It was so good to catch up with another inspirational PRO AGE advocate for this month’s interview – Georgia Zaris, actress and creator of Instagram’s @georgia_goes_grey. With 107k followers, this is a woman who refuses to be defined by age, but rather as “a woman with 54 years of life experience”. Here we talk about all things PRO AGE, the women who inspire her, and why she decided to ditch the dye in the first place.
Can you tell us about Georgia-Goes-Grey and how it all began?
When I decided to embrace my natural hair colour, I created an Instagram account to document my journey. I began connecting with other women on a similar path, and as my grey hair grew, so did my social media presence.
Why do you think grey or silver hair has become such a popular trend over the last few years?
Lockdown significantly influenced our perspectives. The unpredictability of Covid prompted many to concentrate on life's essentials like family and health. Also, with salons being closed, people had no alternative but to embrace their natural hair, and the emergence of grey turned out to be less daunting than we were led to believe.
Can you share some of your top tips for transitioning to natural hair colour?
My top tip is to wholeheartedly accept it! Experiment with various hairstyles that highlight the demarcation line, which used to be a major annoyance. Don't worry about the duration of the process, as the true wonder unfolds during the journey itself.
There’s still societal pressure on women of any age to ‘look good’ – even more so with social media – but do you think we are seeing a shift in ageist and stereotype thinking for midlife and older women?
The question of 'looking good' often bothers me. What exactly does it mean to 'look good'? Should we conform to a uniform appearance? I think if we concentrate more on how we feel, the opportunities are limitless. Social media has been beneficial in this regard, showcasing individuals embracing their unique styles, which in turn inspires others to confidently do the same.
What advice would you give to midlife women who begin to feel invisible and less confident with age?
My advice, which I've personally followed, is to first view myself as a human being rather than as a woman defined by age. Currently, I consider myself a woman with 54 years of life experience, a 54-year-old woman.
Do you think that age and the expression ‘age-appropriate’ still influence our style and fashion choices?
There's still room for improvement in the concept of 'age-appropriate' dressing. I'm not immune to this mindset myself. I steer clear of certain clothes, such as hot pants, because I don't feel they flatter me as they once might have. However, if I felt more confident, perhaps I'd reconsider. As we mature, our fashion choices often reflect our comfort and personal style rather than simply following current trends. Focusing on what feels good often means that it will look good. Come to think of it, hot pants were actually really uncomfortable when I did wear them in my twenties!
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
Phyllis Diller, the renowned American comedian and actress, greatly inspired me. As a young teenager in Australia I had the fortune to meet her during her tour. She encouraged me to embrace life fully, to disregard others' opinions, and never to settle. Her advice has guided my life ever since. At that time she was around 68 years old, actively working and travelling the world. She was full of life, funny and had the best laugh ever.
As an actress, if you could choose to play one women from history who would it be?
Many of the women who inspire me the most have appearances quite distinct from mine, making it impossible for me to portray them. Among these remarkable figures are Maya Angelou, Rosa Parks, and Frida Kahlo. Nonetheless, their voices resonate on behalf of us all.
Hardest challenge you’ve had to face?
The most difficult challenge I faced was battling cancer. Undergoing surgery to remove all my reproductive organs and more, and then adjusting to my new 'normal' has been the toughest part of my journey so far. It was also one of my biggest blessings.
Accomplishment you are most proud of?
I tend not to dwell on my achievements. Instead, I concentrate more on exploring new things I want to try. Maybe I should take more time to celebrate my successes.
What advice would you give to today’s generation of young women?
My advice to a younger woman would be to look within yourself for answers instead of seeking them externally. Persist and don't give up. I've noticed that this generation is faced with so many options that they often struggle to see things through to completion.
Top beauty products you cannot be without?
My go-to beauty products are blush and mascara. A recent discovery, Studio10's Plumping Blush Glow-plexion, has revolutionised my routine. It's amazing how much one product can achieve.
And finally, your favourite quote to live by?
"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." - Reinhold Niebuhr