The one lesson I’ve learned from life: Singer Gabrielle says forget grey hairs and love your age
- Singer-songwriter, Gabrielle, who lives in London, has released seven albums
- Says she didn’t have the naturally beautiful look when she started as a singer
- The 51-year-old explains why she now wears her grey hairs with pride
Singer-songwriter, Gabrielle (born Louise Gabrielle Bobb), 51, has released seven albums. Her debut, Dreams, went to No 1 in 1993, followed by hits, Out Of Reach (the feature track from Bridget Jones’s Diary) and Rise. Single, she lives in London and has a son, Jordan, 25, and a daughter, Patricia, 18.
Many times early in life I didn’t speak up for myself, but I’ve learned to trust my gut instinct. I’m middle-aged — happily and unashamedly so — and I’ve got a big mouth! I’m on the journey I want to be on. I don’t just follow the crowd.
I’m going to be 52 this year. So what? I’m enjoying it.
Singer-songwriter, Gabrielle, 51, (pictured) who lives in London, reveals how having friends die young has influenced her to wear grey hairs as a badge of honour
When I turned 40, my mum said: ‘You’re the happiest 40-year-old I know.’ I was shocked people got upset about it. I couldn’t wait to be 40. And then I couldn’t wait to be 50. I’m loving it. I’m lucky I don’t have many grey hairs, but I shouldn’t say lucky because you should wear them with pride. If you want to colour it, that’s fine, too, but it’s a badge of honour just to be here to see my grey hairs. I’ve had friends who died young. I bet they’d love to be able to sit around here complaining about things they’re not happy with.
At school I used to have the mickey taken out of me on a daily basis because I had a lazy eyelid. I had several operations — it used to flicker uncontrollably because the muscle had died. I went to an all-girls’ school, and, although I’m a woman’s woman, girls can be so mean. They’d say: ‘Why are you winking at me?’ But I was resilient. I wasn’t going to be crying in the corner.
When I started out as a singer, I didn’t have that naturally beautiful look. I came out wearing an eye patch, with hair gelled to my scalp. I hope I batted away all the misconceptions about what people think a woman, or a black woman, should look like.
I’m not a size 8. But I’m happy to live with who I am. I’m a middle-aged woman enjoying my differences. I have half my head shaved. Maybe I’ll dye it a wild colour. I just want to experiment.
For some of us, it takes longer to be happy and self-accepting than others. But why wait until you’re 50? I hope more women can enjoy life from a younger age, too.
Gabrielle’s album Do It Again is out now on BMG.
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