Better With Age: Why The Best Is Yet To Come
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Better With Age: Why The Best Is Yet To Come

In partnership with Clinique, two trailblazing women tell AllBright how ageing has been their superpower, and explain why the best truly is yet to come.

Did you know that our ambition increases after the age of 55, before peaking at the age of 65? While many of us fear ageing as a time in our lives when we will become invisible, it can actually be a vibrant and empowering moment to finally learn to embrace who we are, and push ahead with our goals. In fact, The Harvard Business Review recently found that, contrary to popular belief, many women reach their peak in the second stage of their careers.

Happily, accepting the process of ageing in this way can have huge psychological benefits for both our work and personal lives, too. The concept of positive ageing encourages us to celebrate each moment of life that we get to live and, if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that getting older truly is a privilege. It’s this idea of positive ageing that trailblazing brand, Clinique, hope to encourage women everywhere to embrace as a philosophy.

Clinique launched the first ever dermatologist-developed skin care line back in 1968, and the brand has gone from strength to strength ever since - proving that ageing really is something to celebrate! The brand is committed to avoiding the use of any allergens, irritants or ingredients that could potentially harm the skin and all of their products are simple, safe, effective, allergy tested and 100% fragrance free. This is also true of their new Clinique Smart Repair Wrinkle Correcting Serum, a triple-threat formula engineered to outsmart wrinkles and fine lines from three different angles, visibly repairing, resurfacing and re-plumping skin.

So how can we learn to take a leaf out of Clinique’s book and move forward into our own futures, getting better and better with age? Here, two trailblazing women reveal how ageing has been their superpower, and share their advice for embracing the process and believing that the best really is yet to come.

Sushma Sagar

AllBright x Clinique F1 - Headshot Sushma

Sushma Sagar began her career working as a textile designer, specialising in wovens. Due to a lack of opportunities for weavers in the Noughties (as she says, “craft wasn’t cool back then!”), Sushma pivoted into PR and then marketing. This led her into a successful 15-year career promoting global fashion brands including Diesel, Ted Baker, Ben Sherman, Banana Republic and Kate Spade, where she worked as Marketing Director. Following this role, Sushma left to set up her own healing brand, .  

What are some of the biggest milestones you’ve achieved in both your life and career to date? 

Firstly, securing my first ever job in fashion. I walked into the Diesel London head office uninvited, with hope and a CV. A week later, I was working on reception. Shortly after, a job came up in the press office and without any PR qualifications or relevant experience; I convinced them I was their girl. They saw something in me. This showed me that even the seemingly impossible could be possible, which was a great lesson to learn at the start of my career. 

Next was completing my MBA. This was a massive, intellectual undertaking and involved so much discipline. I’m proud of myself for achieving it at a young age. 

Joining Kate Spade and then being promoted to director level was also a huge career milestone. I had worked so hard and been so dedicated over the years, so after all the underpaid roles and bad employers I had experienced, it felt like career justice had been reached and all the Christmas bonuses had come at once! 

I also experienced a major, earth-shattering relationship breakdown, alongside personal tragedies. As if that wasn’t enough, I suffered an accident that resulted in 12 months of physiotherapy, learning to walk again. It was tough, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. It led me to seek out deeper healing methods than I was used to, which changed my trajectory. 

Taking the huge decision to leave full-time employment to set up my business, The Calmery, was the beginning of a whole new chapter and required nerves of steel. 

My next milestones were undertaking Shamanic Energy Medicine Training, which was a life-changing personal evolution like nothing I could have imagined, plus getting my book deal with Penguin Ebury Publishing and writing 'Essential Chakras  - Find Your Flow'.

"Embracing your maturity is actually embracing who you truly are – your true essence without the masks, the roles, the hats, the opinions and all the ‘stuff’ we pick up or inherit from others"

How have you used ageing as a superpower for advancing your career, and what advantages has ageing given you? 

Ageing has been a superpower for me because, conversely, I’ve always looked younger than my years. People have therefore always underestimated me and I’ve been able to come out on top because I was wiser, stronger and more experienced than they assumed. However, that has made things difficult, as I wasn’t taken as seriously at first glance and I’ve been overlooked countless times. 

Ageing has helped me improve my attitude towards others and fine-tune my instincts. Now I can get the measure of others more quickly, meaning I waste less time. 

What are the biggest skills and life lessons you’ve accumulated as you’ve aged? 

I now know that not all people are your people – and that’s OK. I’ve stopped taking things so personally and find it easier to let go of things, ideas, people and plans.

I also now realise that every action you take, every decision you make, everything you think and then say, is creating a new reality for you as you do it. Everything counts and even if no one is watching, the energy is. 

How has your relationship with skincare changed as you’ve aged?

As I’ve aged, I’ve concentrated more on my insides to support my outsides. Healing, meditation, hydration, skin supplements and nutrients have become part of my daily routine. I am definitely more aware of my water intake and how much sleep I get. I started making my own face oil and my skin has never been better, so as I’ve aged I’ve started to listen to my body more and make decisions based on how I feel, not what I’m told or sold. 

Research has shown that embracing the ageing process has psychological benefits for both our work and personal lives. Have you found this to be true? 

I would agree. When I was young I was a bit neurotic and concerned about what other people thought of me. I wasn’t comfortable in my skin as I didn’t know myself well enough and, as a people pleaser, I could be easily manipulated into doing things I didn’t really want to do. It was exhausting. 

Now, as I become older, I’ve stopped caring so much about what people think in every area of my life. This has been liberating and calming, which are both positive psychological benefits. 

What words of wisdom would you give to any women who are unsure how to embrace their maturity?  

Embracing your maturity is actually embracing who you truly are – your true essence without the masks, the roles, the hats, the opinions and all the ‘stuff’ we pick up or inherit from others.   

It involves saying what you mean and meaning what you say. It is asking for what you want and not being personally offended if you don’t get it. Your maturity will keep you calm and level headed. It will allow you to stay grounded when others are spiralling into the air. 

Welcome maturity, because it makes you more compassionate and kinder as you see other’s fallibilities as a mirror to your own. It allows you to be gracefully, confidently and unapologetically you.

Sima Kumar

AllBright x Clinique F1 - Headshot Sima

Sima Kumar started her career in fashion retail, which led her to working as a personal shopper before carving out a career as a stylist in fashion, TV, commercials and music videos, before working as a celebrity stylist for 25 years. At the tail end of her styling career, she says she mostly styled celebrity clients and worked as a creative director for their overall branding.  

In 2014, Sima moved to the UK from Vancouver, and pivoted her career to being a brand director. From there, she had the opportunity to become a marketing director for a fashion tech company building AI products. 

“Underpinning all of this was my qualification as a certified yoga teacher,” she says. “Yoga philosophy now informs my entrepreneurial journey as I work as a coach and am the co-founder and CEO of the award-winning company, .”

What are some of the biggest milestones you’ve achieved in both your life and career to date? 

I am very grateful to have carved out a life that has supported me in doing what I want to, when I want to. This means creating a life with a lot of personal and professional freedom, while still earning a good living and not struggling financially. That’s not to say it was always easy; it’s more about following my bohemian nature and being open to life as play, rather than being prescriptive about specific goals.  

I married later in life and chose poorly, so I got myself out of that situation swiftly. My younger self would have stayed too long. Pivoting out of fashion and into business at the age of 44 has also been a milestone, proving it’s never too late to start over.  

How have you used ageing as a superpower for advancing your career, and what advantages has ageing given you? 

I decided to take the ageing narrative and the rampant ageism that women face in their professional careers and flip the script. Rather than becoming obsolete, I continue to learn and educate myself; I’ve just started an MBA and embrace reverse mentorship. I like to learn from younger generations. Remaining humble, keeping a flair for finding the fun and not being discriminatory against others has meant the same energy and mutual respect has been extended to me. I’m now widely described as sage or wise. That comes with being open and lifting up others, and not taking credit for things that I have learned from others. All of this has been made possible, easy and fun by embracing yoga philosophy as a lifestyle, rather than an exercise or destination. 

"By embracing my maturity, I have become the best friend I’ve always been searching for. This means I naturally become a good friend to everyone I connect with. Living becomes uncomplicated and drama free. It’s truly liberating, and to me, that is what ageing is all about"

What are the biggest skills and life lessons you’ve accumulated as you’ve aged? 

Skills wise, I am a professional level remote worker; someone who can travel for work and be away from home for months, without feeling disconnected and out of sorts. This comes from working in TV and film and touring with bands when I was younger. I’ve also learned that embracing technology means you can literally work and earn money from anywhere. 

The lessons are plenty. Understand that people in life and business will betray you – not always because they are not good people, but because everyone is on their own journey. I’ve also learned that I have a role to play in all my failures, and not to abnegate responsibility for them. Instead, I turn them into lessons so that every new relationship, be it personal or professional, is an opportunity to do things differently. 

How has your relationship with skincare changed as you’ve aged? 

Oooh... I love this question! I noticed that around the age of 42, words like ‘serum’ and ‘elixir’ became very seductive to me! As I’ve aged, it’s been less about makeup (and covering up) and more about hydration, moisturising and conservation. My yoga qualification also distilled in me that our skin is our largest, and only visible, organ. That integration was a game-changer for me. I stopped abusing my skin instantly because understanding what skin is in our human form really landed with me. 

Research has shown that embracing the ageing process has psychological benefits for both our work and personal lives. Have you found this to be true? 

Yes. I never shy away from sharing my actual age, and growing out my hair to its natural grey has been liberating in so many unexpected ways. There is an everyday freedom in not obsessing over roots or wrinkles, not to mention the fact that this frees up a lot of practical, mental and emotional time and energy. My highest value is freedom, and embracing ageing has supported me in upholding this value. It feels great to be living a life with integrity. 

What words of wisdom would you give to any women who are unsure how to embrace their maturity? 

There is a privilege in ageing in a world that pushes youth on us, and tries to police every inch of our bodies. And that privilege is having a profoundly intimate relationship with ourselves. I believe we are spiritual beings having a human experience, yet we live in a world where we seek a spiritual experience as human beings. By embracing my maturity, I have become the best friend I’ve always been searching for. This means I naturally become a good friend to everyone I connect with. Living becomes uncomplicated and drama free. It’s truly liberating, and to me, that is what ageing is all about.

to enjoy a limited-time special offer on Clinique Smart Repair Wrinkle Correcting Serum 30ml, RRP £55 but currently priced at £40

Photo credit for Sushma Sagar: @chloewinstanleyphotography