Naomi Watts’ cause célèbre is menopause. Since that’s near and dear to my heart, her efforts interest me a great deal. Naomi’s current push is to get people talking about menopause as if it was – wait for it – a perfectly normal thing. What a revolutionary thought. I love her latest approach. Naomi partnered with Em & Friends on a line of funny menopause greeting cards. Proceeds from the cards will raise money for the Alliance for Period Supplies, which helps to provide period essentials to low-income individuals and families. In her interview with Entertainment Weekly, Naomi discusses her inspiration behind the cards, proper menopause card etiquette and why discussion is so important.
On how the menopause card happened: Well, the artist has been around for a while, and so we joined forces with her. We thought it was a great way to get the community going. If you open that door just a little bit, you’ll be surprised by how many people are really ready to talk about [menopause]. Humor diffuses awkwardness and pain — we know that to be true already. And certainly, that was how I saw the vision of the brand. It had to have humor. We want it to be a place that people come and bitch and moan and have real feelings but also laugh at ourselves and make it somehow more bearable.
On menopause card giving etiquette, especially if to women not having symptoms yet: Just say, “Well, soon you will!” [Laughs] Half the population will be going through menopause [at some point]. The mission of the brand is to end the stigma, and get rid of the confusion and the mystery, and to debunk myths. We want to get it as normalized as we possibly can because we’re living longer. We live decades after menopause, which is not the case of how it used to be. It really has to become an open conversation.
On recognizing changes: I was having a terrible skin issue on a show [I was working on]. I just thought I was allergic to the makeup or something. I kept changing products and removing things. I got into a conversation with my makeup artist, and we finally figured out that this is what it must be, that the change of hormones [was affecting my skin]. Luckily, she was the same age as me, so we could discuss it. But if she was in her twenties or something, it might have made me uncomfortable. It might have made her uncomfortable.
So that was the biggest thing that affected me in the workplace. Also, brain fog is a big thing. You have to have a really sharp memory when you’re being given pages of dialogue every day, sometimes only the night before. And that can be a scary thing because it’s like, “Wait, I always used to have a handle on this, and now suddenly it’s a whole lot harder.”
“Just say, “Well, soon you will!”” This is what I love about what Naomi is doing. Menopause is a health issue. And like breastfeeding and postpartum issues, they’re normal health issues, but if no one ever told you what to expect, they’re scary as hell when they happen. It’s important to anticipate them, not be reassured after months of fretting that something is seriously wrong. That’s why I encourage these topics being brought up more casually. Because even if a young woman is years away from them now, when they happen to her, she’ll understand what’s going on. And I think humor is a great way to normalize it. These greeting cards are a nice way to connect. I bought two already. I love the cause they supports, too. I can send them to anyone because everyone knows I’m in menopause. The only person who ever bristled at my mentioning it was my father. And his comment was about how jarring it was to hear his youngest child was in that stage of life, not the menopause itself. Even my kids talk about it with a shoulder shrug.
This is not menopause related but I had no idea Naomi was appearing in season two of Feud. More importantly, I had no idea season two of Feud was Babe Paley and Truman Capote. I was just reading the IMDb cast and it’s incredible. The remaining Swans are Calista Flockhart, Demi Moore, Diane Lane, Chloë Sevigny and Molly Ringwald. OMG, I am going to eat this up with a g-d spoon!
Photo credit: Instagram, Avalon Red an Cover Images