Social Media Icons

Top Nav

Cannes Lions: Halle Berry on Halting the Shame of Menopause

Cannes Lions Halle Berry
Academy Award-winning actor, director, producer and advocate Halle Berry founded Re-Spin, a vibrant community inspired by her own transformation and the desire to connect with others through health, wellness, and spirituality. Her mission is to explore what’s uncomfortable and delve into culturally charged intimate topics.

It feels like women don’t own the narratives around their bodies, how can they reclaim that?
Halle Berry: You start with conversation and with the community where no subject becomes off limits. We often don’t talk about menopause, I am completely 100% in the middle of menopause, and there was a time when women would be ashamed to admit that. Because what does it mean to be in menopause? It means that you're down a path in life where you're no longer valuable to society, you're no longer sexy, attractive or valued in the workplace. So, women wanted to hide that and pretend like it wasn't happening. As a result, we had no one to talk to. Knowing that no woman gets out of life without going through menopause.

We're now finding resources and other women that we can talk to and share our stories with. And it's not just women talking to women because every man is also going to deal with someone who has been through menopause. So, it's very important that men are part of this movement and are involved in the conversation too.

Why do we come up with all these nicknames for a woman’s private parts? Where do you think that comes from?
Halle Berry: Well, I can speak from the experience of a mom because that's what's most present to me with my daughter now. It’s like how do you talk about that with boys? How do you talk about that with a gender that doesn't have one? And because boys are uncomfortable talking about it, girls can be uncomfortable. And here's the thing, men have traditionally been in charge of all of our marketing if we look at it historically. So, caring about our own bodies is less important to them and hence less important to us. This movement should be about educating men about the role that they have to play. They have to become as open about this subject and curious about our bodies as we are, because we all have to work together in order to change the narrative.

And these topics can be aligned with the business world…
Halle Berry: Absolutely. When you are working for a cause that's greater than yourself, business will just follow. The best business has to start with passion about something that's not only personal, but that's true to you.

Women like you are out there with Re-Spin talking about these topics in a natural manner without embarrassment or confusion. Talk to us about your brand.
Halle Berry: Re-Spin was at an incubation stage and was a health and wellness brand. But I've decided that I'm going to make it focus on perimenopause and menopause because that's the place that women need and that we don't have yet. Women can come there and open conversations and not feel embarrassed. They can talk to doctors and get medical advice. We can meet you right where you're at. We'll have all the state-of-the-art new technologies and products that can help us through this time.

We can talk about products that you should start taking when you're 35 because, guess what? Menopause is coming your way too. So how can you be best prepared when the day arrives and to live your best life and be your best self? What we find is that when men become older and like silver foxes, we believe that they get better with age. But as women, we are considered old, disposable and have a hard time being employed. When we go through menopause many of us have to take time off work because we can't operate like we used to. We don't have leniency or compassion, we don't have support or understanding.

Re-Spin is going to be a place for all the guidance and support. You know, millions of women go into menopause every year. So, there's millions of individuals that really need this kind of support. And it's also important to be able to say publicly that's where you're at. When I first started to tell people that I was in menopause, they were like, no, you can't be, just look at you. And I realized that this is what my job is going to be. I'm committed to changing what we thought menopause looks like.

And how do we bring more men into the conversation?
Halle Berry: I think we have to encourage men to be brave when they have an opportunity to do so, like when they are a head of an advertisement agency, and they have an opportunity to create a commercial that doesn’t shy away from this topic. Their responsibility is to be our real partners and help in pushing that narrative forward in every chance they get.

And what about this conversation in conservative communities?
Halle Berry: Again, it starts with just having the conversation, whatever talk you can have. Evolution and change are often slow, but you have to start it somewhere no matter what your cultural background is. And we will see that even in those cultures there will be a shift, because the importance of this will be evident the more and more you talk about it.