Veronica Webb started her modeling career in the ’80s and has been featured on the covers of Vogue, Essence, ElleMany others. She was the first Black supermodel who won an exclusive contract with a major cosmetics manufacturer as a spokesmodel of Revlon. She has appeared in critically-acclaimed films including Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever, The Big Tease?, and Malcolm XShe has also appeared in recurring roles in various TV shows such as BeckerAnd Clueless.
Webb, despite being one of the most beautiful women in the world and having decades of success, was completely shocked to discover that almost 1 billion women experience menopause every day.
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“My mother was an RN, my sister is a doctor, and no one really talked about menopause,”Webb spoke to an audience at The Marvelous Mrs. Menopause. Caire Beauty organized this eventLast month in New York City “And when it happened to me, it caught me so unaware. I had every single symptom you can think of: heavy periods, brain fog, hot flashes, can’t sleep, depressed, everything.”
Webb was born at 46 years old, when most women are in perimenopause. In many families, women in the same family also refer to menopause with euphemisms, such as “my own private summer”And “the flash.”
“It gave me this feeling that menopause was something that was never going to happen to me, or it would happen so late in my life that it wouldn’t even be an issue,”She spoke to the crowd of predominantly 50-something women gathered on the 74th Floor of One World Trade Center.
Unavoidably, you will experience symptoms of “the flash” came knocking on her door, menopause didn’t register as the cause.
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“My husband was like, ‘What’s wrong with you? I want you back.’ I just thought, ‘I’m going crazy, it can’t be menopause,””Webb stated.
When she finally realized that’s exactly what it was, she decided she was not going to be quiet and ashamed about it. She decided to instead. Make use of her platformTo spread the message that menopause is normal and not the end of vitality,
“It’s not a disease,”Webb stated. “It’s something that we should all look forward to. It brings freedoms, and it brings responsibilities for taking care of your health. I’m happy to be here.”
After the event, I met up with Webb to find out more about her menopause journey and how she managed to tolerate some discomfort in order for menopause conversations to be openly discussed.
Q: What made you decide to use your platform for this particular cause?
A: “Because when I went through menopause, even though I come from a family that’s very well-educated and very fluent in the medical silo, it caught all of us by surprise, including my sister who’s an M.D.”
Q: I Think You Mentioned On The Panel That Your Sister Said That They Didn’t Really Learn About Menopause In Medical School.
A: “No, not at all. Menopause wasn’t covered in medical school. My mother was a registered nurse and she was brilliant at her job. My mother was in perimenopause at the time I was born.
“Those conversations were just never had. And when women did talk about it when I was younger, this is like in the ‘70s and ‘80s, people just said, ‘Oh, I’m having my own private summer.’”
Q: Beauty is so important in the world of modeling. Do You Feel Like It Was Hard To Say The Truth? ‘Menopause Is A Thing That We All Go Through, Whether You’re A Model Or You’re A Housewife?’
A: “Well, for someone like me to feel out of control and uninformed about something that was happening in my body was intolerable.
“And of course, yes, when you are in a youth-obsessed business, the conversation about beauty, up until really the reckoning of the Me Too movement, the conversation about beauty was cut off even before pregnancy. It was a difficult transition and felt like I was jumping off a cliff the first time I started writing about and talking about menopause on my blog and with my friends.
“But it turned out to be just a two-foot cliff, really. It became more comfortable sort of quickly. You realize that menopause is not a disease or a condition, it’s a phase of life that we all go through. And every woman who has been important in your life, if she lived long enough, she’s menopausal.”
Q: If You’re Lucky Enough To Live Long Enough, You Go Through It. Nine years ago, you were a pioneer in this topic. This must have been a very uncomfortable experience.
A: “It was entirely outside of my comfort zone. But I had a lot of experience with stuff like this because when I first moved to New York in the ‘80s and I was in the fashion business, I lived through the AIDS crisis and lost so many people.
“The most powerful saying I think in the AIDS crisis from Act Up was ‘Silence equals death.’ But in menopause, it’s silence equals shame. And we shouldn’t be ashamed of a natural process, any more than women should be ashamed of having a period or everything that happens after you have a baby that no one ever tells you about until the baby’s there.”