Here at Become™ we’re on a mission. And we like to be provocative. If you’ve seen our latest Tube Campaign and our #HotWomenOnly Competition, you’ll know that we’re not afraid to shake things up a bit! All too often the menopause is seen as a time when women are expected to submit to traditional stereotypes, when they start to wind down, stop feeling sexy. We’re here to change all that! The more we meet our brilliant Become community, the more we realise that there’s no definition of the ‘menopausal woman’.
This diversity is something we’re so keen to celebrate and it’s where Representing Real Women really comes into play. The ladies we want to represent Become in our campaigns and photo shoots are truly navigating their way through the menopause and if we can provide some help, support and FUN along the way – even better!
We’re lucky enough to meet and hear from so many of these inspiring women each day and were delighted when some of them agreed to join us for our very first event, the Become Menopause Picnic. Given the wonderful weather we’ve had lately, we thought an afternoon hanging out in the sun on Parliament Hill drinking prosecco would be just the thing! But when Team Become invites you to a picnic you know it’s going to be anything but ordinary...
We’d planned our picnic shoot for mid-afternoon to escape the intense heat. Little did we know that we’d end up with four seasons in one day and have to resort to late-afternoon sun dances in the downpour to lure the sunshine back out! But we needn’t have worried as our shoot producer, Jess had found a fantastic bandstand, where everyone could escape the rain and Joanne our shoot stylist could lay out the most delicious picnic you could imagine. From delicious fresh fruits, to tasty bread, and huge dreamy wheels of camembert, it really was food fit for goddesses! We had a lot of fun with the fruit, as you can see...
Our ladies were understandably a little nervous when they arrived, especially when they were asked if they would like to be our Real Models for the day. But after a spell in the make-up chair for the lightest of prepping from our talented make-up artists Em-J and Jessica, as well as a few glasses of prosecco to warm them up, everyone’s fears melted away.
Marion, our Head of Creative and photographer realised that the best way to make everyone feel at ease would be to pop on a Become vest and some knickers too, to shoot that way. Little did she know that by going for the ‘biscuit’ colour, she looked a bit like a streaker, running around the Heath naked, much to everyone’s delight! All our positive vibes paid off and the sun appeared just as the camera started clicking.
And on to our amazing and diverse range of ladies:
Sophie at @menopause_and_me is just 32 and navigating her way through surgical menopause after having a hysterectomy and oophorectomy back in February. She’s having to adjust to her new body and is plagued by constant hot flushes (up to 20 a day!) which she describes as “like living in the tropics”.
Evey is a TV presenter at QVC and we’re delighted that she has agreed to be Become’s™ new Style Guru. She loves the fact that Become underwear is “Super practical and stylish… as foundation pieces, separates and perfect for layering too”.
Sandria responded to our original Real Women casting. When we put a shout out on our Facebook page, she was one of the first to respond to say she'd love to be involved.
Julie is right-hand woman to our resident Menopause Expert Maryon Stewart, together they have worked in women’s health for many years and are true founts of knowledge on all things menopause.
And the ladies from Hot Flush, Ann and Jo. As they themselves commented: “Stripping down to our undies parading around Parliament Hill in full sight of the public isn’t our bag” – but it SO was, they were complete naturals! Read more about their experience of Becoming Real Life Models in their blog.
Some of these ladies have had a really tough ride, not that you would know it. The support hasn’t always been there, which is one of the reasons why we wanted to get together to share some of our experiences. The way we see to normalise the menopause is making everyone feel truly at ease with who they are, whatever stage they are at on their journey and we hope we did just that on our picnic.
Yes, we chatted all things menopause from hysterectomies, to hot flushes and crazy hormones, to frizzy hair, taming fuzz and feeling frumpy. But we made it huge FUN! What better way to celebrate it than sitting down to a sumptuous buffet of delicious food as the sun set over the beautiful setting of Hampstead Heath.
I’m sure you will agree, the photos look absolutely amazing. Big thanks to the whole team and our brilliant ladies for creating what was a wonderful afternoon. Many of the people who work at Become are going through the menopause themselves, including our own Head of Marketing, Lindsey, who's leading our mission to help break down the stigma surrounding menopause: "As many as 10 million women in the UK are dealing with the menopause right now but we believe that this shouldn't hold you back in life". We certainly didn't and can't wait till our next get-together. Watch this space!
Helen Prentice, August 2018