Why Trinny is a true Queenager icon - and my top books of 2023
The Queenager: Eleanor's Letter (December 11th 2023)
Trinny is coming to our Noon Book Club tomorrow - what would you like to ask her?
Hope you have been having a great week and the Christmas countdown isn’t feeling too hectic! I’ve just spent the afternoon researching the fabulous Trinny who is coming to our Noon Book Club on Monday evening (here’s the link if you’d like to come).
Trinny is a true Queenager icon – I love her irrepressible cheeriness and optimism which shines out of not just her book but her social media posts. I grew up watching her and Susannah Constantine on What Not To Wear. I liked the enthusiasm with which they approached all women, a breezy confidence that with the right bra and a bit of sparkle EVERYONE could look their best and feel better about themselves. Trinny’s new book FearLess is similarly upbeat – it’s like your most glamorous friend becomes your personal stylist, coaxing you into leopard print and sequins, begging you to put down the little black dress and find your inner glamazon instead.
If Trinny had a religion it would have to be sequins – for day, for night, by the pool. I’ve been chanelling my inner Trinny over the last week over my birthday and various parties by sporting a new silver sequin scarf (thanks Dad). On a truly gloomy, wet, grey December afternoon I wore the shiny silver scarf over a bright pink jumper and decided Trinny was right: I did feel more cheerful bringing some glitz to the dreary day!
But it would be a mistake to see Trinny simply as a stylist. She has blazed a trail as midlife female entrepreneur, building a massive global digital-first brand in her company Trinny London. Last month she was crowned by EY the accountancy firm, as their Rising Star: the judges (some of the sharpest business brains in the world) praised her “ for defying initial scepticism from numerous investors who doubted the viability of a digital first beauty brand. Trinny kickstarted the inclusive beauty business with an unwavering determination which has propelled her expansion into both the American and Australian markets.” Trinny was particularly commended by the judges for her “resilience and determination as well as her dedication to eradicating inequality.” Of course what ‘inclusive’ and ‘inequality’ means here is SEEING older women and catering to their needs, unlike most of the beauty world… Trinny is unique because she’s not saying ‘don’t get old’ she’s saying – ‘you are fabulous just where you are, have a bit of shimmer and a nice lippy to feel confident and have fun being you!’. EY are dead right that that is both new and important! And as a fellow female midlife entrepreneur – not in her league of course – I salute the incredible company she has built but also her purpose and drive in serving you wonderful Queenagers.
This really matters. Women aged 60-64 are the highest spending demographic in the UK according to Lisa Edgar, Chief Insight Officer at Saga on the brilliant Elderberries podcast last week. Women 45-65 are also behind over 90% of all household consumer spending decisions – we are buying for ourselves but also our kids and parents. Yet we are represented in less than 10 per cent of adverts and hardly any brands speak to us directly. Well ok, Tena incontinence pants and anti-ageing cream – but not tech, or banks, or car manufacturers or any of the other millions of products we buy. We need to flex our power as controllers of the Queenager pound for more representation. Trinny London is a brilliant example of how truly representing older women can reap huge business rewards; backing up our Noon research which shows that midlife women would be 70% more likely to buy from a brand that represents them authentically, as she does… so yes, Go Trinny! Maybe her success will help shift the dial on the Venture Capital available to female entrepreneurs. Currently less than 2% of all VC investments go to female founders. Yes you read that right – even though we are super consumers. Queenager leaders like Trinny or Ann Boden of Founder of Starling Bank (she set it up in her 50s) are clear exemplars of why that needs to change.
Trinny is certainly a popular lady. Maybe it’s that weird synchronicity which hits our lives sometimes, but wherever I’ve gone recently I’ve run into women singing her praises. I went for a drink with some epically old mates (three decades standing, we were at uni together). At the pub was a friend who has been living in New York; she’s a scientist (she was studying genetics back in the day) and has since made incredible discoveries and is the only female ever to have launched a company built on her own invention on the Nasdaq. Her best friend? Trinny. She told me that of everyone she has ever known, Trinny has the capacity to truly take people in, in their entirety. That she is not just empathetic but has a kind of x-ray way of absorbing the person in front of them in all their multi-faceted-ness and reflecting and communicating that back to them. She also said Trinny is properly kind. Something I’ve heard over and over again.
Like all the best Queenagers, Trinny is Forged in Fire. She is a single mother, has been through multiple personal tragedies (rehab in her 20s, her 30s included “multiple rounds of IVF. It was a difficult time of hope and loss”) before finding “renewed confidence” in her 40s and describing her 50s as her “most freeing decade”. Text book Queenager,right? . I would contend that her own fearless example in starting up a business, overcoming some tough blows and doing it all while inspiring other women to feel better about themselves, showing that they too can forge a new and better life, is the true essence of her appeal. I’ve found myself that so many of us at this point in life feel so invisible and worn down that being truly SEEN and greeted with a sense that we do matter, are valued and have a lot to contribute, is extremely powerful. I love Trinny’s life-force, her transparency, the way she ungloves herself, happy to beam out to her 1.3 million Insta followers her fresh-out-of-bed face, or her clothes malfunctions. That inter-related confidence and public vulnerability is irresistible!
I know she is looking forward to sharing some of her insight and wisdom with all of you on Monday at the Noon Book Club. So I wanted to give all of you this opportunity to email me your questions in advance… email@example.com.
I am so grateful to her for joining us at Noon and hope all of you will enjoy it too! So do email me firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me what you’d like me to ask.
Remember that Paid Subscribers (in the UK) get free books for the Noon Book Club. Next year our authors include: Spring: Gaby Roslin, Summer: Adele Parks, Autumn: me (gulp that is when my book is coming out) and Winter: June Sarpong. So why not sign up today? Only £6 a month and you can come to the Noon Circle too.
And in the meantime here are some reading and movie suggestions for the Christmas break, or for presents…
My favourite books of 2023
Now I might be a bit late to the party by I have been devouring everything I can by Anthony Doerr. His book All the Light You Cannot See has just been made into a TV show on Netflix (I hear it isn’t that great, but the novel is sublime). Also brilliant by him is Cloud Cuckoo Land – a multi-weaved, multi-dimensional, time jumping masterpiece about the very nature of books and storytelling. FAB.
On my bedside table I have Barbara Kingsolver’s Demon Copperfield, which I keep being told is fantastic. I would also highly recommend her earlier books The Lacunae(all about Mexico) and my all time favourite of her’s The Prodigal Summer.
North Woods by Daniel Mason is one of the most extraordinary novels I have ever read. All about an apple tree and the humans that live around it on a farm in a remote bit of Massachusetts. Again it spans several centuries and is a wonderful love story and study of inter-generational trauma. I loved it.
The Island of Missing Trees: Elif Shafak – bit of a theme here, also about inter-generational trauma and a love story, but so beautifully written. A book I felt truly sad to have finished.
The Ghost Theatre by Mat Osman (multi-talented chap, used to be in Suede) – quite Hamnet like about Shakespearian London and the theatre, magic..
Christmas is often a moment of pause. A time to tackle books we might not otherwise think about. If you have an afternoon by the fire, try reading Dart by Alice Oswald. It’s a poetical journey down the River Dart from Dartmoor to the sea, taking in its history, inhabitants, mysteries and myths. It is so evocative you’ll feel like you are there, swimming down from the moors, meeting the seal, seeing the moon reflected in the waters..
In terms of more Queenager non-fiction reading: I am loving The Upgrade: How the female brain gets stronger and better in midlife and beyond by Dr Louann Brizendine. And if you known anyone with a teen daughter or who is struggling with women’s health issues then Dr Nighat Arif’s The Knowledge is a must. I also enjoyed Stella Fosse’s entertaining romp Brilliant Charming Bastard about dating in your sixties, and Karensa Jennings’s stunning, heartbreaking novel: Seas of Snow.
And to watch?
Last week i went on a birthday trip to see Saltburn – silly but glamorous retelling of Brideshead Revisited and all shot in my old college Brasenose. Rosamund Pike (Queenager supreme) is fab. Not high art, but fun escapism.
My other tip is we’ve just signed up to Apple TV (free for three months if you have a ROKU) I think the first series of The Morning Show (Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston) is some of the best telly I have ever seen. Brilliant on #metoo, female complicity, complexity, where the lines are, macho cultures and how women survive them. Worth getting Apple TV just for this. I’m also going to watch Ted Lasso as people keep telling me I should!
And continuing the theme I loved Fifteen Love on Amazon, Poldark as a tennis coach, with a big twist.
What else have you lovely ladies loved? We all need some good Christmas cosy TV watching suggestions! Bung some in the comments.
Ps Looking forward to seeing lots of you Paid Subscribers to The Queenager at the Noon Circle Christmas drinks in Soho on Dec 18th. If you’d like to join us, you can Subscribe here for only £6 a month!
By Eleanor Mills