Shimmi Munshi says she regularly gets mistaken for her son’s girlfriend because she looks so young – suggesting she stopped ageing at 20. Shimmi, from Bolton, is 41 years old, but looks quite a bit younger. At age 20 she gave birth to Ameen, her only son, who is now 20 – but even when he was a teenager people thought she was her son’s girlfriend
. ‘I’ve always looked young,’ says Shimmi. ‘As my friends began ageing, I seemed to go in the opposite direction, but I’ve no idea why. ‘I was a single mum, juggling work and motherhood, and anyone would think the stress might have started to show. Instead, I seemed to stop ageing.
‘I didn’t notice it particularly, but all my friends did. They were all moaning that I’d discovered the secret of eternal youth and they wanted me to share it.’
Shimmi says there’s no big secret to her looks – she hasn’t had surgery and her skincare is pretty basic. ‘At the school gates, the other mums would ask if I’d had plastic surgery, or if I had spent a fortune on skin creams and beauty treatments,’ she says.
‘And they were gutted to learn I had no secrets. There was no mystery at all to the way I looked. ‘I’d certainly never had cosmetic surgery. And my beauty routine consisted of baby wipes and whatever moisturiser was on special offer in the supermarket!
‘I have never spent a lot of money on beauty products though of course, I take care of myself; I drink green tea and I don’t smoke or drink booze. ‘I’m a member of the local gym and I drink lots of water.
‘But I am no fitness fanatic or beauty queen. In fact, I rarely look in the mirror. I don’t actually think about my looks much at all.’ Shimmi reckons her youthful looks are likely down to great genetics, as her parents, Siraj and Nooie, both look great in their old age. But while her young looks may be the envy of her mates, Shimmi says that sometimes looking like a 20-year-old can be annoying.
‘I’ve been asked for ID buying alcohol so many times and sometimes they just refuse to serve me outright,’ she says. ‘It’s worth it though to see the look on the shop assistant’s face when I hand over my ID. ‘I feel like the female version of Peter Pan – the girl who never grew up.
‘When my son was younger, people we didn’t know presumed we were either brother and sister or a couple. ‘We were so close, because I had brought him up on my own, and so there was a special bond between us. ‘Anyone who met us would just naturally treat him like he was my boyfriend.
‘We went on holiday to Poland, and I had booked an excursion, and the tour guide wouldn’t believe that we were mum and son. He kept insisting we were a couple and Ameen was so embarrassed. ‘Another time, in Turkey, the locals thought we were brother and sister.
‘At Ameen’s prom night, people thought we were a couple too. It’s very flattering and it made me giggle but it drove him mad.
‘Even at parents’ evening at high school, his teacher said to me: “We really would rather see Ameen’s mum.” She thought I was his sister!’ Thankfully Ameen isn’t too bothered. ‘As a teenager, he didn’t like all the attention,’ says Shimmi.
‘He is now 20 and has got used to the constant comments about his mum’s looks. ‘I think he’s finally accepted all the fuss
‘He still lives at home and we are as close as ever, so it hasn’t affected our relationship at all. He’s training in IT and I’m very proud of him.’ Shimmi’s looks are especially surprising considering she has gastroparesis, a disease that makes her vomit up to 60 times a day and means she’s regularly in and out of hospital. ‘I might be feeling absolutely rubbish but somehow I still manage to look young,’ she says.
‘I wish I had some special secret I could share – but the truth is, I’ve no idea how I do it. ‘Hopefully my good luck will last into old age and I will be still be looking 30 when I’m 80!’
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