"Aging Without Apology" with Nina Lorez Collins
S1, E6
January 10, 2023

Meet Nina Lorez Collins, entrepreneur and author of What Would Virginia Woolf Do? And Other Questions I Ask Myself as I Attempt to Age Without Apology. Nina is also Chief Creative Officer of Revel, an online community for women at midlife and beyond.

In this episode, Nina talks with Robin and Christine about how she first started waking up in the middle of the night for no reason. After doing some research, she learned this was a symptom of being in perimenopause. Nina goes on to share her experience of visiting doctors and trying various medications to address her host of symptoms including weight gain, hot flashes, vertigo, skin discoloration, joint pain, vaginal dryness and muscle spasms.

Nina also shares wisdom from her career working in narrative medicine and how the Facebook group she started in 2015 grew organically to over 32,000 women worldwide. This community became a platform called The Wolfer and was the catalyst for her book, "What Would Virginia Woolf Do?" It's filled with a wealth of information and research that has helped many women on their own menopause journeys.

Learn more about the nonprofit Let’s Talk Menopause: www.letstalkmenopause.org.

Download a symptoms checklist here (lista de síntomas aquí).

Check out Robin’s Comedy & Funny True Stories at www.robingelfenbien.com

Follow Robin on Social: Instagram, TikTok, Twitter & Facebook

Thank you to Always Discreet for sponsoring this episode of Hello Menopause. Always Discreet because we deserve better.

Christine Maginnis (00:00):

Hey friends, the views of our guests do not necessarily reflect the views of Let's Talk Menopause.


Let's Talk Menopause does not provide medical advice. The content in this podcast is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions that you may have.

Street Interviews (00:23):

Don't be embarrassed about anything that's going on with your body.


I'm not sure why it would be an embarrassing topic if every woman goes through it.


It doesn't get talked about unless there's issues or they're trying to defend themselves when they're hot.

Robin Gelfenbien (00:33):

What symptoms are associated with menopause?

Street Interviews (00:36):

Not a clue.


I also don't know. It wasn't really explained.


Hot flashes or-






My sheets hurt on my body.


Hair loss.


Aches and pain.


Gaining weight for no reason.


Brain fog.


You learn to live with them.


It's a sign of your time running out.


It makes you reevaluate being a woman.

Robin Gelfenbien (00:50):

Are you glad you're a man?

Street Interviews (00:52):

Oh yeah.


We need to be given credit for simply having a uterus.


Menopause is going to be really great.

Christine Maginnis (01:02):

This is Hello Menopause: a podcast where you'll hear real menopause stories from real people.

Robin Gelfenbien (01:08):

Whispering behind closed doors? Not here.

Christine Maginnis (01:10):

We promise it is not just in your head.

Robin Gelfenbien (01:13):

And you are not alone.

Christine Maginnis (01:14):

I'm your host, Christine Maginnis.

Robin Gelfenbien (01:16):

I'm your other host, Robin Gelfenbien. Let's talk menopause.


At the top of the episode, we heard our menopause on the street segment. Now, for those of you who don't know, this is a segment where I go out on the streets of New York and ask total strangers about menopause.


Every time I listen to these, I'm always just awestruck with what people say. I love it.

Christine Maginnis (01:49):

Me too.

Robin Gelfenbien (01:50):

There's a lot to unpack. What did you think, Christine? What stood out to you?

Christine Maginnis (01:55):

It's so funny. Everything. So many things in that stood out to me. I think I would jump to the one woman who said about regarding the symptoms, "You learn to live with it." That struck me as a little sad. I think that is how most people view it, this collective resignation to that's just how it is, when that isn't quite fair. There really are a lot of treatments available to help alleviate these symptoms.


I was just struck with the notion of, "Oh, I wish I could find her a menopause-trained physician to help her with that," because there really are more options than are currently known in society.

Robin Gelfenbien (02:35):


Christine Maginnis (02:36):

How about you? What'd you think?

Robin Gelfenbien (02:38):

In the spirit of being sad about it, the person who said, "a sign of your time running out," I was like, "Oh, God." I'm like, "Okay, that pretty much covers it."


Then I was just amazed by this, "Sheets hurting on my body," is what somebody said. I was like, "Really? Your body is that sensitive, that something as light as a sheet could hurt you?"

Christine Maginnis (03:04):

That struck me too. I was wondering if she had joint pain, or if that ... Yeah, I thought, "Oh, that's very interesting." That sounds painful and a terrible position to be in. I also noted that you're running out of time because I thought... I think I've heard that before too, where people say, "Your clock's up. You're running out of time." But we live 30 years on average after menopause. What do they mean, your time's running out? You still have 30 years of life left. I don't know, I found that depressing.

Robin Gelfenbien (03:32):

Oh, totally. But it's like what we talk about all the time with youth obsessed culture and how... But there's a lot of vitality that, at least from what you've told me, about how people are happier after they've reached menopause. On the flip side of being down and out about this, somebody did say something about giving credit for having a uterus. I was like, "Yeah, girl." She's pretty young." I remember who said that. I thought that, "Okay, well at least there is some..." There's a lot of hope, but...

Christine Maginnis (04:04):

Yeah. I was struck by how many symptoms people actually did know besides hot flashes. I was really struck that people made the connection to mental health, anxiety, depression. That made me hopeful like, "Oh, I think there's more information out there." And I also, I'm sorry, I'm really into this one. I love the notion of the one woman who said, "It makes you reevaluate being a woman." I wish I could ask her more about what she meant by that, but I think there are a lot of good things that come from being postmenopausal, but I do think there is this notion of you're no longer a fertile woman. Your body, in some ways, takes you back to how you were before you had your first period. Quite literally, your shape changes, your waist thickens. You tend to go more from a pair shape to an apple shape. Is there a grief that comes with that, of being less than the woman you were before? It made me wonder if people feel that way.

Robin Gelfenbien (05:03):

Yeah, I think it's probably a case by case, but sadly, on the whole, I bet most people feel that way.

Christine Maginnis (05:09):

Yeah, this was a great one, Robin. So well done.

Robin Gelfenbien (05:12):

Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I love talking to these people. I particularly love talking to the men. That guy where I was like, "Are you glad you're a man?" He is like, "Oh yeah." He was really, really fun to talk to, especially because when I approached him, I didn't say, "Can I ask you a couple of questions for a podcast about menopause?" I just said, "Can I ask you a couple of questions for a podcast?" He's like, "Sure." Then when I said, "What is menopause?", he just burst out laughing, because there was some NFL event going on and he's like, "Oh, I thought you were going to ask me about this NFL Heisman Trophy awards happening tonight." I was like, "Close, but no."

Christine Maginnis (05:49):

So close.

Robin Gelfenbien (05:50):

Yeah. It's a nice surprise to see how they react.

Christine Maginnis (05:54):

Without further ado, let's get into our conversation with our guests for today.

Robin Gelfenbien (06:02):

On today's episode, we are so excited to speak with writer and entrepreneur, Nina Lorez Collins. Nina is the chief creative officer of Revel, a membership based community where women over 40 gather and share hard-earned knowledge, laughter, and adventure.


Prior to this, she founded the Woolfer, a subscription-based social platform and website for like-minded women over 40. Nina is so passionate about spreading knowledge and community so that people can thrive throughout life's transitions. As we know, there are many. Here is our fantastic conversation with the amazing, the unstoppable Nina Lorez Collins.

Christine Maginnis (06:54):

Thank you for joining us on the podcast today, Nina. Could you please introduce yourself?

Nina Lorez Collins (06:59):

Sure. Hi, I'm Nina Collins. I am the Chief Creative Officer at Revel, which is a social platform for women over 40. I'm really glad to be here.

Robin Gelfenbien (07:08):

We're so excited to have you. It's like there's a mirage. Listeners, we cannot see Nina, but her essence is here, her aura is here. We have so, so many things that we want to talk to you about. I was really struck by this remarkable childhood that you had. At 15, you traveled to Europe for the summer by yourself. At 16, you graduated from high school. At 19, you entered into a green card marriage. I feel like, honestly, like I'm watching a movie just reading this. I know there's so much more. Can you tell us about the rest of your childhood?

Nina Lorez Collins (07:42):

Oh my god. I didn't know we were talking about my childhood. How exciting. Well, I was born in New York City at New York Hospital. My mom was a black independent filmmaker and writer. My parents split up when I was super young, but I mostly grew up in Rockland County with my mom and my younger brother. I did graduate from high school when I was 16 and I went to Barnard. Yeah, a guy that I met in Vienna... I kind of had a love affair with Vienna for a bunch of years and kept going back. My second serious Viennese boyfriend, I ended up marrying him when I was 19 because my mom died of breast cancer. It was unexpected to me because she had kept it a secret. I had to come home and take care of my younger brother, so he came with me and we got married.


It was the defining trauma of my life, probably not helped by the fact that my parents had had a shitty marriage and shitty divorce and they were both really... I would've had abandonment issues anyway, and separation issues anyway. Even though I really loved my mother and she was an amazing person in a lot of ways, I didn't have the easiest young childhood. They were just very caught up in their drama.


Yeah, she kept this illness. She'd been sick my entire... Basically, since I was 11. She had completely kept it a secret.

Christine Maginnis (09:01):

Oh, I can't imagine. I know from my own loss of my father, which he was older, he was in his eighties, that grief just on its own, also this sense of this thing that you felt would be permanent isn't there, and then at the same time as losing your mother, by default, kind of had to become a mother to your brother who was also grieving. I can't imagine how that felt.

Nina Lorez Collins (09:23):

Actually, recently, I've had a whole bunch of friends who've just recently lost their mothers at the normal age, in our fifties or so. I can see how... It's so hard. Whenever you lose a parent, it's just brutal. I can't imagine what it would've been like to have had that sense of mooring my whole life. I really have never had that, or not since I was a teenager. I think that certainly has defined me.

Christine Maginnis (09:49):

Right, right. Okay. Onto menopause.

Robin Gelfenbien (09:53):

I have not gone through menopause and there is a good chunk of our listeners who haven't either. I want to understand, what should I be bracing myself for? If you could walk us through your perimenopause experience. When did it start? What was the first thing you noticed that was unusual? What were some of your other symptoms?

Nina Lorez Collins (10:16):

I am 52. I got my first period when I was 11. It turns out, I got my last period when I was 48, which seems in retrospect a little young, but basically around 44, 45. My periods had always been completely regular, every 30 days and kind of short. Around 44, 45, I started skipping some periods. That was the first sign that something was changing, but I'd only skipped a couple and it didn't seem like a big deal. The real first real sign was sleep.


At 46, I suddenly started waking up, bolt awake at 4:00 AM out of nowhere. I had always been a really great sleeper my entire life. This was actually super alarming to me. It had never happened to me before. Even having four kids, I've always been able to sleep.


I was suddenly waking up and wide awake and not anxious, just not knowing why the fuck I was awake and couldn't go back to sleep till six. It was just this weird... I googled and figured out that this was probably the beginning of perimenopause.


Then I had other weird, the usual symptoms that people have. Well, I started gaining some weight. Certainly I noticed more back fat. I had some hot flashes in the beginning. Honestly, the hot flashes really accelerated later. They actually started happening much worse after my period stopped, but I'd say the hardest time was probably from 46 to 50, and with my period ending at 48, because in that period there's like... Oh, I got vertigo. I got this weird skin discoloration thing under my breasts and between my legs that no one could really diagnose. It was kind of like melasma, but no one would really commit to what it was. It was a real period. I think a lot of women go through this of.


I saw a lot of doctors in those few years. I saw a million dermatologists, because I was like, "What's happening to my skin?" I had vertigo that I couldn't figure out what it was. I had to go to the ER. I thought I was having a stroke. It turned out to be vertigo.


Anyway, I spent a bunch of years seeing all these doctors, but then eventually, at 50, I went on hormones because my hot flashes suddenly got really, really bad. I couldn't work. I was suddenly having 30 a day. I tried all sorts of things. I tried... There's this kooky thing called the bed jet, which blows cold air into your bed when you have a hot flash. It's hilarious. You sleep and then when you have a hot flash, I can't believe I actually did this. You wake up and you hit this remote control and it fills your side of the bed with cold air. It's really...

Robin Gelfenbien (12:41):

Oh my god.

Nina Lorez Collins (12:42):

I tried all the things. Finally, I was like, "I'm going on hormones. I'm going to give it a shot." Now I have an estradiol patch and a hundred milligrams a day of progesterone and I sleep like a baby. I don't have any hot flashes. Weirdly, I've lost 12 pounds. I don't think that was the hormones, but I just think I'm on the other side of it. I'm 52 and it feels... I'm not seeing doctors every two seconds. I feel pretty stable.

Christine Maginnis (13:09):

Nina, I want to go back and visit that a little bit more because I think a lot of women are, based on the WHI study, are afraid of hormone therapy. I think there's a lot of fears of the connection between breast cancer. I know that I was diagnosed with menopause when I was 34.

Nina Lorez Collins (13:26):

Oh wow.

Christine Maginnis (13:27):

Yeah, I was diagnosed the year after that study came out. No one would come near me with hormone, no one. Looking back, it would've been much to my benefit to be on hormone therapy, but I'm curious to ask, in making that decision and looking at breast cancer, what did your doctor tell you? Did they do a risk benefit analysis? How was that presented to you?

Nina Lorez Collins (13:47):

I would say, when I first went to my internist at 44, 45, 46, starting to have symptoms, her... Which typically happens. I had a really pretty good internist. She basically offered me the pill or antidepressants, and Trazodone to sleep. Those are the things people throw at you, which is like, I don't want... It's just not helpful. I didn't want to be on the pill, again because of my mother.


I think there's obviously a real rethinking and different understanding now of the safety of hormones. I was probably going through this just as that was starting to become more public and very clear. The gynecologist that I really trusted, Dr. Laura Corio, who has since retired, from the beginning, she was like, "You should go on a low dose patch." I resisted and said, "I'm just afraid because of breast cancer." She said, "It really isn't going to hurt you. It'll be helpful." I listened to her push this at me for a couple of years and I just did some of my own research. I wrote a book called, What Would Virginia Woolf Do? In writing that book, I did research myself and started to understand that it really does seem like it's pretty safe if you do it for a certain amount of time. There seems to be evidence that it helps, perhaps, with cardiovascular health and with brain health, and with bone health, of course, so I kind of decided... Also, I'm super monitored for breast cancer. I have an MRI every year, and a mammogram every year, and I don't have BRCA. That was the other thing. They want to make sure I don't have BRCA, so I tested for that.

Robin Gelfenbien (15:10):

I want to go back to some of your symptoms for a second. You talked about discoloration. What color are we talking? Is this gray? Is it a light purple?

Nina Lorez Collins (15:21):

I was about to say I think this is more of a black person thing, but I actually don't think that's true, because come to think of it, I mentioned this in Woolf er threads too and there were various women who said, "Oh yeah, that happened to me too." No one said to me, "Oh yes, this is melasma," but that's what it seemed like. You know how some women, when they're pregnant, get a darkening? That's what I have. I have under my breasts and between my legs, this darkening of the skin that comes and goes.

Christine Maginnis (15:45):

Wow. I want to go back to your symptoms because we do our due diligence in prepping. I read that you had pain in your knees. I don't think enough people talk about joint pain in connection to menopause. I'd like to hear...

Nina Lorez Collins (15:58):

That's a good point. I've actually forgotten about that. I'm glad that... You're right. It was one of my early symptoms with my spotty periods and insomnia, was definitely creaky joints. That's the best way I would describe it. There was a year, maybe two, where I would stand up and hear noises in my knees. It was really weird. I'm not having that at all now. I don't know if it's the hormones, or it's just past, but creaky joints was definitely a thing.


I'm trying to think if there were other weird... The list of symptoms is so long. Certainly, increased anxiety, depression, probably. Hard to say. I definitely felt like I struggled with feelings of apprehension about being irrelevant, about becoming invisible, about... Of course, it coincides with your kids leaving the nest. I had a brief second marriage in my forties that then ended. I was thinking, "No one's ever going to love me again. I'm going to get old," all those things that we worry about, but now I don't worry about those things.

Christine Maginnis (17:00):

That's the beauty of being postmenopausal. You worry about so much less.

Nina Lorez Collins (17:03):

It's so great.

Robin Gelfenbien (17:06):

When you're talking about anxiety and depression and so many of these other symptoms, how do you distinguish between what's just generally about getting older and what is a perimenopause symptom? In some cases, they're hand in hand, but it's like... How do you distinguish the two?

Nina Lorez Collins (17:24):

What I say to women, we often get women who post and they'll be like, "I'm 44 and I'm feeling blah blah, blah. Could I possibly be in perimenopause?" By definition, basically, if you're in your forties and you're a woman, you're in perimenopause, unless you're already postmenopausal like Christine. Sometime between 45 and 55, your period is going to stop. Most likely the symptoms you're having in that phase are certainly related. Also, the depression and anxiety, it's really one of the reasons I started What Would Virginia Woolf, is that the feelings of irrelevance and invisibility and fear and all those things are just part of that phase of life. They may not be physical symptoms of menopause, but they're just intrinsic to what we're going through as we get older, but the physical symptoms, it's really rare the woman who has no symptoms. I've met some and God bless them, but it's pretty rare.

Christine Maginnis (18:18):

Yeah. No, I just wanted to highlight joint pain, because I think that one often, that and heart palpitations, people are like, "Wait, that's part of menopause?"

Nina Lorez Collins (18:26):

Yeah. I never had the heart palpitations. That's a good point. Then there's kind of... Well, people talk about low libido, mood swings, irritability. Oh, vaginal dryness, of course. This is super important and I think it's really one of the things that What Would Virginia Woolf Do, I think it was our gift to the world, really, was that we really started talking about vaginal dryness in a super frank way. A lot of women, myself included, did not know it existed.


I started the community when I was 46 and I learned from women in the community about vaginal dryness and painful sex. I didn't even know it was a thing. I think that's very common. Anyone who is listening, it's a thing. You have to lubricate your vagina big time starting from age 40 on.

Christine Maginnis (19:07):

Very few people connect it to when the tissue dries like that, it lends itself to urinary issues. You get recurring UTIs. You have laugh leaks. My friends, we call it the Kegel Curtsy, where you laugh together but then you have to cross one leg and bend down a little bit. It's like a little pee curtsy.

Nina Lorez Collins (19:25):

Yep. Oh my God, you're reminding me. That's a whole other category of doctors I saw that, thank God, see, I've forgotten because I'm not, but yes, that's a whole other huge issue you have.


The urinary issues are not, they're actually pelvic floor issues. I've learned a lot about this because I've had this. What happened is a lot of women start to get a lot of UTIs. They're often not actually UTIs. For me, for a year, my gynecologist was giving me UTI medicine and I was finally like, "Something else is going on. You're not helping." She was really smart, but she... It's amazing how... I said to her, "I have to see someone else," and I went and saw a urogynecologist. It turns out that there are two main pelvic floor problems. You can have loosening of the muscles where Kegels will help, or you can have over tightening of the muscles where Kegels are a very bad idea. It turns out I, who was doing Kegels, because who knew, turns out Kegels are very bad for me. I have this tightening of the muscles, which feels like basically you get these spasms that are really painful that feel like a UTI, but they're not a UTI. They're like episodes, pelvic floor spasm episodes.

Robin Gelfenbien (20:32):

Okay. What is Woolfer? Why did you launch it? Give us the deets.

Nina Lorez Collins (20:37):

All right. In 2015, when I was 46 and not sleeping, I had had a background in book publishing. I was a literary agent for many years, but then in my forties, I had stopped working in book publishing and I'd gone to graduate school and gotten a Master's in something called Narrative Medicine, which is the study of death and dying. I was consulting at a hospital in Brooklyn called [inaudible 00:21:00], part-time consulting on end of life care and communication.


I started this Facebook group called What Would Virginia Woolf Do?, because I wanted to talk about perimenopause and none of my friends were talking about it. That's kind of the context. I was basically like... My kids were leaving home. I was 46. I was like, all these things were happening to my body and I really wanted to have the conversation.


It's super interesting, because at the time in 2015, there really wasn't a big menopause dialogue the way there is now. It was clearly a moment that... Our generation was... It was just one of those zeitgeisty moments. I created the group and there was a real need for it. It started as something for just me and my friends. It was a secret group. You had to know someone to get invited. Then it just grew and grew. It grew to 32,000 women around the world and the country. It was super fun. It was a very funny place. A lot of us were really addicted to it. It became this place where women were talking about bodies and sex and raising teenagers and books. The first 2 or 3000 women were all writers. It was really my community in Brooklyn, so it was a lot of writers and just really smart women and super, super funny.


I would spend all day on Facebook laughing. Because I was suddenly on Facebook all day, I was like, "This is insane," I decided to write a book as a way to justify running this group because I was like, "What am I doing? I can't just be on Facebook all day. This is embarrassing." I wrote a book called, What would Virginia Woolf Do, and Other Questions I Ask Myself as I Attempt to Age Without Apology, thinking that this would end in the next year or two, thinking it would become less fun. Then the women started calling themselves Woolfers, completely organically.


Anyway, eventually, fast forward a few years, I couldn't really walk away from it. I was meeting such interesting women. I felt like we were actually doing good for women, so I hired an assistant and we set about trying to figure out how to monetize it, how to turn it into a business. That was super hard, almost impossible. We left Facebook and built an app. We changed the name of the company to the Woolfer. For about two years, we limped along with this subscription business. We were the Woolfer app. It was a social platform, but it had gotten much smaller because now we were having people pay. Last spring, I said to Sydney, "We can't keep doing this if we can't figure out how to make it grow. What are we doing?" She was like 27. I was like, "You can't devote your life to this app that's not going anywhere." We set out to try and find someone to buy us or merge with us.


I found this company called Revel in California, which had been conceived by these two young women in their thirties straight out of Harvard Business School who had this concept to create, essentially, a meetup for women over 50. They raised money because they were young and were in the VC world in Silicon Valley. I said, "This was a perfect pairing. You guys should buy us,.we should team up and see if we can build this."


They had the meetup tech built and I really know community. I said, "Let's build a group capability so women can talk to each other." We lowered the age. They were 50 and up and I was 40 and up. They agreed to go down to 40. Yeah, I have a job now. I've been working there for six months. It's been really good. When we started at Revel in August, they had around 3,500 members. Now we have 16,000 members.

Christine Maginnis (24:21):


Robin Gelfenbien (24:21):


Nina Lorez Collins (24:22):

Yeah, it's been a really good, fun... We're working super hard. There's a lot of... It's just really challenging. We're constantly trying to improve the product. We have branding issues. I want the brand to be more fun and more vibrant, but we're really focused on growth right now because we're going to have to raise money again in another year or so. We want to prove that there's a need for what we're doing, which I'm 100% certain there is. One of the challenges is just it's really hard to get people off Facebook. It's hard to get people to download an app. Everyone has too many apps and too many social platforms, but it's working. It's basically the concept really is Meetup meets Facebook. It's a place where in a perfect world, if it works, every woman who turns 40 or so will say, "Oh, I need to belong to Revel because that's where I can find my book club, and find women to go hiking with and get information about HRT, and ask questions about erectile dysfunction. That's the place where I can find community in the second half of life." That's the idea.

Christine Maginnis (25:21):

That's great.

Robin Gelfenbien (25:22):

That's awesome. Very inspiring. You talked briefly about narrative medicine and how you went to study that. I am way into storytelling, the moth kind of storytelling. I fully embrace the power of sharing our stories. I was curious to know, how do you think narrative medicine can help doctors and patients when it comes to perimenopause and menopause?

Nina Lorez Collins (25:47):

That's a good question. The idea behind narrative medicine is about enhancing communication in healthcare. Particularly with menopause and perimenopause, each woman's journey is so unique. Her symptoms are unique, what works. One of the challenges in treating menopausal symptoms is that they're constantly shifting. Nothing's the same for three months at a time. It's very much a diagnostic situation where you need to be listening to her story. If you're not and you're just going to say, "Hey, take this pill, or take Trazodone and leave my office," you're really not helping her.


One of the reasons... I consulted in the hospital for a couple of years and really enjoyed it, but I ultimately decided to go back to the world of books and content and media that I knew. I made that decision because while I think narrative medicine is super important, I think there are much bigger problems in American healthcare and communication is not... At no time soon will it be at the top of the list of things to fix.


Hospitals and practices do care. There is some lip service to it, and people do throw a little bit of money at it sometimes, but mostly it's very hard to make it a priority, an institutional priority for most places. But yes, if doctor... What I was doing there is I was running an empathy curriculum for medicine residents. I was using poetry and all sorts of stuff to talk to them about how they're listening and getting them to consider their own stories, not just the stories of patients, because that's a way you grow empathy. It's like if you read novels, you have more empathy. If you can think about your own story and relate it to other people's stories, then you become a better listener and then that will benefit patients. That's the basic idea.

Robin Gelfenbien (27:29):

When you share your own stories, it gives people permission to share theirs. The more vulnerable you are, the better off, really, everybody is.

Nina Lorez Collins (27:37):

That's exactly right. But doctors, of course, are taught not to be vulnerable, because they're-

Robin Gelfenbien (27:41):

It's the opposite.

Nina Lorez Collins (27:42):

Right, and they are dealing, in fairness, with a lot of really hard stuff. Yeah, that whole question of looking at boundaries and how we manage them and emotional boundaries, it's complicated.

Christine Maginnis (27:53):

Yeah. I want to shift into one last thing, but it's brief. I'm going to go back and look at your book title, which was, What Would Virginia Woolf Do, and Other Questions I Ask Myself as I Attempt to Age Without Apology? What do you consider aging without apology? What does that look like? What does that mean?

Nina Lorez Collins (28:15):

I think in it's most fundamental, it just means, why should I feel ashamed of getting older? Why should I be embarrassed about the things that are happening to my body, or the way I look? Why can't I acknowledge publicly that there's a nostalgia to aging, that there's sadness that comes along with it, even though there are also great things about getting older? I love my freedom more than anything at this age. My kids are now out of the house. I feel there's so many great things. The wisdom we have, things just don't ruffle me as much as they used to. There are a million great things, but there's also the reality that every day we're getting older, we're getting closer to death. That in and of itself is complicated.


Yeah, I think for me, it's why is it okay for men to age and not okay for women to age? That's fucked up and we should really be beating that down and saying that's not okay. Then any pressure that's telling us how we should age is wrong, but we should all be thinking about how we want to age, and how we want to live our lives at this stage. I don't want to feel ashamed or embarrassed. It's such a great moment in our lives to live our best selves. We should all be doing that, because if not now, when?

Christine Maginnis (29:28):

A hundred percent, could not agree more.

Robin Gelfenbien (29:31):

You've accomplished so much in your life. You are totally unstoppable. You talked a little bit about what you want to do with Revel. What's next for you? Also, how can people learn more about you and everything that you're doing?

Nina Lorez Collins (29:45):

Thank you. Let's see. Okay, you can find revel at www.hellorevel.com. Everyone should sign up. If you're a woman over 40, it's completely free. Sign up, create a profile, add your picture, and just look around. There are events. There are groups. It's a really wonderful space, a place where you can find your people.


I'm Nina Lorez Collins on Instagram. My middle name is L-O-R-E-Z. You can find me there. You can also email me, Nina@helloRevel. I'm pretty easy to find. Yeah, we're just really excited to be this tent for women. If you have a community, or you want to grow a community, or you have menopause questions, or you want to be a guest, I also have a podcast called Raging Gracefully. I do an interview series. We publish a lot of content, which I'm in charge of. If you have content you want to publish, come find me.

Robin Gelfenbien (30:37):

Awesome. Nina, thank you so much for the inspiration for your wonderful stories. There were so many questions we didn't get to. I know we could talk to you for at least five more days.

Nina Lorez Collins (30:49):

Well, I really liked meeting you guys too. I'm sorry the camera wasn't working, but this was super fun.

Robin Gelfenbien (30:54):

Thanks, Nina.


Okay. She's a dream guest. I feel like she can just talk about so many issues connected to menopause that I was hanging on her every word. I loved it. What'd you think?

Christine Maginnis (31:14):

I agreed with you. When you said listening to her, it was like experiencing a movie. She does not do anything halfway. That is a woman who goes full throttle. I feel a little bit like dried wallpaper. I'm impressed by everything she's accomplished in her life, and her passion and desire to engage people in talking about things that are sometimes uncomfortable to talk about. I think she's been a pioneer in getting people to talk about menopause.

Robin Gelfenbien (31:44):

Well, she also makes it very accessible.

Christine Maginnis (31:46):


Robin Gelfenbien (31:47):

Everything she just said to us, people probably wouldn't say even 10 years ago because there's so much shame around it. It's great, because then it benefits so many people.

Christine Maginnis (31:56):

I agree. Her honesty.

Robin Gelfenbien (31:58):

The amount of research that she's done and all these doctors she's spoken to and just creating this community, it's really impressive, but I also feel like she's just doing such good work in this world.

Christine Maginnis (32:09):

Yes, I agree. I feel that despite all those accomplishments, she's so terrifically kind.

Robin Gelfenbien (32:16):

Yeah, very down to earth. Very generous. It was such a pleasure to talk to her, can not wait to see what she does with Revel. Thank you all so much for joining us today. I hope you got as much out of this conversation as we did. Thank you for listening.

Christine Maginnis (32:32):



Hey listeners, if you enjoy this podcast as much as we enjoy recording it, we'd love it if you could help us out.

Robin Gelfenbien (32:43):

All you have to do is rate and review the show and it will help us reach more listeners. It only takes a minute and it makes a huge difference.

Christine Maginnis (32:52):

It really does. If you want to follow the show while you're at it, we won't mind.

Robin Gelfenbien (32:56):

No, we won't. Don't forget to tell your friends to check it out too.

Christine Maginnis (33:01):

Our mission at Let's Talk Menopause is to give people the information they need so they can get the healthcare they deserve. Please visit our website at let'stalkmenopause.org for a wealth of menopause information, including a symptoms checklist, information about long-term health risks, how to navigate menopause at work, interviews with health experts and so much more.

Robin Gelfenbien (33:23):

A big thank you to Always Discreet for sponsoring this episode of Hello Menopause. Always Discreet, because we deserve better.

Christine Maginnis (33:31):

Hello Menopause is a production from Lets Talk Menopause made in partnership with FRQNCY Media. I'm your host, Christine Maginnis.

Robin Gelfenbien (33:39):

And I'm your host, Robin Gelfenbien.

Christine Maginnis (33:42):

[inaudible 00:33:42] is our supervising producer, and Alana Hurlings is our producer. Laura Bowman and Katherine Devine are our associate producers.

Robin Gelfenbien (33:50):

Sydney Evans is our dialogue editor and Claire [inaudible 00:33:54] Curtis is our sound designer. Hello Menopause was concepted by Jessica Olivia, Jill [inaudible 00:33:59], and Becca Godwin.

Christine Maginnis (34:01):

This podcast is available on Spotify, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, and wherever podcasts are found.

Robin Gelfenbien (34:09):

Check it out.