Cosmetics queen and make-up artist, Ruby Hammer MBE, is an industry legend, who has built up a beauty empire through her own brand. Here, the 60-year-old tells Suzanne Baum about her health journey and how she swears by exercise for helping with sleep issues associated with menopause.
What has been your experience with menopause?
‘The onset of menopause for me came when I was 50 years old, a decade ago now. This was at the same time as my mother was diagnosed with cancer and told that she only had two weeks to live. My hair went grey overnight and I have never had a period since.
‘I experienced night sweats, hot flushes, brain fog, anxiety, loss of confidence, thickening of the waistline, insomnia, aching joints, hair loss… I had it all! When I went to my GP, I was told I was depressed and prescribed Prozac, which I never took. I also never took HRT, but I took herbal supplements and ten years on my symptoms have improved.’
Has fitness helped you cope with the menopause?
‘Yes, it definitely has. Fitness has helped me get better sleep, my joints are less painful and overall, my well-being has improved. I walk a lot and I have a personal trainer who helps me with weights and whom I rely on to push me to do it. Regular exercise has helped stop the weight gain and made me feel better. All my energy was spent and fitness gave me energy back. I have never been a heavy exerciser, so I now do more than when I was younger and it has really helped me cope with the menopause.
Do you feel menopause is still taboo to discuss?
‘Not like it used to be. There is a lot more awareness across the board, but there is still a long way to go. Brands have been quick to monetise the menopause since open discussions started…but money means there will be extra money into research and helps to broaden the conversation.’
You are joining a panel of amazing speakers on Monday as part of The Latte Lounge Midlife Festival, alongside people including Davina McCall and Nadia Sawalha. With thousands of people already signed up, it is going to be an amazing event. Why did you agree to be a part of it?
‘I have always spoken about every aspect of life when appropriate…if people are open there are no taboos. The menopause is nothing to be ashamed about and if by sharing my story and what has helped me – like taking to fitness later in life – then that is a good thing!’
For more details on the free event and to find out more about the Latte Lounge, visit themidlifefestival.com
Words: Suzanne Baum