Back in June, Become™ embarked on a UK-wide search, using social media, to find real models to represent our brand. One of the things we’re so keen to portray here at Become is the fact that we want to represent each and every woman who is journeying through the menopause. We like to think of them as our ‘menopause warriors’, living with the menopause but bravely and confidently carrying on their lives as best they can. We were keen to search out some of these amazing women to become models for the day, so that we could shoot some pictures for our new-look website.
Luckily, one of the people who saw our posts was Rebecca. She knew her friend Beverley was suffering with terrible hot flushes, so she forwarded her the link as a laugh, not realising what she had set in motion! ‘She sent me over the Instagram post really as a joke’, recalls Beverley. ‘Rebecca is part of a friendship group in which I’m the only one going through the menopause. When I’m sat with them all and feel a hot flush coming on, I get my trusty fan out of my handbag to try and cool myself down – they all think it’s hilarious!’ But when she saw link, Beverley thought it could be a great opportunity ‘I thought, “Well, why not give this a go? It looks really interesting, so let’s see what happens…?” I didn’t tell anyone I’d applied apart from my daughter who kept it all a secret. If I did end up doing the shoot I wanted it to be a surprise!’
With a busy job teaching Politics, Sociology and Psychology in a secondary school, day to day life for Beverley is pretty hectic. And when the menopause hit three years ago, she had to work out how she was going to manage at school. ‘The kids I teach are aged 16-18 and old enough to see that when a hot flush comes, I’m struggling to cope. I’ll be stood in front of the class and feel a wave of heat just hit me. I’ll run to the window to get some fresh air. Lots of them ask “Are you OK, Miss?” as they think I’m feeling ill, so I’ve told them I’m going through the menopause. When they replied with “What’s the menopause, Miss?” my Politics class rapidly turned into a bit of a Biology lesson!’ But they know all about it now, which makes things much easier.'
Beverley sent over her picture to us, but didn’t give it a lot of thought. ‘I’d kept it all a secret and not discussed it with anyone apart from my daughter, so I’d kind of forgotten about it till I got a phone call, asking if I’d like to be involved! I just thought, "I’ll go along on the day with an open mind and see what happens".’
When she got to the studio, she was met by the Become Team. ‘I met Lindsey, Marion (who was photographing the shoot) and Helen, as well as the two other ladies who were modelling, Wendy and Laura. ‘We all really hit it off, as you can see in the pictures, it was a lot of fun. Just to be able to chat about the menopause together and how we were all managing with it was very therapeutic. Wendy and Laura also had busy jobs to juggle, kids… it’s really not an easy time, but we managed to have a good laugh! Lindsey did a great job at getting us all giggling, she loves a joke!’ After a quick cup of tea, it was straight into the make-up chair. ‘I don’t normally wear make-up, so this was a real novelty for me and the make-up artist did such a gorgeous job, she really made me feel totally pampered and special.’
‘When I got in front of the cameras I realised that I’m not as self-conscious as I thought! You can see from the pictures I’m absolutely loving it. I never usually smile in photos. Everyone I’ve told about the shoot has been so supportive and told me that I look amazing – and that they love the fact that I’m smiling’. But it came as a bit of a shock when her nephew saw her picture online. ‘My nephew sent me a pop-up ad that he’d seen whilst playing a game and was like "Auntie, is this you?!" Then my daughter sent me the piece in the Daily Mail. As the picture started to appear more – I knew I’d been rumbled!!’
Finding out about Become Clothing has also helped Beverley on her journey. ‘For me, the hardest part of the menopause is definitely the effect is has had on my sleep. As a teacher I need to be focused, but that’s hard on a few hours’ sleep a night and it means by the middle of the day, I’m exhausted. Add to that an early-morning trip to the gym, which I try and fit in from time to time – and it really is a struggle to get through the day.’ Become Anti-Flush Vests definitely make her night sweats less ferocious. ‘When I’ve got a vest on, it makes me feel more secure in the knowledge that it will help reduce the intensity of my night sweats. I just need to remember to wear it. I had two vests but my Mum stole one! I’m holding onto the other one though – no-one’s going to pinch that!’
Thanks so much to Beverley for being such an amazing model for us and letting us share her story. If you’re keen to find out more about ‘becoming’ one of our Real Life Models do get in touch with us at email@example.com.
Helen Prentice, September 2018