BIG ISSUE NATIONAL VENDOR WEEK
LEARN MORE
Culture

Tracy-Ann Oberman: ‘Getting older is fantastic’

Tracy-Ann Oberman – whose TV credits include EastEnders, Friday Night Dinner, Doctor Who and Big Train – says life only gets better when you turn 50.

Tracey-Ann Oberman

Tracey-Ann Oberman: fab at 50. Image: Joseph Sinclaire

Actor and playwright Tracy-Ann Oberman – whose TV credits include EastEnders, Doctor Who and Friday Night Dinner – says she reached her peak at 50.

Speaking to The Big Issue for the Letter To My Younger Self feature, Oberman said she wished she could let her 16-year-old self know she shouldn’t worry about the ageing process.

“From where I’m standing now I’d say to my younger self, getting older is going to be fantastic,” she said. “You’re going to feel more in your body, more easy in your skin. You’re going to feel more attractive, more able to do anything.

“It’s going to be liberating because you’re going to reach your peak at 50. And it’s just going to feel like it’s getting better and better. The opportunities, the self-understanding, the self-awareness, the dressing, the makeup, the hair, all of it.”

In a career that’s spanned almost three decades, Oberman has appeared in a wide range of comedy and drama series on the television, in productions in the West End, and in more than 600 radio plays. She’s also written for The Guardian, The Jewish Chronicle and Red magazine.

While Oberman expressed pride in her achievements, especially having come from an immigrant Jewish family in which acting was not one of the traditional career paths, she also said she sometimes wishes she’d taken a little more time off.

I lived in fear that every job might be my last job,” she admitted. “And I was so driven by needing to work all the time and make a shilling.

“I was very nervous about how things would work out and was this or that the right move – the older me is much more fearless. I would tell my younger self not to panic, you can take time off and nurture yourself and be nice to yourself.

“When I think of all the weddings and parties I missed over the years because I was working…  I look back now and think, it would have been OK to have said no to some of those jobs.”

One of the developments Oberman said she was most pleased about in the 40 years since she was a teenager was the advances in hair conditioners.

“The mid-’80s was not a good time for conditioner,” she explained. “I was walking around like Aslan through the desert with the most dry, arid, curly hair waiting for a miracle. I had to wait till the 2000s for an answer, for John Frieda to come into my life.

“My daughter has curly hair and she looks like a Pre-Raphaelite mermaid. That was always my dream, but instead I looked like a mangy old lion.”

Read the full interview with Tracy-Ann Oberman in The Big Issue magazine, on the streets from February 13.  

The new book Letter to My Younger Self: Inspirational Women is out now, you can order it here.

National Vendor Week 2024

A celebration of people who are working their way out of poverty.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Filmmaker Adam Curtis on epic new BBC drama The Way – and how the power of TV is shaking up Britain
Callum Scott Howells in The Way
TV

Filmmaker Adam Curtis on epic new BBC drama The Way – and how the power of TV is shaking up Britain

Family Politics by John O'Farrell review – a plea to engage with those whose views we abhor
Books

Family Politics by John O'Farrell review – a plea to engage with those whose views we abhor

Ex-England star Jermaine Jenas: 'I've found it hard to make peace with my football career'
Letter to my younger self

Ex-England star Jermaine Jenas: 'I've found it hard to make peace with my football career'

Mrs Gulliver by Valerie Martin review – finding agency in a patriarchy
Books

Mrs Gulliver by Valerie Martin review – finding agency in a patriarchy

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Here's when UK households to start receiving last cost of living payments
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Here's when UK households to start receiving last cost of living payments

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know