Carol Smillie has spoken out about ageism against women on TV, revealing that she finds it “terrifying” that some presenters have undergone cosmetic surgery to look younger.
The 60-year-old Scottish TV presenter, best known for the makeover show Changing Rooms, said she plans to age gracefully, adding that she finds the thought of playing with her face ‘scary’.
Speaking on the How to turn 60 with Kaye Adams podcastshe believes that Gloria Hunniford for Loose Women who gets TV during the day is just “symbolism” and that age-appropriate attitudes won’t change during her lifetime.
‘You can’t always be on top’: Carol Smillie has spoken out about ageism against women on TV, revealing that she finds it ‘terrifying’ that people have undergone cosmetic surgery to look younger
When asked if she quit TV at age 50 because of an age-related attitude, she said, “Yeah, sure. After 50, it’s very clear that the opportunities that arise are much less interesting, exciting, well paid, all these things.
‘Everyone has their day. You can’t always be at the top. That’s fine, but if you choose to cling to it and get angry about it, it’s not very healthy. I just think it’s someone else’s turn – time to move on to something completely different. Something that doesn’t matter that much for your age or your weight.
“It’s unhealthy if you choose to wade in that position and be outraged about it. You better get yourself out of it and do something completely different. I see other people getting angry or upset about jobs not coming their way and you think ‘What’s the point?’ Just keep going. Arrange it yourself.
“The joy of working when I want to work, not having a fifth floor executive decide whether my face fits or not, is just amazing.”
Fame: The 60-year-old Scottish TV presenter, best known for the makeover show Changing Rooms, retired at age 50 and said she will continue to age gracefully.
She added: “There have been times in my life when I felt a little sad and angry about it, but not in general.
“It’s not a normal job and the whole age thing on television I could think, ‘Oh come on, how can a man go on on TV into his seventies or beyond, but it’s just unthinkable for a woman to do the same?’ – except Gloria (Hunniford), but they put her on during the day and it’s kind of a sign. It feels symbolism.
“You can become obsessed with it and you can rant and rant about it. It probably won’t change in my life unfortunately.
‘That’s why I don’t do it anymore. I just think it’s better to move on and not get mad about things you can’t really change.
She said, ‘Yeah, sure. After 50 it’s very clear that the opportunities that arise are much less interesting, exciting, well paid, all these things’
Carole said the growth of social media had made it even more unpleasant for women who were getting older.
It’s despicable that some men can comment in their bedroom about what you wear, how old you are, what your weight is, and that they didn’t like this or didn’t like that,” she added.
“It’s really nasty and I just don’t want to get into it, so I came out.”
Carol made a brief TV return on the celebrity quiz show House of Games, and when Kaye asked her what she thought of the comments she made about her appearance, she said, “Yeah, I’ve seen that a lot. You have to let things like that get to you. In their weird way, they think that’s something positive. My kids laugh a lot about it.
“I really enjoyed doing a show like that because it was a day they were shooting a weekly recording and I got out again.
“If you get involved in doing mainstream TV shows, you get kind of a very young producer or director and they say, ‘What I need you to do now is, I want you to look into the camera, I want that you laugh’. I just think ‘I want to grab you by the throat and shut up’.
Opening: Speaking on the How To Be 60 With Kaye Adams podcast, she said Gloria Hunniford getting TV during the day is “symbolic” and the attitude won’t change in her lifetime
Carol admitted she would never and still wouldn’t consider cosmetic surgery because she finds it “terrifying.”
She added: “When I start fidgeting with my face, my body doesn’t fit together. That’s the other thing I noticed about the women I was working with on TV at the time. I noticed a few of them have now gone down the road to change their face or change things.
“That’s their business and I wish them all the best, but it’s scary. I just don’t want to – I’m just growing bangs.
“That they feel the pressure to do that. I know if I was still on television and I was in London maybe I’d feel that pressure ’cause oh I didn’t get that job, she’s got it, she’s younger, she looks great, I don’t see so out’.
“You don’t have to do those things. I’ve had my eyes fixed for pure vision, I’ve had laser surgery because I needed my glasses everywhere, and I’ve straightened my teeth, but it’s my teeth. I went through the whole braces thing again.
‘But other than that I think it’s a slippery slope. I think I’m too scared to even get started. I think it can be quite addictive.”
In 2012, Carol decided to leave mainstream TV and start a new business venture, launching a brand of leak-proof underwear for women called DiaryDoll, but she gave up control of the company in 2018.
Now working under her married name Carol King, she has made a huge career switch to become a humanist celebrant.
Since joining the Humanist Society Scotland in 2018, she began leading weddings, naming ceremonies and funerals in 2019.
At the time: In August 2020, Carol said she would be open to returning to the locker rooms, telling The Sun, “It was definitely the favorite show of my career” (the team pictured in the show’s heyday)