Elizabeth Hurley on raising breast cancer awareness and having fun with her bikini photos: ‘It’s pretty tough if women think they have to cover up’

Elizabeth Hurley opens up about marking 26 years as the global ambassador for Estée Lauder’s Breast Cancer Campaign and why women “like that I’m not hiding just because I’m over 50.”

Video Transcript


ELIZABETH HURLEY: I think women definitely like that I'm not hiding just because I'm over 50. It's pretty tough if women think they have to cover up because, you know, we're not in our 20s anymore and perfect. Because of course, once you're older you think everybody's perfect who is younger than you.

I take my business very seriously because, you know, I have a beachwear business. But it's a little tongue in cheek most of the time because, you know, you know when you're selling something which is your own business, I mean, everyone knows what I'm doing I'm selling bikinis. Everybody still goes on holiday or goes to the beach or needs to swim and I just think having a laugh and being silly people like that as well.

Having a son that's just starting to work and just starting to go out in the world, I think, you really realize that you have picked up some wisdom along the way, you have been there and done it. We all know that our parents to us also passed on their wisdom most of which we ignored and learnt the hard way. Particularly because my son would like to go into show business, having had someone who has been there and done that and made mistakes and had a bit of success sometimes, I think, the stories are more valid in some ways. And I'm enjoying being able to share my journey with somebody else, generation younger, and giving some advice knowing most of it will be ignored but nevertheless saying it.

You have to be pretty tough to go into show business because you are told every single day no. Somebody really has to have a lot of self-belief. They really have to know their own value to want to go into an industry, which kind of specializes in kicking you in the face.

I joined the Estee Lauder Companies as their global model 26 years ago. And at that time, Evelyn Lauder, who had just co-created the pink ribbon came up to me and said, will you help me with a campaign that I've started? Women all over the world are dying of breast cancer and I want to change that.

So this was way back in 1995. And everything she said to me really hit a nerve because I just lost my grandmother to breast cancer. People didn't wear pink, there wasn't an Awareness Month.

It was a really different time for breast cancer. And so as soon as Evelyn said, would I help? I was like, there's nothing I'd like to do more.

There's been so many changes in the landscape of breast cancer. Evelyn and the Estee Lauder Company's breast cancer campaign has really been at the forefront of that educating and raising funds for research and being part of this whole explosion of people just really being determined to find an end to breast cancer. Now, we know there are so many different types of breast cancer. There are so many different types of treatment to target the specific form of breast cancer that somebody has.

Back in my grandmother's days everybody just got blasted with the same drugs. That doesn't happen anymore. If a breast cancer is found early, there's a very strong chance of survival.

Check your breasts. Be familiar with your breasts. That's what the messaging is there for. You have to be responsible in some ways for your own health.

My son is 19, has only known a world with the pink ribbon. He's heard survivors talking about their stories, he's seen families talk about what impact breast cancer has had on their lives. It's just been an amazing journey for me helping to spread the word.