Actor Simone Singh, age 50, is relaxed knowing that life only gets better with time

The Word. Magazine presents ‘The Ageless Series’—a pioneering photo-essay that celebrates ageing and the joys that come with it.

Actor Simone Singh, age 50, for The Word. Magazine’s ‘The Ageless Series’

The Word.: How old are you and how old do you feel?

Simone Singh: “I’m 50 now. In many ways, I feel young and in many ways, I feel my age to have lived these many years as an adult. One has a  lived sense of the world, of life, of experiences. I look forward to life as a young person would, but I also have the luxury of my experiences, of what I have enjoyed and suffered…”

TW: What is the best thing about getting older? 

SS: “We’re now at a point in time where you can choose to live your own way, regardless of societal mandates. Though it must be remembered that while many women are more liberated to make their own decisions, there are many, many women who are not allowed to live of their own choosing.  

Speaking for myself, I’m really enjoying my life because I have lived long enough to know that you don’t really need to worry about carrying a few extra kilos or not looking or feeling your best because everything passes. Once you know that, and it takes some time for a human being to grow into that knowledge, you look at life very differently.”  

TW: Would you say you love yourself more now than you did a decade or two decades ago? 

SS: “Yes, I do think that I love myself more now. I think I appreciate myself would be better phrased. I think women of my generation have been trained not to love ourselves, rather, we are to direct love towards the people that you provide care for or who care for you.

Having lived a life of these many years, many of them as an adult now, I understand the value I bring to the world, not just in my immediate environment, but to the world at large. I take the time to do that and I’m certainly gentler on myself now than I ever was as a younger person. I was a very harsh critic of myself when I was younger…I’m still a critic of myself (and that’s the nature of the beast, that’s who I am), but I’m certainly kinder now and more accepting and appreciative of myself.” 

TW: What does timeless mean to me? 

SS: “I am of the belief that everything has its time and then that time passes. As human beings, it’s a good thing to remember that what you may have been in your youth may not serve you well after a point, so let things pass.

The things that are actually timeless, in my opinion, are mythology, and the world of spirit and spirituality. Those higher concepts that younger people are too busy to pay attention to, those are timeless.”

Simone Singh is wearing all jewellery by Shri Hari Ram Jewellers.

TW.: How do the media and society perceive a woman once she’s over the age of 50? 

SS: “You only have to take a look at social media to get a sense of how outdated some of the notions surrounding women are. There are still many old beliefs that have taken root so strongly in society that are hard to get out of. For instance, when a woman posts a picture of herself, or where she doesn’t look the way society expects, the comments and the trolling that follow are terrible. 

But  women are switching things up. They feel comfortable in how they look, they’re not necessarily worried about their greys or the little lumps and bumps, and they continue to post their beauty on social media.”

TW: Do you think the world does enough to celebrate older women?

SS: “I think the world is certainly doing a lot more than it used to; we need to look at this from the perspective of what used to be the case in the past. Earlier, appreciating older women was reserved for royalty or film stars or politicians, but now, the average woman has understood that she needs to celebrate herself. Families have also understood  that women are to be celebrated. I think that we’ve certainly come a long way in that regard. 

This is not to say that there aren’t many sections of society that think once a woman is past her peak appearance, it’s game over for her.”

TW: Do you think ageism affects women more than men?

SS: “I think the answer to that is self-evident. You only have to look around to know, yes, it does. And that is no matter where you are in the world. I must add here that women have also had to cover more ground in a very short span of time, with regards to the opportunities that women have and can take. The struggle for equality has been steep, and now that women and men compete equally, even though they’re not rewarded equally in the workplace, a woman is perceived as less useful after a certain age, even though she may be as capable. I think ageism is a big factor there as well”. 

TW: How has your perception of beauty changed over the  years?

SS: “I don’t think it has changed very much. I’ve always preferred to be more natural, and I fully recognise that is a privilege because it could come from a place of people always appreciating the way that you look. However, speaking for myself, I gravitated towards being more natural with the way I look when I was younger, and I continue to do that today.”

Lisa in a dress by Bodice, and jewellery by Shri Ram Hari Ram Jewellers.

TW: How has your personal style evolved over the years?

SS: “When I was in my teens, I was still discovering my personal style…at that age, you’re still searching and not sure how you look in things. For the most part of my life, I never really liked bling or shiny things. However, I always enjoyed structured clothes and pieces that had drama. So, either they needed to be structured or they needed to be swathes of flowing fabric. I felt fabulous in them!

Now, as I’m older, I find that I don’t need to armour myself in swathes of fabric or styles with big shoulders and a defined waist. My style has become more relaxed now. 

TW: What brings you joy?

SS: “Many things bring me joy. I think joy is one of those things you need to pay attention to because it’s so easy to let life and things and people rush by and not pay attention to everything that is bringing you joy. One needs to only look around to be so deeply grateful for those things.

My family brings me joy, specifically my husband, and the life that I live brings me joy, which I am so grateful for. The other small things that make me happy are the ability to have greenery around me, clear skies, the ability to travel, and cooking for the people I love.”

TW: What makes you feel sexy?

SS: “I’m not a person who particularly enjoys feeling sexy. It’s not something I think about; it is of no consequence to me… It’s just not a factor for me.”

TW: What makes you laugh?

SS: “Laughter, again, is one of those things you have to pay attention to, because if you don’t, you can turn into a grouch very quickly after a certain age. This is not specific to women, it can happen to anyone because with age, the neurotransmitters dry up and people become a bit grouchy. 

It doesn’t have to be scripted humour, you just learn to take things easily and learn to laugh at yourself. So many things make me laugh!”

TW: What do you love most about your life?

SS: “I think I have been so privileged to always have a wonderful family around me. My parents, my sister, my husband. And I know now that this doesn’t happen for everyone, which is why I am so deeply grateful for it. That always makes me happy.”

TW: If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your younger self? 

SS: “If I could go back in time, I would tell my younger self that everything passes. Whatever it is, don’t get too weighed down by the sadnesses, and don’t get too carried away by the joys…everything passes. Just pay attention to the things that are really important—the people who care for you, and who you care for. Take care of your own environment, and don’t hold other people responsible for that. And, finally, don’t be too harsh on yourself.” 

TW: What hopes and ambitions do you have for your life? 

SS: “I’m letting things flow, as I always have. While I know that for other people, making five-year-plans works, I find that, for me, it works much better to allow things to flow. I find that my life has taken me to lovely places because I have allowed it to and that’s how I like to live.”

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