Photo by Dave J Hogan via Getty Images
Our January 2020 cover star is the brilliant and bold TV presenter and bestselling author Andrea McLean. She’s appeared on shows like The Crystal Maze and Big Star’s Bigger Star but, it’s her bestselling book Confessions of a Menopausal Woman that really has us intrigued.
After announcing in 2016 that she’d be taking time off from work to have a hysterectomy – which triggered early menopause – Andrea was inundated with messages from women asking for information and advice. She couldn’t respond to every query so, with the help of a menopause expert, she penned her book. “My experience hasn’t been brilliant,” she says, “but women don’t need to accept that this is how it is; there is help.”
Here’s what she has to say about dealing with menopause…
On her journey…
My journey through menopause has been tough. At first, I had a terrible time with insomnia, night sweats, anxiety and fatigue. Usually I’m like the Duracell Bunny, but I was so tired and anxious. People ask, “How can you be anxious? You’re so confident.” But that’s when I’m feeling good. Some days I can do a thousand things and at the end of the day still have loads of energy, then there are others when I have nothing in me. But that’s normal. We’re not meant to be operating at 100mph all the time.
I’m careful with my skin because I had acne in my twenties. Menopause definitely affected my complexion. My problem areas are my pigmentation marks, which started with pregnancy and, since menopause, I’ve noticed that in the sunshine, it all comes out. Sometimes I look like I’ve got a beard, because it comes down the sides! Make-up can make you look lovely, but it depends on the skin that’s underneath.
Here’s Andrea looking fittingly fabulous in neutral shades…
On her book, Confessions of a Menopausal Woman…
The response to my book has been phenomenal – I’m overwhelmed. I’ve had women stopping me to say how I’ve changed their lives and given them the confidence to speak to their doctors and get the help they need. I’ve also had men getting in touch and telling me I’ve saved their marriages and given them their wives back. They’re reading the book, too. It’s wonderful. It means so much to know I’ve helped.
My website was the natural next step after the book. It’s a female-empowerment site called This Girl Is On Fire, and I launched it when I realised there were women of all ages and stages looking for uplifting content and support in their everyday lives. The site was adapted to reflect women who aren’t defined by age, but by attitude. We cover topics like
clever life hacks and encouraging new courses, as well as how to take time for yourself and do things that make you feel great. Our pillars are simple: Live, Learn, Thrive.
On turning 50…
Last night, I was lying in bed thinking, ‘I’m 50!’ Deep down, I still feel the way I did in my twenties – but now I can say, “No, I don’t like that,” and it’s allowed. It’s given me loads of energy because I feel the way I did 30 years ago, when I felt anything was possible. I feel brave again, which I’d lost along the way as my personal life took tough twists and turns.
I had a wonderful joint party with the kids. Within a few weeks, my son turned 18, my daughter turned 13, and I reached 50. Our party was like a prom, with three cakes, and we each invited a certain number of friends. There was even a disagreement about which cover band we’d choose – my son wanted someone like Green Day, Amy really likes Rita Ora, and I suggested something like ABBA!
Andrea’s book, Confessions of a Menopausal Woman (Transworld Publishers), is available now.
Read more about Andrea’s story in our January 2020 issue, on shelves now.