause Mandate, a group of passionate women dedicated to transforming the support women receive from healthcare providers and society as a whole. She’s also launched Stripes, a line of perimenopause and menopause skin care and partnered with Em & Friends on a humorous menopause greeting card line to raise money for The Alliance for Period Supplies.
And I quote…
“’Menopause should not be a dirty word. It’s such a shame society has made it so. We need support from each other, and to not be made to feel like unsexy, infertile, crabby old ladies that should be sent out to pasture. We actually have wisdom and compassion that far outweighs youthful arrogance. Along with some mood swings and floods of tears on the side”
3. Drew Barrymore – Actress, producer, and talk show host
We watched Drew grow up on screen; the good and the bad. We’ve loved her movies, and her quirky sense of humor. Celebrated her marriages and children. But we hadn’t seen everything.
When Drew had her first hot flash live – on air, while interviewing Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler. “I am so hot, I think I’m having my first perimenopause hot flash,” she said before taking off her blazer and fanning herself. “For the first time, I think I’m having my first hot flash. Whoa!”
She’s since shared that, like so many of us, she knew about menopause but wasn’t aware that perimenopause was a thing. And, also like so many of us, was overwhelmed to find out symptoms could last up to 10 years.
At age 48, Drew is now on a mission to ‘rebrand’ menopause and erase the stigma surrounding it. She’s sharing it all: hot flashes, the perimenopausal dating scene, the shame and embarrassment. And in true Drew style, she’s finding humor and laughter in the journey. She’s also recently invested in EverNow (along with Cameron Diaz, Gwenyth Paltrow, Abby Wambach and Glennon Doyle) a women’s health company whose first priority is menopause.
And I quote…
“I don’t want you to think I’m some dusty old dry thing… and that is the conversation, the stigma that has to change. We have to make [menopause] funnier, more sexy and more safe.”
4. Michelle Obama – Former First Lady and advocate for women’s empowerment
Although she’s experienced things we will never relate to, like having a hot flash on Marine One (the presidential helicopter). She also has many perimenopausal symptoms and situations we can relate to.
Like the slow and sneaky weight gain that you don’t seem to notice until – BAM! You’re 15 pounds heavier. “We’re all in menopause with stretchy [waist] bands and our athleisure wear on, and you look up and you can’t fit the outfits you had on last year.”
And like so many of us, Michelle was hungry for information, but (as you know) it was hard to find. Even her mother didn’t seem to have a lot (or any) information or memories. Maybe she blocked them all out.
At 50, Michelle started talking candidly about menopause in the hopes of opening up the conversation about this neglected stage of life. Because it’s kind of what she does best, Michelle is starting meaningful conversations about menopause to help dispel all the myths, misconceptions, and mysteries. She’s out to change our perceptions on aging, HRT and everything in between.
And I quote…
“There is not a lot of conversation about menopause. I’m going through it, and I know all of my friends are going through it. And the information is sparse.”
5. Stacy London – TV personality, beauty brand co-founder and midlife maven
At the age of 47, Stacy began experiencing constant bodily discomfort, including aching muscles, dry skin, brittle nails, and cystic acne, signalling the onset of menopause. But she didn’t know that’s what was happening. Feeling unprepared, she faced mood swings and anger, not recognizing herself. It wasn’t until she reached the midpoint of perimenopause that she finally gained understanding and control over her experiences.
Frustrated that the FDA has categorized menopause as a disease, Stacy’s on a mission to start a conversation about aging and menopause to help women understand everything she wished she’d known about sooner. She believes, “it’s hard to understand the positive power of transformation if you’re ashamed of what’s happening.”
She co-founded State of Menopause, a company specializing in products that target many of the challenging symptoms of menopause. She’s currently hosting a new Pinterest TV series, Midlife Magic with Stacy London where she’s shattering the beliefs about what a midlife pivot can look like. And she recently became a spokesperson for Flow Health, a media company focused on women’s health concerns like menopause.
And I quote…
“We have let women for generations white-knuckle through this because we are internalizing the shame around aging.” “When I was going through menopause, I’ve never felt so alone in my life. Do you know what a relief it would have been to say to someone else, ‘You too?’”
6. Gwyneth Paltrow – Actress, entrepreneur, and founder of Goop
Love her or hate her (she really is a polarizing force!) even Gwyneth with an uber healthy lifestyle is experiencing perimenopause symptoms. In a Cosmopolitan interview she spilled the beans about being deep into perimenopause, where emotions are a rollercoaster ride, and some nights she lays in bed with her heart racing. Sound familiar?
She didn’t hold back, stressing that hormones during this time are ‘seriously no joke.’ She also made it a point to highlight the parts of a woman’s life that often get the hush-hush treatment, saying we need to stop being embarrassed and start seeing it as a new chapter, not the end of the road.
Not surprisingly, Gwyneth’s approach to perimenopause focuses on maintaining good overall health through practices like prioritizing gut health, quality sleep, staying hydrated, and engaging in meditation. She emphasizes the importance of being open to various approaches and treatments, encouraging women to trust their instincts, have meaningful discussions with their doctors, and seek out integrative and functional healthcare professionals.
She’s also joined Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz as investors in EverNow. A women’s tele-health company focusing on menopause.
And I quote…
“I remember when my mother went through menopause and it was such a big deal, and I think there was grief around it for her and all these emotions. I don’t think we have in our society a great example of an aspirational menopausal woman.”
7. Kim Cattrall – Actress and advocate for women’s health
Kim Cattrall had her first hot flash on screen as character Samantha Jones in Sex and the City. And she did an incredible job depicting this moment. But two years later she had her first actual hot flash, Kim says it was not nearly the same.“It was quite earth shaking. It was like being put in a vat of boiling water.”
Way back in 2014, Kim joined Pfizers’s Tune In To Menopause campaign to “bring the conversation front and center and encourage women to tune into their bodies during this time of life.”
Years later she’s still on this mission to empower women and break the stigma surrounding menopause. Kim aims to shed light on the challenges and changes that come with getting older and encourage women to embrace this transformative phase. She’s reminding us that millions of women are going through it—it’s simply a part of nature.
And I quote…
“Like anything in nature: the seed is planted, it grows, it comes to fruition, after a period of time it starts to change and age, and it’s scary. You wonder, will I be attractive, desirable, feminine? What is next chapter of life? I think one of the reasons why it’s so taboo is because we don’t talk about it — it’s too frightening even to talk to a doctor about it. I want to reach out to women to encourage them to educate themselves about this time in their lives.””
8. Salma Hayek – Acclaimed actress and producer
Salma started experiencing a lot of the common perimenopause symptoms in her 40s. She had the hot flashes and mood swings. What she didn’t expect was that her boobs were going to grow again.
Salma used her status in Hollywood to push for her character in the Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard to be going through perimenopause. And she absolutely rocked the role of hilarious, volatile, bad ass action heroine. Proving that women are strong and powerful at any age, and in any stage, of life.
And I quote…
“You can kick ass at any age. You can hold your own at any age, you can dream at any age, you can be romantic at age. We have the right to be loved for who we are at the place that we are. We’re not just here to make babies, we’re not just here to baby the man. We’re not just here to service everything and everyone around us and then when the kids go away … it’s almost like expiration date for you as a woman. It’s a misunderstanding that has been going around for centuries.”
9. Cheryl Hines – Actress, comedian, and producer
While I was unable to find any details about Cheryl’s personal menopause journey, I’ve got a feeling that she had a few itchy and painful experiences down in her nether regions. Why’s that? She’s been very public (and of course amazingly funny) in her new Painfully Awkward Conversations campaign.
Cheryl Hines, recently because the spokesperson for AMAG Pharmaceuticals’ Painfully Awkward Conversations campaign. Now she’s shining a light on a topic that many women over 50 can relate to: painful sex. They’re addressing vulvar and vaginal atrophy (VVA), a condition that affects about half of postmenopausal women in the United States. The campaign aims to provide support and solutions for this common yet often unspoken issue, so women can feel more comfortable and empowered in their own bodies.
The reality is that 62% of women are unaware of VVA. And 50% of affected women avoid sex because of the pain. Sadly, others believe they will never engage in sexual activity again.
Cheryl is hoping that through comedy she can help raise awareness and ensure that women understand there are safe and effective options available to alleviate VVA symptoms.
And I quote…
“I know a lot of women, a lot of friends, who are experiencing painful sex after menopause, and I want them to be empowered to be able to talk about it with their friends and their health care providers,” she says. “I’m glad I can get that conversation started and let everyone know that there’s no stigma to it.”
10. Angelina Jolie – Acclaimed actress and humanitarian
At 32 years old, Angelina lost her mother to an eight year battle with ovarian and breast cancer. Angelina underwent screening and learned she had the BRCA1 gene mutation and at 37, she underwent an elective double mastectomy and preventative surgery by removing her fallopian tubes and ovaries. As a result, she went into early menopause and began taking Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).
The fact that Angelina talked so publicly about her very personal decisions for surgery needs to be applauded. She helped raise awareness for BRCA and genetic testing, And she showed great empathy for the unique challenges that women may face in medically-induced menopause.
It’s important to recognize that each woman’s journey after such surgeries is individual, and some may find themselves emotionally and physically overwhelmed, making it difficult to seek the additional help they truly need. It’s disheartening that not all women have the insurance coverage or resources to access the support they deserve and need during this time.
And I quote…
“I believe strongly that all women should have the information and education needed to address the side effects of treatment-induced menopause including how to manage changes in sexual health.”
Powerful voices unite
These are just a few of the remarkable women who are smashing stereotypes about menopause and starting some real conversations about this important life phase. They’re not holding back and they’re using their influence and platforms to speak openly about their menopause journeys.
By sharing their experiences, being open, honest and vulnerable, they’re shaking things up, breaking down the stigma, and making it all feel normal. They’re saying, “Hey, we’re in this together,” and that’s creating more understanding, support, and empowerment for women going through it. These women are flipping the script and ditching the silence and shame.
They’re giving women going through menopause the recognition, empathy, and backup they deserve. They’re empowering us to embrace our changing bodies, celebrate our wisdom, and prioritize our well-being. So let’s be inspired by their stories and support each other as we approach menopause with confidence and grace. We’re here for you.