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What I see in the mirror: Stephanie Cole

I’ve a long face and quadruple chins that meld into one. My mouth is too small. I am proud of my straight nose and neat ears – not too big and not too small. My eyes, I am afraid, are not so good. They are deep set and not very big, and with age and gravity they’re even more deep set than before. My eyes are greeny-blue, but they were bright blue when I was younger. I’ve had my lenses replaced, so I can live without glasses, which has revolutionised my life.

My hair used to be dark brown and I used to grow it long. It started to go white early, when I was doing a series called Tenko. It didn’t matter because, although I was only 40, my character was in her mid-50s. Many people ask why I always play characters older than myself, and I have no idea. I was never what would have been called a “juvenile”, even though I started in the business very young. I was attractive, but I wasn’t a “dolly bird”, so that may have something to do with it.

When I look in the mirror, I see my grandmother and mother and, on a good day, I catch glimpses of my younger self. I don’t have much vanity but, just occasionally, seeing yourself in a shop window can be debilitating. In my mind I am 10, 22 or however old I feel that day, and then of course you catch a glimpse of reality and think, “Oh dear God, has it come to this?”

• Stephanie Cole is currently in This May Hurt A Bit, on tour before transferring to St James Theatre, London, in May; for tickets, go to outofjoint.co.uk

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