With ‘Commence,’ Brooke Shields hopes to help women feel optimistic about aging

May 10, 2024

Brooke Shields defined beauty for a generation of women, but she has never let her beauty define her. While many of us watched her grow up in front of the camera, as an adult, she’s pursued myriad interests without people’s preconceived notions slowing her down. Now, the actress, mother, model, and author is adding another title to her resume—entrepreneur, reports WWD.

In June, Shields will launch Commence, a hair care line formulated for women 40-plus that was born out of the findings of Beginning Is Now, the community-centered content platform she launched during the pandemic.

While she has been in the public eye since the age of 11 months, for Shields, who will turn 59 this year, the move marks a whole new chapter.

While menopause has become a hot topic in the last few years—and the number of celebrity beauty brands has exploded, too—Commence is neither, says Shields.

Instead, her goal is to give voice to women at a time in their lives when it seems like not very many people are listening. “When I hit this age, I had a sense of accomplishment, but also this excitement that there is more to look forward to,” she said. “I wanted this optimism to be something that we all shared with regards to how we age.”

Shields says she originally started Beginning Is Now because she wanted to understand how other women were experiencing the physical and emotional changes that come with middle age. The camaraderie that resulted surprised—and inspired—her. The platform, too, will be rebranded as Commence.

“Typically women are described as being petty and jealous and bitchy and backstabbing,” she said, “and this was the opposite. You saw these women reveling in each other’s uniqueness and strength and diversity.

“This period of life is a beginning. It’s a call to action,” continued Shields, during a wide-ranging conversation with WWD’s ‘Beauty Inc’ in early April. “This is about looking at your life in its entirety and saying, ‘How do I want to walk through this period?’

With Beginning Is Now, Shields built a community one-million strong of women, who were attracted not to her celebrity but to her candor. “People want to count us out. It’s not, ‘I am woman hear me roar.’ It’s, ‘I am woman, hear me more,’” Shields says.

Indeed, Shields is giving her fans a lot to hear, whether with a new Netflix rom-com, “Mother of the Bride,” which was released on May 9—or with Commence.

Her timing couldn’t be better, says Madonna Badger, an advertising and brand consultant who has worked across myriad brands in beauty and beyond, and recently created the Futura Collective with former Grey New York CEO Debby Reiner.

“For those of us who came of age in the ’80s and ’90s, Brooke Shields was one of our major cultural icons. It was a time when everyone had to be perfect and skinny; and at first, that is what Brooke seemed to be,” said Badger. “Then, she opened up and we got to hear how her life was really.”

A 2023 documentary, “Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields,” detailed the ups and downs of Shields’ life, including her mother’s alcoholism, the objectification of Shields as a sex symbol when she was barely a teen, and a rocky first marriage to tennis star Andre Agassi.

“We learned that her life was hard, and that she had gone on to own her own narrative at a moment when all of us as women are reclaiming our own,” Badger continued. “It’s very empowering. We see ourselves in that story.”

Shields hopes that that level of connection, combined with the insights gleaned from conversations and content on Beginning Is Now, will help Commence cut through a cluttered hair care landscape.

“This is me learning who I am today and encouraging people to revel in their own individuality and diversity,” Shields says.

Research contact: @wwd