63-Year-Old Pro-Aging Storyteller Heidi Clements Says What’s on Her Mind—and Is Radically Reframing the Way We're Thinking about Aging
In March of 2023, Heidi Clements posted on TikTok. In the video, Clements is getting dressed, weaving together a jacket and flowy dress as she tells a story of how she'd received comments that she was "going to die alone" because she never married or had kids. Clements didn't have any of it. "I might be by myself when my time comes to go, but I most certainly will not die alone," she responds. "Romantic love isn't the only love out there."
That video has amassed over 1.3 million views.
Clements was still new to TikTok at the time, so her raw quips about life and aging had barely begun to penetrate the social media universe. But that quickly changed. Now, the 63-year-old writer and self-described "storyteller and clothing enthusiast" has amassed more than 629,000 followers on TikTok and 377,000 on Instagram. "It's wild," she tells me of her swift impact online. "So so wild."
Most of Clements' posts are of her getting dressed, so some might easily dismiss her vibe as surface at first glance. But that's for the people who don't listen. Clements tells stories about the dark corners of life, and how she forges through, from alcoholism to dating to self-worth to aging, with such raw honesty, it brings you to a gate where there's a field of self-acceptance and no shame. "I am talking to myself first, and trying not to be preachy," says Clements, who is passionate about helping women own their sovereignty and people find a journey to sobriety. "I'm literally using it like therapy. Like, 'Here's my session today. Here's what's on my mind. And here's what I'm bothered about.'"
So much of what bothers Clements, who built a career in screenwriting, is how society has shaped our identities. We think we must look, be, and act in specific ways. And this all gets tougher as we age. "Why do we need to make people feel bad?" she asks. "Who made up these rules?" Clements lays out an uplifting—and satisfying—perceptive insight, pushing herself to move past these antiquated, made-up ideals while encouraging others to do the same.
So what has the irreverent (and unexpected) influencer learned about herself over this last year of social media fame? And what keeps her going? I called her to find out.
A CONVERSATION WITH HEIDI CLEMENTS
Heidi, you've exploded on social media, and this is all pretty recent. What do you think is resonating?
I feel like, Isn't everyone like me? But apparently, people aren't telling the truth—the good, the bad, the ugly about life. And I don't know any other way to be. I have no shame about who I am and how I got here. And I think that's the biggest problem for people is they're so afraid to admit the bad sh*t, and they carry it around with them. And I'm like, No way! I'm going to blog it and post it. Here, you take it, I'm done with it!
As a writer, I believe the most important thing in these kinds of mediums is being authentic. That's the most important thing. And also, not giving a f*ck what people say back to you. I think that's what makes up this sweet spot. I'm not telling people how to live their life. I'm just telling them how I live my life.
What have you learned about yourself in doing this?
Everything that I love about myself, I have learned from watching other people watch me and talk to me. I've learned that what I have to say matters. That I do have a voice after years of being told that what I had to say didn't matter. I can't believe it took social media, something people tend to think is so awful, to bring me the most rewarding thing I've ever done—including being a scripted writer, which I thought was rewarding. I've learned that I'm still learning every day just by being open. And that it's a gift to be able to help people. I'm not a professional. I'm not a therapist. I don't write books on self-help. I'm just going to tell stories about my life.
One of your recent posts got me. It was about how it takes us women a long time to love ourselves because we must break down the lies we've been told—lies like we're nothing without a partner or we must have children. As a child-free, unmarried woman, this spoke to me.
I'm exhausted by the concept of romantic love being the only love that matters. And guess what: I could wake up tomorrow and meet someone. But in the meantime, I will live my life and not feel bad about it. I feel like women have been sold such a lie. All of my life just lies. And it was all created by the patriarchy. It blows my mind. Why are we listening to them?
My whole goal in all of this was to change the way that this country looks at women over 50. Turning 50 was such a rude awakening for me. I felt instantly invisible. I believe a lot of this is the programming that we're only worth our sexuality. And I am the opposite of that! I am so much more than that.
There is a strong, empowering sense that you care for who you are and you're putting your energy toward feeling good. Do you feel this?
My biggest obstacle is to be present. And that's what I've talked about a lot. We're missing the good stuff because we're so focused on these goalposts we should meet that really don't exist. I always wanted to be a writer and worked on a TV show called 'Baby Daddy' for 100 episodes. And I wrote 25 of those episodes and ran the writer's room. So what if that's it? What if I don't get to be a scripted writer again? Am I a failure? There are these things that you tell yourself or that society tells you. I want to be happy every day and not think about these imaginary goalposts that someone else put there for me.
What keeps you inspired these days?
I love being around trees and in nature. Having just moved out of LA, I feel a huge shift happened. I don't know what I'm doing next or where I will live next. I'm just really trying to soak up as much. That's what makes me happier now—more quiet, more good people, more nature, more travel. I'm still discovering what it is that I want. I still don't know. I'm still figuring it out. And I think that's what's so magical because people think you're dead at 30, you're dead at 40, you're dead at 50. I'm 63 and just at the beginning of my third act. It is very challenging to realize you're closer to the end than you are to the beginning. But I think that's why so many good things happen in our older ages because we're like, what the f@*k! I'm literally running out of time. I just want to be happy.