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The world according to Patsy: top tips from the national treasure

Botox, photo-shop, anti-wrinkle products; it can’t be denied that our society glorifies youth to such an extent that we’ll try anything to reverse old age. Even girls as young as eight-years-old feel compelled to airbrush their selfies! It’s time for a change of mind-set; it’s time to embrace our age.

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AbFab star, Joanna Lumley, always aimed to be older and wiser rather than younger and prettier: “when I was 13, I wanted to be 20. 20, I wanted to be 50. 50, I wanted to be 80. I love old age. I love old people. It does bring you wisdom.”

Instead of following and favouriting the staged lifestyles of twenty-somethings online and on reality TV, let’s pay attention to a woman who’s lived real life and can offer worthy advice.

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She’s totally badass

Her on (and off) screen bestie, Jennifer Saunders, boasts that Joanna Lumley “never has done what she was told”. Well, aren’t we glad she didn’t? If she’d listened to the fools forcing her to “stay in her place” then the world never would’ve been graced with the fantastic fictional character of Patsy Stone. On top of having her acting efforts dismissed because she started as a model, Lumley was also initially rejected by the comedy market for being too “beautiful and velvety voiced”. By not taking no for an answer, she became living proof that it’s possible for women to be blessed with BOTH beauty and a sense of humour.

She knows a thing or two about hustling

Even once she made the transition into acting, Lumley needed to battle like a badass in order to stop being typecast. Saunders is forever thankful that Lumley ignored the idea that “she could only play pretty girlfriends” because she happened to be pretty and a girl. Almost 50 years later, young actresses continue to fight the casting brackets of stereotypical female roles. To follow in the footsteps of comic genius Jennifer Saunders, women who yearn to play exciting roles often feel the urge to write their own work. Miranda Hart (Miranda) and Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag) are classic examples of this. If it wasn’t for their long hard slog taking self-written comedy shows to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival year-in-year-out, they wouldn’t be where they are today (prime time slots on the BBC!). Moral of the story: when life’s not giving you what you want, take control and create interesting work yourself.

She’s a caring mum and career woman

At the age of 21, Lumley balanced her career with single-parenthood during a time when being unmarried with a child was unacceptable; “[the hospital] actually put me in a separate room in case I upset the married mothers”. Rather than allowing society to shame her, she became a role model demonstrating that women needn’t feel forced to make the dreaded choice of career vs family. So what does she suggest to young women today? Unlike her onscreen persona Patsy (who’s famous for falling out of taxis and drinking the day away), Lumley discourages young girls from adopting this behaviour: “I promise you it is better to look after yourself properly”. Given that she’s in her 70s and still utterly gorgeous inside and out, we’d be silly not to take her advice!

                                                                                                                                                                Words: Natalie Ann Boyd

Instagram: @natalieannboyd


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The UK's first Career & Lifestyle Magazine for women in the Creative and Media industries.

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