Vanessa Newman is a pole-performing, fantasy-hair-creating marvel. Here she explains how free she feels at 50.

What is your name?

Vanessa Newman

How old are you?


Where do you live?


What do you do? 

 I’m a seamstress and now a hairdresser, just finishing my two years training.

Tell us what it’s like to be your age?

I love being my age. I turned 50 in April and was so excited for this birthday, like never before. I have the freedom coming with my children being almost grown up, youngest being 17, and the freedom of spirit to do what I like pretty much.

What do you have now that you didn’t have at 25?

I have confidence, I know myself, what I like and don’t like. I’m not a people pleaser any more; I do what feels right for me and my children. I have my independence, even though I’m skint.

What about sex?

Sex is better than ever, mainly because I’m happy in my own body and choose my partners because they are lovely men. I’m not shy about saying what I want any more, and it’s taken until my very late 40s for me to get here.

And relationships?

I have a ‘boyfriend’ who is lovely. he lives in Brighton and we see each other at weekends. I’m so busy concentrating on my 17 yr olds exam revision atm, and doing sewing work in the weekday evenings, that it suits us well. I like my space and time to myself as well as with my kids without him being here.

How free do you feel?

 I feel incredibly free now. Having had three kids in three years and then another 4 years later I’ve been very restricted in some ways. I was a single mum when my youngest was three months old and even though I married again still felt the responsibility was mine as he wasn’t the father. I feel freer now than ever before in my life.

What are you proud of?

 I’m proud of my kids, proud of taking up pole fitness at the age of 48 and with no core strength at that time, within a year was doing things I never though possible…hanging upside down just holding on with my thighs, and bringing my body back up again. Wow! I’ve just got two weeks left at college where I’ve been retraining as a hairdresser for the last two years (so that I can earn money anywhere in the world should I choose to). I won first prize in a creative hair competition at college where I made the white rabbit and concocted the costume. I did a four year, full time degree as a mature student with four young children and graduated with a 2:1 in 2010. I’m also proud of having done two aerial hoop performances at the age of 49 after only having started to learn it a few months before.

What keeps you inspired?

Nature, love, animals, my children, art, haute couture, books, live music, the sunshine, trees, birds, my dogs, my friends. Learning new things.

When are you happiest?

 When I’m with my family, my children and my lover and my friends. When I’m learning.

And where does your creativity go?

Into sewing, hairdressing, making art, discussing things with my children.

What’s your philosophy of living?

 Never give up, never give up on your dreams. Keep learning, keep loving, keep caring. Live in the present not in the past or the future.

And dying?

 I believe people should have the right to choose when to die. It doesn’t scare me and suicidal thoughts have been a major part of my life for many years, but not any more I’m happy to say. However, when others die I feel a peace and tranquility for them, if they’ve been in any sort of pain, mental or physical, death is often the door to a happier, pain free place.

Are you still dreaming?

 I dream of living with my partner one day, by the sea.

What was a recent outrageous action of yours?

I don’t think of this as outrageous but some might, given my numerical age. I had my septum pierced and I’ve shaved the sides of my head. I’m always thinking about my next tattoo. I’m skint but spent birthday money on some art that’s very special to me, when I also felt I should’ve spent the money on bills…