Halle Berry is challenging herself and other women to rethink menopause

Ahead of her 57th birthday, Halle Berry penned an essay on aging, owning who she is, and reframing the conversation around menopause.

Oh, to be Halle Berry reflecting on age, sexuality, and womanhood while in Cannes. 

Following a panel discussion at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, Berry sat down with Women’s Health ahead of her 57th birthday on Aug. 14. In a resulting essay, the actress opened up about getting older, owning her sexuality, and “challenging everything” she thought she knew about menopause.

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Halle Berry said she’s challenging old notions about menopause. Here, the actress attends the Los Angeles premiere of “Moonfall” at TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood in January 2022. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

“The most important thing about owning your sexuality as a woman is accepting the station you’re at—and embracing that. And I say that because I’m smack dab in the middle of menopause,” Berry wrote. 

She added that she’s challenging old notions associated with the life phase. She said, “Things like: “Your life is over.” “You are disposable.” “Society no longer has a place for you.” “You should retire.” “You should pack it up.”

Berry continued, “I’m challenging all those stereotypes about how you have to look a certain way or feel a certain way. I’m my best self now that I reached [57] years old. I have the most to offer. I have zero blanks to give anymore. I’m solidly in my womanhood. I finally realize what I have to say is valuable, even if no one else agrees.”

Berry, a mother of two, “let her inner Barbie soar” for her 57th birthday celebration, sharing on Instagram that her partner, Van Hunt, and 15-year-old daughter, Nahla, treated her to a day at World of Barbie. The trio wore matching pink ensembles complete with pink purses and footwear, and Hunt in a pink teddy bear backpack. 

While Berry has raved about her experience of becoming a mother, she noted in her essay that she doesn’t believe it’s something a person should feel they “have to” do. 

“If you want to have children, you don’t have to be defined by those old ideologies that this is what women ‘have’ to do. Do it only if you want to, because you give up a lot of your personal life to growing those other lives. And maybe you’re not a woman who wants to do that. No harm, no foul, no judgment,” she wrote. “Be clear about who you are and how you wanna live your life because it’s yours and yours alone to live.”

Berry said she hopes that talking about all of the above — and especially women’s health and aging — can become “less taboo.”

“If you start the conversation, most women will follow. Do you know why? Because it’s something that we’re dying to do. It’s something that we’ve been deprived of, and it’s something that we want to share with one another,” she said. “We just need the permission to do it.”

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