The actress and beauty founder was told her career would be ‘over’ by 40. Instead, she’s entering her sexy, post-menopause era, happier and busier than ever.

Naomi Watts playfully peeks between the yarn on a Stella McCartney floral crochet sweater and uses the fringe hanging from a royal blue Christopher Kane dress as props for her shimmies and poses before the camera. She receives no direction and doesn’t need it. To a soundtrack of ‘90s alternative rock hits, she owns InStyle’s photo studio — twists, winks, gets the shot, and moves onto the next. A tie-dye graphic T-shirt and big tulle skirt from the late Virgil Abloh’s final Off-White collection plays across decades, and Watts does too. She’s every bit the starlet — the camera absolutely loves her — but she has the self-assurance, focus, and drive no one knows like a working mom in her prime, which, for Watts, is right now at age 54.

When the 4 Non Blondes hit “What’s Up” comes on over the speakers, the whole scene is very ‘90s alt-girl, but rather than quintessential Gen-X angst, Watts exudes joy. She giggles between high kicks, sending the tutu aloft while wearing green suede Christian Louboutin boots with a five-inch plexi platform heel. Naturally, everyone on set lets out a cheer.

Linda Perry may have written the song when she was 25 and curious “what’s going on,” but the feelings of disillusionment and confusion are easily translatable to what many women experience as they approach menopause. This is precisely what Watts is here to unpack. “Perimenopause is a transitional time, but once you’re on the other side of menopause you get to reclaim yourself,” she says on Zoom a few days after the shoot.

In addition to starring in Amazon Studios’ Goodnight Mommy, a remake of the 2014 Austrian psychological horror film of the same name, and Ryan Murphy’s Netflix series The Watcher, a true crime story about a New Jersey stalking case, the actress has been hard at work on Stripes, a beauty brand she’s launched to tackle the stigma surrounding menopause.

Watts was inspired to create the line, which she likes to say targets menopause-related symptoms from “scalp to vag,” because she spent years feeling shame about going into early perimenopause at 36 and battling the dry, itchy skin and myriad other symptoms that came with it.

“When I was shooting the TV show Gypsy, I was really having a lot of symptoms at that point in time and, luckily, I told my makeup artist that I was having problems sleeping,” Watts says. “She’s around the same age, and I just needed one person to understand what I was going through. She identified with what I was experiencing and totally wrapped her arms around me. That meant the world to me that she understood having to work up to 16 hour days while dealing with symptoms.”

Read the full article/interview in our press library.

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