The Instagram above is one Andie MacDowell posted of herself attending the InStyle Awards that honored Simone Biles. Andie’s been making news for her bravery. That crushes me to write because her bravery is to be a 63-year-old woman who dared to stop dyeing her grey hair. At the same time, it really is brave because Hollywood doesn’t like women to admit they age. But she did it, despite her team asking her not to, and she looks absolutely amazing. It turns out, Andie’s team wasn’t the only one throwing doubt at her. In her caption on the photo above, she divulged that she deals with social anxiety and how much she appreciated Simone for standing up for mental health.
After spending so much time alone during Covid it was nice to be dressed beautifully @Dior and go to a dream event for Instyle magazine.
So many lovely people to speak with, to laugh with and enjoy. I was really happy to see people that I had not seen in years from the fashion world where I started my career.
On a personal level I was thrilled to be there with everyone to celebrate Simone Biles being honored. People have a hard time talking about their mental instabilities and she has been beyond brave to show her vulnerability along with all her acolytes and strengths.
I have some social anxiety. I’m always analyzing myself to see if I’m doing an OK job when I go out. It’s as if I carry this critic with me and sometimes I can’t have a decent conversation because the critic‘s voice is butting in. Other times I’m completely relaxed, comfortable and present. It’s important to be social, to make the effort to get out and be with people and enjoy life even when you live with this kind of critic in your head. I have to have a #strong conversation with the critic the day after I go to out and tell them not analyze every move I make. I had conversations that were valuable, lovely, warm and generous. We are human and we are here to support and love each other and understand how vulnerable we really are.
Absolutely stellar people to celebrate that evening, all of them very deserving. But my heart has a special thank you for Simone.
“It’s as if I carry this critic with me and sometimes I can’t have a decent conversation because the critic‘s voice is butting in,” I’ve never been diagnosed with social anxiety, either professionally or self, but maybe it applies because I felt that comment at my core. Hand to God, I’m convinced that every group I interact with does not want me there. That belief causes me to analyze everything I do when I go out, like Andie. And the critic Andie refers to never leaves me the hell alone, either. Weeks, months, years from now she will pipe up and remind me how I botched some interaction and why I should probably just stop feeling good about myself altogether. And I swear it’s getting worse with age. But I think that why Andie is right about being social. It’s important to push through those moments because otherwise, the only interaction we’d have is with that critic. If the pandemic has taught us anything it’s that we shouldn’t be cooped up too long.
To Andie’s larger message, this makes her commitment to keep her grey hair even more impressive. If she’s already struggling with an internal dialogue of self-doubt and a beauty team tells her she’s making the wrong choice, that would be a lot to fight against. The shallow side of me looks at a photo of Andie and thinks, yeah, but look at her – obviously she must know how incredible she looks. But the other side of me, the one Andie’s speaking of, knows what it’s like to have others see something in you that you don’t. I am shocked as can be that Andie flipping MacDowell struggles with social anxiety. But I am grateful that she’s willing to put herself out there enough to share that with us.
Photo credit: Instagram and Avalon Red