Journal / Phenomenal Women

Phenomenal Women Series: Susannah Taylor

6 Sep, 2023

"Whilst the menopause is a time of great change and the symptoms can be difficult to navigate, it is also a time of renewal. Renewal is never easy so it may not be a smooth ride but there is a lot left of life and we need to grab it with both hands and go for it. We only get one life - how are you going to spend it?"

6 Sep, 2023

Susannah Taylor is a Beauty and Wellbeing Editor. Formerly the beauty and wellbeing editor of Vogue and founder of Get The Gloss, her new newsletter is called The Glow Gazette and is about skin, soul and sanity for modern midlifers.

We hope you enjoy the read as much as we enjoyed the conversation.

First, tell us a little bit about you and how The Glow Gazette, your new venture, came to life. What motivated you to create it? What moments, life experiences and perspectives got you to ‘here’? What principles drive its evolution?

I am a beauty and wellbeing editor and have been for over 20 years. As I have approached midlife, I fully understand that there is no greater shift in our hormones, our outlook on life, the way we feel or our looks. It is a time of monumental change for women and we need as much support as is humanly possible.

And so I created the newsletter The Glow Gazette which is about skin, soul and sanity for modern midlifers. It covers everything from creating the ultimate glow with makeup to nutrition at midlife to saggy necks and self-care. There is a special section called Ways to Feel More Human which is about ways to survive in this crazy, modern, digitalized world which I fear is soon to be taken over by AI robots.

How do you define success for what you do and also yourself individually?

Workwise, I am a communicator – whether verbally or in my written work and success for me is the idea that I may be able to help people through what I do. It is such a hard time at the moment for so many and if I can help one person then it’s worth it. Success for me is also working for myself - being able to run on my own schedule is very important to me.

Personally, success for me is having time to hang out with the people I love – family and friends, and doing the things I love like painting. Success for me is also being 100% myself and having the time to hang out on the sofa chatting with my kids. We are a very close family and I love their company – the teen years for us haven’t (yet) been the nightmare years everyone said they’d be. I adore their company and hearing their opinions on life and learning their ridiculous teen lingo!

Has your definition of success changed over time as an individual?

Yes, it’s no longer all about work. It's about how much fun I can cram into life too. I also like challenging myself and trying new things. Recently for example I sang onstage with a band!

What correlation, if any, do you see between age and ambition?

When I was young I was incredibly ambitious – I also had a lot of energy. The ambition is still there but I place far more importance now on self-care than I did when I was younger. I feel the need to go slower at midlife and I love it. I am never happier now than when I’m having a bath, doing yoga or reading.

Many of the women in your community will be navigating midlife and menopause. What conversations do you find them wanting to have? What bothers them most? What are they looking for?

Everyone wants to look vibrant and wants to know whether a) collagen powder works and b) what we can do about turkey neck! Life-wise increasingly I think women feel quite lost and are looking for direction. A life coach I know well says that most of her clients are midlifers who need help. It’s a hard time as the kids get older and we wonder how we are going to spend the rest of this one and precious life.

What are your aspirations for your business over the next 24 months?

To grow The Glow Gazette database, I’ll be collaborating with as many people as I can. I also have a book/ podcast idea that I’m working on.

What do you wish your younger self had known about:

Life – People can be quite nasty for no reason and will let you down. Sometimes in life, you come across people who aren’t nice to you and you will have no idea why, I particularly remember one woman I worked with in the early stages of my career who would put down everything I said and every idea I had. I would go home and cry but looking back I realise that it was her problem, not mine. My advice would be to stop and think about what’s going on for that person and that way you can realise that it’s not necessarily something you have done.

One of my greatest bugbears in life is people being flakey - people that cancel on you, or that say they are going to do things and then pull out. Sadly there are a lot of people who do. I always say to my kids ‘If you say you are going to do something do it otherwise don’t say yes in the first place.” You don’t want to be the flakey one - you want to be the one people trust. My advice to my younger self would be to stick with the ones who are always there no matter what. They are the ones that really care about you.

Love – If you’d told me I would fall in love aged 18 at art college with a guy called Chris and 28 years on I’d still be madly in love with that man and have 3 amazing kids and live in the Cotswolds with a lovely garden I would never have believed you.

Health – Nothing makes you look or feel as good as moving or eating well. Exercise is vital for mental health – why people don’t really educate us in school on this I don’t know.

Work – Work goes up and down. There are times you love it and times you hate it and times where you want to change it all and feel stuck. Ride the rollercoaster.

What would be your key advice to women transitioning through menopause today? What practical steps could they take to better support their bodies and minds?

Self-care is absolutely vital:

  • Take time for yourself even if it’s just 10 minutes a day.
  • Learn to breathe properly - it can really help with menopause symptoms.
  • Do weights - if you don’t use it you lose it at this stage in life
  • Get out in nature every damn day - it helps us see the bigger picture and reduces cortisol
  • Make your own food and avoid processed food. Packing in the nutrients is absolutely key - what we do now is laying the foundations of our future.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the MPowder community about our second spring?

Whilst the menopause is a time of great change and the symptoms can be difficult to navigate, it is also a time of renewal. Renewal is never easy so it may not be a smooth ride but there is a lot left of life and we need to grab it with both hands and go for it. We only get one life - how are you going to spend it?

Finally, we all know that stress can exacerbate menopause symptoms and we’re all living with a constant underlying anxiety - from the pandemic, from the disproportionate impact it has had on women, from political upheaval…from unprecedented job insecurity. What have you done to better support yourself in the last 16 months? What have you learned? And what will you carry with you in 2023 as the world once again shape shifts?

I have definitely increased the amount of self-care - I’m more aware that I really need sleep, and how important exercise is to my mind especially. I have also started reading again as I really feel the need to expand my mind right now. I am currently reading Steven Bartlett’s Diary of a CEO - 33 Laws of Business and Life. I think the guy is a genius and so in touch with our times.

I have also started taking HRT - patches - and they have completely changed how I feel. I was having huge hot sweats and they have stopped. I caught pneumonia in the summer and from it, I have learned that I can’t do a million things at once and I need to focus on what really matters which I will be doing going forward. I have some exciting plans in the pipeline for The Glow Gazette and more exciting spin-offs too which I feel will be very important for women (and men) at this time in the history of the world. Watch this space!

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