Every year, Harpers Bazaar honors ten women - five celebrities and five readers - who embody female empowerment over a span of five decades from the 20s to the 50s. Most magazines suggest that beauty is based on youth and physical appearance, that women pretty much peak in their early 20s. Harpers Bazaar, on the other hand, sees beauty beyond that and at every age. The magazine attributes one's experiences, values, and philosophies to what makes a woman truly beautiful. This year's issue featured Roman Polanski's actress/model daughter Morgane Polanski (20's), artist Olympia Scarry (30s), supermodel Carolyn Murphy (40s), Iranian visual artist Shirin Neshat (50s), and former Sonic Boom leader singer Kim Gordan (60s).
About two months ago, I received a message from the Harpers Bazaar team inviting me to join four other women on a whirlwind trip to New York City. A month later, I found myself in a beautiful corner room of The Surrey Hotel on the Upper East Side with breathtaking views overlooking Central Park. The street was lined with brownstones and every high end store imaginable. Certainly an area of the world where I wouldn't normally be! After taking in the beautiful room and perks, I met Jennifer Wagner Schmidt, Karin Taratino, Vibeke Andersen, and Demetria Newman along with the beauty editors and publishers who each had a hand in bringing us on this trip. We quickly became acquainted thanks to flowing cocktails and a collective awe of the penthouse view of the city. I don't know how the editors did it, but there was a commonality within each of us even though we came from different backgrounds. There's simply not enough space here to write about what makes each woman admirable and beautiful, but I felt deeply honored to be in their company. Instead of going back to our rooms, we found ourselves talking about everything from relationships to life philosophies and disappointments to sharing beauty rituals and our life's ambitions at the hotel bar until the wee hours of the morning. They could've taken away the glitz and glamour of the trip, but I'd still feel fortunate to have met these women. While all physically very beautiful, each woman exudes wisdom, balance, and a strong sense of self. All traits that I personally aspire to have one day.
We were given the star treatment over the course of three days: daily hair and make-up by the Estee Lauder team, personal time with the hilarious and supremely stylish executive fashion editor Avril Graham, style sessions by Theory, rides around town by Carine Roitfield's driver, a very personal tour of the Estee Lauder's office (who, I learned, is one badass original #hustlebird), and interviews followed by a string of photo shoots. Positively spoiled with 'is this real life' moments. The final day concluded with an awards luncheon at five star Michelin restaurant Le Bernadin Prive. The whole thing was mind boggling: Chef Eric Ripert cooking the most delicious meal of our lives, The Harpers Bazaar + Saks Fifth Avenue + Theory + Estee Lauder teams all there for us, talking about hair and projects with Morgane Polanski, laughing at Laura Brown's hilarious jokes, and then walking away with the grand prize honor from Glenda Bailey, Harper's Bazaar's editor-in-chief. What?! I couldn't contain my tears.
This was an unforgettable experience. It's been over three weeks, but I've been trying to convince myself it really happened. Wondering how I could piece the story together to give it justice. Though not easy and nowhere near perfect, I feel like life is already so good. Like it's been so kind to me that everything feels like icing on the cake. This experience, while unexpected, I know would have never been possible without this blog and your readership. A big heartfelt thank you to the Harpers Bazaar team for celebrating beauty beyond age and the physical. And, a big, big, big thank you to you for being on this journey with me. My heart is so full.