Vivienne Connolly is determined to change the conversation around aging

Vivienne Connolly is trying to change the conversation around aging with her event in Cork this month, writes Ciara McDonnell.

Vivienne Connolly is determined to change the conversation around aging

Vivienne Connolly is trying to change the conversation around aging with her event in Cork this month, writes Ciara McDonnell.

Time is something women simply don’t afford themselves anymore, says Vivienne Connolly.

As a model, actress and busy mum of two, the vivacious blonde knows more than most about putting others first.

It comes naturally to women. Men find it easier to make time for themselves, but we are so busy with children and work and all that goes with it, that we put ourselves last, every single time

Connolly is seeking to change that with her new enterprise Evolve With Viv, a day-long event debuting in Cork this month. Aimed at women aged forty and over, the day will feature classes from aesthetician Eavanna Breen of Akina Beauty and Laser Clinic and Cork’s Sabrina Hill of Kopper hair salon, as well as makeup demonstrations and tips and tricks from Viv herself.

The idea behind the event was simple. “Our age bracket simply isn’t catered for,” she says. “The thing is, women aged forty and over are a powerful demographic. They are more financially independent, may have a little more time on their hands. We are all still hugely into fashion, and we are massively underrepresented. I wanted to give our women something of value — a day for themselves where they can get away from the stresses of life and focus on themselves for a change.”

The event will feature fashion shows and talks, and includes breakfast and lunch. With an emphasis firmly on achievable self-improvement, Vivienne says she is adamant that every aspect of the day is attainable for everyone who attends. This starts, with showcasing clothing that we can all wear.

“We are showing good quality, flattering clothes that are comfortable and look great. We want to show clothes that are compatible with our lifestyles — looks that we can throw on with little fuss and look and feel great. Let’s face it; we don’t have the time to be considering ‘looks’ when we are trying to get our families and ourselves out the door.”

Vivienne reckons that the true meaning of being fabulous at forty stems from the confidence that comes with life experience. “We are more at home in our own skin in our forties. It’s really freeing. I used to be really worried about what my friends and family thought about me. We have all gone through the trenches in one way or another at this stage, and it’s liberating to be able to say, do you know what? I don’t care what you think; I’m doing this for me.”

This is the crux of the whole thing for Vivienne, who has gone through a marital break-up while navigating the choppy waters of growing older in an industry that prides itself on youth as currency.

“We can be surrounded by people and be lonely,” she maintains.

“There were years for me where my focus was protecting my children and making the transition through our divorce as easy as possible. You can keep yourself busy, but underneath, your body is crying out for a little help, and I think that this is something that every woman experiences.”

She says she wants to arm women with the know-how to capitalise on this time of their lives, and for those of us who find ourselves a little lost, the nudge we might need to find ourselves again. “Everything is about information on the day. I don’t want people seeing things that they can’t afford or would be too afraid to do themselves, I want to give them achievable ways to maintain a sense of self identity and feel good about themselves. We want to talk about the everyday problems that we have and how to solve them. For example, when it comes to skincare, we’ll be talking about dealing with the dry skin or lack of collagen that comes with hormonal changes.

“Our forties are a time when women can be supportive and generous and loving towards each other, says Connolly. “I feel that in our twenties and thirties we are so busy competing with everyone around us in career, how we parent, finding a husband... and do you know what? That’s not our fault; it’s the way of the world. We are all out there, trying to do the best for ourselves and for our family.”

Vivienne offers a message of positivity for women in their forties.

What does Vivienne Connolly want us to experience as we Evolve With Viv? Her mission is simple.

Lets stand together and show people that we have so much to offer. We have life experience, we’ve raised kids — we’ve maybe sacrificed some parts of our career for our family. We need to realise that a bit of self-care is not selfish, it’s necessary

Evolve With Viv takes place on Sunday, September 23, from 11am-4.30pm at the Clayton Hotel Cork City.

Tickets are €50 each and includes breakfast, lunch and a goody bag.

To book tickets log onto evolvewithviv.eventbrite.com

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