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Why it's so hard finding women to model for a menopause brand

Written by Julia Douglas

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Posted on January 29 2020


We love hearing feedback from our customers — especially when it comes to areas that you think we can improve upon. One particular topic that always pops up in our comments and social media feeds is the diversity of models we use, specifically when it comes to their age and body types.

Within a growing Instagram world, we understand how important representation and inclusivity is. We agree — women should be able to see themselves in the models that they are presented with. But the reality is, especially when it comes to modelling for a menopause-related product or brand, there are a number of obstacles that prevent even us from achieving true representation.

Being completely open and honest, this is a challenge that we are still striving to overcome — but we are getting there. So to fully address the common concerns about the models we use, why we use them, it’s important for us to tell you about our journey and the challenges, limitations and frustrations we've faced along the way.


So, first things first...

All of our models are of perimenopausal and menopausal age. Fact.

Become is a brand for menopausal and perimenopausal women: so it’s only natural that these should be the women who model our clothing.

It’s really important to us that our models represent our customer base, so we only ever use models who are currently experiencing, or have already been through, the menopause or perimenopause. This goes for all of the women in our email campaigns, product imagery and social media posts — they’re all experiencing the same hot flushes, sleepless nights and brain fog that we are! It’s a value we pride ourselves on and something that not all menopause brands can guarantee.

However, upholding our commitment to only using models at this stage means that sometimes we’re forced to compromise in other areas. This is because in our experience...

Some modelling agencies (and models) aren't too keen to be associated with the menopause

Many of the comments we see about our models are that their body types don’t always represent the different shapes and sizes that women come in. Now, you know that we’re not one to make excuses, so while we recognise that this can be true, the reality is that we’re extremely limited in the kinds of models that we can select from. 

This is because many models, and their representatives, don’t want to be seen promoting the menopause or menopause-related products. In our experience within the industry, we’ve been turned down by countless models, agents and potential brand ambassadors simply because they don’t want to associate their name (or face, or legs, or bums or tums for that matter) with “the dreaded menopause”.

Even in 2020, we’re still battling against the stigma that the menopause makes you “old”, “hormonal” or “over the hill”. This means that the pool of models we can select from is significantly reduced. So when we finally do find a woman of the right age who is happy to represent us, she then may not have a body type that is fully representative, and vice versa. It’s a constant battle that we’re doing our best to overcome, but while we would love to have a huge range of models of shapes and sizes to pick and choose from, the industry doesn't always allow us this luxury.


Our brand ambassador Lisa Snowden is proudly perimenopausal.

As pioneers in tearing down the stigma against the menopause, we wish more models would embrace their experience, like our brand ambassador Lisa Snowdon:

“It seems wrong that, in 2019 (and now 2020!) the menopause is still looked at a topic to be kept secret. I’m proud to be working with Become to bring the subject to light, and in turn, allow all women to feel supported.”

Are real-life models the way forward?

In the past, we have used real-life models within our campaigns. By this, we mean real customers who have tried and tested Become for themselves — but even then, it’s not always easy to persuade women to be photographed in their underwear, or to take them away from their busy lives to be in our shoots.

When it comes down to it though, we’d really love to know your thoughts. Would you prefer to see real customers in our clothing, or do you already like the kinds of models you see in our campaigns?  In a similar vein, if you’re a model and would love to represent us, or an agent who has somebody in mind, we’d be glad to hear from you.

Ultimately, we want to say thank you for being so vocal with your thoughts and always challenging us to be the best we can for all women — slowly, we are getting there. 

Comments

12 Comments

  • I recently bought the new shorts to sleep in with your T shirts. I have just one complaint they ride up in the night and are therefore not comfortable. Could you please design them with the bottom of the leg holes having a cuff like the waistband this would stop them curling up as you move.

    Posted by Mrs Dawn Boyer | April 14, 2020
  • I agree with the other comments here. I’m 51, 5’4" and curvy. I’d love to model for this site, precisely because I don’t look like a model. As a woman living with the menopause I want to see people like me reflected across advertising, sending a message of understanding and kindness. If this piece isn’t a marketing ploy then you’ve got yourself a team of ‘real life’ women, what a way to help us march forward!

    Posted by Vanessa Mudd | March 05, 2020
  • I totally agree with all the comments above.
    I’m 57; have had 10 years of this nonsense, but feel very fortunate to be finally”coming out the other side”. I have gained 2 stone whilst on HRT; suffered all the usual symptoms, ended up very depressed, and don’t recognise myself in the mirror these days. I see my mother staring back at me!
    I am now size 16. Prior to this female he’ll I was always 9 and a half stone and a curvy size 14 top, 12 bottom.

    I look at the price of your clothing and think: “As a medically early-retired former teacher on half my anticipated pension; 10 years off my State Pension, I simply can not afford these prices”. I keep looking – then my finger fails to process the order at the last step every time. I buy cat food instead!

    I’d like to see your real customers, no smaller than a size 14, modelling your clothes. Lumps and bumps; grey hair and all. It’s not helpful for real women to see your clothes on size 8-12 with perfect figures. It just makes me feel worse!

    If you need an articulated, educated, “normal woman” to model ANYTHING then contact me. I’m 5 foot 3. A size 16. Colouring my hair to keep the salt and pepper at bay, lol! As a former Carnival Queen who modelled all sorts in the late 70’s/early 80’s, and as a mother who has had every female health test/check up all my adult life, I do not suffer from false modesty.

    Please get in touch if your query is genuine. If it’s just a marketing ploy of “illusional consultation” then don’t bother!

    “Happy Menopausal Thursday” everyone :-)

    Posted by Victoria Wyatt | February 06, 2020
  • I really like your clothing but, like others, would like to see more diversity in body shape. I am 52 and menopausal. Over the last year or so my body has changed a lot, particularly a more rounded tummy. I despair that models, although sometimes larger, still seem to have lovely proportions. I think Become could really represent it values so well by using it’s many diversely sized and shaped customers as models and I would happily model my lumpy bumpy body in my underwear for you.

    Posted by Alison Williams | January 30, 2020
  • I think your advertising is missing an opportunity here. My menopause began 10 years ago following 5 years of peri menopause, and at 65 I am still plagued by hot flushes and hormonal changes. My entire body shape has also altered since then although I can still wear the same size clothes. However, finding comfortable clothes which are cool/warm, easy to remove etc is a trial, especially underwear. I think your message should be that menopause is forever and a new way of life is ahead for each woman who reaches that age. It does not just happen and then stop. This would enable you to use all sorts of shapes and sizes of models. I myself would like to see ordinary women from all walks of life showing how the clothes fit, not just paid models. Why not even ask your purchasers if they would like to volunteer? I see you already have some positive comments above! This type of advertising has already been a successful approach used by several high street clothing and cosmetic companies already out there, (I won’t mention names but I guess you will know which!)
    I have a couple of your vests I enjoy wearing but have not so far bought more as I do find them expensive and the material, although lovely is rather thin and revealing; I would only wear them as undergarments, not on their own for summer wear. I hope my comments are useful.

    Posted by Karen | January 30, 2020
  • Maybe Become’s desire to use size 10-12 models are limiting the pool available. This also makes the brand feel less inclusive for us menopausal women than it might (re Penelope’s comment). Today’s stand-out campaigns, use all shapes and sizes of women – Tu underwear, Mothercare, Dove, This Girl Can and the Guardian Saturday fashion spreads. They are far more diverse in terms of showing ‘real’ women. Lots of PR generated on the back of this practice. Let’s be out there, honest and proud of our wobbly, saggy bits instead of perpetuating Insta-perfect imagery of women. Happy for Become to contact me for any advice – from a menopausal Creative Consultant (advertising).

    Posted by Sal | January 30, 2020
  • I’d be happy to model your clothing as I am right in the middle of my menopause at the moment, aged 60. It is interesting that you say some models and agencies don’t want to be associated with the menopause. I suggest to you that Become doesn’t want to be associated with ordinary menopausal women’s bodies: cellulite, sagging breasts, footballers’ knees, large bottoms, etc. Which is a shame, because then we could be more confident that your clothing would actually fit those of us without a perfect size 10 figure.

    Posted by Penelope Davies-Brown | January 30, 2020
  • I’m on Year 6 of hot flushes and have been deeply affected by the menopause. I’m 53 and don’t have a problem at all with being associated with it and would proudly model for you to bring awareness

    Posted by Lauren Saunders | January 30, 2020
  • I have bought couple of items they work but I am not in a position to to buy more as I can’t afford to

    Posted by Janice Bryant | January 29, 2020
  • I just love your products and love the fact that there is this brand to support us menopausal ladies that’s still attractive to wear! Its addictive one is never enough!!!

    Posted by Kim Thompson | January 29, 2020
  • I agree. I respect that you are only using models who are experiencing or have experienced menopause, but think it would be even better to use customers who have tried and tested the product. I am 55 and happily wearing your products and would happily do this as I am sure many of your customers would.

    Posted by Sue Selwood | January 29, 2020
  • I would prefer it if you just used your real customers as models who I am certain would happily do it for free for you knowing that they are helping other women

    Posted by Tracey Hutchison | January 29, 2020
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