Emma Forbes: ‘I feel better at 52 than I did at 32!’
-Sep 23, Jenny Paul, Living -
Emma Forbes needs no introduction, the likelihood is that you will know her from her huge body of British TV presenting and broadcasting work, and she has been a prime-time favourite of the nation since the early ’90s.
It would be understandable if, after such a long and demanding career, Emma Forbes – who is based between London and New York- decided to take some time off and rest on her laurels. Instead she is fully embracing her life post 50 and has launched both a fabulous lifestyle website and a weekly podcast – which Emma Forbes co-hosts with the brilliant Gemma Sheppard.
Emma and Gemma have seen huge success across the world since the pair launched it last year, so much so that it’s now also available on every single British Airways flight globally.
Every week they have an interesting guest – recent ones include; designer Donna Ida Thornton, Vogue supremo Alexandra Shulman, Meg Matthews and Sarah, Duchess of York, and it’s peppered with smart, inspirational, funny and frank conversation, which comes as a very welcome salute to the over 40s.
Emma kindly sat down and told Lumity more in this exclusive interview:
“The podcast came about through a coffee over my kitchen table with Gemma,” she explains. “It was a catch up and then talking about where we both were with our careers and what we wanted to do next. Gemma asked me about podcasts and am ashamed to admit I hadn’t really entered that world at all! She played me a few, and we started talking about doing one ourselves where it would sound just like a talk over a kitchen table… and it started from there.
“We did one that was just us, and then started inviting people from our address books. So, The Lifestyle Newshound was born. We wanted to make it intimate, chatty, unedited, and focused on inspiring people for 40 plus female listeners – chatting about everything from love, life, health and the universe.
“My thoughts on age are it sounds cliché, but it is just a number. I am ten years older than Gemma and am now 52 and over the big 50! It felt huge when I approached 50 and everyone talks about it so much that I think there is huge pressure on the whole event. I think it’s hard for women in any industry as there is an ageist view that does exist, and women need to work hard against that. Particularly in my industry of TV.
“However, for me, it was a point in my life to take stock, make changes and make it a positive move and really focus on ageing as gracefully and as healthily as I could – in truth I actually feel better at 52 than I did at 32! I think in your earlier years, health is taken for granted, in your thirties everything sort of ticks along and works, in your forties you start to become more conscious of ageing – but at 50 you are like ‘wham’ this is phase two and I need to focus on it all.”
“I truly believe that what you put in is what you get out of your body”
Emma continues: “I am very into doing things naturally – I am not judging remotely but I am anti-surgery, ‘haven’t done fillers (this is just for me – as I said I don’t judge others!) and I truly believe that what you put in is what you get out ofyour body and that you are what you eat – so I eat a balanced and healthy macrobiotic based diet – and focus on taking the best care of my skin inside and out.
“Ageing well means to me making the best of what you’ve got! Accepting any flaws, enhancing the good bits and taking the best care of the rest! Really knowing what you need from diet to supplements to the external things like hair and fashion. I think I’ve had a great role model in my mother who has aged with such grace and style – and has done zero surgery. Yes, it’s genetics too but I do think that we have become a nation of such ‘quick fixes’ we’ve forgotten that actually smile lines, a few wrinkles give us character and personality – and it is totally possible to age gracefully.
“My favourite wellness and style tips are – to really find your style and stick to it. I spent ages telling Gemma that I longed to wear dresses – I see people in pretty dresses and long to find one…The reality is it’s not a look that suits me! I am so much more at home in simple tailored trousers and jackets and I’ve learned to find a look that I love and work on that – and I would advise anyone else to do the same.”
“I have found a diet and way of life that works for me”
Emma explains: “Wellness-wise I have found a diet and way of life that works for me – getting the balance right between exercise, food and realising that it pays off and helps in every way from day-to-day life to long-term health. I am no longer a slave to supplements and advertising and picking up anything from vitamins to skin care that say ‘anti-ageing’ on them.
“Now I reallyresearch and check out what my body needs, and I advise any woman a blood test if you really want to find out what’s going on hormonally and internally.
“I am not saying you need to be a slave to a food regime – everything in moderation is always fine – but just to really assess what your body needs as fuel, weight is harder to maintain over 50 and food plays a huge part in it all.”
“I find walking a huge stress reliever, problem solver and a way of keeping fit”
Emma underlines: “My advice for staying healthy and balanced during stress, well for me, it’s been walking! I am a great pacer of the streets, parks and treadmills… I find it a huge stress reliever, problem solver and a way of keeping fit. That and giving myself the odd treat – a facial, a relaxing massage, a long bath, or a movie in bed – all great moments of escapism.
“What inspires me are my children. I see in them now they are adults such enthusiasm, drive, optimism, and they really inspire me to do new things, and to look at the world through their eyes. I am lucky that I’ve never lost my own drive and ambition and I am constantly inspired by others when I read or see what they’ve done and in Gemma have found a partner where we are both of the mentality of, ‘why not, let’s give it a try’…
“Wisdom and life advice has been given to me by many people over the years and it’s hard to find that ‘one’ single piece of advice. But…I think when I first started in TV Sarah Greene gave me the advice to ‘breathe’. It sounded so ridiculous and simple – but she’s SO right – sometimes to just take a breath, not just when interviewing but now I find in any stressful situation, flying, or needing to relax – breathing – deep breathing – truly helps.”
As for beauty, Emma sticks to what works she says: “I do have a beauty routine – am quite obsessed with taking care of my skin and as I fly a lot I am so onto keeping it hydrated!
“I have a variety of products that I use daily and do a lot of ‘layering’ of products on my skin for hydrating, but I also cleanse morning and night. I think it’s super important. I love Lumity Facial Oil as it is so, so hydrating so that is one of my current favourites – and again it’s so good to put on when flying.
“I think the odd regular facial (just the old-fashioned kind where they cleanse and do a lovely massage!) is great, and I think obviously wearing a high factor SPF on the face when in the sun is great too. I do tan, but I don’t burn. I love to take supplements (Lumity is in there!) that benefit the skin.
“My diet includes masses of oily fish, avocado and olive oil – so I feel I give it the best shot! I see an incredible facialist in New York called Vicki Morav who is my secret treat and amazing at finding the right products to help maintain my skin looking it’s best for my age.”