Meet the older women taking over Big Brother

Big Brother 2021 housemates Sarah Jane Adams and Mary Kalifatidis on ageing

Latest in Entertainment
HOUSEMATES: Sarah Jane Adams and Mary Kalifatidis are joining the Big Brother house as part of the show's second season.

HOUSEMATES: Sarah Jane Adams and Mary Kalifatidis are joining the Big Brother house as part of the show's second season.

Aa

"I want to show audiences it's possible at 65, 66 to live each day to the fullest with love."

Aa

HELLO Australia, Big Brother is watching.

The revived version of the controversial reality television program is back on our screens this week for its second season.

Big Brother brings 20 people together to live with each other for more than 60 days, cut off from the outside world with cameras and microphones constantly recording their every move.

Among the cast of diverse housemates are two older women - entrepreneur, author and style icon Sarah Jane Adams, 66, and stay-at-home mum Mary Kalifatidis, 56.

Both went in to the house with the intention to dispel some of the myths on ageing.

"Sometimes as women, we get to an age where we feel invisible and don't feel like us anymore," Mary told The Senior.

"You get so lost in the role of being a mother, daughter, and sister that you lose yourself but in the Big Brother House you're pushed to find yourself and find strength you forgot you had."

After raising two daughters and a son with husband Theo, Mary is stepping out of her comfort zone and into the Big Brother house to show everyone she's more than just a mum.

"I just want women, particularly older women, to know they can do anything. We need to get rid of this stigma that because you're old you shouldn't be doing things.

Sarah Jane, who refers to herself as SJ, shares these sentiments.

An antique jewellery dealer by trade, the fiercely independent mother-of-two started out selling on the streets of London before turning it into an international business.

Her life changed in 2014 when her daughter posted a photo of her wearing a red Adidas tracksuit on Instagram. The post when viral and SJ's profile exploded, with people around the world connecting with her attitude and way of living.

"I didn't want to be seen as a token older person but I wanted to represent a certain generation," SJ said about her decision to enter the Big Brother house.

"I don't live in the context of what society thinks and older person is."

For SJ, a large part of wanting to do Big Brother was the opportunity to represent herself instead of the "grey-haired woman with balls" persona pushed onto her.

"Pulp fiction news just trott out half a dozen of us older people, but the person they write about is not who I am," she said. "I found that very difficult. I found I'm merely a meme on social media."

"We're all so much more than that. Our age is a gift and a blessing."

"The way older people are framed is just taking the piss. Forty is the next 60 is bull.... 60 is 60, this time is our prime. You're alive, you're here, embrace your own age."

"I want to show audiences it's possible at 65, 66 to live each day to the fullest with love."

TOUGH: SJ takes part in one of the challenges on the show.

TOUGH: SJ takes part in one of the challenges on the show.

Both Mary and SJ found the house challenging but also very worthwhile.

"Every day of life I like to live to the fullest. The house gave me that a trillion times," SJ said. "It's one of the most challenging things I've ever done but also the most joyful," she said.

SJ said one of her strategies inside the house was to live in the moment.

"It's a sensible way to live life. There's always a curveball ahead and to always be wondering what it is - what a terrible waste of energy."

An accomplished home cook and baker, Mary's strategy is to win the house over by doing a lot of cooking.

"I want to get all of those bastards fat," Mary jokes.

One of the most challenging things Mary found were the house tasks, particularly as she has both arthritis and carpel tunnel syndrome.

"Every challenge pushed me out of my comfort zone. Most challenges you use your hands in some way, but it pushes you to try harder than you normally would."

A Channel 7 spokesperson said the reimagined Big Brother is a very different show to what Australia was used to in the past.

"Big Brother is bolder than ever and these housemates need to be strategic, adaptable and think quickly on their feet to play his game," the said.

"As audiences saw last season, the housemates of the modern day Big Brother are diverse in age, backgrounds and skills and this year is no different.

"We have assembled the most incredible group of housemates, ranging in age from 20-65, representing all walks of life. Watching these individuals grow, open up, form relationships and challenge themselves is wildly entertaining and quite an emotional journey at times."

Big Brother premieres Monday, 26 April at 7.30pm and continues Tues-Wed 7.30pm on Channel 7 and 7plus.

Aa