The women who made it in mid-life

Forget the top 30s under 30, we take a look at those women who didn’t reach their peak until they hit middle age!

Vera Wang

Getting engaged at 39 made Vera realise that there wasn’t much out there for the older bride, so she set up her very own fashion and bridal label. Prior to this, she’d been a competitive ice skater and a journalist at Vogue, proving that your first job might not be what you succeed at!

What you can learn from Vera: If at first you don’t succeed… try, try again. Vera proves that it’s never too late to start from scratch, even if an industry that you know nothing about!

Susan Boyle

Who can forget ‘that’ audition on Britain’s Got Talent? Susan may have been an overnight success – the You Tube video of her performance reached 2.5 million views in the first 72 hours – but it was a long-time coming. She was 47 when she appeared on the show. She’s gone on to break Guinness World Records and sell 19 million albums worldwide!

What you can learn from Susan: She nearly didn’t appear on Britain’s Got Talent because she thought she was too old, proving you should never let age stand in your way!

Cath Kidston

Prior to founding her self-title company at age 45, Cath Kidston had owned a shop that sold second-hand furniture. Spotting a place in the market for vintage-inspired finds, she opened shops across the UK, as well as Ireland and Japan. In 2010, age 52, she sold Cath Kidston Ltd to investors, making a very nice £25 million, while still serving on the board of directors.

What you can learn from Cath: Use your passions. If you’re passionate about something, you’re more likely to succeed in life.

Olivia Colman

While she had been a fairly recognisable face on British TV, staring in shows such as Green Wing and Broadchurch, she was 44 when she won an Oscar and launched into worldwide fame.

What you can learn from Olivia: In her Oscar winner speech, Olivia thanked her agent “who made me do things I said no to – but she was right” proving that sometimes saying yes is the best answer in life.

Anna Wintour

No fashion show would be complete without the sight of Anna, and her sunglasses, on the front row! However, the Brit who, has been editor of American Vogue for 32 years, didn’t land the esteemed role until she was 39. Prior to that she’d been working on various magazines, including erotic women’s mag, Viva.

What you can learn from Anna: Every job, however small, can be a step to your success. You can learn something from any job – use it and apply it to help secure your success in the future.

Laura Ingalls Wilder

If you’re of a certain age (ahem!) you’ll remember reading the Little House books and settling down to watch those lovely, gentle episodes of Little House On The Prairie. The semi-autobiographical books, which have sold 60 million worldwide, weren’t published by Laura until she was 65!

What you can learn from Laura: You are literally never too old to try something new!

Patricia Field

While she’d had a fairly successful career as a fashion stylist, it wasn’t until Patricia met Sarah Jessica Parker, at age 54, that her career went into the stratosphere. The duo worked together on those iconic outfits for Sex And The City. Since then she’s been nominated for five Emmys, one of which she won.

What you can learn from Patricia: Network, network and network. If Patricia hadn’t met SJP, her career may have been very different!

Kim Cattrall

Kim is another Sex And The City success story! Acting since the ‘70s, the Liverpool-born actress had starred in big films such as Police Academy and Mannequin. Her biggest role though didn’t come until she starred as sex-mad Samantha in Sex And The City, when she was 42, for which she won various accolades include SAG awards and Emmys.

What you can learn from Kim: Don’t stop believing! Kim proves that even in your forties, you’ve got a whole career and life-time ahead of you!


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