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For the Women

7 months ago by

I’m not a huge fan of any holiday. Holidays remind me of the passing of time and the passing of time reminds me of death and I have not yet accepted the concept of death. Big, “no thank you” on that one. So I avoid most thoughts of it.

But then I was minding my own business the other week and listening to Rashida Jones on Fresh Air, and she said (paraphrased), “once you lose a parent you begin to think, how can I live to honor my death?”

ARE YOU FREAKIN’ KIDDING ME.

Rashida, why did you have to shake my world like that?

So the backstory to this post is that I originally didn’t have any major plans to celebrate International Women’s Day — which I realize is a sacrilegious statement coming from this feminist. And then upon hearing Rashida’s words, I did a 180 and wanted to do anything I could to honor the strong backbones and soft hearts of women.

So I asked a few of my favorite Doré women to talk about their love of women, their hopes for this decade, and what spurred them to be warriors for others.

And on a personal note — thank you to the women in my life that provide me with the safest of spaces where I feel most like myself. I am so excited to continue to dedicate my life to y’all.

______________

Magogodi Makhene and Cleyvis Natera, Co-Founders of Love As a Kind of Cure.

What spurred you to found Love As a Kind of Cure?
Toni Morrison made us do it! No, seriously. When she passed in the summer of 2019, we knew we had to celebrate what she meant to us, both on the page and beyond. So we did what any self-respecting superfan would do—we threw a beastly sold-out birthday Bash for her at the Brooklyn Museum with some kickass artists—fancy pants people with Emmy awards and Pulitzer Prizes. You know we had to do right by our Queen right! That was Feb 18, 2020.

Ohhh, 2020–You already know what came next. Mid-pandemic, we heeded Ms. Morrison’s charge for what we as artists must do amidst darkness. “This is precisely the time when artists go to work”, she famously wrote. So we got to work, making everyday acts of courage for Equality accessible and joyful, through @lovekindcure.

What do you love best about women?
Wow! What’s not to love? For us, the under celebrated women who raised us in South Africa and the Dominican Republic—on the page and IRL—these broads are the real deal MVPs. Women who have the girth and sass of The Bluest Eye’s Marginot Line. Women who couldn’t vote or legally count as equal to anything till as recently as 1994 in South Africa! The women who raised us are why Love As A Kind of Cure exists. They taught us what it means to practice Radical Love in the face of an unrelenting patriarch, white supremacy and whatever else the world threw in as a side. Their courage, loud laughter, classy AF fashion, fast mouths and ridiculously delicious sancocho are hands down the best of what we love about women

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Sarah Tarca, Writer, Editor and Co-founder of Gloss.Etc Newsletter

What is your hope for women to achieve in this decade?
Self-acceptance. Because with that comes self-worth, knowing your value, asking for what you deserve (and unashamedly taking it), the obliteration of imposter syndrome, and the resilience and fight to keep standing up for yourself – and women kind. It also means we’ll choose people in our life that stand beside us, lift us up, champion and support us. And that feels like a future I want, and a world I want my sons to grow up in.

How has a woman directly helped you in your life that you will always be grateful for?
Not woman – WOMEN. One of my favorite (stolen) sayings is “it takes a village to raise a MOTHER” and it’s so very true. You can’t do motherhood without that village, and there is not a truer expression of sisterhood than the outpouring of support that comes when your feet touch down on motherland. The home-cooked meals, the 3am bleary eyed texts, the holding when they’re crying, the hugs when you’re crying… it’s beautiful, it’s powerful and it’s something I will forever pay forward.

What is your favorite thing about women?
Just how goddamn amazing our bodies are. We create life! We literally grow a human, our internal organs moving and reorganizing to accommodate their growth, and then that same body brings them into the world and has the ability to nourish them for years afterwards. Just read that again and appreciate how mind-blowing it it.

Also, I love that we can go from “that lip color is amazing on you” to unpacking deep childhood trauma in the same conversation. Light and shade, moving mountains and making those same mountains feel beautiful. What a skill.

______________

Jamie Ciello Tuazon, Director of Product Development at Malin + Goetz

What is your hope for women to achieve in this decade?
I hope that all women of color are given the same opportunities as their white counterparts. That our voices are heard, that we are seen beyond a “diversity” hire, and that we all become better advocates for each other.

How has a woman directly helped you in your life that you will always be grateful for?
As a first-generation immigrant I was taught early on how to be your own self-advocate, to learn to always scrutinize and reevaluate your work to get to the best end result.

What is your favorite thing about women?
Our unrelenting will-power and resilience.

______________

Mimi Thorisson, Cookbook Author

What is your hope for women to achieve in this decade?

To continue to build on the success we have already achieved and reach our ultimate goal, which can only be full and complete equality not just something close to it or just good enough because we’ve come so far. And on another note to understand that while women in the western world have attained a measure of equality, to understand and address that there are parts of the world where that is certainly not the case. So in one line – a full and global equality for all women everywhere. Realistically this will take more than a decade but we should aim high.

How has a woman directly helped you in your life that you will always be grateful for?

My aunt on my maternal side. She went through so much hardship in her life, having lost her husband early in her marriage as well as two sons later on. She battled cancer. But despite all this, she has always been a ray of sunshine and has taught me to be grateful and strong no matter what. She has also been my mentor when it comes to cooking. She’s everything to me.

What is your favorite thing about women?

That we can be strong and feminine at the same time, these are not mutually exclusive traits. There is no uniform or look for power, there is no color or shade better than the other. Dress in heels or dress in trainers and go where you need to go and want to go.

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Veronique Gabai, founder of Veronique Gabai

What is your favorite thing about women?
As women, we have in us the life force, the source of love, the intuition, the resilience. I also believe we learn to live life in cycles of 1 month, 9 months and others, never as a straight line. Therefore we feel the passing of time and understand the urgency of living it well, for us, and those around us. It also makes us understand things need to happen and get done. Time is too precious to squander it!
As a woman, my sisters and friends play an essential role in my life, for the strength, the support, the joy, the fun and the compassion they bring. As a business woman, I always trusted woman and wanted my teams to be well balanced as I believe women are equal, different and stronger together.

______________

Tina Frey, Founder of Tina Frey Designs

What is your hope for women to achieve in this decade?
Confidence to forge their own paths since we all have it in us to do what is our real calling from deep inside our souls.

How has a woman directly helped you in your life that you will always be grateful for?
There are many great mentors I have encountered along my path of starting my own company. Many forged their own before me. They have all been willing to share their experiences, struggles, and successes. I truly enjoy the camaraderie that exists amongst my creative peers and this is the most fulfilling of all. Great friendships have been forged along our paths together.

What is your favorite thing about women?
We are strong and we do amazing things. There is really no end to the possibilities of what we can all achieve in our individual fields and together.

______________

Alison Carroll, Co-Founder of Wonder Valley

What is your favorite thing about women?
Empathy. Intuition. Power.
Generally I feel women possess a unique superpower to see the big picture, to put themselves in others shoes, to look at things from multiple angles, a strong intuition, and the ability to adapt and evolve — perhaps that’s one of my favorite feminine traits is the comfort of self reflection and seeking growth.

______________

Alison Beckner, Writer, Creative Facilitator and Brand Strategist

What is your hope for women to achieve in this decade?
So many things!!! A big point of hope for me is to see how our world transforms as we shift our perceptions around aging. Personally, and through a podcast series I have in development that explores this very topic, I’m looking forward to being an active participant in spearheading conversations that debunk the stigmas and challenge taboos attached to a part of our lives that should, in fact, be owned, revered and celebrated.

How has a woman directly helped you in your life that you will always be grateful for?
When I was in my late 20s and just starting out in Paris, a colleague from the company’s US team came to town for a fast-paced, high profile creative project. I was fascinated by her and the scope of the work she was doing and expressed interest in lending a hand in whatever way possible. She immediately brought me on board, quickly showed me the ropes and gave me a huge amount of responsibility. This not only laid the groundwork for my career (going on two decades!) in brand strategy and content direction, she also became one of my dearest friends. More than anything I am grateful for her always seeing the best in me … and reminding me of it when I forget.

What is your favorite thing about women?
The qualities that the self-identifying woman in my life, my sheroes, idols and girl crushes have in common are resilience, vulnerability, inner beauty, honesty, originality and lots of humor.

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Erin Allweiss, Founder of No.29 the Enough Newsletter and Enough Podcast

What is your hope for women to achieve in this decade?
Representation is the key to enacting change, and I want to see women—especially women of color—in the highest positions of government, business, activism and the arts. It sounds obvious, but having worked on Capitol Hill at a time when there was very little diversity among the female representatives, I will never forget seeing the 116th Congress sworn in in 2019: 100 women including the first indigenous women, the first Muslim and Palestinian-American women, a record number of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, the first openly gay members from New Hampshire and Minnesota, and the largest Congressional Black Caucus as well as the largest Congressional Hispanic Caucus. And this year, we voted in the first female Vice President who is Black and Indian. Let’s keep rising and lifting up others.

How has a woman directly helped you in your life that you will always be grateful for?
It sounds so cliché, but my mother managed to make partner at a law firm while raising three girls under the age of three. She never let on how hard it was, but it was damn hard and she was up against a lot of southern chauvinism (let’s be clear that chauvinism isn’t specific to the south; it’s just its own breed of machismo). She modeled what it was to be a leader and stand up for others who didn’t have the same access and opportunities we were born with, and she made clear that being born with certain privileges came with a responsibility to make the world better. I’m in awe of her.

What is your favorite thing about women?
I feel like I have to acknowledge that not all women are great; there are some very terrible bad apples (ahem Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene). There are also bullies and mean girls, and I share that only because I think it’s so important to name and stand up to bullies—irrespective of gender. That said, the women in my life are my chosen family. When we show up for one another, we really show up. We also get shit done and have been on the frontlines of advancing change. The people around me who have fought hardest for equity and environmental change are overwhelmingly women.

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Emme Parsons, Founder of Emme Parsons

How has a woman directly helped you in your life that you will always be grateful for?
I was adopted as a baby and was able to find my birth mother in 2017. The first thing she told me was that she made the difficult and heartbreaking decision to give me up for the chance at a better life.

I was a new mother when we reconnected and it was so profound to reflect upon how many women make sacrifices every day to improve the lives of others and give future generations opportunities that they never had.

______________

Natasha Feldman, Private Chef, Producer, Director and TV host.

What is your hope for women to achieve in this decade?
I find myself quoting Feminist Fight Club before going into a big meeting, often repeating “carry yourself with the confidence of a mediocre white man.” It always makes me laugh but also gives me a little freedom as I enter. So I hope that type of confidence becomes the norm for women in the next decade. There is a sort of imposture syndrome that I know is not exclusively felt by women but feels very pervasive through my group of incredibly talented and successful friends and I’d like that collective feeling to melt away.

How has a woman directly helped you in your life that you will always be grateful for?
Gosh, basically all of my close female friendships have kept me sane my entire life. I am beyond grateful to have these humans to always turn to. But specifically… I had a voice coach in high school (as all good musical theater nerds do) who taught me how to belt, which is basically just singing really loudly. As someone who has always been the tiniest person present, being able to fill a space with my voice really helped me find comfort and joy in taking up space. I’m not sure how I would have turned out without her pushing me to find that part of myself.

_______________

Heloise van Eeghen, co-founder of Note PR

What spurred you to go out on your own and found Note PR?
To be honest I was completely and utterly terrified of going out on my own! I’m extremely risk averse, and even though I consider myself a very creative person, I’ve always relied on a 9-5 paycheck that hit my account when the clock struck midnight on a Friday. However, I secretly dreamed about a more entrepreneurial lifestyle and grew up around it as my parents are both freelance creatives. It was really only until I met my business partner Shannon, who shared my passion for a very deliberate and tailored approach to PR, that I thought starting my own business could be a reality. So, for those of you who are too chicken to go at it alone, find yourself a brilliant business partner (I know it’s easier said than done) – we really are better together.

What’s the thing you love most about women?
I think it’s got to be our ability for compassion. The women in my life have always been so quick to step into someone else’s shoes and see things through another perspective. That compassion makes us great listeners, and when you are having a hard day (or year!), that support is really the thing you need to get you through to the next phase of life. A huge thank you to all the incredible women in my life – you know who you are!

_______________

Jessica Fitzsimons, Director of PR & Influencer Marketing at Credo Beauty

What is your hope for women to achieve in this decade?

My hope is that working women will no longer need to keep their work and home lives separate. I am a new(ish) mom – my son just turned two – and at the start of the pandemic, I struggled with how to get work done (well) while still caring for him, since we didn’t have childcare for months. It became very clear, very quickly, that all of our moms at the office were in it together! My son has appeared on countless Zoom calls over the past year, and it’s now completely normal and I love that. I work for a company that is majority women, most of which are moms, and we all understand that push and pull of wanting to be great at your job, and more importantly, being a great mom, and just because you need to put your mom hat on during breakfast/lunch/whenever your kiddo needs you, doesn’t mean you can’t be a bad-ass as the virtual office.

What is your favorite thing about women?

Versatility! I am literally playing with backhoe loaders (who knew that was a real piece of machinery) at 7am, riding my Peloton at 8am, and then in a full face of makeup with a fresh blow-out at 10am for a Zoom call. Women have this innate ability to rise to any situation, challenge or dress code, at the drop of a hat. And even if we’re not picture-perfect at all times, your fellow women DON’T CARE! We lift each other up and laugh at crazy hair, baby-stained shirts and tired eyes because we’re all in this together.

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