The Queen of My Self

Kim Cattrall talks on Canadian TV about Sensitive Skin, her new television show:

Kim Cattrall talked this week about why she wants to give a voice to women our age and the changes and challenges we face. Kim Cattrall is becoming something of a poster girl for the menopause and getting the topic out in the open.

In Sensitive Skin, a black comedy, she plays Davina Jackson, an ex-actress and model having a mid-life crisis. She lives in a chic Toronto loft apartment, has a hypochondriac husband and a needy son, is facing up to ageing, and has started talking to herself.

On Woman’s Hour this week, she talked about the time in a woman’s life that it addresses and the questions we ask ourselves.

She says: “It’s the point when a woman has achieved a lot of the goals society set for her – been educated, had a career, got married, had children – and now what?

“[She’s asking herself] what were the roads I did not travel? What am I going to do with myself?

“The man who in my 20s I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, is that still the man? And your children are off doing their own thing…

“I wanted to very much examine and give voice to this kind of woman, who’s at a crossroads in her life and trying to decide who she is now. She’s shedding these roles that have been put upon her, and she’s fulfilled. But now what? What’s the next chapter?”

Midlife change “for women it’s much more a physical change. It’s almost the opposite to our teenage years, where you’re gearing up; now things are slowing down.

Kim talks about hot flushes as being “a big moment in your life” and recalls her first one, mid-rehearsal at the Donmar, as like being dumped in a vat of boiling water. She called her mother to talk about it and was told, “Oh I can’t remember, I just got on with it”.

That’s what most of our mums’ generation did. Thankfully today there’s more information available about what happens during this stage of life. Nevertheless, many, probably most, of us don’t seek this out until it affects us, and can be unprepared when it begins.

It can take a while to realise that things that are happening to us physically and emotionally could be down to changing hormones; that somehow, pre-menopause has crept up on us.

Kim says: “At the beginning of Sensitive Skin my character, Davina, is not even completely aware of what’s going on. The physical manifestations are right there and immediate, but the emotional and psychological part of menopause are not really explored.”

For Kim herself, there was a positive effect: “I found myself feeling a call to action. I’m lucky to be in the position that I can find these things that are going on in my real life and explore them.

“It can be scary, as change is frightening. Things have been the same for so long and now things are different. It starts gradually; it’s not just one big thing that happens.

“I wanted to give voice to this time, and use comedy, in the way that Sex and the City did with sexual taboos. I wanted to name it and to explore it and to make it user friendly.”

In an earlier interview on Canadian TV, Kim has said: “After Sex and the City everyone expected me to do another Sex and the City but I took time out, which was sort of meditative, and I thought: How do I want the rest of my life to be.

“And I didn’t want it to be safe. I wanted it to be challenging and to take chances.

“I always feel vulnerable. That’s why Sensitive Skin is so important for me at this point in my life. I’ve been fortunate to look a certain way and as you get older that starts to fade.

“And here is a woman [asking], Am I still desirable? Do I still look beautiful? Do I still have a place in life that is meaningful? Will my life be fulfilling? That’s really the biggest question.”

Watch the first season of Sensitive Skin online
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Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to


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