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How perimenopause and self-love transformed my life and career

Sonia Valencia, a 45-year-old mom of 4 and grandma of 2 lived a regular life with a 9-to-5 job…until she hit perimenopause. 

Sonia's portrait shot at Selena Gomez's RARE BEAUTY event in LA
Donna Francis
Contributing Editor US
October 12, 2023
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To say that Sonia Valencia's life has transformed since entering perimenopause is an understatement. A mother of four boys, and grandma to two, Sonia, now 45,  had worked as a Processing Manager in the cannabis industry for eight years.  Then, in 2020, the Covid pandemic hit, and with solitary hours to fill, she began uploading makeup videos to Instagram.

"I was working a nine-to-five job, but I had more time to myself as my kids were older, so I began posting my favorite things on my Instagram, like beauty and skincare," Sonia explains to HELLO! "For the first year and a half I was doing it organically and I wasn't getting paid for my content or anything. I was living in Washington State, where I had lived my whole life and I was living paycheck to paycheck." 

But things changed almost two years ago. At the same time that Sonia hit perimenopause, her youngest son turned 18 and she wanted to do something positive in her life that this extra time afforded her. “I needed to figure out what was going to work for me,” Sonia explains. “And at a certain age, like during perimenopause, we feel like we’re not needed, so you need to do the things that you love to do, not what your kids love to do, not what your partner loves to do, but what you love to do.”

So when Sonia turned 43 and was peri menopausal, Sonia's Instagram community of "self-love" inspired her to take  "a leap" and become a full-time content creator.

"What I was sharing on my Instagram made people feel seen and loved, and because a lot of women my age are not seen or heard most of the time, I loved everything about it – it gave me the confidence to be my raw, authentic self and after a lot of self-reflection, I started to learn what Sonia wanted."

Sonia's life has changed tremendously and attending glamorous events like this Murad Skincare one is part of her weekly work schedule
Sonia's life has changed tremendously and attending glamorous events like this Murad Skincare one is part of her weekly work schedule

"So I said to myself: you know what? I'm gonna quit my job, I'm gonna move to LA and I'm just gonna see what happens. I didn't know anybody, I had no family in LA. But I just did it and it really changed my life."

Sonia's new life began at an age when a lot of women traditionally feel, as Sonia points out, "invisible." But Sonia believes that with a change in mindset and perspective, any woman can use this new phase to change her life for the better and feel visible again.  

"Women should realize that you can turn menopause into a positive because you have so much more time for yourself," Sonia explains. "It's all about self-love. So now I ask myself, what does Sonia need? What does Sonia like? What kind of food does Sonia want to eat tonight? It's not about what your kids or other people around you need or want now."

"Women lose themselves because they pour so much love into other people. But the more you pour love back into yourself the more you're going to find things that you love to do that you probably didn't realize. Like I love doing puzzles, I didn't know that before. I did not know that I love to go to museums either. I was too busy loving other people to notice."

So now Sonia can "buy whatever I want," and lives a life that her younger self could only dream of.  "I am invited to some amazing events now and because I'm often the oldest one there,  I often stop and say to myself: 'is this my life?' Just yesterday I went to a Rare Beauty event in LA and we did a photo shoot for the Hispanic Heritage Fund. And I thought to myself: 'who does that at age 45 that once had a regular job with 4 kids and is a grandma of 2." 

Sonia at a beauty press event in LA
Sonia at a beauty press event in LA

Sonia has clearly used her age and her life experience to her advantage, especially during menopause . "With menopause, yes, we're going to go through the bad, the ugly, but we shouldn't let it ruin our life. I decided it's not going to control my life. You just need to figure out what you need and want and try different things."

Sonia's advice for every menopausal woman is to be more positive and change their perspective on their life and future.  "I think before [my life changed], I was being negative about menopause but being more positive and more proactive, by trying to find different solutions in life really helps. Afford yourself to do good things because you have so much more time to yourself. A lot of us stop our own blessings because we self sabotage ourselves by speaking to ourselves so badly, but changing your mindset of how you view yourself can transform your life." 

"Menopause is a detour and you're going to get through it. Don't let it lead your life. Find something or someone that can help you. Say positive things to yourself - then you will believe in your future. It's all about self-love!"

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