Naomi Watts, 54, has a new venture she's passionate about. Providing both educational resources and science-backed products, Stripes is a community for people in all stages of menopause. Here, she tells us about her menopause symptoms, Hollywood's reaction, and the products that help.
Before going through menopause, was it something you had ever thought about?
No! I didn’t know much. I faintly recall my mom saying that she went into early menopause and had her last period at 45—but there was little conversation around it. I didn’t know you could experience anywhere from three to 10 years of symptoms and that before you were officially in menopause there was something called perimenopause. So when I started going through it, I was shocked.
When did you start thinking about menopause?
In my late 30s. I met my partner, and we both agreed we wanted to start a family. I wasn’t getting pregnant. I had a friend who was in her 50s, and she suggested I get a blood panel done. They measured my hormones and found that my follicle-stimulating hormone was quite elevated—they want it to be under 10, and I was in the 20s. I was told it indicated that I may be close to menopause. Panic set in. I did finally get pregnant and then had a second baby shortly after, at the age of 40. Right after that, the night sweats increased and I was pretty much in perimenopause.
How did you feel about that?
There was a feeling of, Oh my God, does this make me less desirable? In my industry, it’s scary. I heard someone say that, as an actress, your career is still active until you are unf---able. That’s literally the term they used. What does that mean? Does that mean your career is over when your ovaries don’t work the way they used to? I was trying to make sense of it, and I felt lonely because I didn’t feel like I had anyone I could turn to. Now I am on the other side. When you get to the other side, you feel like your most authentic self—and you realize that being a woman, and sex, isn’t over. I like to say now, “Closed for business, open for pleasure.”
Is this what inspired you to start Stripes?
Yes! I wanted to create a place that was both aspirational and helpful for people going through the menopause journey. It’s a huge demographic of people who deserve to be represented.
How does Stripes do that?
In a few ways. We are building a community for people to share their stories. There’s so much misinformation out there, so hearing the stories of others can help support one another. We also aim to educate—we want to bust myths and get the facts about menopause on the table. And then we have holistic products that help. All of them address hydration, because as you lose estrogen, you lose moisture—from scalp to vag. Your hair can get brittle, so we have a hair mask. And then we have a lubricant called Vag of Honor. My favorite product is The Power Move, which is a face serum that delivers hydration not just to the skin barrier but deep underneath it.
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