In a poignant piece in Daily Life on Sunday, ABC presenter Juanita Phillips, reveals she’s gone grey – and she’s been hiding it for 25 years.
The TV presenter, whose career as a newsreader spans an impressive 30 years, sat for a photoshoot with Damian Bennett, where she allowed them to photoshop her hair to what she says, is her actual hair colour. Ms Phillips admitted that she regularly dyes her hair blonde in order to keep people from finding out her secret: she has grey hair. Completely grey hair.
“The truth is, I'm a 51-year-old woman and I have grey hair. Not a glamorous silver streak. Completely grey. Grandma grey,” she writes in her article on Daily Life, “I've been hiding my grey hair since my early 20s, when it first appeared.”
The reason for this deception, she says, is to protect her job.
“How many grey-haired women with glasses present prime-time nightly news in Australia?” She asks, “Getting older holds no such perils for men on TV. Grey hair, bald patches, wrinkles, glasses. They can even get away with a paunch. If anything, ageing enhances a man's gravitas.”
But it is not so for women. Phillips admits she dyes her hair so she doesn’t get “pushed out” by the younger, blonder crowd that seems to perennially replace newsreaders after “they hit menopause and they stopped looking like babes”.
“Thick, glossy hair represents youth and vitality,” she writes of her younger counterparts, “Grey hair or no hair means one thing: old age.”
But Juanita is not alone. Since the release of her article, the people of the internet have flocked to celebrate her story.
So, does this self-exposure mean she will ditch the dye? Men of all sizes and shapes and hair colours are still dominating the airwaves, with only a handful of grey-ish women to balance them out – would she go on air with grey hair?
Not quite yet.
“I'm a 51-year-old woman in TV. I know the score. Grey's fine with me, and I'd like to think the audience could cope with it. But the TV industry? I wouldn't bet my career on it”.
Have a look at some of our favourite ladies who have gone grey with grace.
- PuzzlesThe Australian Women's Weekly February Issue Online Entry
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