Since turning 50 and leaving Network Seven, Melissa Doyle has not retired but refuelled, which is fitting given her new crusade.
Since turning 50 and leaving Network Seven, Melissa Doyle has not retired but refuelled, which is fitting given her new crusade.

Melissa Doyle: ‘What shocks me about ageing women’

Longtime TV presenter Melissa Doyle would like a word or two about women. Not just any women, but those with a few extra years under the belt. Since turning 50 and leaving Network Seven - both of which happened last year - Doyle has not so much retired as refuelled, which is fitting given her new crusade.

"When you have a milestone birthday, it's a moment to stop and reassess," she says. "You find your purpose. As you get older, you recognise who you are and what you have to contribute to the world … you're less worried about smaller, trivial things that might have kept you awake when you were younger."

Doyle's audio-documentary Age Against the Machine is out this month and promises to deliver a generous dose of what she loves best: storytelling. The project's focus is female ageing here and around the world.

Proud mother of two Melissa Doyle now has more time to give to the causes she cares about, including her work as an ambassador for children’s charity World Vision. Picture: Supplied
Proud mother of two Melissa Doyle now has more time to give to the causes she cares about, including her work as an ambassador for children’s charity World Vision. Picture: Supplied

"Everything from aesthetics to issues like women over 50 (being) the fastest growing group of homeless people in this country, which just absolutely shocked me. We talk about everything from relationships, what it's like to date when you're a little bit older and managing families, different cultures around the world (that) respect women and workplaces that need a little bit of assistance to get things moving. You name it, we've covered it for women who are 50 and over … We've got a powerful voice and we want to use it."

BRAVE NEW WORLD

Doyle says she is also inspired by the emerging generation of "amazing women" and marvels at their bravery.

"You've got Grace Tame and Brittany Higgins - these gorgeous girls are in their 20s and I think one of the most important things is for women my age to stand next to them and support them and say, 'Okay, you're shaking the tree, you're agitating for change - we're here next to you to ensure that happens'.

Melissa Doyle applauds a new breed of fearless young women like Australian of the Year 2021 Grace Tame, pictured at the National Press Club in Canberra, 3 March 2021. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Gary Ramage.
Melissa Doyle applauds a new breed of fearless young women like Australian of the Year 2021 Grace Tame, pictured at the National Press Club in Canberra, 3 March 2021. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Gary Ramage.

"I think they've recognised their power and their place and what they can do. 'This is me, take it or leave it'. I look at them and I cheer them on. I think it's fabulous."

As for whether women in TV start their careers with a use-by date on their forehead, Doyle says that culture is headed for the bin. "Society is changing its attitude toward people getting older - all industries have probably had it to a certain extent, not just television. We are shifting. We are certainly looking at people and recognising them for their skills and experience, not the number they happen to have on their passport."

NIFTY FIFTY

Doyle also believes there is an element of truth to the happy rumour that 50 is the new 40.

"We are all staying fitter for longer, we're staying more active, we're staying more engaged, we're doing so much more. As individuals, our attitude to ageing is changing (and) it's going to be reflected back in industries around us - television is one of them."

Nonetheless, after spending half her life in front of the camera, Doyle remains committed to looking after herself inside and out, including becoming an ambassador for Bio-Oil Dry Skin Gel.

"I don't shy away from the fact that I've got some laugh lines around my eyes. I don't really want to change those because I see them as little trophies. I'll do the best I can to maintain my skin and I'll embrace the rest."

IN THE HOT SEAT

After 25 years in the hair and makeup chair, Mel Doyle has learned a trick or two for looking

and feeling fabulous at every age.

Water

"I always remember reading the Elle Macphersons of the world drink two litres every morning and I'd think, 'Oh, as if that makes a difference', but it really does."

Exercise

"I've now taken to going to the gym a lot more regularly and doing an exercise class. I know that I just feel better for it and I have to prioritise that."

Mental health

"I've always tried to be really honest with my children and with viewers when I'm tired and I'm struggling. I've tried to talk to (my kids) about how I'm feeling so that they know, should they experience any of those things, it's natural, we all do."

Reality check

"I've got a 17-year-old daughter … she looks on Instagram and sees all these gorgeous women with perfect bodies and perfect faces. I want her to see the original and I try to show her that on Instagram people use filters. Young girls are trying to live up to this standard that's just not attainable because it's not real."

Oil

"I like that it's such a small amount and it goes so far. I do like that feeling of oil on my skin and it sinking in, because I know it's doing something."

Melissa Doyle is an ambassador for Bio-Oil Dry Skin Gel.

Originally published as Melissa Doyle: 'What shocks me about ageing women'



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