Naomi Watts wants menopause to be the new puberty

Naomi Watts still working to break the code of silence that surrounds menopause.
Naomi Watts still working to break the code of silence that surrounds menopause.


The actor and founder on hormonal changes, her canine co-star and the acquisition of her company Stripes.

When Naomi Watts hit perimenopause, she said she didn’t have anyone to talk to about it. “There was no information, no community, not even really a conversation with my own mother—no blame to her," said the 55-year-old actor. In addition to migraines and poor sleep, her skin was suddenly dry and irritable.

“I started learning about the multitude of other symptoms, the issues throughout your body the loss of estrogen causes—skin, bone loss, migraines," Watts said. “I obviously knew about hot flashes and night sweats, and mood swings I knew about because those were the kind of caricatures that were represented on film and TV."

She decided there was a market opportunity. In 2022, she launched the skin care line Stripes, which offers products specially formulated for menopausal women including a night cream, face mist and intimate hydrating treatment.

Two years later, her company is being acquired by the private-equity firm L Catterton, the majority owner of Birkenstock, which also has investments in Equinox, Everlane and Merit Beauty. The firm is partly owned by LVMH and the family office of Bernard Arnault. Together, Watts and the firm plan to launch Stripes internationally, starting in Canada, as well as on QVC. Watts will stay on as chief creative officer.

She’s still working to break the code of silence that surrounds menopause. “Why can’t we just normalize it, and actually go back as far as sex ed?" Watts said. “There’s so much empathy for kids in puberty when they’ve got surging hormones. Why can’t there be some empathy when we’ve got plummeting hormones?"

Watts lives in New York City with her husband, actor Billy Crudup, and her two children, Sasha Schreiber, 16, and Kai Schreiber, 15. Here, she discusses her meditation practice and the most important thing she learned from David Lynch.

What time do you get up on Mondays, and what’s the first thing you do after waking up?

I set my alarm for 6:45 a.m. I literally drag the kids out of bed. That’s the first thing I do. The second thing I do is make my coffee.

How do you like your coffee and breakfast?

Black coffee, no sugar. I generally don’t eat until after exercise, around 10:30 a.m. Yogurt, eggs, fruit—that kind of thing.

Do you meditate or journal?

I meditate. Sometimes I don’t get to do the 20 minutes twice a day like I used to, but I find different ways to meditate, whether it’s a yoga class or listening to a meditation tape or podcast. I try to be routine about having a bath at the end of the night and putting on a hair mask, doing something nice for myself.

What do you do for exercise?

Since I’m a menopausal woman, it’s very important for my bone health to keep muscle tone, so strength training with high weights and low reps is key for me. I was that person who was jumping around and doing aerobics or dance classes, and I can still manage them to a point. But I get sore joints if I do it too much.

You’ve put out videos on social media asking women what their pain points are and what they’re hoping for from Stripes. What do you hear from them?

We know it’s not just three to four symptoms. The research is getting broader. If women are saying, “This is what’s going on with my body," then the doctors are compelled to research it better.

You’re starring in “The Friend," based on the novel by Sigrid Nunez. The book is about a woman who adopts a Great Dane after its owner dies. Have you kept in touch with your canine co-star Bing at all?

No, because he lives in Iowa. I fell in love with that dog. The things he could do beyond what was written on the page, which when I read it, seemed absolutely impossible, but he did even more than that. I wanted to do it because there’s a lot of darkness in the world and it felt like the right kind of gentleness, something soothing. And I’m a big dog lover. If there’s a central theme in the storytelling I do, if there’s any repetition, it’s that I like to examine grief, having lost my father very young. I’ve certainly done my fair share of dark stories in the past, so it was a nice shift for me.

What’s the wisest or most interesting thing you’ve learned from David Lynch?

To lean into your weirdness and own it and just be you. He’s this wonderful combination of being old school classic, influenced by the time that he grew up in the ’50s, as well as just being his own thing.

You and your daughter Kai recently attended the Dior show together. How would you describe her sense of style compared to your own?

She’s super chic. She knows what she wants. She’s bold, and it’s wonderful to watch her expression come through fashion and beauty at an early age. They know a lot more than us these days because of TikTok and all of those things.

What do you think is the secret to a happy marriage or relationship?

Friendship. Really good friendship. I’m very lucky.

Do you have any hobbies or habits that might surprise your fans?

I like dancing, and I like entertaining. I’m obsessed with pickleball lately.

What’s your most prized possession?


Is there an actor or director you haven’t worked with yet who you’d like to?

I’d love to work with Daniel Day-Lewis, but I don’t know if he’s retired or if he hasn’t—he only works every 10 years. I’d love to work with Nicole [Kidman,] it’s been so long since we worked together. Greta Gerwig, she’s a wonderful, clever, brilliant director.

What do you like to splurge on?

I love jeans, that’s basically my uniform. I have a ridiculous amount of jeans. Travel. I splurge on restaurants.

What are you reading and watching?

A pile of books and scripts. “Baby Reindeer." “Fellow Travelers," that was another series that I watched because I just interviewed Jonathan Bailey [for Variety’s “Actors on Actors"]. All the great movies that came at the end of the year. “Poor Things," I loved that movie. And “Saltburn." Those were two of my favorites from last year.

What’s one piece of advice you’ve gotten that’s guided you?

There’s only one you. Stay away from the trends. Be you. And don’t be afraid of that.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Write to Lane Florsheim at

Naomi Watts Wants Menopause to Be the New Puberty
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Naomi Watts Wants Menopause to Be the New Puberty
Naomi Watts Wants Menopause to Be the New Puberty
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Naomi Watts Wants Menopause to Be the New Puberty
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