Going Gray in tinseltown is a celebration of the radical act of aging in the entertainment industry. Hosted by Actress/Writer Mandy May Cheetham and inspired by her decision to stop dying her naturally silver hair, it features a combination of honest stories and heart to heart interviews with women from all areas of entertainment, beauty and fashion. As Mandy documents her bold decision to go gray, she talks with women who’ve done it, who plan to do it, and who intend to dye till they die.
What if I Die and I Have Not Yet Lived? w Brett Paesel, Actor, Author
Mandy May Cheetham talks to Best Selling Author, Actor, Improvisor, Educator, Giver of Life, Goddess with Piercing Eyes, Studio 54 Voyeur, Seller of Pilots, and Teller of Truths Brett Paesel. They discuss her newest novel Everything is Just Fine, and they don't discuss how big of a fangirl Mandy is of Brett's work in Transparent playing Rita.
Do We Need Grey Hair Advocates? w Katie Emery from Katiegoesplatinum.com
Blogger and grey-haired advocate Katie Emery of www.katiegoesplatiunum.com chats with host Mandy May Cheetham about her experiences letting her natural grey grow in, the women who have influenced her transition, and the pros and cons of becoming the town crazy lady. Mandy asks the question - does spending most of our lives dying our hair make us sheeple?
The Subject, The Object and The Artist: Toxic Positivity and Self Sabotage on Instagram.
Going Gray in Tinsel Town: The Subject, The Object and The Artist People keep sending me messages telling me to Be Positive. One message I got today was a link to an article about how difficult it is to be disciplined with your optimism.
I didn’t read it.
I am starting to feel disdain for people who tell me to think positive and look on the bright side. It feels manipulative. Like something they want me to do so they can feel more comfortable. There are a few people who reach out to me with their messages of positivity. Some are practical, but mostly they feel weighted in judgement and fear. Their happiness feels aggressive and judgemental, and I resent it, because, ultimately it doesn’t feel like they are really listening to what I’m saying or writing.
Although I am expressing my emotions in a public space — I’m not asking to be fixed. I am exploring this experience of shedding my self-objectification and self-surveillance through social media as I grow out my naturally grey hair. I have turned aging into an experimental art exhibition, happening in real-time so you can experience it through me, and I can go back and watch what happened with curiosity to my days-younger self.
I am deep diving into this experience because it is my experience that I can not change my behaviour or attitude just by focusing on a new behaviour or attitude, I need to bring that unwanted behaviour or attitude into the light where I can look at it and see it for what it really is. In most cases, it is just F-E-A-R (False Evidence Appearing Real). In this case it is fear coated in the icing of a societal idea of who and what I am and who and what my value is to the world. This has caked (pun intended) my thinking with ideas and philosophies which are not mine. I can’t just wish them away, or turn toward something else that is more positive, I have to call that shit out for what it is first, figure out if it even belonged to me in the first place, stand up to it, and then, like the Jabberwocky in Alice in Wonderland, and every other well developed bully in literature, it will disappear. But I definitely can’t try to manage the fear or keep it in check it while I’m expressing it, or I won’t get a clear shot at it, and, based on this weird feedback on Instagram, I’m assuming that what people are seeing looks like someone who needs encouraging messages, a great deal of external validation and lots of emojis.
The thing is — that external validation is what I am trying to cure myself of. For me, the thing that makes me feel better is just posting. Well. Not posting. Posting feels gross. But it feels less gross than feeling lonely, and the external validation makes me feel temporarily connected, and provides a sense of intimacy that I don’t get so often in my everyday life.
I’m definitely triggering people.
The biggest thing I’ve realized through all of this self surveilling and self objectifying and posting and looking at likes and messages and detaching and taking breaks and taking 600 selfies to get one and then feeling depressed cause it’s not a selfie taking day because my hair looks like shit, is that, it is just all f*****g predicated on how lonely I am most of the time.
My father once said that one of his favourite lines in a country song was ‘at the times I felt the most alone, someone was sitting right next to me.’
The person sitting right next to me now — is me; the instagram version.
The process of exploring my aging as an art experiment has me as The Subject, The Object and The Artist. In this case — the subject is my body, the object is the selfie, and the artist is the one asking all the questions. Part of this exploration means toggling back and forth between these three positions, working on not judging any of them, figuring out where they intersect, and then, taking a step out of them and determining how each is growing and changing through all of this.
I'm Not Asking You To Stop Dying Your Hair w Karen Rich
Actress Karen Rich and hostess Mandy May Cheetham discuss the gritty details of going gray in a society that is vehemently opposed to aging. They talk itchy scalps, rejection and dirty looks and why it's important for us to keep showing up in our careers and our lives if we're going to change the stigma surrounding this hair color choice.
Silver Sisters: The Club I Didn't Think I Wanted to Join
Going Gray in Tinseltown: The Anti-Choice
Mandy May Cheetham
Month Three Sil-ver Sis-ter / ˈsilvər ˈsistər / noun
A precious shiny woman in relation to other precious, shiny women who has been mined from a pit of darkness and called to shine her light upon the world. She has walked through the fire and harnessed the energy of the cosmos as evidenced by her flickering hair. Those who are privileged enough to look upon her with an open heart shall be forever changed, and those who look upon her with judgement shall be forever blinded by her light. A group of precious shiny women with open hearts whose magic may only be seen by those who believe. Last week I attended my first Silver Sisters meetup. It was at a restaurant in the valley that served rubbery, over-buttered eggs and was filled with screaming children. A good first step in my public going gray process since no one of any Hollywood stature was likely to be there.
I was nervous to go, but not for the reason I expected to be. I realized on my way there, 20 minutes late, that I was delaying because I felt like going would be an admission of sorts. An admission that I was one of them — that I had joined some club that I hadn’t willfully wanted to be a part of — that nature had thrown me into without my permission, and that, despite the fact that I was protesting on instagram that this transformation is a radical act of self love, and a political one at that, the truth is, it is a group I have joined because I simply couldn’t hack the stamina required to remain a part of the other group — the one that was causing nerve damage to my scalp and rotting the skin off my head. It wasn’t a choice I made to champion being a natural woman, it was a choice I made away from the alternative.
So why would this anti-choice be something I would want to celebrate?
One of the most incredible parts of this journey for me has been the shock and awe of watching myself dive from one extreme to the next — literally feeling like a sex-pot superhero one day and the next feeling like a frumpy grandmother in slide-on cardboard slippers holding a broom and twirling my braidable chin hair. Sometimes I feel like I’m at war with myself, and am deeply concerned that this is not a radical act of self love, but a radical act of self sabotage — a way to bow out of my career as an actress with a giant plate of f**k-you-to-the-man, and a side of it’s-all-the-industry’s-fault on the way down.
Needless to say I’ve been feeling a little conflicted.
I would have bailed on the breakfast — especially since it was at 10AM… on a Sunday …in the valley — I don’t need to tell anyone who lives in LA why all of those things are problematic, but I was curious to meet Karen, one of the women running the Silver Sisters 2020 conference, and Katie, a woman with a popular blog and amazon site for silver sister products. I have a background in running events and am very excited to help Karen and her partner Marina run the 2020 conference. At least I was until I got to this brunch.
I scurried down the street toward the restaurant feeling very self conscious for being late and acutely aware that I would be joining a tableful of women whom everyone in the restaurant would know were there together because of the collective head-glare. I tried to imagine we were like a group of people who like to wear stuffed animal outfits out in public and pretend it’s no big deal cause we are all there together, and just sit and laugh amongst ourselves. Yet it was still a big deal, and even more so because we were all there together. Glaringly.
I cringed when I walked past the window and all these women whom I don’t know saw me and waved — they knew it was me cause my gray hair is that obvious now, and there’s no other reason why a gray haired woman would be out in public in daylight so I must be with them. A sign to me
Wabi-Sabi; Accepting Imperfection and Making Friends with Your Demons w Nancy Nigrosh
Nancy Nigrosh, former head of the Gersh Agency's literary department and team member at Innovative Artists has worked in Hollywood since the 70s, and has re-defined her self many times over the course of her incredible career. She discusses working with Martin Scorsese on Mean Streets, re-building after a divorce, and spending her 40th Birthday celebrating the Million dollar sale of a script. She graciously discusses her goal of experiencing aging using the philosophy behind Wabi-Sabi, the Japanese aesthetic centered on transience and imperfection.
Hi Mandy, what an wonderful podcast you’ve created! I love all the amazing women you interview and brilliant essays.
This is not a podcast about what products to use for your gray hair, this is a podcast filled with life experiences from mature, smart, interesting, successful women and about aging in general. Thank you.
Thank you so much for this podcast :) I am 54, and on month four dye free & so glad i found you!
Mandy’s podcast is fantastic and offers a much-needed conversation on the issues related to aging and beauty in our culture.