Polo Lifestyles July 2024: WOMEN+POWER

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Margarita Crotto

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Best restaurants in Paris by arrondissement, page 166

to look forward to at the Paris Games, page 158

Four Seasons launches their yacht schedule, page 174
Automobile lovers delight in Lake Como, page 68


My family was privileged, on one hand, to see the end drawing near; but the absence of these two, family matriarchs will be noted as we gather in a few days for the second time in three weeks to lay another beloved family member to rest.

I am known as the “writer in the family,” so the honor and responsibility of crafting an obituary for my grandmother came to me rather naturally. When you have known someone for your entire life, and you have heard the stories repeated, when you can hear that one voice in the crowd, when you can spot a mannerism across the distance… well, I had the content. The obituary was written in my head before I ever sat down to type it (I also often do this with Polo Lifestyles – arrange it from front to back in my head before I ever sit down to organize digital pagination).

It was the rereading, editing, changing and adding that got me in the end. As the pages and words went blurry with tears, I cried, not for the loss, but for the Unknown. The strangest thoughts crossed my mind. What will I say to my father? Will strangers try to hug me at the funeral? And, how do I politely convey to said-strangers that I am not a hugger by nature? Is there a sticker I can wear? Where on earth did I ever do with the piano-shaped music box that Grandma gave me once after a music recital?

Here in the United States, we’re in a period of Unknown, with an election on the horizon. In France, a major political shakeup followed a big risk undertaken by its president. As we edited the Women+Power list down to 70, then 60, then 50, we tried to eliminate obvious political players, but the truth of the matter is, that in our world, politics does wield the power, for better or worse. Let’s just hope – and vote – for power that will be used responsibly and not recklessly.


Beyond first class is a class of one.



Are you ready for your summer close up with Irina Kazaridi?


The “Voltigeur” carrier bag might even motivate your cat to play with balls, too


Lady Danbury steps out in support of human rights in Africa

pittiumo _official

Back in Florence, Italy and partnering

When I ask people if they would like to come over for dinner, this is what I mean


If summer were simply a state of mind, it would look something like this

Problems, what problems? Everything's better at Nikki Beach St-Barth

Olivia Henson wore the Faberge Myrtle Leaf tiara for her wedding to the 7th Duke of Westminster
The Princess of Wales made a return to public life for the Trooping of the Colour
with the Firenze Polo Tribute at Piazza di Santa Croce for arena polo

Click and comment on our choices... Tag @pololifestyles . We will share noteworthy comments with you next month.

A Gilded Age mansion is on the market for $65,000,000... a look inside in this issue's Mansion of the Month

the U.S.



In Marfa, Texas, for a BBQ at the ranch and some quality time with friends
Stable to street fashion has never looked so good
2021 finalist Matteo Berrettini preparing for his fifth Championships
Saddle up next to the pool for refreshments and a lazy afternoon
The last peonies of the season make an exceptional bouquet
The annual pilgrimmage to the sea captured by photographer Mohammed Habib uspoloassn
Independence Day in traditional red, white and blue mohammed_habib








Octogone-Mungo Wins La Trophée Bois Lieutenant

The second and last final of the day had a very different scenario from the first one, as it required an extra chukker to decide the winner! And it was Juan Cruz

Greguoli who secured the victory for the Octogone-Mungo team by scoring the golden goal after several minutes of play in the extra chukker!

BPP : Oriental Libra (Durazno x Penny),j14 year old mare owned and

played by Pierre Henri N’Goumou (La Roxana)

MVP : Juan Cruz Greguoli (Octogone Mungo Polo Team)

Progression Octogone-Mungo : 0-2 / 0-3 / 3-2 / 4-4 / 5-4 (OT)







With the game looking like it was heading into extra time, Pablo Pieres tapped through the winner after a frantic few seconds in their opponent’s goalmouth. It was fitting that such a close game between these two outstanding teams, should go down to the wire like this.

The result meant that it was Hugues Carmignac who received the Cartier Queen’s Cup from HM King Charles lll – a winner himself of this trophy in 1986and Laurent Feniou, Managing Director of Cartier UK. This is the second time that the Carmignacs have won this high-goal silverware. Hugues father Edouard, who joined his son for the post-match presentations, lifted the Queen’s Cup in 2011.

Some great team-work from both squads ensured that this was always going to be a battle to the final bell. La Dolfina Great Oaks had a slight edge in the first half – leading 7-5 at half-time. Adolfo Cambiaso Jr (Poroto) and Diego Cavanagh worked perfectly together, firing through all of their team’s goals, while their teammates, Dillon Bacon and Kian Hall did a great job of clearing their path to goal.

Polito Pieres, Alejandro Muzzio, who was later named the Cartier Most Valuable Player, and Rosendo Torreguitar did an equally brilliant job for Talandracas. This team was the only unbeaten squad after three weeks of intensive play and La Dolfina Great Oaks could not relax for a moment.

Talandracas got themselves level in the fourth (9-9) and these teams traded shots to stay even (11-11) in the fifth. Incredibly, there were no fouls in the sixth chukka for the first four minutes. Usually at this point in a key game tension tightens a match, keeping the umpires busy. However, this game flowed, with some fabulous horse races from both teams.

All the drama of this match was condensed into the final few minutes. Firstly there was a delay as Pieres came off his horse when changing ponies. He was okay but it was quickly followed by Muzzio falling off in pursuit of Cambiaso. Finding himself


alone Diego Cavanagh took the ball to goal but the whistle had blown as Muzzio’s horse, instead of heading back to his stablemates in the pony lines, stayed in the game, running up the field with the other players. Great Oaks’ Kian Hall did an amazing job of catching the errant horse at top speed. There was 30 seconds left to play of this sixth chukka and the scores were still tied up. The umpires dropped the ball around 60 yards from the Talandracas goal. Cambiaso took the hit but it did not make the distance and was picked up by Pieres, who turned it and took it down field. The ball hit the post but stayed in play and in the subsequent melee – almost everyone had a touch of the ball - Pieres fired through the winner, with just seconds to spare.

With such a game it is all about the ponies. As high-goal player David Stirling said during the Polocam TV live-stream commentary, “the level of horses has been outstanding”. The Cartier Best Playing Pony Prize reflected this, with the honor going to JM Fanta. This 13-year-old dark bay mare, owned by HRH The Crown Prince of Johor, had been played by Pieres four times in this game and was the mount he was riding when scoring the winner.

Earlier in the day the sub final match for the Cartier Trophy saw another fast-paced game, this time between La Dolfina Scone and Cibao La Pampa. This was a wonderfully open, running match from these two strong teams. La Dolfina Scone, fielding the master of the Queen’s Cup, 10x winner Adolfo Cambiaso, went on to win this match 10-7. However it was a different Cambiaso who was named the Most Valuable Player. Mia Cambiaso, Adolfo’s eldest daughter, who made her Cartier Queen’s Cup debut this season, received this coveted Cartier prize from HM The King.

Talandracas: Hugues Carmignac (0); Rosendo Torreguitar (5); Pablo Pieres (10); Alejandro Muzzio (7). La Dolfina Great Oaks: Dillon Bacon (2); Kian Hall (3); Diego Cavanagh (8); Adolfo Cambiaso Jr (9).

La Dolfina Scone: Mia Cambiaso (2); Charlie Hanbury (4); Alfredo Bigatti (7); Adolfo Cambiaso Sr (9). Cibao La Pampa: Juan Pepa (1); Gonzalo Ferrari (7); Benjamin Panelo (7); Guillermo Terrera (7).


Are there ANY MYSTERIES left in Paris?


Roll back any period in the city’s history by 20 years and you will find a better period—at least, as judged by those looking back. Those of us who lived in the city in the 1990s, myself included, remember how beautiful its defiance of late modern values was at the height of the American imperium, when, after Paris had been dismissed for years by London and New York as a backwater, the millennium happened, and Paris won the night. Every big city shared its New Year’s celebration

over CNN, but it was the Eiffel Tower, as it bubbled and shimmered like a glass of champagne, that emerged as clearly still the best and shapeliest and most radiant of all modern beacons. Paris, though down, was far from out.

But the 1990s city, as even I can recall, was a superficial-seeming place compared to the Paris of the early 1970s. That one was still rocking in the wake of the rebellions of May ’68, still incompletely cleaned and gritty with unresolved revolutions and repertory cinemas. You entered the Louvre by the back door, so to speak, without a grand and glaring pyramid, and the Marais was just rediscovered and reclaimed, but not yet unduly gentrified. The Rue des Rosiers, in the 4th Arrondissement, was still a distinctly Jewish street.

And a new Paris is certainly unrolling before our eyes. Those of us raised, so to speak, in the 5th and 6th and 7th arrondissements, on the Left Bank, now seek out friends and feasts in the more arctic 9th and 19th. This is true of every big town, of course. The youthful heart of New York City has transplanted itself at least three times in my own lifetime, from Soho to the East Village to Williamsburg and other points Brooklyn. We learn to love the peculiar sights of the new neighborhoods, and so we Paris lovers can appreciate the Canal SaintMartin and its boats as we once did the Seine and its books. Paris, too, has had some very hard days recently. It has been sporadically buffeted by violence, with the Bataclan and Charlie Hebdo massacres still hideously memorable. Though Paris has always been a site of violence,

there is something nihilistic about the new kind, and so our inevitable longing for the Paris that’s gone meets our at least partial fear of the Paris that’s coming, and melancholia can overtake even Francophilia.

The Mysteries of Paris, Eugène Sue’s little-known 1842 novel—well, everyone knows the title; few know the book—insists that what is mysterious is exactly everything in Paris, from the composition of the elite to the layout of the Latin Quarter. The book’s atmosphere is itself

memorably mysterious, and it created a kind of noir genre of the sinister urban nocturne, one that by now has been set everywhere from Reykjavík to Pittsburgh. We want our cities to be enigmas of slanting light and long shadow, and Paris was the first.

We may even begin to itemize some of the mysteries. Why are the 17th-century buildings tilted back in their upper stories? No one quite knows. Why is the Louvre called the Louvre? No one knows that, either. Why is Paris the only

major city organized around courtyards and codes, so that we go home with our pockets filled with little bits of paper with the codes of our friends’ apartments scribbled on them. It never happens in London or Rome or Los Angeles. There are reasons, but no rationale. Even the smaller, historically rooted but mystifyingly firm distinctions between bistros and brasseries can be the subject of a seminar. (The bistro is a survivor of the premodern period, when you went to a “table d’hôte” to eat what was provided, adapted to the customs of the early

modern period, when the “restaurant” emerged as a place to go and pick out what you wanted. The brasserie emerged only in the mid-19th century, as a resort of Alsatian pleasures, centered on drinking beer.)

Those nostalgias accumulate exactly because they’re not really nostalgias. The mysteries of Paris are permanent because they are built into the pavement. We go back to Paris for a renewed sense of the unfathomable that no other place provides. If Paris were less murky, it would be less Paris. The enigmas defy too much explication because, well, they’re enigmatic. Once, for instance, I sat in a rented apartment on the Rue de Grenelle and watched the sun set over nothing more than the entrance to a Métro station across the street, one of the 86 historically protected ones, still with its late-19th-century Hector Guimard melting iron entrance. It seemed somehow—the people flowing in and out, the dome of the Invalides beyond—to indicate European history, and I felt in touch with a flow of time and melancholy.

I can sit and passively watch things in Paris and feel more civilized than when I do productive things elsewhere. Outside that window was a flow of existence, simultaneously past and present, that seemed impossible to imagine in rushed and pressed New York, or spacious and sensible London.

Oh, come now! Only in your imagination. Only in my imagination? Well, our imaginations are where our images reside. All other cities I know, however ancient, have their own odd lucidity.

A New York city block is an equation parsed, an intersection on a prearranged grid. Rome makes us happy when it is most picturesquely Roman, seeming to arise from Fellini and Suetonius simultaneously. And London is London when the elementary colors take over the town, and the taxis look blacker and the buses redder than we could have imagined. But Paris occurs as a sequence of emotions we recapture and then lose. We never feel that we own it, and that is why it is capable of surprising us. De Chirico’s great poetic promoter, Apollinaire, re-

solved a Parisian poem with the haunting phrase: “The night is a clock chiming. The days go by not I.” He was evoking—okay, mysteriously evoking—the city, meaning that we somehow hear the clocks chime all night but feel ourselves remain unchanged, and then wake to find that the world has altered.

When I go back to Paris these days, the city seems to enfold me again without welcoming me entirely. The city goes on, through everything that happens, and will continue to go on when we are no longer there to see it. The next hundred years will still be divided into 20-year packets, and we will still long for the time before, even as we relish the time we’re in. The mystery of Paris as a city seems to enfold the mystery of our mortality. Nothing changes visibly within us, yet life moves on around us and we look in the mirror going home and find ourselves transformed. We will never solve the mystery of Paris, nor would we want to, which is why we keep going back, with a clue or two to bring home kept in our pocket.



When a Porsche 959 is considered ordinary, it’s clear that this event is something special.




Set against the breathtaking backdrop, arguably the most beautiful setting for any automotive event, the Concorso d’Eleganza attracts some of the world’s most passionate car collectors. With tickets for

Saturday’s event selling out almost instantly, the lucky attendees stroll through the entrance set across the meticulously landscaped grounds of the Villa d’Este hotel.

Just around the lake, reachable by the typically preferred water taxi, lies Villa Erba, the second half of the event. While Saturday remains relatively quiet at Villa Erba, it comes alive on Sunday when all the Concours cars move over, creating an atmosphere of pure automotive enthusiasm.

The BMW Group Classic, which presides


both events, ensures a tasteful presence, especially during the sophisticated Saturday event.

A highlight of Saturday’s Concours is the Coppa d’Oro, voted for by the public. This year’s winner, a McLaren F1, astonished even the master of ceremonies, Simon Kidston. “I cannot believe it, this is a truly momentous day,” he said, most surprised that a 1990s supercar won the prestigious award. The McLaren F1 has a remarkable history tied to the Ueno Clinic and the 1995 Le Mans 24 Hours victory, still representing a truly modern, yet deserving choice for the win. This year, attendees were thrilled to take part in the voting with an updated QR-code submission platform. We noted attendees’ excitement as the influence of a younger, tech-savvy audience likely sprouted this change.

On Sunday, the class winners and the Best of Show were announced in a grand spectacle ceremony. This year’s top prize went to a preservation class car, the 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Figoni from the HM Collection in Belgium. This car, previously a finalist at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, was awarded the

Trofeo BMW Group – Best of Show, presented by Helmut Käs, head of BMW Group Classic, and Wilhelm Schmid, CEO of A. Lange & Söhne.

However, Villa d’Este is more than just these top winners. Among the many highlights were Lord Bamford’s exquisite 1933 Rolls-Royce Phantom II, which inspired Rolls-Royce’s current design director, Anders Warming. Other pre-war treasures included Corrado Lopresto’s 1923 Diatto Tipo 20S, Nicholas and Shelley Schorsch’s 1927 Isotta Fraschini, and Christoph Zeiss’s 1938 Lagonda V12 Rapide.

The Post-War era was equally impressive, featuring Brian Ross’s 1957 Ferrari 335 S with a rich motorsport history, William Heinecke’s 1962 Ferrari 250 GT Speciale Aerodinamico, Jonathan and Wendy Segal’s Maserati A6GCS/53 Spider Frua, and Roberto Quiroz’s 1956 Maserati A6G/54 Zagato. These cars were part of a unique Maserati collection, including rare models like the Quattroporte AM 121 and the 3500 Spider Vignale Prototipo.

In the Time Capsule preservation class,

a beautifully patinated Bugatti Type 35C sat alongside the winning Alfa 8C, accompanied by a noisy Abarth Simca 1300 GT, a Serenissima Agena, and the one-off 1967 Fiat Dino Aerodynamica. Nearby, a lineup of supercars included the Coppa d’Oro-winning McLaren F1 and a Lamborghini Countach LP400 in original violet and white colors.

The event also showcased recent concept cars, such as the Lotus Type 66, Triumph TR25, Pininfarina Pura Vision, Koenigsegg CC850, Alfa 33 Stradale, and the striking Alpine Alpenglow. BMW, the event owner, unveiled its Concept Skytop, inspired by the Z8, the 20th BMW art car styled by Julie Mehretu, and the BMW R 20 concept motorcycle. Rolls-Royce presented its Cullinan Series II SUV evolution.

In a nod to continue the great spirit of this automotive gathering, BMW’s Käs, Carlotta Fontana (Villa d’Este board member), and Massimiliano di Silvestre (president of BMW Italy) presented €50,000 from ticket sales and additional contributions to the Mayor of Cernobbio for the local children’s nursery, underscoring the event’s community spirit.




marriage, and listeners shared how they structure their relationships and other ways they’ve found love.

Jennifer Koca, 37, polyamorous woman with a primary partner of 7 years in Richmond, Va.: “I definitely dreamt about getting married a lot when I was a kid, but as I got older, I realized marriage is basically just a piece of paper.”

Aravind Boddupalli, 28, married man in Baltimore, Md.: “My love life with my partner Mae looks like a true partnership. We are an interracial marriage, but I don’t think it’s ever posed an issue for us in our respective communities.”

So what do changing romantic norms mean for the future of marriage?

NPR asked listeners for their thoughts on

Doyle Tate, 31, single dad in Jacksonville, Fla.: “I would love to be married one day. I decided that I wasn’t going to wait for a man who may never come. So I started the process of surrogacy when I was around 30. Aphrodite Rose is now four-and-a-half months, so it’s been wonderful.”

Michel Martin spoke to futurist Jake Dunagan about what marriage might look like in the future. Dunagan studies governance at the Institute for the Future, a think tank committed to research and education. As part of that work, he thinks about topics like the future of marriage.

Jake Dunagan: [Marriage] has been a

norm in human society in a diverse way. We’ve invented and reinvented marriage. We ask marriage to do a lot in our society, from sexual reproduction to romantic love to personal fulfillment, political alliances. Do we want to keep those bundled in marriage or do we want to split those up? You know, do we want a function for socially sanctioned romantic love? Do we want something about economic mobility and robustness? Do we want something about parenting and bringing up children together? So if you think about the futures of marriage, you know, do we have those official formal sanctions and ceremonies for each one of those? Maybe or maybe not. But we have things that might stretch the meaning of what marriage is.

Michel Martin: We are hearing, though, more in the media about polyamorous relationships. That’s not necessarily polygamy. And often we’re hearing from women who are interested in these kinds of relationships. There is no society currently in which polygamy is recognized,

where women have equal social standing. So is there a form of this that could take place in which women might be the initiators of these kinds of relationships in which they would have equal social and legal standing?

Dunagan: Polygamy has basically been a patriarchal institution. The younger generations are definitely more diverse, they’re more tolerant of gender continuum, [they’re] ideologically value-based, they’re more open to that.

Marriage asks a lot of us: It asks us to be monogamous for a long time, it asks us to be good roommates and good partners, it asks us to be good co-parents together. And I think certainly, given some of the indicators, the younger generations may be more open to exploration of what that institution looks and feels like.

Martin: What do you think are the commonalities of what people are looking for in marriage that will endure into the future?

Dunagan: I mean, I think romantic love. We want to feel connected to someone, feeling a sense of belonging and togetherness. And I think whether we idealize romantic love or sexual attraction, I mean, those are core parts of marriage. We will in some sense always have that. There’s a sense that I’m a better person or I’m a more complete person with someone else, or maybe more than one if we want to go that direction. But that sense of fulfillment is very strong. And so marriage is often a pathway for that. And so I think that will continue.

You know, do we need to do reproduction through the institution of marriage? I’m less inclined to say that has to be there. But I think the sense of being connected to someone for a long time, finding someone or something that really makes you feel better about yourself and more whole. I think there’s something there that we all want and that will endure. And I think marriage can be a part of that story.



Flooded with responses, from practical suggestions for staying in touch to heartwarming stories of sibling support, some recounted the strength of their relationships from the outset, while others detailed connections that grew stronger with age or shared hardship. About a quarter of people wrote about sibling relationships that were distant or strained, and some carry that sadness with them. Still others longed for the brothers and sisters they’ve never had.

But the power of closeness and connection among siblings shone strongest throughout your narratives. We found your stories so poignant and inspiring that we’re featuring many of them (but, promise, fewer than 100).


Adelita Lopez from Long Beach, Calif., describes her older sister Rosa as “the backbone of our little family” and Adelita’s “guide and protector.” Growing up, they spoke the Indigenous language found in Mexico called Mixtec. The family moved to the U.S. when the sisters were children. “Adapting to life in the U.S. was challenging,” writes Adelita. “We didn’t speak Spanish or English, which isolated us at school. Rosa, ever the resilient leader, helped us both learn Spanish with the aid of a loving teacher who visited our home daily. Rosa’s perseverance not only helped us adapt but also paved the way for her to become the first college graduate in our family. She taught

us to approach life with love and empathy, shaping how we treat each other and face challenges. I am forever grateful for her guidance and love.»

Amnet Ramos from North Plainfield, N.J., says in the wake of a tough childhood, her sister remains her best friend. “We grew up in a pretty ‘messy’ environment. Our parents were divorcing, we were food insecure, and we were all in survival mode. My sister was my constant and still is. I don›t know what I›d do without her. We›ve [helped raise each others’] six kids and often wonder if they’ll be as tight as we’ve been. So far so good!”

Trying circumstances helped Diana Carreon from Phoenix forge a relationship with her brother. “I think because we shared such unique experiences and hardships that we were able to get closer and watch for one another. Even when we felt like we had nothing, what we did have was each other — and that›s what mattered more than anything. Our


relationship was not always like that. My brother and I did not get along growing up, but once we reached a certain age and the hardships piled on, we came to realize the importance of having someone close, someone who shared in the hard times.»


“My siblings and I started a group chat titled ‘Sibs.’ Hilarity ensued,” writes Lauren Spirov from Chicago. “We used that platform to send funny videos, photos of our pets, new songs or entertaining stories about the family. About a year and a half ago, our dad passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. It rocked us. I worried the immense grief would tear us apart. While we all grieved deeply and individually, we found ways to let the others know we were there via our group chat. A simple heart emoji or photo of our dad let the others know we were with them. Remerging on the other side of this grief has cemented our bond in inexplicable ways. I can’t imagine having endured such a loss without them. Siblings bring out the best in one another, and I’m so grateful that I have three of the best in the world. We’ll probably have our group chat until we’re 100.”

Jessica Rhodus from Cincinnati also keeps in tech touch with her siblings. “Since none of us live near each other, we connect regularly on a text chain. The four of us play the lottery together when the jackpot reaches a billion dollars –which is silly, but fun. We send pictures from our lives. I am really grateful to have siblings who have made, and continue to make, our relationship a priority.»

Vivienne Heffernan, of Zeist, The Netherlands, writes, “My siblings (three sisters and one brother) and I are extremely close. They are my best friends, the greatest gift my parents ever gave me. We’re aged between 52 and 41 and we live in three different countries in Europe but we still talk and WhatsApp every day. We have in-jokes, we sing songs, we tell stories from our childhood. We go away together for an annual sibling weekend – last year, our trip was to Salzburg, [Austria] so we could relive all the moments from the film The Sound of Music, a big part of our childhood.”

For Karen Kleppe Lembo from Morristown, N.J., the tech ties started in analog times. She is the eldest of six. “For a decade in mid-’80s to mid-’90s

we shared a monthly newspaper, The Kleppe Kronicle, which each of us would contribute to twice a year. (I treasure them!) These days, all our gatherings are at weddings and funerals and related happenings, but we now chat pretty much daily — multiple times — thanks to a group chat. I learn more and more from younger but wiser siblings, and some days I share a tad of wisdom — all gratis! «


Wayne McCartney from Santa Clarita, Calif., has a brother 13 months younger than he is. “When we were kids we’d spend much of our time outdoors, running through the woods at full speed and expanding our imaginations and knowledge of nature. We particularly loved finding insects in dead logs and observing their behavior and appearance. When David got to be a little older, maybe 11 or 12, he decided that an animal cemetery would be a good idea so that the deceased insects and other dead animals we found in the woods would receive a respectable burial. When it came time for the burial, my brother insisted on saying a few words

for the departed. I can’t say enough about how much that endeared me to him. We’re still the best of friends.”

Leah Dozier from Lafayette, La., is one of five and counts her younger sister as her best friend because of a childhood incident. “She had a falling out with her best friend and was heartbroken. That day, I let her lean on me, comforting her and promising to be her new best friend. Since then, we›ve been inseparable. Despite living far apart as adults, our bond remains strong. We talk on the phone regularly, always knowing we›re there for each other. Having my sister as my best friend is a true blessing, and I›m forever grateful for the childhood event that initiated our close sibling bond.»

Araceli Garcia from Santa Ana, Calif., writes, “We are four sisters. I am the eldest. The youngest is 10 years younger than me. Despite our age difference, we share an unbreakable bond. Our parents call us ‘el cuadro.’ They shaped this ‘cuadro,’ and they established the foundation. It’s rock solid. The square has four equal sides.. We are equals — despite our age, our education, how

much we make, how many kids we have, or our marital status. The square, 90 degrees on each corner, adds up to 360 degrees. This square has come full circle.”


Showing up can be a lifesaver, says Amanda Hernandez from Houston. “I’m a first generation Latina currently in medical school. I thought as I got used to medical school my imposter syndrome would go away, but it still hasn’t.” When [my team’s] poster got accepted to a research symposium in San Diego, I couldn’t believe it! I was excited to present but also nervous to travel all the way to California alone, which is funny because I’m 27. So I [asked] in the group chat I have with my brothers if anyone was free to go with me. Immediately, my youngest sibling Oscar says he’d ask for the days off. The morning of the conference, I practiced presenting to Oscar while doing my hair and makeup. The conference passed and as intimidated as I was, it went well. I spent that evening and next day

with Oscar exploring San Diego. As we watched the sea lions, we talked about how we wished the rest of our family could have come too. I know it›s a trip I›ll never forget.»


Tomas Gallegos from Denver writes, “I think a huge factor in my career has been the way that health (and navigating access to health care) affects families. Our communities, communities of color, often have less access to care, due to reasons that range from lack of insurance, language barriers, lack of early/ preventative [care], fewer providers who share your race/ethnicity/culture, or just downright skepticism of the medical profession for historical reasons – the poor outcomes are often staggering. Our community and family strength is a reflection of those outcomes, and the bonds forged through difficult situations. For me, donating a kidney to my younger brother at the age of 26 was that challenge and a gift. I don›t remember him asking – but it was a no-brainer. It›s been an intractable bond with my brother, knowing that part of me is helping keep him alive."






Julia Roberts, the iconic Academy Award-winning actress known for her dazzling smile and memorable performances, has long captivated audiences on the silver screen. But beneath the glitz and glamour lies a lesser-known side of Roberts—the compassionate philanthropist whose commitment to making a positive impact in the world is as remarkable as her acting prowess. At the pinnacle of her career, Roberts experienced a profound awakening. The vast disparity between her life of fame and fortune and the harsh realities faced by many around the globe ignited

a deep desire to use her platform for meaningful change. Roberts embarked on a transformative journey, seeking out projects and causes close to her heart.


One of the areas where Roberts has made a significant impact is in post-conflict regions. She has worked tirelessly with organizations such as UNICEF and the International Rescue Committee to rebuild the lives of those affected by war and violence. This segment explores her visits to war-torn countries, witnessing the struggles first-

hand, and the extraordinary initiatives she has spearheaded to provide aid, education, and hope to survivors.


Roberts’ dedication to environmental conservation is another aspect of her philanthropy that has garnered attention. From championing renewable energy projects to supporting wildlife conservation organizations, she has become a vocal advocate for protecting the planet. This delves into her involvement in initiatives aimed at combating

climate change and her efforts to raise awareness about the urgent need for sustainable practices.


Recognizing the importance of empowering women and girls, Roberts has been at the forefront of initiatives focused on gender equality and women’s rights. Through her work with organizations like Vital Voices and the Global Fund for Women, she has provided a voice to marginalized women and campaigned for equal opportunities. This part explores her efforts to break down barriers and foster a more inclusive world.


Beyond her financial contributions, Roberts is committed to creating lasting change. This final segment investigates her role as a philanthropist, not just as a generous donor, but as a hands-on advocate. Roberts actively participates in the projects she supports, working closely with grassroots organizations and local communities to ensure sustainable development and long-term impact.





Lauren Sánchez recently took to Instagram to shine a light on two remarkable individuals, Chef José Andrés and Van Jones, while also reflecting on the importance of their contributions to society.

Sánchez’ Instagram post captured a moment of recognition for Andrés and Jones, as recipients of the Bezos Courage and Civility Award. She highlighted the significance of their accolades and, more importantly, the profound impact of their humanitarian efforts.

“Jose Andres and Van Jones are so special. Not just because they were our first Bezos Courage and Civility Award recipients, but because of all the good

they’re doing. The three of us sat down for a chat a little over a week ago as Eva Longoria and Admiral Bill McRaven received their awards. Jeff and I are so thankful for this group of people who are making this world a better place,” she wrote.

Jose Andrés, renowned chef and founder of World Central Kitchen, has been at the forefront of disaster relief efforts worldwide, providing meals to those affected by natural disasters, conflicts, and other crises. His dedication to feeding the hungry and innovative food aid approach have earned him widespread acclaim and admiration.

Van Jones, a prominent civil rights

activist and political commentator, has tirelessly advocated for criminal justice reform and social equality. Through his work with organizations like the Dream Corps and initiatives such as #Cut50, Jones has been instrumental in driving conversations and policy changes to address systemic injustices in the United States.

The gathering referenced in Sánchez’ post, where she and her soon-to-be husband, Jeff Bezos, sat down with Andrés and Jones, as well as other honorees Eva Longoria and Admiral Bill McRaven, is a reminder that positive change is often the result of collaboration and cooperation among individuals and organiza-

tions committed to making a difference.

Beyond her role as a media figure, Sánchez is also known for her entrepreneurial endeavors, including her production company, Black Ops Aviation, and her involvement in various philanthropic initiatives. Her work reflects a deep-seated commitment to making a difference in the world and using her resources and influence for the greater good.


Whether visiting migrant children in newly built educational spaces in

Mexico or empowering female business owners selling goods in the nonprofit, fair trade shop The Little Market, Sánchez always finds ways to give forward, elevate communities and leave her positive mark on the world.

During the 2022 summer, the journalist and philanthropist traveled to Tanzania alongside the Bezos Earth Fund to enjoy the East African country’s wild beauty and support Jeff Bezos’ commitment to donate $10 billion disbursed as grants within the current decade to fighting climate change and protecting nature.

Lauren and Jeff also pledged to support recovery efforts in Maui, Hawaii. The wildfire, which scorched acres of land

and displaced families, has garnered attention from all corners of society, prompting acts of generosity from individuals and organizations alike.

In 2023, Sánchez, accompanied by her children, embarked on a meaningful journey to Tijuana to provide much-needed assistance and support to those facing challenging circumstances.

Crossing borders both physically and metaphorically, the media personality and philanthropist joined forces with the organization “This Is About Humanity” to lend a hand and positively impact the lives of children living in shelters.




Claudia Sheinbaum, who will be Mexico’s first woman leader in the nation’s more than 200 years of independence, captured the presidency by promising continuity.

The 61-year-old former Mexico City mayor and lifelong leftist ran a disciplined campaign capitalizing on her predecessor’s popularity before emerging victorious in Sunday’s vote, according to an official quick count. But with her victory now in hand, Mexicans will look to see how Sheinbaum, a very different personality from mentor and current President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, will assert herself.

While she hewed close to López Obrador politically and shares many of his ideas about the government’s role in addressing inequality, she is viewed as less combative and more data driven.

Sheinbaum’s background is in science. She has a Ph.D. in energy engineering. Her brother is a physicist. In a 2023 interview with The Associated Press, Sheinbaum said, “I believe in science.”

Observers say that grounding showed itself in Sheinbaum’s actions as mayor during the COVID-19 pandemic, when her city of some 9 million people took a different approach from what López Obrador espoused at the national level.

While the federal government was downplaying the importance of coronavirus testing, Mexico City expanded its testing regimen. Sheinbaum set limits on businesses’ hours and capacity when the virus was rapidly spreading, even though López Obrador wanted to avoid any measures that would hurt the economy. And she publicly wore protective masks and urged social distancing while the president was still lunging into crowds.

Mexico’s persistently high levels of violence will be one of her most immediate challenges after she takes office Oct. 1. On the campaign trail she said little

more than that she would expand the quasi-military National Guard created by López Obrador and continue his strategy of targeting social ills that make so many young Mexicans easy targets for cartel recruitment.

“Let it be clear, it doesn’t mean an iron fist, wars or authoritarianism,” Sheinbaum said of her approach to tackling criminal gangs, during her final

campaign event. “We will promote a strategy of addressing the causes and continue moving toward zero impunity.”

Sheinbaum has praised López Obrador profusely and said little that the president hasn’t said himself. She blamed neo-liberal economic policies for condemning millions to poverty, promised a strong welfare state and praised Mexico’s large state-owned oil company,

Pemex, while also promising to emphasize clean energy.

“For me, being from the left has to do with that, with guaranteeing the minimum rights to all residents,” Sheinbaum told the AP last year.

Sheinbaum will also be the first person from a Jewish background to lead the overwhelmingly Catholic country.





The United States’ Vice President Kamala Harris launched the “Dignity in Documentation Initiative” at the White House, marking the “International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict” where she spoke of the gender-based violence in conflicts around the world including Israel, Gaza, South Sudan, Haiti and Iraq.

In recent years, the international community has made great progress on recognizing that the issue of conflict-related sexual violence is an attack on peace, stability and human rights.

“It is the responsibility of all of us – governments, international organizations, civil society and individual citizens – to

actively confront conflict-related sexual violence and to work to rid our world of this heinous crime,” Harris said, “and to do what is necessary to hold perpetrators accountable.”

The initiative will support UN efforts to end conflict–related sexual violence as well as increase women’s leadership through the Women, Peace and Security Incentive Fund, among others.

In the days after the October 7th attack in Israel by Hamas, Harris said she saw images of bloodied Israeli women who were abducted to Gaza.

“Then it came to light that Hamas committed rape and gang rape at the

Nova music festival and women’s bodies were found naked from the waist down, hands tied behind their back and shot in the head,” she added.

Harris said she heard stories from a former hostage of what she witnessed and heard in captivity, and she also met with a survivor who came forward with her account of sexual violence while she was held captive by Hamas.

“These testimonies, I fear, will only increase as more hostages are released. We cannot look away and we will not be silent,” Harris said. “My heart breaks for all these survivors and their families and for all the pain and suffering over the past eight months in Israel and in Gaza.”




Simone Biles is a four-time Olympic champion from Rio 2016, but her Tokyo 2020 went unexpectedly after she developed a case of the ‘twisties,’ which saw her lose awareness while performing her skills in the air.

She took a two-year break from gymnastics to work on her mental health, returning in 2023 to win the U.S. national all-around crown. She also qualified for the World Championships, where she won four gold medals to indicate she was well and truly back.

The term “greatest of all time” may be overused, but it is a title that applies to


Biles. Her 23 World Championship golds and 30 total medals are more than any other gymnast in history, and only the foolish would write off Biles adding to her four Olympic golds in Paris.


Sha’Carri Richardson is finally set for her Olympic debut in Paris after a turbulent young track career. She was highly touted as one of the USA’s big young stars to watch ahead of Tokyo 2020, but at the U.S. Trials in 2021 she tested positive for cannabis, a substance banned under World Anti-Doping Agency rules, and was handed a one-month suspension.

That cost her a spot on the American team for Tokyo.

After a disappointing 2022, which saw the Dallas native miss out on a home World Championships, the 23-yearold – who turns 24 later this month – Richardson bounced back in the best way possible, announcing herself on the world stage at the 2023 World Championships in Hungary.

There, she won the women’s 100m in a new Championship record 10.65 and was part of the winning 4x100m U.S. team, as well as taking 200m bronze. With so much attention on the women’s

sprints and Florence Griffith-Joyner’s long-standing world records under threat, many eyes will be on Richardson in Paris.


It took Katie Ledecky a moment to get the statistic straight, which is relatable for anyone who’s ever tried to quantify Ledecky's greatness.

Ledecky was watching NBC’s coverage of U.S. Olympic Trials from her hotel in Indianapolis on one of her nights off last week. She had to pause when the announcers mentioned that if Ledecky wins the 800 freestyle at the Paris Olympics this summer, it would make her the first woman to win four straight gold medals in the same event.

“And I was like, wait, I would?,” Ledecky shared Sunday. “These things kind of go

in one ear and out the other.”

Some of that is just a matter of volume – Ledecky has won so often and for so long that she requires new echelons of achievement that only she populates. But it also speaks to how Ledecky arrived here: By eschewing concern about her legacy or her accolades and applying her legendarily laser focus onto immediate, granular goals.






Black country artists certainly have a lot to thank Beyoncé for, but the 32-time Grammy winner has expressed deep gratitude in return.

In a feature for The Hollywood Reporter, published three months after the release of her groundbreaking eighth album, Cowboy Carter, Beyoncé highlighted the talented artists she included on the project. Among them were Tiera Kennedy, Brittney Spencer, and Shaboozey. Notably, Shaboozey’s “A Bar Song (Tipsy)” soared to No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs chart, following the success of Beyoncé›s own track, “Texas Hold ‘Em.”

Beyoncé, clearly attentive to the success her Cowboy Carter collaborators have

achieved, applauded them in a statement to THR.

“When you are breaking down barriers, not everyone is ready and open for a shift. But when I see Shaboozey tearing the charts up and all the beautiful female country singers flying to new heights, inspiring the world, that is exactly what motivates me,” Beyoncé told the publication.

“There was a time in my life when charts and sales excited and motivated me. Once you have challenged yourself and poured every ounce of your life, your pain, your growth and your dreams into your art, it’s impossible to go backward,” continued Beyoncé. “I’m very grateful and humbled for the extraordinary suc-

cess of the new album.”

The singer also hinted at her next album, saying she’s “honored to introduce so many people to the roots of so many genres.” Many fans speculate that she’s ending her trio album run, which began with Renaissance, with a rock-focused album.

She concluded, “I’m so thrilled that my fans trusted me. The music industry gatekeepers are not happy about the idea of bending genres, especially coming from a Black artist and definitely not a woman.”

Upon its release, Cowboy Carter achieved the year's biggest Spotify debut and reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200, earning 407,000 equivalent album units in the U.S.






The smashing success of the Eras Tour hasn’t just been a boon for Taylor Swift and her team; it’s also given a boost to the economies of the cities it passes through.

The survey company QuestionPro estimated that the tour could generate close to $5 billion in consumer spending in the U.S. alone as Swifties travel far and wide to see the pop star live, spending money on travel, accommodations, food and, of course, merch.

Swift’s superstardom is nothing new, but she’s managed to reach even greater heights this past year. With the release of Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) in July 2023, she became the first woman to

have four albums on Billboard’s Top 10 chart simultaneously. The rerecorded album was also Swift’s 12th record to reach No. 1, more than any other female artist in history.

Just last month, Swift’s Album of the Year Grammy win for Midnights made her the only artist to win the accolade four times. (Stevie Wonder, Frank Sinatra and Paul Simon comprise the small list of people who have won three times.)

Swift even made America’s most popular sport more relevant when she began dating Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. Throughout the 2023 NFL season, viewership among teen girls

increased 53 percent as glimpses of Swift cheering on Kelce provided a new reason to tune in.

According to Apex Marketing Group, the pop star generated $331.5 million in “brand value” for the Chiefs and the NFL.

The Chiefs’ February 11 Super Bowl win against the San Francisco 49ers is the most-watched telecast of all time, and it’s safe to say that Swift had a hand in that.

What if we told you none of it was accidental? We’re dealing with a mastermind, after all.




On the day after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the new King Charles III bestowed on William, his eldest son and heir, the courtesy title of Prince of Wales. His wife, Catherine, formerly the Duchess of Cambridge, became Princess of Wales, a title that has been held by some of the most impactful, daring, and glamorous figures in the British Royal family.

“It’s hard to choose a favorite because almost all of them have their own interesting personal stories,” says Deborah Fisher, who lives in the Vale of Glamorgan in Wales and is the author of Princesses of Wales and Royal Wales.

The new Princess of Wales joins one of the most exclusive clubs in the world. Though there have been 22 modern Princes of Wales, there have only been 10 Princesses of Wales (some would count Queen Camilla as the eleventh, but because she never used the title, she is often not included). Female heirs to the throne are not bestowed the title, so it can be given only through marriage to the male heir.

Those who held the title are Joan of Kent, (1361–1376), Anne Neville (1470–1471), Catherine of Aragon (1501–1502), Caroline of Ansbach (1714–1727), Augusta of Saxe-GothaAltenburg (1736–1751), Caroline of Brunswick (1795–1820), Alexandra of Denmark (1863-

1901), Mary of Teck (1901–1910), Diana Spencer (1981–1997), and Kate Middleton (2022–present).

These Princesses, who often infused the monarchy with new blood and superior intelligence, have long been a source of fascination and scandalous gossip. “Over the centuries there have been long gaps where there was no Princess of Wales,” Fisher explains. “Thus, every woman who holds the title gets fresh media attention.”

Controversy has also long trailed the titles Prince and Princess of Wales since they are essentially stolen remnants of war spoils (last year’s petition calling for the abolition of the Wales title currently has over 40,000 signatures). In the 1280s, England’s King Edward I successfully conquered Wales, and the Welsh ruler Llywelyn the Last was killed in battle. His infant daughter, Gwenllian, the last native-born Princess of Wales, was captured by King Edward I and sent to a convent in England, where she died in 1337.

The final nail in the coffin of Welsh independence came in 1301, when King Edward I named his eldest son, Edward of Caernarfon (who had been born in Wales months after his father conquered the country), the Prince of Wales. Historians believe that this was a way of cementing English power in Wales

and making it clear who was now in charge.

It is this heavy, layered history that the current Princess of Wales has inherited. “You might say she has big shoes to fill, but I think that her position is less challenging than Princess Diana’s was for several reasons: she has a very happy marriage, she knew what she was letting herself in for by the time she joined the royal family, and she’s had more time to think about her role,” Fisher says.

However, although William and Catherine spent the first three years of married life living in Anglesey in Wales, Fisher hopes the new Princess of Wales will embrace the title more publicly.

“Even though she has lived in Wales and knows the people, it doesn’t seem to me that the title is as important to her as it was to Diana, who recognized her Welsh connection as a potential source of popular support,” Fisher says.

“I hope that Kate will see its potential in due course.”

And so, the Princess of Wales, queen-in-waiting, walks a tightrope, forever expected to not upstage the current king and queen while serving as a glamorous ambassador for the monarchy. “She does have the ‘common touch’ and the humility that we associate with Diana, as well as much of the glamour and dignity,” Fisher says. “So, I believe she can hold her own.”




Amal Clooney revealed on Monday that she had reviewed the International Criminal Court prosecutor’s investigation that led to the request for arrest warrants for three Hamas leaders and two Israeli leaders, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

Clooney, a prominent British lawyer, specializes in international law and human rights. She has appeared before the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice, where she has represented victims of mass atrocities.

On Monday, she said in a statement that she was a member of an eight-person

panel of legal and academic experts convened in January by the International Criminal Court at the request of its prosecutor, Karim Khan, to review his investigation into possible crimes committed in the conflict.

For this investigation, the panel was asked to determine if the prosecutor’s applications for arrest warrants met the International Criminal Court’s standard. Specifically, the group was asked whether there were “reasonable grounds to believe” that those named in the warrant applications had committed crimes within the court’s jurisdiction, including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The panel unanimously concluded that there were such grounds, and published a report on Monday detailing their findings. Clooney said in a statement that the panel “engaged in an extensive process of evidence review and legal analysis,” before reaching its decision.

“The law that protects civilians in war was developed more than 100 years ago and it applies in every country in the world regardless of the reasons for a conflict,” Clooney said. “As a human rights lawyer, I will never accept that one child’s life has less value than another’s.”



Shakira is opening up about one of the most difficult moments of her life. The Colombian singer shared her thoughts about her separation, following a successful musical comeback, and revealed how she is feeling at the moment, giving an insight into the friendships she has built after starting a new life in Miami and calling it quits with her ex Gerard Piqué.

During her recent interview with Rolling Stone, Shakira shared details about the following moments after the separation, including the celebrity friends that showed support for her, including Adele, who had recently gone through a divorce herself.

Shakira said that it was Adele and John Mayer who called her to check up on

her after news about the separation went public. It seems Shakira became quick friends with Adele after she showed her support, apart from commenting publicly on the controversial separation at the time.






Jean Smart’s allyship to the LGBTQ+ community has gone hand-in-hand with her amazing four-decade-plus career on stage and screen.

In fact, her first New York theater credit was playing a lesbian in the play Last Summer at Bluefish Cove. And years before her current Emmy-winning role on HBO Max’s Hacks — playing the fictional comedy legend Deborah Vance who has a complicated relationship with her bisexual writing partner Ava (played by Hannah Einbinder) — Smart became known to the world as Charlene FrazierStillfield on the 1980s sitcom Designing Women.

The popular series was one of the first

to address the topic of HIV/AIDS on network television, an issue close to the actress’s heart.

When Smart was honored for her dedication to the queer community earlier this year by the Human Rights Campaign, she spoke of a close friend who had died at the height of the AIDS crisis. She was living in Los Angeles at the time and traveled to New York to be with him during his final days and recalled being shocked and saddened that his own mother had refused to see him. “I sat with him, and I held his hand,” she said. “He was barely conscious, and he was on oxygen. And I really didn’t think that he knew that I was there. But later I

learned from his dear friend that after I left, he whispered, ‘I feel so loved.’”

In her acceptance speech Smart added that “in a world where children are starving and dying because of war, it seems insane and beyond understanding that any of us should be concerned with someone else’s sexuality.”

Smart also commented to The Advocate on her relationship to the LGBTQ+ community: “I have had gay friends for a very, very long time — some of the most important people in my life. My career began playing a lesbian. The fact that these people are still misunderstood is not right. But it’s changing — slowly, but it’s changing.”



A Gallup poll last year found that half of American teens say they spend more than four hours each day on social media. The uptick in social media use has correlated with a spike in rates of anxiety and depression among young people. This summer, the U.S. surgeon general issued an advisory warning of possible mental health harms caused by social media, and New York City Mayor Eric Adams has declared social media to be an “environmental toxin.”

The New York Attorney General Letitia James is attempting a new approach to address social media companies’ seemingly unlimited ability to shape kids’ experience of their lives and relationships. She’s setting aside content regulation (e.g. banning content that encourages dangerous behavior) and instead targeting the mechanism itself: the social media

algorithm. Sometimes called the “newsfeed” or the “infinite scroll,” the algorithm is the system by which the social media platform serves up content to the user that they haven’t directly sought out. The algorithms are informed by the user’s own data, and their goal is to keep the user engaged on the platform for as long as possible.

In close collaboration with the offices of Sen. Andrew Gounardes and Assembly Member Nily Rozic, the state attorney general is proposing two measures:

The Stop Addictive Feeds Exploitation (SAFE) for Kids Act would target social media algorithms, prohibiting addictive feeds for kids under 18 without parental consent. It would also prohibit social media apps from sending notifications to kids’ phones between 12 a.m. and 6 a.m. without parental consent. The SAFE for

Kids Act would give the attorney general the power to seek $5,000 in damages from the companies for each violation.

The Child Data Protection Act would prohibit companies from collecting personal data of kids under 12 without parental consent and that of kids under 18 without informed consent. Social media companies would have to apply privacy protections when they know that a user is a child, and they would be prohibited from making their services undesirable or unusable to people who don’t consent to the harvesting of their private information.

Both bills have support from Gov. Kathy Hochul, and James told a roundtable that they are expected to be considered as part of this year’s state budget bills – not as standalone bills.




Coco Gauff will never forget the utter elation she felt last September when her backhand winner flew by Aryna Sabalenka at the U.S. Open final to give her, at 19 years old, her first Grand Slam championship. “It was like a drug,” Gauff says. “I’ve never felt anything like that.” And this is coming from a person who has bungee jumped off Sky Tower, New Zealand’s tallest building—twice.

Gauff wants to feel that championship high again. “That’s the motivation that drives me,” she says. “I’m sure the ‘Face of Tennis’ and glitz and glam will come along with that. But I don’t really care about any of that. I really just care about how many of those major trophies I can get in my house.”

The phenom fell just short in January,

when she lost in the semis of the Australian Open. But Gauff’s triumphs have already fulfilled the promise she first showed at 15 in 2019, when she advanced to the fourth round of Wimbledon. Some pundits expected more majors from her sooner, but Gauff progressed at her own pace. And now, according to Sportico, she’s the world’s highest-paid female athlete. The more than $22 million Gauff earned in 2023, mostly from endorsements, is a point of pride.

“Being a Black woman, in a sport that isn’t as diverse as others are, it definitely means a lot to me,” she says.

Having an activist in the family— Gauff’s grandmother was the first Black student at her Delray Beach, Fla., high school in 1961—has shaped

her perspective. In the days following the murder of George Floyd in 2020, Gauff posted about the injustice on social media and spoke at a protest. “It was to the point where I was crying about it, because I felt like I had to say something,” she says. She addressed the crowd in Delray Beach: “If you are choosing silence, you’re choosing the side of the oppressor.”

Gauff turned 20 in March. “It’s crazy to think that I’m not a teenager anymore,” she says. “So much of my career, people have called me the teenaged this, teenaged that.” But she knows she’s still early in her journey. “At first, I was scared to grow up,” she admits. “But now I’m embracing adulthood. There’s always going to be change needed in this world. I hope I can play a small part.”



Lily Tuzroyluke sought to write a story that could pass down, “so much traditional wisdom that I was given.”

Tuzroyluke’s debut novel “Sivulliq: Ancestor” is a part of the Library of Congress’ Great Read from Great States list. The historical thriller follows the story of a Iñupiaq family on the hunt to find their child who was kidnapped by Yankee whalers. The story is set against a backdrop of Smallpox, the Alaska wilderness and the whaling industry in the late 1800’s.

Tuzroyluke's work in tribal government allowed her to explore part of her culture, and provided background of the story.

“That gave me this incredible opportunity to listen to elders and whaling captains and hunters. My peoples who are continuing on subsistence whaling. That was really a strong foundation into me writing a story,” Tuzroyluke said.

Tuzroyluke turned to writing as an outlet after her son was diagnosed with autism and she had to leave Point Hope for Anchorage to provide him the services he needed. While she mourned having to leave her first love of tribal government, Tuzroyluke credits her son for giving her the strength to step into professional writing.

“He gave me courage to dive into an-

other life path and it’s been glorious,” Tuzroyluke said. “I had mentors in tribal government, one of them being Roy Luke Jr, my great uncle.”

I told him, I want to write a book and he said, “Well, there’s been a lot of books about Point Hope, about our village,” which is true because historically it’s an ancient settlement. Then he said, “but none of them have been written by our people, by none of them have been written by somebody that’s from Point Hope,’ and that really stuck with me. That was his way of teaching, letting me come to the realizations that that a book needs to be written by one of our peoples.




Jacqueline Coleman made it a mission early on to ensure her social studies students understood government.

In her second term as Kentucky’s lieutenant governor, she’s still educating, but her audience has shifted. At the Kentucky Capitol she pushes to elevate students’ voices and needs so that lawmakers understand what’s best for children across the commonwealth.

In her first term, she was the driving force behind waiving the GED fee. The cost was often a barrier to individuals who needed to take that test to expand job prospects. She also pushed for a student-led mental health initiative, which has garnered more than $40 million in federal funding for Kentucky based

schools. That covers about half the counties in Kentucky, she said, and her work isn’t done until every Kentucky child has those resources in their school.

In her second term, she’s eying universal pre-kindergarten for Kentucky's fouryear-olds. The logic there is simple, she says, and it’s one way to intervene in the school-to-prison pipeline. Third grade literacy rates forecast prison populations, and kindergarten readiness is what forecasts third grade literacy rates. Access to pre-K determines kindergarten readiness.

Coleman is the state’s highest-elected teacher and says she became an accidental advocate because she saw firsthand how much her school needed and how many students were missing out on op-

portunities because of a lack of funding.

But it wasn’t until the education uproar in the statehouse in 2018 when legislation threatened Kentucky teachers’ pensions that Coleman really dove in. She knew the attorney general, now Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, could stop the legislature from taking their pensions. Her conversations with Beshear led Coleman to be his running mate in the 2019 election.

When Coleman was teaching in the classroom, she had about 100 students per year that she could impact.

Now from the statehouse, the scope is so much bigger. She feels responsible for every child in Kentucky schools.




The first time we meet Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma, it’s around 14 minutes and 11 seconds into Bridgerton season two, episode one. She’s not promenading, or enjoying tea in a drawing room, or standing along the perimeter of a ballroom, eyes sparkling, waiting to dance. She is cloaked and speeding through the forest on a horse. That is, until Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) interrupts her solo jaunt.

Which is all to say that that chance runin turned horse race in the countryside spun into a complex whirlwind romance between Mr. and Mrs. Bridgerton, or as fans lovingly call them, #Kanthony. And as the new viscountess, Kate has already got her pulse on everything.

What some Bridgerton fans and viewers may not know is that just as Kate Bridgerton wasn’t always Kate Bridgerton, Kate Sharma wasn’t always, well, Kate Sharma. She was named Kate Sheffield in the books, and it was the Bridgerton series’ producing team who re-imagined the mesmerizing, headstrong character as a woman of South Asian descent in their multiracial world set in London high society in the 1800s.

In season three of Bridgerton, Ashley passed the leading-lady torch to Nicola Coughlan, who plays Penelope Featherington. Although, as in the title of the third season’s first episode, you could say both Kate Bridgerton and Simone Ashley are indeed “out of the shadows.” Just like Kate, Ashley is growing too — within the world of Bridgerton and outside of it.

Ashley — known for her role as bubblegum-blowing Olivia Hanan in the Netflix comedy-drama Sex Education and, more recently, in Disney’s live-action movie The Little Mermaid as one of Ariel’s sisters, Indira — is only rising. With her upcoming indie thriller This Tempting Madness and the British romantic comedy Picture This coming out this fall, she now shares something in common with Shonda Rhimes for the first time: the role of executive producer. Yet she’s still thriving in the ton.

The major theme of season two for Kate

was duty versus desire, but they are one and the same for Ashley, who feels it’s her duty to pursue any and all types of roles she desires. While getting ready and glammed up for the Bridgerton season three premiere in New York, Ashley chatted with Shondaland about returning to our screens in season three, what she imagines #Kanthony’s off-screen wedding and honeymoon looked like, her current state at and outside of work, how lust to love has never worked for her, and Kate stepping into her queen mother (!) era.

MBN: The Bridgertons love Kate. I love that they don’t call her sister-in-law — they call her sister. Why do you think they love her so much? And do you have any advice for people on how to be the greatest in-law of all time, like Kate?

SA: That’s a great question. I think the beauty about Bridgerton is it really is all about family. I think it stems from their love of Anthony and him being the eldest brother. I would say he is maybe one of the more emotional brothers. So, whoever he loves, I’m sure his siblings [will] come to love as well.

Also, I think Kate is just a very self-realized woman. She’s very kind and grounded, and I think that vibe is endearing for people. I hope that that’s why they fall in love with her.

MBN: You’ve been very vocal about representation and colorism, and it’s resonated with so many people. But how did you decide what to share, when to share it, and how to share it?

SA: I don’t really think about it that much, if I’m honest. I think authenticity and coming from a very genuine place means a lot to me. So, if I feel it, then I say it. I think from the beginning, I’ve always been vocal. Sometimes I choose to articulate myself even more. It’s a balance. I want to be seen as an everyday woman. And also, I understand we are in an era where maybe I can’t be seen as the everyday woman. One day, I’m like, “Hey, I love my brown skin, and I’m glowing every single day, and I feel that way.” Some days, I’m just like, “I also can just be whoever I want to be, and my skin doesn’t define me.” Do you know what I


MBN: I didn’t know this until I looked into it a little bit, but when you got on Bridgerton, you also set up your own yet-to-be-named production company. What is one thing in your dream industry-company world that you would say, “This is what I want to implement”?

SA: Yeah, great question. I actually have a movie coming out this September. It’s called Picture This. I’m a set producer, and I actually had a voice on that production. It starts from the top down. How you hold yourself and how you show up to work really does trickle down throughout all the different members of the crew and everyone around you. Diversity. Equality. I love to go on sets where we all believe in one another because then that helps us all believe in the movie. Fairness. People being heard.

I love working with directors that see me beyond cultural specificity. As much as I love doing productions and movies where I do lean into my heritage and it is culturally specific, I’m also so ambitious and want to fulfill many different characters and roles. I love being part of productions where my performances are seen as a universal feeling that anyone can relate to, and it doesn’t matter what anyone looks like or what their background might be, if that makes sense.

MBN: Okay, this one is random. But you sing, and I did not know this! You started out in musical theater. What is your dream Broadway role?

SA: Gosh, there’s so many: Evita, Cabaret, Sweeney Todd. Oh, my goodness. What else? Ragtime. Oh, oh, oh! You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Kristin Chenoweth is amazing in that, and I used to sing all the songs from that production. We used to sing a song called “The Glamorous Life” all the time. I really looked up to Audra McDonald. I thought she was amazing.




Melinda French Gates is already one of the biggest philanthropic supporters of gender equity in the United States and is now poised to put another $12.5 billion toward intractable problems like closing the gender pay gap and increasing women’s political participation, her grantees hope.

The additional funds come as French Gates announced Monday that she was stepping down as co-chair of the Gates Foundation, which she founded together with her ex-husband Bill Gates more than 20 years ago. Gates will provide the $12.5 billion as part of an agreement made when they divorced.

Organizations like Paid Leave For All, founded in 2019 to coordinate advocacy around passing federal paid leave legislation, said French Gates’ steady support over years as well as her advocacy to highlight the issue, counterbalance other funders who have been slow to back fights like theirs that challenge sexism in compensation and benefits.

While no one knows exactly what French Gates’ future plans are, Huckelbridge’s organization and other grantees anticipate she will use the funds as part of her focused advocacy and philanthropic support for increasing the power and influence of women.

“This amount of money to be moved into a space, even with just a standard 5% draw, is going to be so significant,” said Teresa Younger, president and CEO of the Ms. Foundation for Women, which supports the women’s movement and the movement for gender equality in the U.S. The Ms. Foundation’s research has documented the disproportionately small amount of philanthropic dollars that support nonprofits led by women of color or that support Black women and girls, especially.




She’s the third most decorated American gymnast in history, winning six Olympic medals as captain of the legendary 2012 “Fierce Five” and 2016 “Final Five” teams.

She empowered millions of girls and women across the globe when she came forward with her experience of sexual abuse at the hands of a former USA gymnastics doctor, who, with the testimony of Raisman and more than 100 other athletes, will never be able to abuse another person again.

She wrote her first children’s book, “From My Head to My Toes,” to teach kids about the importance of consent and body autonomy. It was published April 2 during child abuse prevention month.

But when we asked Raisman, 29, to share what she’s most proud of today, she didn’t tout the gold medals or national praise for speaking her truth, as hard as it was

and still is. Instead, she said she’s most proud of having the courage to explore who she is outside of the career that has defined her since she could walk.

“My parents always used to tell me when I was younger that people will remember me for the kind of person I am, not what place I am on the podium,” Raisman said. “I never really understood that, but as I get farther away from my gymnastics career, I’m very grateful for it.”

These days, you’ll find Raisman growing cucumbers in her garden, reading murder mysteries, listening to Taylor Swift on repeat and re-watching “Grey’s Anatomy.” You won’t find her playing other sports though, because she says she’s “surprisingly uncoordinated outside of gymnastics.”

Above all, Raisman is working on breaking free from a vicious cycle of self-scru-

tiny. She listened to a podcast recently that got her thinking.

“It said, ‘How often do we take a photo of a beautiful sunset and the picture doesn’t do it justice? Think about that the next time you see a photo of yourself and you don’t like it,’” Raisman recalled. “I’m going to keep that with me. I’m trying to be kinder and less hard on myself, which is easier said than done. But it’s a work in progress.”

Although her goals today won’t win her any medals, she says they’re just as important and rewarding.

“I want to be a good daughter, a good older sister, a good dog mom, a good friend – and of course, a good role model,” Raisman continued. “And I want people to remember me for making sports safer and normalizing really hard conversations.”




Beverly Hills, three days after the Oscars. Hollywood’s glitziest caravan has rolled through town and the dust is still settling. Oppenheimer has exploded, Emma Stone’s dress has ripped, Ryan Gosling has crooned ‘I’m Just Ken’ in a bright pink suit.

Kristen Wiig was nowhere near any of it. Instead, she was at her home up the road, secluded from the jamboree with her husband, Avi Rothman, also a comedian, writer and actor, and their four-year-old

twins, Shiloh and Luna. ‘I love to watch the Oscars from my couch,’ she says. ‘It’s nice to go, once in a while. But it’s nice to be in your sweatpants and socks.’

Wiig, who at 50 may well be America’s pre-eminent comic actress, appears to have achieved something close to nirvana for a film star: not just the freedom to take the roles that suit her, but also the perspective to know what she doesn’t want to do. Sitting in an armchair at the Four Seasons, in a oversized burgundy

tailored jacket, ox-blood leather trousers and heels, she is in promo-glam mode, but it has not been her focus in recent years.

She made her reputation as an improviser and then as a sketch performer on Saturday Night Live, via some memorable small film roles, before breaking out with Bridesmaids, the raucous 2011 comedy she co-wrote and starred in as part of a comic phalanx including Melissa McCarthy, Rose Byrne, Maya Rudolph

and Rebel Wilson. Wiig played Annie, who suffers a series of mishaps after she is asked to be maid of honor for her best friend. Her performance was a masterpiece of dishevelment and comic timing and made her a bona fide international star. Others might use such a platform to swing for an Oscar or become a production mogul. Wiig has used it to slow down and maintain a healthy distance from the frenzy.

‘I can’t just pack up and go across the world somewhere for months and months,’ she says. ‘Things change as to what you want to do – and how much you want to work, to be honest.’

It is surprising to hear someone so in demand openly prioritize parenting, considering the usual be-busy-at-all-costs Hollywood treadmill. ‘Oh gosh, I just don’t want to be away,’ she says. ‘People say, “[Your children] are so young, they won’t remember.” But I want to be there. This time [in the children’s lives] is almost addictive.’

Wiig’s new project, Palm Royale, a 10-part series for Apple TV+ set in late-1960s Florida, fits her requirements perfectly. Based on Mr and Mrs American Pie, a 2018 novel by Juliet McDaniel, Palm Royale is a comedy-drama centered on an exclusive Palm Beach members’ club. Wiig stars as Maxine Simmons, an outsider from Tennessee desperate to be accepted by this bitchy but beautifully dressed society. In the first scene, she climbs over the back wall of the club, rights herself and emerges from the bushes ready to mingle: Becky Sharp, with better tailoring and more poolside cocktails. Although set in Florida, the show was largely filmed within LA County, so Wiig could return home at the end of every day.

The cast is impressive even by the standards of Wiig’s previous ensembles. Allison Janney plays Evelyn, the queen bee of the club, who instantly sees through Maxine’s façade. Laura Dern plays a worthy hippy, Linda, who tries to persuade Maxine that the feminist and civil rights movements can offer her something more meaningful than frocks

and fundraising galas.

Ricky Martin, better known as the pop singer who gave the world Livin’ la Vida Loca, plays a bartender who has to keep his homosexuality guarded. Kaia Gerber, Cindy Crawford’s 22-year-old model daughter, appears as an ingénue nail technician.

While Palm Royale looks and sounds exuberant, over its 10 episodes the gloss gives way to something darker and more explicitly political. President Nixon and the Vietnam War, lurking in the background, remind the audience that there is a world beyond the manicured lawns, while a show about Florida’s high society can’t help but bring to mind Mar-a-Lago, now Donald Trump’s resort there.

‘Oh God, don’t ask Trump questions,’ Wiig jokes. ‘I think there’s a nod to Mar-a-Lago in there. We didn’t want to hit anybody over the head politically, but at the same time we touch on a lot of important things. I don’t think you can do a show about 1969 without mentioning reproductive rights and the Vietnam War.’

For McDaniel, who started writing the book in 2016, it was expressly a response to the rise of Donald Trump. ‘It’s definitely speaking to how, if we’re not careful, we’re going to go very hard, very fast, backwards [on reproductive rights],’ she says. In the very first episode of the series, Maxine realizes that a feminist group might be able to help a society friend of hers get an abortion.

Maxine, who steals, lies and blackmails in her quest for acceptance, is not an easy character to admire, but Wiig gives her unexpected warmth. Her gift for physical expression means we root for her even as she is plundering a helpless old lady’s jewelry. We may not think the ends justify the means, but Wiig persuades us that they do to Maxine.

‘We didn’t want to show a bunch of rich people running around,’ she says. ‘These people want more and more and more, and there’s such an emptiness in that. On the surface they’re just going to lunch and having lobster and martinis and you

think that’s wonderful. But they’re miserable on some level.

‘It was so important that it wasn’t just about this lady who was trying to go from A to B, because who cares?’ she adds. ‘It could be funny for an episode, but there had to be so many other things. On paper that character could be so unlikeable, so I was trying to find that likeability where you’re rooting for someone who wants something that seems so shallow. The greatest comedies have heart or pain. You have to have that other side to appreciate the funny stuff.

‘So many of the themes are so relatable today, the simplest one being the characters desperately doing everything they can just to belong.’

McDaniel, who visited the set during filming, says Wiig adds a sweetness to the character that wasn’t on the page. ‘In my book Maxine is more openly conniving,’ she says. ‘When Kristen plays her there’s just this warmth about her. You instantly want her to succeed. She’s fantastic at playing these characters who are a chaotic mess but with incredible purpose and ultimately lovable.’

In person Wiig is warm and thoughtful, quieter and more measured than on screen. Unlike many other comic actors, especially those who came up through stand-up, she is not boisterous or commanding one-on-one. She says she has always preferred being a collaborative rather than competitive performer. At the Golden Globes earlier this year, her skit with Will Ferrell when they presented an award together proved that her gift for riffing with a co-star is intact. But in conversation she is more hesitant, second-guessing herself, imagining how what she says will look written down. And, she says, ‘If I ever have to talk in front of more than four people, I get nervous or self-conscious.

‘If I’m on stage in a wig and I’m someone else, those nerves are rerouted. Being in character is so much easier.




Gloriann Sacha Antonetty Lebrón’s desire to create was homegrown.

The multi-hyphenate launched Revista Étnica, the first publication in Puerto Rico dedicated to amplifying the voices and stories of Afro-Latinx people across identity, intersectionality and generation.

The magazine, which celebrated its fifth anniversary in December, is her way of paying tribute to the community she grew up in.

Antonetty Lebrón was never able to encounter the beauty she saw in the women of her family, her friends and her self when she looked in the mirror captured in the magazines available to her.

A younger Antonetty Lebrón made her dreams a reality by drawing inspiration from an explosion of creativity she witnessed in the ‘90s, one in which Black people were creating things of beauty across music and television.

She was also sent magazines like Ebony

and Essence from family members, who knew how important representation in media was to her.

Antonetty Lebrón was able to eventually identify, vocalize and decide that she wanted to walk down this path.

The opportunity to create a platform dedicated to “capturing the essence and memory of a Black community” by way of words, images, music and stories in the face of racism has been gratifying.



One of 12 children and born into what she herself has described as “dirt poor” poverty in rural Tennessee, the multi-talented Dolly Parton continues to be a groundbreaker and trailblazer. Singer, songwriter, actor, entrepreneur and philanthropist, there is nothing that seems beyond her reach.

Over the past half century of her career, Parton has racked up incredible accomplishments. She has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, won 15 Grammy Awards, is in the Country Music Hall of Fame, and heads an entertainment empire that includes the famed Dollywood theme park.

Late last year, Parton capitalized on her 2022 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and released her very first rock album. Her 49th solo album titled Rockstar contains several collaborations with other living legends in music, including Elton John, Sting, and surviv-

ing Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. The album also included Parton’s version of Wrecking Ball, a collaboration with her gal pal Miley Cyrus and through whom she has reached entirely new audiences.

Parton’s philanthropy is also part of the power that she pulls off so humbly. Her Dollywood Foundation’s program to empower children to read, Imagination Library, has distributed more than 200 million books into the homes of the youngest readers. She also provides scholarships and established My People Fund to help recovery efforts from those affected by wildfires in 2016 that devastated the area where she grew up.

And while Parton is well-known for practicing a philosophy in life to love everyone, in a most unfortunate turn recently, an extremist writer decided to take aim at Parton for professing religious beliefs and at the same time

supporting equality for LGBTQ+ people. Labeling Parton a “cultural Christian” who “condones immoral sexual behavior” and preaches a “false gospel,” the diatribe created an immediate firestorm. Parton has been a vocal and long-time supporter of LGBTQ+ rights, including supporting marriage equality. The blowback to the assault on Parton was swift and universal, causing the writer to walk back her vitriolic attack.

She told E! News: “They know that I completely love and accept them, as I do all people,” she said. “I’ve struggled enough in my life to be appreciated and understood. I’ve had to go against all kinds of people through the years just to be myself. I think everybody should be allowed to be who they are, and to love who they love. I don’t think we should be judgmental. Lord, I’ve got enough problems of my own to pass judgment on somebody else.”




“Everyone in the world should be able to sleep without fear, at least for one night. Everyone should be able to eat to his fill, at least for one day. There should be at least one day when hospitals see no one admitted due to violence. By doing selfless service for at least one day, everyone should help those in need. It is Amma’s prayer that at least this small dream be realized.”

— Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, Amma

Honored and received globally as Amritanadamayi Devi, Amma, which means “Mother,” is an inspiration for humanitarian advocates globally and a living testament to the power of human will and compassion to inspire a radical transformation in devotional living.

Born September 27, 1953, as Sudhamani, “Ambrosial Jewel,” she is known across the planet as the hugging saint, as she has hugged over 40 million people over the last 45 years, which she does sometimes


for over 22 hours without a break. Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, stated, “The aura of Amma’s presence and her blessings is difficult to describe in words, we can only feel it.” In Amma’s presence, people pour out their hearts, share their hardships and seek guidance. Not only does she provide them with concrete solutions, but she also gains insight into the pressing problems of society’s sick and poor.

Now one of India’s richest saints, it is

Amma’s compassion for the human rights that is the wealth that she has both given and received. Since 1981, her foundations have invested $1.68B in worldwide charitable activities, with 162 programs across 48 countries that have served 30M beneficiaries worldwide and inspired 17,000 volunteers of diverse backgrounds and age-groups.

Amma’s message of love and compassion is profound and branches into six key areas that are essential basic human needs: healthcare, shelter, food, education, livelihood and disaster relief. Since 1998, her foundation, Embracing the world, has provided $105 million worth of free healthcare to more than 5.9 million people. Over 47,000 homes in over 80 locations throughout India have been developed to shelter those in need. Annually, 10 million meals are provided for the homeless and hungry through-

out India. Her foundation has provided 55,000 scholarships to children in at-risk communities, 200,000 jobs for women who never had one and 100,000 pensions for life for widows, people with disabilities and women in poverty.

Amma’s personal story is a lesson to us all to fully embody, in our highest conviction, the essence of our heart’s wisdom which ripples across the elemental fields of love, lifting souls from the lower realms of existence to find their way into the light of their own heart’s grace.

As a child, Amma was distraught by the severity of suffering she witnessed that others were blind to. As a young child, she could help but embrace every individual she witnessed in pain, giving all she had to those who hungered. Punished and disgraced by her own family, did not obscure Amma’s devotion and vision for service. By the late 1970s, hundreds of

people were regularly coming for Amma’s embrace and realized the potential within Amma as a spiritual master who could lead them forward on the spiritual path.

By 1981, her ashram, the Mata Amritanandamayi Math was officially registered as an ashram. Now, spread over 100 acres of land, Amritapuri is the heart of Amma’s spiritual and humanitarian global network, home to her main ashram as well as of the seven campuses of Amrita University, housing 3,500 residents.

Information on Amma’s 2024 North American tour can be found at: https:// us.amma.org/meeting-amma/ammas-north-america-tour. Beginning on July 4, the tour spans five cities: Seattle, Oakland, Los Angeles, New Mexico, Washington D.C., Boston, New York, Chicago.



The rematch between basketball rivals Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese was breaking records before it even began.

Ticket prices for Clark’s Indiana Fever and Reese’s Chicago Sky were the most expensive for a WNBA game ever, according to TickPick, with the average hovering at around $253 — 187% higher than the Sky’s average purchase price of $88. The cheapest seat just to see the game was around $250 with the most expensive ticket on sale going for more than $9,000.

It’s the third time this season that the opponents have met in the WNBA. Previous matchups have been close, physical affairs between the former college rivals that have sparked national attention and record TV ratings.

Clark is no stranger to boosting ratings: The NCAA women’s basketball tournament title game between the South Carolina Gamecocks and her Iowa Hawkeyes drew nearly 19 million viewers, shattering records to become the most-watched women’s college basketball game ever measured by Nielsen.

Clark, Reese and other high-profile players have helped the WNBA record its highest-attended opening month in 26 years, with the league recently announcing it was the most-watched start of the season games ever across all six networks that broadcast games.

People of color and young fans have turned to the WNBA, with viewership growing 60% year over year among people of color, according to the league, a massive rise particularly among Hispanic and Black audiences.




In 10 short years, Kristen Kish went from Top Chef champ to Top Chef host, after being tapped to replace Padma Lakshmi as the one charged with telling crestfallen cooks to pack their knives and go. But before the 40-year-old Midwesterner enters the pressure-cooker environment of the legendary show’s 21st season, she sounds off on Instacart, IV drips, and getting married.

INSTACART: “Saved me during the pandemic. Having your groceries delivered? Who knew what a luxury that would be, not having to haul bags over your shoulders once a month to avoid the things that were happening in 2020.”

ANXIETY: “Got it. So does everyone else.”

CAESAR SALAD: “The real Caesar salad, I’m all for. The dressings that are made with globs of mayonnaise, that’s not a

Caesar salad.”

PACKING: “I have the best wife. She efficiently packs for me most trips. I pull everything out of the closet, and she somehow fits it into the smallest carry-on that we have. I love her for that.”

KNIVES: “I have far too many, but a lot of home cooks don’t have enough. Somewhere in the middle is where you should be. Maybe I should start selling mine on eBay or something.”

SNACKS: “Crispy, crunchy, salty—anything salt and vinegar. I’m a volume eater, and I want to eat a meal. When I have to eat a snack, I feel like I’m that person that says, ‘I just need to eat to live.’ So if I’m feeling low-energy and I need something in order to keep going, I’ll have a snack. But my preferred way of eating is a meal.”

IV DRIPS: “I had one once when I was in

the hospital, because I had the flu. I got so ill that I could not keep liquids down, and I felt like shit. I know that there’s clinics around where you go if you’re hungover, but IV drips for me remain in hospitals.”

GRAZA OLIVE OIL: “Right, okay. It’s very affordable and they really, really crushed it with the squeeze bottle, but there are tastier olive oils out there, in my opinion.”

FAST CASUAL: “Big fan. I love anything fast casual. I am not a three-hour, go-todinner, sit-there-all-night kind of person anymore, unless it’s something really special.”

BURNS: “I cover mine up with tattoos, but if you’re a cook who has burns and scars all the way up your arms, you’re doing something wrong. It’s time to rethink and reconfigure the way you’re cooking.”




“We Were the Lucky Ones” author Georgia Hunter had two goals while writing her bestselling novel, based on true events that her ancestors endured and now adapted for the small screen in the form of a Hulu limited series starring Logan Lerman and Joey King.

At the heart of the story lies the Kurc family, Hunter’s first-generation relatives who experienced the Holocaust during World War II. The Hulu adaptation — like Hunter’s book — unfolds from the different perspectives of her grandfather Addy (portrayed by Lerman) and his four siblings Genek (Henry Lloyd Hughes), Jakob (Amit Rahav), Mila (Hadas Yeron) and Halina (King). The historical drama series features a cast of all-Jewish actors.

“One [was] to honor the family story,” Hunter told TheWrap in February during the Television Critics Association press tour. “I put on the family historian hat and I just said, ‘I want to get this down to capture their path to survival so it’s recorded somewhere.’ I didn’t even know what shape it would take when I set off. It just had my little digital voice recorder in my notebook.”

Hunter said that after she completed her research, she made a conscious decision to make this important story accessible for kids.

“Once the research came together and I had traveled in the family’s footsteps, I realized I wanted to tell it in a way that my kids and their kids and so on could pick it up and relate to it,” she said. “So in a way that didn’t feel like they were reading about history because it is ancient history to them already. It’s sad. So I tried to write it in a way that felt colorful and visceral. I tried to balance the darker moments with the lighter moments.”

Hunter’s grandfather Addy never talked about his Jewish upbringing in Poland and memories from the Holocaust, but Hunter learned of the family history when she interviewed her grandmother for a high school English project.

“Years later at a family reunion, I started hearing these other unbelievable stories that were unlike any I’d ever heard before, a baby born in Siberia and a hike over the Alps and a secret illegal wedding and so on. That’s when the idea was seeded that I needed to write the stories down,” she said. “I do think it has something to do with the space that those who survived have from having lived through those events that they certainly wanted to put behind them and the third generation not being as close so being a little bit less afraid to ask the hard questions.”

The book resulted from almost a decade of intensive travel and research to reconstruct her family’s footsteps as they spread out to flee the Nazi occupation of Poland. Collectively, the Kurcs children and their significant others covered four continents over nine years.

“The family was so global. You don’t often see Holocaust accounts that are set on the beaches of Dakar or the streets of Rio or in Siberia so the scope of our show is unique, and also the fact that it is told solely through the lens of this one Jewish family. It goes back to the telling it through the eyes of one very ordinary family faced with extraordinary times makes feel it relatable in a way that I think is unique,” she said. “It’s a story of courage and perseverance and love and hope and it’s got babies and laughter and music being made, and romance is blossoming. We need stories that we can connect to and imagine what it was like to be there and be them at the time. We can learn so much from it.”

When she was offered involvement in the production process from beginning to end, her answer was an emphatic yes. Hunter has known director Thomas Kail for 25 years, and once he optioned the rights for Hunter’s novel, he asked her to board the project as a co-executive producer.

“He offered me the option to be involved every step of the way. And I said, ‘Yes, please.’ So everything from the casting process to — I was in the writer’s room every day for five months. I was on set, I’m now in post-production so I have been involved truly every step of the way,” she said.

Hunter called her inclusion in the adaptation a gift.

“It doesn’t feel like work. It is such a gift to be able to be a part of this. I was there to act as a resource or to provide source materials,” she continued. “Questions would come up and either I would have an answer from my own research or I would go get an answer from a relative. So I think the writers were really excited to have that sense of authenticity. It was in such good hands from the very beginning.”

As Logan Lerman and Joey King inhabited the roles of people Hunter knew, the author explained how closely they hewed to their counterparts.

“Every actor brings a piece of his or herself into the character. [Logan] and my grandfather have a similar soul. I think Halina and Joey were sisters in some past life. Everybody who we brought onto the show embodied those relatives so genuinely,” Hunter said.

But Hunter didn’t demand rigidity when it came to the portrayals. In fact, a sweet moment from the series was inspired by one of the actors’ ancestors.

“We were always open to ideas from them. Michael Alonii, who plays Selim, there’s a scene where he’s humming to baby Felicia before he goes off to war and he said, ‘Can I hum the lullaby that my grandmother used to hum to me?’ We wanted the cast to know ‘You don’t need to be replicas of these people. Just keep the character essence with you,’ and they did it so beautifully. I’m bowled over by their performances.”

Hillary Schieve is not one to run away from big problems. She does it in the best way she knows how: By being her authentic self.

Schieve spent 10 years serving as mayor of Reno, Nevada. She simultaneously spent the last year as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, a nonpartisan organization that serves as the leading voice for cities and the mayors who represent them.

A registered nonpartisan, Schieve is helping lead the charge to combat mental health in America’s cities. It’s personal for her.

Schieve grew up watching her family members suffer from depression and drug use. She lost her sister, her brother and her sister’s fiancé to mental illness all within several months.

Her story underscores the difficulty local leaders face when combating a mental health crisis that is worsening in communities across the country.

Now, as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, she’s helping her fellow city leaders seek a seat at the table to discuss the resources needed to address problems that affect all levels of government.

“I tell everyone I possibly can that wants to get into politics, even if people don’t like it, still ‘be you’ because you have to walk away at the end of the day and put your head on the pillow and be satisfied with what you’ve accomplished,” she said.







For all the talk of promoting and valuing women in businesses, there’s been depressingly little progress in boardrooms and C-suites in the past few years. One notable exception is Leena Nair, who became global CEO of Chanel in January 2022. An outsider to the fashion world, Nair is hoping to pioneer a different kind of leadership—one that celebrates compassion, empathy, and kindness.

“It’s a great time to show that the days of the superhero leader are behind us,” says Nair, who grew up in rural India and now lives in London. “I have always believed in the collective voice, in diverse perspectives; if I sit in a meeting, I want to listen to every voice around the table, not just the dominant ones.”

It may be a surprising approach from the CEO of a luxury brand known for

purses that sell for thousands of dollars, but Nair, 54, has proved throughout her career that she can succeed while still doing good for employees—and the world. She spent 30 years at consumer packaged-goods giant Unilever, nearly six of them as the head of human resources, where she increased the share of female managers from 38 percent to 50 percent and helped the company become known for its socially conscious initiatives.

More than 60 percent of management positions at Chanel are held by women, which she argues positions the company to show the rest of the world what business can look like when women are in charge. “We’re putting people relations in the heart of everything we do, which can sometimes get crowded out in the AI world,” she says.

Putting people first doesn’t mean just Chanel employees; Nair increased the amount of funding for Fondation Chanel, the company’s charitable arm, to $100 million when she took the role. “We really believe that when women thrive, the world thrives,” she said.

Though few of Nair’s female relatives had pursued careers or higher education, she was determined to go to university. And she’s grown used to breaking barriers: in the 1990s, as a young executive, she was the only woman working at a factory in India—such a rarity that buses would stop at the gate of the estate so that workers could see her. “I was once upon a time somebody dreaming to have resources and opportunities and the ability to have a voice in the world,” she says. “It’s so gratifying to be able to work with a team to do that for millions of women.”




Growing up in her native Italy, Maria Grazia Chiuri was surrounded by great art from antiquity onward, but rarely did female artists get the spotlight, save for a memorable exhibition in Rome dedicated to Mexican painter Frida Kahlo.

Today, as Dior‘s artistic director of women’s haute couture, ready-to-wear and accessories collections, Chiuri collaborates with female artists as naturally as she breathes, leveraging her platform at

one of France’s most emblematic fashion houses.

Asked about the biggest change she’s witnessed during her seven years at Dior, Chiuri cited the advent of social media, the sped-up pace of the industry, mounting concerns about fashion’s impact on the environment, especially during the pandemic, and heightened awareness of cultural appropriation.

“I really believe in this industry and I think that it is possible to work on it and also to address these criticisms and to try to do our best,” she said on stage ahead of a WWD Honors gala dinner. “There is a part of this industry that is very important — for the communities that work in fashion, and but also for the people that use fashion. Sometimes we think that fashion is only the brand, but fashion speaks about humanity, our relationship with clothes, how we express ourselves.

Also clothes and craft are also part of our identity.”

Asked why she sticks her neck out so often, and never shies away from any difficult conversation about her feminist stance, Chiuri suggested it is her duty.

“I think it’s important to speak about these elements with other women. I really believe that it’s important to work with the community, and this is the part that interests me, too, to have conversations with people from different parts of the world,” she explained. “This dialogue helps to have an idea also about femininity or feminism that is more multifaceted, more pluralistic.

“I think it’s important to have a dialogue with other actors, other women and to create a community that can work together to build an idea of women for the future,” she added.

Asked about where inspiration comes from for her many shows and collections, the designer said it could be a book or an exhibition, noting she frequents many of them in Paris, Rome and when she travels around the world.

“I also really like to work with the archive, too. Sometimes inspiration can come from the incredible life of Monsieur Dior because we should not forget he was a gallerist before he became a designer,” she said. “At the same time, I have this fantastic studio and cultural office that support me in this big research.”

Chiuri also enjoys collaborating, calling on a variety of creative women to animate her shows via the decor or performances. These have included visual artists Mickalene Thomas, Joana Vasconcelos and Judy Chicago, and choreographer Sharon Eyal.

Consequently, Chiuri creates extremely dense mood boards for each collection containing archival elements, academic texts, imagery and various cultural references. Is she worried her complex messages might get lost, since so much of fashion is consumed via short clips on smartphone screens?

“It’s difficult to explain our process and

everything that goes into the 10 minutes of a fashion show,” she allowed. “But I really love to work with a creative community, involving many different people coming together for the project. The Dior teams help me to explain to the journalists what is behind the show.

“In the end, not everybody understands every single element that went into it. But I think people can perceive the difference — the honesty, the love and the passion that there is behind each show.”

Chiuri is known to return to the same creatives, rather than pursuing one-shot collaborations.

“My idea is to create a community of artists that can work together for a long time,” she said. “Also, for the campaigns, I often use Brigitte Niedermair, a photographer I really like. I think it’s important to have a conversation, and to explore each collection in different ways.”

Chiuri uses her shows as a platform to discuss female representation, with her spring 2024 ready-to-wear show displaying videos by Italian artist Elena Bellantoni that subverted advertising imagery to challenge the male gaze, via feminist slogans writ large around the runway venue.

One of the first things she did when she joined Dior in 2016 was to conscript only female photographers for all campaigns, starting with Brigitte Lacombe for her debut spring 2017 collection.

“I remember someone suggested that there wouldn’t be enough women photographers,” she recalled. “It’s not true. We just realized an incredible book with all the women photographers that shoot for Dior, I think we have to give a consistent opportunity. This is very important because the female gaze is completely different from the male gaze.…Their point of view is different.

“I immediately understood that Dior is an unbelievable platform, and I wanted to share this incredible platform with other artists who can use their voice, so we can give an image of women that is more faceted.”

Chiuri has also used Dior to exalt craftspeople from all over the world, elevating their work by showcasing it on her runway. For her pre-fall 2023 show in Mumbai, she exhibited the skills of the local Chanakya School of Craft.

“This aspect is very important for me. And probably I’m so sensitive on this argument because I’m Italian,” she said. “It’s impossible for women artists there. And at the same time, many kinds of craft were very present in different regions of Italy, often done by women at home, so really domestic, never celebrated.”

Chiuri noted that when ready-to-wear become prominent in Italy in the ’70s, the emphasis was on shape and silhouette, and not decorative elements like embroidery.

“Also in India, embroidery is part of their identity. In each different state of India, there are different techniques. And there was a moment where there was a risk of losing this heritage because it was seen as something from the past.”

The designer noted that many people in Western Europe think designers go to India for embroideries because it’s less expensive, “not because there is a really great tradition. Some companies are producing work on par with couture in Europe.”

By staging a Dior show in Mumbai, she wanted to “show how much India is a big player in the fashion industry, and at a high level.”

Asked if she feels like she’s helped in some way to advance the cause of women, Chiuri framed her answer in a broader context.

“Dior is close to the idea of femininity,” she said. “My idea about femininity means creativity and it’s close to this idea of feminism. I don’t think it’s far from the idea of Mr. Dior, who was all the time surrounded by women. I read very closely his book, ‘Dior and I,’ and he spoke about women all the time.”




As a 12th generation New Mexican from a prominent political family, Michelle Lujan Grisham’s roots run deep in the American Southwest, long before it even became a part of the United States. That is among the reasons she has dedicated her entire life to public service and has worked doggedly for decades on behalf of her fellow New Mexicans.

Now serving her second term, Lujan Grisham is only the third woman of color elected as governor of a US state and is the first Latina governor elected as a Democrat. Her previous service to the people of New Mexico included serving as Secretary of the state’s Aging and Long Term-Services Department, Secretary of the New Mexico Department of Health, and three terms in the United States Congress representing one of the state’s three Congressional Districts.

The governor has emerged as a leader of combatting climate change and creating a thoughtful transition from fossil fuels

and toward greater renewable energy sources. This is no small task in a state where revenue from various aspects of the oil and gas industry account for about 40 percent of annual state revenues and where the Permian Basin (straddling the border with Texas) has become the nation’s most prolific source of oil.

Still, she has astutely threaded the needle through a pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent by 2030, enhancing requirements on methane gas capture, setting zero-carbon standards for utilities, adopting rules for cleaner cars, and capitalizing on the state’s valuable sun and wind resources. These and other steps taken by New Mexico and under her leadership are examples across the globe for how even fossil fuel producing regions can act to mitigate climate change and enhance economic development at the same time.

In May of this year, Lujan Grisham was also appointed as Co-Chair, along with

New York Governor Kathy Hochul, of the United States Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of 24 governors representing approximately 60 percent of the U.S. economy and 55 percent of the U.S. population.

“Climate change poses an existential threat to our planet, but working together we can meet this challenge, sustain our communities, and grow our economies,” said Lujan Grisham upon her appointment.

The governorship is term-limited in New Mexico to two consecutive terms and Lujan Grisham’s term is up in 2027. Whatever the future holds for her, it will most assuredly not be resting on her laurels. “I still have a lot I want to accomplish in my final two years as Governor,” she told Polo Lifestyles. “We’re focused on the work: the future will take care of itself.”



At the heart of an oft-violent fight over transgender athletes’ participation in traditionally defined men’s and women’s sporting activities is trans swimmer Lia Thomas.

Thomas attended the University of Pennsylvania and swam on the men’s team from the 2017-18 to 2019-20 seasons. Thomas began transitioning using hormone replacement therapy in May 2019. By 2021, Thomas met the NCAA hormone therapy requirements to swim on Penn’s women’s team and did so for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons.

Thomas became the first transgender athlete to win an NCAA Division I title when she won the women’s 500-yard

freestyle event in March 2022. She has said she has ambitions to compete in the Olympics.

Recently, Thomas lost her challenge against the Court of Arbitration of Sport in Switzerland — the world’s top court in matters of sporting fairness — to overturn the rules of World Aquatics that prevent transgender women from competing in women’s divisions. The judge ruled Thomas did not have standing to bring the case.

World Aquatics, which sets rules that inform elite competitions, including the Olympics, introduced a new gender policy in June 2022, allowing transgender women to compete in women’s events

only if they transitioned before the age of 12 or before one of the early stages of puberty. The ruling excludes transgender women who underwent male puberty, like Thomas, from participating in women’s races.

Regardless of the outcome from the court, Thomas has emerged as an international figure at the forefront of a long legal battle. Like activists of past movements, Thomas may never reap the benefits of the seeds that she’s sown, and her participation in an Olympics may never come to fruition, but her name will forever be on the lips of the generations of trans athletes that come behind her.




It’s well known that in her decades-long career, Shonda Rhimes — the writer behind such television sensations as “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal” and “Bridgerton” — has smashed pervasive racist-casting tropes, and in doing so, changed the literal face of TV, whether that meant having “Scandal” revolve around Kerry Washington’s antihero Olivia Pope or elevating Regé-Jean Page to a Black duke in Regency England on “Bridgerton.”

What’s talked about less is how Rhimes has changed the way people speak. Any parent of a teenager who’s heard the de-

risive usage of “Pick me” from Meredith’s “Pick me! Choose me! Love me!” speech in Season 2 of “Grey’s Anatomy” can tell you of Rhimes’ enduring power. Especially since that oratory was delivered in 2005 and given new life on TikTok.

Nor is “pick me” her only lasting linguistic innovation, as Rhimes herself points out during a recent interview.

“The phrase ‘my person’ has become just a part of conversation now,” she says. “I hear it all the time from people, and

they’re not referencing me in their minds. It’s weird! And it’s kind of amazing.”

Rhimes’ and her company Shondaland’s viral power has only increased since she entered an overall deal with Netflix in 2017, which launched the England-set “Bridgerton” universe (comprising three completed seasons), last year’s “Queen Charlotte” prequel, as well as a consumer products line that includes tea sets, ornate mirrors, makeup and even wedding dresses.




PlantOGram began as a shared passion between Vernic (Vicky) Popat and her husband Mickey. As newlyweds, they wanted to find a hobby that brought them closer together and allowed them to spend more time together. Gardening, planting and growing all kinds of exotic fruit trees in their garden quickly became that hobby.

“At the time, I was working as a teacher and Mickey was working at a Fortune 500 company in the financial sector,” Popat said. “Soon, all of our family and friends were trying the amazing fruit that we were growing and were asking us if we could plant these fruit trees for them in their gardens. We decided to offer people a unique way to send mean-

ingful, sustainable gifts, and that’s how PlantOGram was born.”

Polo Lifestyles: When did you find out PlantOGram would be featured in Oprah’s Favorite Things, how did you feel and what did it do positively/negatively for your business?

Vicky Popat: We found out about being featured in Oprah’s Favorite Things a few months before the announcement. The feature brought unprecedented exposure to PlantOGram, leading to a surge in orders and brand recognition. While the influx of orders was a positive challenge, it required us to quickly scale our operations and customer service to meet the demand.

Polo Lifestyles: What’s the best thing about receiving a plant as a gift?

Vicky Popat: The best thing about receiving a plant as a gift is that it’s a living, growing reminder of the person who gave it to you. Plants symbolize growth, life, and nurturing, making them incredibly thoughtful gifts. They bring beauty and tranquility to any space and can be a lasting legacy that continues to give joy and benefits and delicious fruit over time for generations.

Polo Lifestyles:

What is your go-to summer host/hostess gift?

Vicky Popat: My go-to summer host/hostess gift is a beautifully potted dwarf mango fruit tree or an Koroneiki Olive plant. Both are perfect for outdoor or indoor spaces and provide fresh produce that can be enjoyed throughout the season. These are unique and practical gift that adds charm and utility to any home and your host/ hostess will be delighted to receive these.

Polo Lifestyles: When you think of your legacy, what do you want people to say about you in 50 years from now?

Vicky Popat: I want people to say that we made a significant positive impact on the environment and communities through PlantOGram. I want our legacy to be one of sustainability, kindness, and a deep connection to nature. I want to be remembered as someone who advocated for trees and the environment and inspired others to appreciate and protect our natural world. Most importantly I want people generations from now to sit and bask in the shade of all the trees we planted while enjoying its delicious exotic fruit!

Polo Lifestyles: What do you consider to be the most-important component of a successful business?

Vicky Popat: The most important component of a successful business is a strong and passionate team. Having people who share your vision and are dedicated to the mission is crucial. Additionally, being adaptable and always putting the customer first are key elements that drive success.




For 31 years, the venerable One Market restaurant has held its own in San Francisco’s Embarcadero district. And for 17 of those years, one incredible woman has led the wine program at the tony eatery, winning accolades for herself, the establishment, and leading broader efforts across the wine industry to ensure greater diversity and equity for women and people of color.

Tonya Pitts is clear in how she got where she is: “I didn’t choose wine. Wine chose me and I listened.” She never set out to be a sommelier. In fact, she was in a pre-law program and headed in that direction, but the summer before her university studies started, she’d taken a job in a French restaurant whose owner spent 10 years in Provence. “This was the beginning of my journey in food and wine,” she told Polo Lifestyles. She then journeyed to the City by the Bay and her path was set. “Everything shifted after a visit to San Francisco. I moved to the city and that’s when wine life really began for me. There was the excitement of the neighborhoods, restaurants, and people….it was an opportunity for me to learn more about food and wine.”

Learn she has. Pitts is a certified sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers, in 2022 was given the Wine Star Award for Sommelier of the Year by Wine Enthusiast, and last year was included in the Best Black Sommeliers list for the inaugural Ebony Food and Wine Honors. These are just a few of the bona fides she has racked up in her career to date. For One Market, every year since 2011 the restaurant has received the Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator for Tonya’s exceptionally curated wine program, which pre-pandemic, had nearly 1,000 bottles on the list.

Beyond her impeccable palate, Tonya has exemplified a deep care for her industry and its openness to women and people of color. “This is an exciting time for women in the world of wine. We have always been in the food and hospitality industry [but] there is still so much work to do, which is why it’s important to mentor people who are interested and excited about hospitality, food, wine, and beverages.” Pitts is involved with Les Dames D’Escoffier, an organization of philanthropic women that offers fellowships, scholarships, and awards.

As a woman of color, Pitts focuses special attention on the role of mentor for other people of color seeking a future career in wine. She serves on the Advisory Board and as a mentor to others in the field for Wine Unify, a nonprofit organization created to bring down the barriers to equity in wine careers by “fostering wine education for underrepresented minority groups, and amplifying the voices of the people of color who are already thriving in the wine industry.”

Another of Pitt's philanthropic pursuits is serving on the Board of the United Sommelier Foundation, which assisted many sommeliers who found themselves in financial challenges when restaurants were shuttered during the pandemic.

Earlier this year, Pitts was tapped to join Wine Enthusiast. It is an important perch for one of the world’s greatest wine regions. “This role gives me even more opportunity to be the Pied Piper of wines in California [and] I am extremely excited about this new role and the opportunity to highlight producers in California.”




From the COVID-19 pandemic to political divisions, it’s easy to feel fearful or uncertain about the state of the world— even if you’re former first lady Michelle Obama.

“Fear can help you,” Obama said in an interview. “It’s an important emotion, but it can keep you stuck.”

Obama has previously been candid about her mental health—in 2020, she opened up about experiencing “low-grade depression” during an episode of her eponymous podcast.

“These are not [...] fulfilling times, spiritually,” she said during the episode. “I know that I am dealing with some form of low-grade depression. Not just because of the quarantine, but because of the racial strife, and just seeing... watching the hypocrisy of it, day in and day out, is dispiriting.”

Ahead of the release of her new book, The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times, Obama spoke about fear and self doubt—and how caring for not only herself but also her community has helped move her through challenging times.

“It had not been enough. We ourselves were not enough. The problems were too big. The holes were too giant, impossible to fill,” Obama wrote in her book.

Though low-grade depression is not a clinical diagnosis, Obama discussed in her podcast that she felt a “weight” on her, and sometimes felt too “low” to even exercise or engage in self-care.

Obama wasn’t alone in managing poor mental health during that time period. The World Health Organization (WHO) found that during the first year of the pandemic, anxiety and depression prevalence rose by 25 percent worldwide.

Coping with the compounding stressors of 2020 has been difficult, and many are still struggling to heal. For some, that may mean seeking help from a therapist—the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that the percentage of adults who sought therapy increased by nearly 2.5 percent between 2019 and 2021.4

For Obama, facing this skepticism and fear about the world and all of its many issues meant embracing community, and most importantly differences.

“I try to keep myself open to people to not get comfortable in my sameness,” Obama said. “Part of what makes us afraid in this society and these times is, ‘I don’t know you, and if you don’t look like me, you didn’t grow up like me, you don’t believe in the same political views, then I am afraid of you because you’re different.’ I try to value differentness as a strength.”




We have a soft spot at Polo Lifestyles for California’s burgeoning Contra Costa County as it is our corporate home

Years ago, the easternmost reaches of the county were predominantly agrarian with a rich history in wine making and to this day, vineyards dot the landscape, often squeezed between mammoth housing developments.

It is here, in 1982, that Fred Cline founded Cline Family Cellars, creating some of their first vintages from century-old vines of Zinfandel, Carignan, and Mourvèdre. Just a few years later, he purchased 350 acres in the Carneros area of Sonoma County, where he and wife Nancy raised their children, including Megan and Hilary.

There is a demonstrable changing of the guard happening in California wine country, with noted names either selling to larger conglomerates and moving on, or the next generation of the family stepping up to take the reins. Megan and Hilary (as well as siblings Mayme and Henry who also currently work for the family-owned business) demonstrate the latter trend and you can feel their excitement.

“We are so excited about reintroducing Cline to the world, with a renewed emphasis on Sonoma,” the sisters shared

with Polo Lifestyles. “We wholeheartedly honor everything our parents have built and will continue to honor the ancient vineyards of Contra Costa County, but it is an exciting evolution for Cline as we renew our focus on Sonoma.”

Megan and Hilary’s leadership in that evolution includes branching out to establish Gust Wines (gustwines.com), where fruit is meticulously sourced from vineyards in Sonoma County’s Petaluma Gap that the family purchased in the mid 1990’s and where the sisters and their siblings have the fondest of memories. One of their vineyards, Catapult Vineyards, is named after a catapult that brother Ramsey built for their youngest sibling, Henry, which launched pumpkins and watermelons. The sisters are deeply connected to this place and that love and care is part of what led them to focus on Petaluma Gap.

Yet, in addition to their familial rootedness in the place, the Petaluma Gap has the potential to create great grapes. “Petaluma Gap is one of the most exciting and captivating growing regions in California [with] incredible versatility in the vineyards, an amazing community of producers and farmers, and the wines are so special and distinctive.” Gust’s 2019 Syrah, for example, is an extraordinary wine, displaying the complexity of what Syrah can do in the cool and windswept

climate of the Petaluma Gap. They also recently released a 2023 Rosé made from Pinot Noir, another varietal that excels in the area.

While Megan and Hilary are hardly alone as women working in wine, women remain a minority in the wine world, but their presence is growing. When asked about this dynamic, Megan and Hilary didn’t shy away. “The opportunities lie in bringing a diverse perspective to wine making and business operations, advocating for more inclusivity, and inspiring other women to pursue careers in wine. The challenges often include overcoming industry biases and navigating a traditionally male-dominated field. However, these challenges drive us to innovate, collaborate and contribute to a more equitable and dynamic wine industry.”

It’s clear that Megan and Hilary are just getting started with the Gust label and helping to lead Cline Family Cellars into the next several decades. “The future of Gust lies in continuing to focus on this incredible growing region,” Megan shared, “and Gust will continue to be a key part of Cline Family Cellars.” Along with their brother Henry, who is the vineyard manager, big things lie ahead, and as Megan said, “make sure to follow along to find out what we decide on next!” We are watching and cheering you on.




MacKenzie Scott, the billionaire philanthropist once married to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, has awarded $16 billion of her personal fortune in philanthropic grants through her Yield Giving foundation since 2019.

Scott’s giving—which consists mostly of unrestricted grants to nonprofits— continues apace, with over $2 billion awarded in 2023. The giving has become more consistent across the categories of recipients, though the individual gift sizes decreased substantially in 2023.

“When MacKenzie Scott started making her grants almost three years ago, we said, ‘This could be a real game-changer for both the nonprofit and philanthropic field—and we really want to understand the impact,’” said Panorama Group CEO Gabrielle Fitzgerald (a platform for social change and consults with nonprofits, philanthropists, change leaders, and social entrepreneurs), noting that the group has worked with some 120 groups that received a grant from Yield Giving.

Most of the grants awarded, in Fitzgerald’s experience, are roughly equivalent to one year of the receiving organization’s operating budget— something of a windfall for many, but generally not enough to re-imagine an organization.

As Fitzgerald advised, organizations can generally “do one new thing” with such a grant: “You can create an endowment, you can create a rainy day fund, you can go deeper or you can go broader—but you can’t do everything.”

Organizations that do receive a grant from Scott’s charity, Fitzgerald noted, generally face an immediate—and often quite difficult—decision over how to spend the award, which typically comes

without restraints.

“It’s an amazing opportunity,” said Fitzgerald. “So, be thoughtful and use it carefully and judiciously.”

Among the report’s key findings is that MacKenzie Scott’s philanthropy has become more consistent in terms of both focus areas and geography. The total giving to date has been consistent with four priorities outlined by Scott in establishing the fund: Education, Equity & Justice, Economic Security & Opportunity, and Health.

Fitzgerald noted that while much initial giving by Scott was targeted toward affiliate members of branch-style nonprofits—Boys and Girls Clubs and Habitat for Humanity chapters, for example—that has

changed, with more awards in 2023 going to individual, independent nonprofit organizations.

The report also identifies some changes over time to the allocation of Yield Giving funds by category. Comparing 2023 to prior years, giving to health increased, for example, while giving to education and arts and culture decreased.

The report also offers some interesting insights into Scott’s giving concerning the environment. While environmental giving was not among Yield Giving’s top-funded causes, gift sizes for the category of “Environment” were the largest, both overall and in 2023, indicating that Scott is focusing fewer resources on larger individual gifts when it comes to the environment.




Dr. Melissa Gilliam gives her mother credit for offering the best advice she has ever heard: “You can tell anybody anything, it’s just how you tell them.”

That guidance was particularly useful during Gilliam’s tenure as a pediatric gynecologist and researcher, a profession in which patience and compassion go a long way.

But now as Gilliam prepares to assume her position as Boston University’s 11th president this July, she doesn’t just want to “tell anybody anything” – she wants to show them.

Gilliam, who has received degrees from Harvard Medical School, Yale and the University of Oxford, will be the first female and first Black president in BU’s 185-year history.

“Seeing something for the first time, helps all people know what is possible,”

Gilliam said, “and can inspire others to try things in their own lives.”

There’s often a divide between university presidents and the student body. How do you plan to connect with BU students and address their concerns?

Like other presidents, I am excited to listen and learn from students. I will create regular opportunities for face-toface meetings so I can hear their ideas and concerns. I also value showing up for students, attending athletic and cultural events, and simply being present.

Who paved the way for you?

The first would be my father, who passed recently. He’s an abstract artist, so I learned a tremendous sense of creativity from him. And my deep love of arts and humanity comes from my mother, who was a journalist, from whom I gained a tremendous sense of service. Then I look

to the former president of the University of Chicago, Robert Zimmer, who really paved the way for me to be a part of higher education.

Is there a mantra you tell yourself?

I would say: Assume good intent. I think many times we make assumptions about people and attribute something to malice, but I try to see people at their best.

How does it feel to help guide students’ futures?

I think each and every day about how awesome of a responsibility it is to shape students’ future careers. When you put everything together – a great faculty, a great staff, wonderful facilities that are accessible and affordable – it really sets young people up for life.




To those close to her, Toni TownesWhitley is a movie-goer, book lover, screenplay writer and an expert in off-the-beaten-path travel.

To the world, she’s the CEO of a $7 billion technology company called SAIC that provides engineering, digital and artificial intelligence solutions for national defense and space agencies, like the Army, Navy and Space Force, as well as civilian agencies across the federal government.

Before that, she was president of U.S. regulated industries at Microsoft where she launched new initiatives that addressed the company’s carbon footprint, ethics framework for AI and support for women seeking corporate board roles.

In other words, Townes-Whitley is a fighter. Tech has always been and continues to be a male-dominated industry, pushing women, especially women of color, to the sidelines.

Who paved the way for you?

I’m the daughter of a mother warrior. When I eulogized her a couple of years ago, it was right before some of the movies came out that discussed the Dahomey Warriors: the first set of women warriors in Africa. My mom was absolutely one of them — a mother warrior, a family warrior, a civil rights warrior, a prayer warrior.

And so in many ways, I feel like she and my dad set a standard. It’s a very strong family with a very deep legacy.

Beyond that, I look at some leaders that have affected me over time, some I had the chance to meet like former President Bill Clinton. He taught me four words that changed the way I thought about myself as a leader: Think big, be big.

I also think of Nelson Mandela. I am still absolutely intrigued and blown away by what he was able to accomplish in South Africa.

Do you feel like you’re paving the way for others?

I’ve always felt representatively responsible. Whether it was appropriate or not, in our family, you knew you represented people of color and women, groups that didn’t have an opportunity. There was an expectation not just of giving back, but of pushing forward and setting a new bar.

I want to be more representative of the ability to be authentic every day, showing up, bringing all of you to the table and teaching people how to treat you. I want to be an example of leading with openness and curiosity, and giving people the benefit of the doubt, which I think will go a long way, quite frankly, in diversity, equity and inclusion going forward.




Bags of the essentials — dried fruits, socks, toothbrushes and other supplies — are always stocked in the back of Wendy H. Steele’s car. Steele, 61, keeps the kits in constant supply in case she sees someone in need while driving. It’s a simple gesture, Steele said, but one that helps ease the sting of sadness she feels when she sees injustice or inequity around her.

“What I’m giving them is small, but it now connects that heart connection into action,” Steele said. “When I drive away, I feel better.”

Actions like these are the differences between empathy and compassion, Steele said. And they come in all sizes: the care packages she delivers, the community of women that rallied to help raise her after she lost her mother at 14, or her multi-million-dollar philanthropy ini-

tiative that’s mobilized women all across the country to donate to causes they care about.

Steele is the founder and CEO of Impact100, a nonprofit dedicated to mobilizing women in philanthropy.

When Steele moved to Cincinnati with her three young kids in 2001, she immediately sought volunteer work and philanthropy on the side of her career in banking. But she noticed the women of the community were disconnected from charity, she said — that even if these women did donate, they often didn’t know how their contribution was spent.

Steele’s familiar desire to turn empathy into compassion inspired Impact100 and its unique approach to philanthropy, she said. Each chapter — more than 60

across the country, per the company’s 2020 annual report — involves 100 women who each donate $1,000, and the donation affords them a vote in where the chapter allocates its collective grant of $100,000. Some chapters have more than 100 women, increasing the number of its collective grants.

“Women needed to know what it felt like to be part of the solution instead of wringing their hands and watching the news and worrying about how terrible things are,” she said. “That, to me, was vital.”

The founding chapter in Cincinnati donated its first grant of $123,000 to the McMicken Dental Clinic in September 2002. Since then, Impact100 has donated more than $140 million in grants across its chapters.


















Although each and every Chanel show is a special event, the Chanel Fall/ Winter 2024 Haute Couture collection marks a historical occasion, as it is officially the first collection presented by the Maison since the sudden departure announcement of former creative director, Virginie Viard, earlier in June 2024. The Chanel Fall/ Winter 2024 Haute Couture fashion show took place at the sublime Palais Garnier, and

was overseen by the Maison and its fashion design team, given the label has not yet announced a successive artistic director.

The show was realized on a grand, luxurious scale with spectacular staging in the opulence of the 19th century Parisian theater, creating an impression reminiscent of Mary Cassatt’s famous 1974, painting In the Loge. This famous impressionist piece depicts a bourgeois woman at

the opera looking through her opera glasses, while a man, in the background, observes her—a scene that the Maison recreated with ease. In this case, all of the guests were spectators of the fabulous procession, while viewers on upper levels of the balustrades were able to see both groups.

While the Chanel Fall/Winter 2024 Haute Couture was undeniably a fashion show, the creative team at the Maison re-imagined the traditional

catwalk presentation and transformed the procession into a rhythmic, seemingly choreographed ballet number that celebrities, editors, models, and more flocked to witness.

Within the collection, audience members were shocked to discover dramatic, avant-garde designs including a blazer with massive puffed sleeves, a jet black feather cape dotted with glittering pieces of gold, oversized black bows attached to the backs of models’ heads, and of course, the piece that emerged as the highlight of the show—the bridal inspired look, which featured a model dressed in an oversized, flowing white dress with puffy sleeves, a floral bodice adorned with miniature sparkling jewels, and a voluminous trail of tulle around the waist, all created as an ethereal, drama-laden homage to ballerinas and the art of dance.



This year, the 17-day event will be held in none other than the City of Light, spanning 329 events across 32 sports. Still, while the Olympic Games have long been a stage for athletic prowess, the teams’ fashion statements are gaining increasing attention. Of course, they don’t steal the spotlight from the athletes themselves, but we well-versed fashion enthusiasts can’t help but pay close attention to the works of renowned designers for this illustrious event.

With the Paris Olympics looming, we can’t wait to see the teams’ fashion flourish. As with every Olympic event,

a diverse array of fashion houses and designers have been tasked with crafting the uniforms worn by athletes from around the world, adding a touch of sartorial excellence to the grand event. But who are the creatives behind this year’s participating teams?

Ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023, Prada unveiled its official partnership with China’s Women’s National Football Team. So, needless to say, the brand will take the helm of designing the team’s attire for the foreseeable future. In a release, Prada said, “The China Women’s Football Team has forged a global reputation and is a source of inspiration for young female athletes, focusing public and institutional attention on a democratic and inclusive sport.” Stay tuned for snapshots of the team’s official uniform for the Olympics, though based on their look for the Year of the Dragon, the team will likely be

dressed in black, blue, and red at this year’s events.

Though Pigalle founder Stéphane Ashpool is taking charge of Team France’s Olympics 2024 uniforms, French luxury brand Berluti is designing the team’s outfits for the opening ceremonies of both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The team will be dressed in blue custom-tailored tuxedos, embodying the elegance and sophistication synonymous with French style. These impeccably crafted ensembles reflect Berluti’s dedication to fine craftsmanship and attention to detail, ensuring that Team France makes a striking impression as they enter the global stage. Nike revealed that it will design the Olympic uniforms for Team USA’s track and field athletes. Dressed in the USA’s national colors, the track and field kits featured a tank top, paired with shorts

and snug sports bottoms for men and women, respectively. Since the release, the sportswear brand received heavy online criticism for the women’s “skimpy” attire.

In collaboration with French sportswear brand Le Coq Sportif, Ashpool was tasked with designing the French Olympic team’s uniforms for both the Olympic and Paralympic games. Ashpool designed the team’s kits for all 60 disciplines it’s set to participate in.

In December of 2023, Belgian equestrian and fashion designer Alexa Fairchild revealed that she designed Belgium’s Paris Olympics 2024 uniforms. The 29-year-old designer expressed her pride in unveiling the designs, highlighting their unique perspective infused with elements from the equestrian world.

Though Ralph Lauren has been Team USA’s official outfitter since 2008, the USA Olympic Golf Team’s uniform will be crafted by Swedish brand J.

Lindeberg this year. True to patriotic spirit, the uniforms feature the United States’ national colors: red, white, and blue. In a slight departure from conventional golf attire, J. Lindeberg’s designs include classic collared polos and skirts, alongside a selection of versatile everyday pieces such as cardigans, perfect for off-duty appearances.

In March, Japanese sportswear brand ASICS announced the renewal of its partnership with the Australian Olympic team as it unveiled the team’s uniform for this year’s events. The uniforms featured green and gold apparel to symbolize the country’s national colors. “Every garment in the 2024 Olympic uniform proudly showcases Australia’s iconic green and gold colors, complemented by an Indigenous print incorporated into each piece,” ASICS captioned its Instagram announcement.

In February, LVMH revealed that French luxury jewelry and watch brand Chaumet will be designing all

the medals for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris this year. The medals boast several symbols that are deeply significant to France, with the hexagon, which is emblematic of the nation, taking center stage. Additionally, the incorporation of rays magnifies the essence of France as the host nation and an homage to the athletes’ remarkable performances.

“This first ever Olympic medal created by a jeweler is emblematic of LVMH’s role as creative partner of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024,” said LVMH Image & Environment head Antoine Arnault. “In a close creative dialogue between Paris 2024 and Chaumet, the artisans of the Maison delved into their archives and explored powerful symbols of Olympism to imagine a medal inspired by high jewelry creations. Building on its centuries of rich history, Chaumet is writing a new page that will remain engraved in the heritage of the Maison for eternity,” Arnault added.

SCHIAPARELLI Fall/Winter 2024


It’s not like we’re tired of creative director Daniel Roseberry’s Internet-breaking fashion stunts, but the decision to take a more focused (though still certainly fantastical) approach to evolving house codes was perfectly supported by the more subdued and sultry atmosphere. Moodily lit by hanging chandeliers, the collection was a surrealist revisiting of some of Elsa Schiaparelli’s signature design codes and perspective, seen through a distorted cinematic lens. The silver feathers of the opening look’s winged cape was an homage to the feathered stole that Schiaparelli once

wore in reference to the great ballerina Anna Pavlova, for whom she was often mistaken. Hourglass shapes and dramatic details evoke the designer’s famed connections with the surrealist painters.

Nonetheless, Daniel Roseberry’s own imaginative handwriting – particularly his subtle sense of humor and love for all things sculptural – is present throughout. This feels like a collection Elsa Schiaparelli might have witnessed in a fleeting dream, or a psychic message transmitted to Roseberry by ghosts of the past – and it was a stunning way to kick off the Fall 2024 couture season.


Restaurant Guide


Spiraling outward from the center of the city, Paris’s 20 numbered arrondissements are a series of zoned administrative districts. They largely coincide with the city’s organically formed neighborhoods, though some areas cross arrondissement boundaries, like the Marais, which encompasses both the 3rd and 4th. But the arrondissements aren’t just bureaucratic designations; each has its own identity, from the spectacle of palatial boutiques and actual palaces in the premier (1st) to some of the city’s

best Chinese cuisine and the unmissable Père Lachaise cemetery in the vingtième (20th).

While most tourists stick to the central arrondissements along the Seine — the 1st, 4th, 6th, and 7th in particular — every arrondissement has something to offer. Staying in the center makes for easy access to the main tourist destinations, but if you’re interested in sheer proximity to good eating and even better nightlife, you’re usually best off in the 2nd, 10th, 11th, 19th, and 20th. Here’s the lowdown on every neighborhood, from iconic to underrated, with quickhit intel on the best places to eat in each.


Luxury goods, high-end hotels, the Louvre, and offices fill the 1st — which all adds up to plenty of unremarkable restaurants designed to cater to busy

workers, undiscerning tourists, or both. However, the neighborhood is also home to Rue Sainte-Anne, aka Little Tokyo, which is great for slurping udon, ramen, or soba when you just can’t stomach another multi-course French meal. Bubble tea has also exploded in the 1st, as well as throughout Paris. To note: Many restaurants in this business-oriented district tend to close on weekends.

How to say it in French: Le premier.


Expect lots of activity here at night, thanks to the cocktail bars that line Rue Saint-Denis (and the historic community of sex workers who frequent the area). During the day, it’s a mix of gritty wholesale textile district, staid stock exchange, and picturesque markets along Rue Montorgueil. Rue du Nil is well

worth a visit for Terroirs d’Avenir (a series of specialty food shops that supply just about every restaurant in town) and chef Grégory Marchand’s mini-restaurant empire of Frenchie, Frenchie Wine Bar, and new Italian spot L’Altro Frenchie. You might not originally plan to eat a hot dog in Paris, but the historic cocktail bar Harry’s makes one of the best versions around, alongside serious classic cocktails. You can balance out the hot dogs, with a great vegetarian meal at Tekes too.

How to say it in French: Le deuxième.


Ah, the Haut Marais, where you can’t throw a macaron without hitting a third-wave coffee shop or a willowy fashion type. There are lots of kale chips, cocktails, and juice bars too. During Fashion Week, avoid this chic neighborhood at all costs. Any other time, the city’s oldest covered market, the Marché des Enfants Rouges, is a well-known dining destination, and

is particularly busy on weekends and sunny days. Les Enfants du Marché and the Butcher of Paris are two of your best bets within the market; just be prepared to be seated outside on a high stool in all weather conditions. Parcelles is just a short walk away for lovely bistro food with a superb wine list.

How to say it in French: Le troisième.


The Lower Marais is where Jewish history and the queer community merge with modern art galleries and chain shops. Rue des Rosiers is (rightfully) famous for its many falafel stands, but you could also consider branching out to the Parisian outpost of Israeli restaurant Miznon for some of the best sandwiches in town. Place des Vosges, arguably the most attractive square in all of Paris, is a short stroll away. For a more formal seated meal (and prize-winning oeufs mayo), the elegantly retro Grand Brasserie is a great option near the Bastille.

How to say it in French: Le quatrième.


The Latin Quarter (so named for its many educational institutions, including the Sorbonne, which once taught Latin) is still home to many students, but it also bustles with tourists — and thus tourist traps. Bonvivant is your best bet for reliable planches of cheese and charcuterie served on a nice terrasse, while Chinaski offers more creative French fare.

How to say it in French: Le cinquième.


Saint-Germain-des-Prés is very pretty and has great shopping, though it can be a bit touristy, as it’s centrally located near most of the major monuments, museums, and parks. The once staid part of town is undergoing a nightlife revolution, making it an exciting place to drink right now. Skip anywhere made famous by Hemingway and head

instead to Cravan, a townhouse packed with three cocktail bars in one, along with a bookstore and a rooftop movie screen.

How to say it in French: Le sixième.


The Eiffel Tower is the draw in this otherwise fairly quiet residential area, which means good eating can be tricky. Still, smoky, lively Chez L’Ami Jean serves a famous salted-caramel rice pudding that makes the tiny spot a favorite of locals and tourists. Another great option, Café Varenne is the kind of superior all-day cafe that should be on every corner.

How to say it in French: Le septième.


Oh, Champs-Élysées. You won’t find many charming neighborhood establishments or sweet bistros here. Instead, large international chains squeeze in cheek by jowl with three-Michelin-star temples of haute gastronomy, which demand astronomical prices to match their rococo interiors. Le Mermoz is a refreshing antidote to overhype.

How to say it in French: Le huitième.


Some people call the South Pigalle neighborhood SoPi — but you don’t have to be one of them. While this area just next to Montmartre used to be best known for its red light district, more recently it’s become a cocktail destination. There are also great independent shops, music venues, and excellent restaurants like Le Bon Georges, the bistro that everyone wishes was in their neighborhood. Rue des Martyrs — lined with bakeries, cheese shops, and other delights — is one of the best streets in all of Paris for culinary tourists. Farther south, large department stores, offices, and the stunning Palais Garnier opera house round out the neighborhood. How to say it in French: Le neuvième.


This is where Parisians go to picnic. On any nice evening or weekend, the Canal

Saint-Martin is lined with people playing guitars and cracking open bottles of wine.

Beyond the canal, the neighborhood is young and fun, with lots of small shops and boutiques. Head here for Australian- and English-inspired breakfasts at Holybelly or Ten Belles, grab an ice cream cone at JJ Hings, and hit up the bistro Les Arlots or the accompanying wine bar Billili, conveniently located near the Gare du Nord.

If you don’t have a train of your own to catch, train-watch from the terrace of Café Les Deux Gares; this station-adjacent spot is worth checking out for chef Jonathan Schweizer’s unique flavor combinations. How to say it in French: Le dixième.


It will shock no one that some of the best dining in Paris isn’t clustered around the morass of tourist attractions (and traps) in the center of the city. Rather, many of the most dynamic restaurants can be found in northeastern neighborhoods, particularly the historically working-class 11th arrondissement, where low real estate prices have allowed entrepreneurs to flourish. The sheer concentration of destination-worthy bars and restaurants makes the 11th an ideal home base for the food-focused traveler, whatever else may be on your agenda. You can eat and drink well at Mokonuts, Clamato, Tapisserie, Cafe du Coin, Jones, Le Repaire de Cartouche, Kubri, Gramme, Fulgurances, BMK

Folie Mericourt, and Le Tagine.

How to say it in French: Le onzième.


The Bastille and the Bois de Vincennes anchor this area, full of rowdy spots for study-abroad kids interspersed with cosmopolitan natural wine shops and bars. The Marché d’Aligre is one of the best open-air markets in the city. Hit it before noon and then head to the Promenade Plantée, a walkway that served as inspiration for New York City’s Highline. Nearby, you have Passerini, one of the best Italian restaurants in the city. Closer to the Gare du Lyon, pop into L’Esprit for an excellent coffee or brioche, before grabbing a creative cheese sandwich at Olga to go.

How to say it in French: Le douzième.


There are Asian restaurants galore in the 13th, but pay particular attention to pho joints like Pho 14 or Chào Bà. The Butte-aux-Cailles area is a quirky hilltop oasis where you’ll find the original Chez Gladines, a cheap, cheerful mini-chain

beloved by students for its huge portions.

How to say it in French: Le treizième.


Montparnasse often feels like a giant shopping mall, thanks in part to the Montparnasse Tower, a high-rise straddling the 14th and 15th arrondissements. While it may offer one of the best views of Paris, the building remains controversial in a city of such otherwise uniformly beautiful architecture. Avoid it and head to the Catacombs, the city’s ancient underground burial site; if all those skeletons don’t dampen your appetite, follow up your visit with a meal along Rue du Montparnasse, which is lined with Breton eateries, like Josselin, that make excellent buckwheat galettes and salted-caramel crepes. There’s also L’Assiette, one of the best bets in the city for classic French cooking.

How to say it in French: Le quatorzième.


Similar to New York’s Upper East Side, this residential area is lovely, boring, and

filled with young families and pensioners. Accordingly, everything closes early and stays shuttered on Sundays. There are lots of old-timey bistros, so classic French cuisine is a good choice. Au Roi du Café is one that looks like it’s been around forever, even though it’s brand new from the team behind Café Varenne in the 7th. For something a bit more unexpected and modern, head to the natural wine bar Les Jajas de Juju. It’s the kind of spot that wouldn’t feel out of place in Belleville or the 11th, but is noticeably cool for the somewhat stodgy 15th.

How to say it in French: Le quinzième.


Embassies and old French money mix in le Seizième, where lots of elderly ladies don’t pick up after their dogs. It’s reminiscent of the neighborhoods around the Eiffel Tower or bits of the 8th arrondissement, minus the tourists. There’s very little reason to eat in this area, save

for the table d’hôtes (prix fixe menu) at the shop of celebrity butcher Hugo Desnoyer and the haute gastronomie at Comice.

How to say it in French: Le seizième.


This neighborhood is drawing an increasing number of young professionals, and its wine bars and restaurants are heating up accordingly. La Félicité is a sweet neighborhood wine bar, while Gare au Gorille has a tightly edited modern French menu. The areas around Batignolles park and Villiers are wonderful for market shopping and strolling. How to say it in French: Le dix-septième.


Wear sensible shoes to the hilly, cobblestone areas of Montmartre and the Goutte d’Or. Home to many sex shops,

the Moulin Rouge, and the city’s only vineyard, and close to the big flea markets, this area is vibrant, diverse, and occasionally dodgy. The French consider it to be très Brooklyn. Head to Poney Club for natural wine and small plates, Atelier P1 for baked goods, Mehmet for kebabs, or the incredibly lovely Clove Coffeeshop, which feels like a sanctuary amongst tourist traps.

How to say it in French: Le dix-huitième.


The Parc de la Villette, the city’s third-largest park, used to be the site of the Parisian slaughterhouses, so it’s fitting to eat at old-school steakhouse Au Boeuf Couronné, just across from the park. Buttes-Chaumont, a former quarry, is one of the most beautiful parks in the city, with incredible views for a picnic. Belleville’s revolutionary history and strong immigrant influence make the

neighborhood one of the most exciting areas in the city to be eating and drinking, including great cocktails at Combat, Chinese Italian fusion at Cheval d’Or, and refined seafood at Soces.

How to say it in French: Le dix-neuvième.


The historically working-class neighborhoods of Belleville and Ménilmontant are now home to a large Chinese community and young transplants. Le Baratin is a neighborhood legend serving deeply soulful classic French food, while Paloma has the best and most creative lunch formules (set menu) in town. Pay homage to Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison at Père Lachaise cemetery, before checking out delightful restaurants like Caché, Amagat, and Santa Silvia, which are all tucked away on cobbled side streets.

How to say it in French: Le vingtième.



As Timothy Littley, VP of Itinerary and Planning at Marc-Henry Cruise Holdings LTD and co-owner/operator of Four Seasons Yachts explains, his intention was to design experiences that resonate deeply and truly express the spirit of adventure and discovery. “In our debut year, we’re set to explore over 130 distinct destinations across more than 33 countries and territories,” he says. “My professional journey, alongside years of personal exploration, has been dedicated to understanding the nuances of these locales—their culture, their people, and the unique experiences they offer—to ensure we curate something truly extraordinary for our guests.”

The first sailings are set for January,2026 heading to Croatia,

Gibraltar, Montenegro, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Türkiye. The Mediterranean itinerary will also highlight Greek islands with stops in Athens, Ios, Santorini and Milos but not always in the usual way: arriving in the tourist favorite island of Santorini, for example, at 5 PM when the other cruise ships are leaving, allowing passengers to enjoy a less crowded island in the evening. Under the radar but islands also worth visiting such as Hydra and Naxos are also included. Caribbean sailings are also among the first itineraries traveling to Saint Barthélemy (St Barths), Nevis, the Grenadines, St Lucia, Barbados, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Curaçao and Aruba. While there, passengers disembark to experience the nightlife of St Barths, Martinique’s volcanic coral reefs and lush rainforest landscapes and a sail in St Lucia’s Tobago Cays among other experiences.

Among the itineraries announced this week are five-, seven- and ninenight voyages that include legendary ports of call such as Saint-Tropez, Cannes, Monte Carlo, Capri, Positano, Taormina, Palma de Mallorca and Valencia plus lesser-known gems including Italy’s Portovenere, France’s Fréjus and Mandelieu-la-Napoule, Spain’s Ciutadella de Menorca and Malta’s Gozo. Offshore activities to truly experience the destination are being selected ranging from exploring the esteemed rosé vineyards in Bandol, France to truffle hunting in Viareggio, Italy.

The yacht, Four Seasons 1, is being constructed by renowned Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri in Ancona, Italy and will contain 95 suites with modular walls that will allow 100 different connection options including reserving one side of a deck for a large family or group of friends traveling together. The largest accommodations are seven signature suites ranging from 2,981 to 9,975 square feet of indoor and outdoor living space offering two to three bedrooms, separate living rooms, indoor and outdoor dining space, splash pools, outdoor showers, and the option to connect to additional suites. The largest, the 9,975 square foot Funnel Suite, includes four levels of living space and floor to ceiling wraparound windows. All feature a design described by Fredrik Johannson, partner and executive director of Tillberg Design of Sweden as welcoming in the same way that the group’s resorts are but unique to the yacht. “It had to have this incredibly elegant aura to it without being over-the-top opulent,” he says. “To this end, we strove for a beautiful simplicity with the interiors.”

Elsewhere on the yacht are 11 dining options, spa and wellness offerings and a 65 foot long stern pool. Taking care of all are staff members on a 1:1 guest to staff ratio, along the lines of what Four Seasons regulars experience on land. And there will be at least 41 opportunities to experience it; that number of sailings at this point is planned for the first year; more may be added.








Superbly located just off Fifth Avenue and Central Park between Fifth and Madison Avenues on prestigious East 63rd Street and forming part of a group of stunning facades in a beautiful strip of mansions by

great architects including CPH Gilbert, D & J Jardine, and Delano & Aldrich, transforming the block for prominent residents such as Woolworth, Bloomingdales, Brokaw, Oscar Hammerstein, and present day residents such as Neil Diamond.

One of the most exclusive shopping areas in the world is just steps to Madison Avenue and includes names such as Graff, Hermes, Lalique, Dolce & Gabbana and Maison Goyard.

Built in 1901 by the financier and philanthropist, Elias Asiel, the townhouse is the masterwork of architect, John H. Duncan, one of the most important architects at the turn-of-the century, who also designed Grant's Tomb.

Reminiscent of the mansions of Paris,

the extraordinary limestone façade with center entrance and secondary entrance, has delicate floral garlands, arched French windows, a copper mansard roof, and three terraces including two roof top terraces with glorious city and Central Park views.

Built 25' wide x 100' deep, on a lot 25' x 100', with steel beam construction and elevator to every level, the townhouse has approximately 18,000 sq. ft., 8 levels, including 6 levels above grade, 28 rooms, 7 bedrooms, 8 baths, 4 powder rooms, and 14 fireplaces. The townhouse has rooms of great scale with soaring ceilings, beautiful proportions, and rich ornamentation with extraordinary craftmanship.

First Floor: The 46' x 22' entrance gallery

with white marble floor, 12' ceiling and spectacular curved white marble staircase, leads to a unique circular dining room entered through beautiful glass doors, and offering herringbone floor, fireplace, 12' ceiling, and is off the butler's pantry.

Second Floor: Huge 25' x 22' gallery with 16'9" ceiling, flanked on the north side by the 22' x 21' drawing room, with extraordinary 16'9" ceiling, herringbone floor, fireplace, and moldings with a cartouche

in each corner of the ceiling, and doors leading to a terrace. A conservatory is off the drawing room with doors to the terrace. On the south side of the gallery is the handsome paneled library, 22' x 20', with ceiling height of 16' 9", herringbone floor, fireplace, and ornamented ceiling with sculptural motifs in each corner. Third Floor: Sitting room/media room with herringbone floor, fireplace, 12' ceiling, and en-suite bath. The primary bedroom, 22' x 21', has a fireplace, 12' ceiling, sitting

PRICE $65,000,000 | ROOMS 28| BEDROOMS 7 | BATHROOMS 8 FULL 4 HALF BATHS |18,000 Sq. Ft.

room with fireplace, en-suite bath. Fourth Floor: Bedroom with fireplace, 10'11" ceiling, double doors to sitting room with fireplace, en-suite bath. The north bedroom, 22' x 18', offers a fireplace, 10'11" ceiling, sitting room, dressing room, walk-in closet, en-suite bath, kitchenette, laundry room. Fifth Floor: Dramatic double height, 23' x 21' sitting room open to floor above, a fireplace and two spectacular double-height arched windows allowing glorious light. Two bedrooms, one with fireplace, both with 10' ceiling, en-suite baths, adjacent kitchenette. Sixth Floor: Lovely south facing bedroom with fireplace, 10' ceiling, en-suite bath, and double doors to a large terrace with Central Park and city views and city views including the tower of the Carlyle Hotel.



Redefining luxury on a grand scale, this iconic architectural marvel delivers. Occupying a vast 3850sqm oceanfront landholding designed to capture the unimpeded 270-degree ocean panorama from Whangaparaoa all the way to the beautiful silhouette of Rangitoto Island, this is the epitome of artful living.

Private and secure, the expansive 550 square-meter Spanish limestone clad concrete and masonry residence has been designed by esteemed architects Fearon Hay to maximize the Hauraki Gulf views through extensive glazing while providing shelter and seclusion.

Natural light bathes the super-sized entertainer’s open plan living space anchored by the exquisite kitchen with new Nero

Marquina island bench, Poggenpohl cabinetry, premium Gaggenau and Sub Zero appliances. The scale and form of the living areas are simply breath-taking with double height ceiling which creates a true sense of space and grandeur.

Double height glazing with sliding glass panels ensures an uninterrupted connection to the panorama and the exterior hosting terraces where you can follow the sun and appreciate the exceptional private position. A heated 25m lap pool cast to the edge of the elevated stone terrace impresses with its extensive water horizon.

Sleeping accommodations are thoughtfully arranged for privacy and tranquility and include a guest suite with kitchenette. Each bathroom is stunning and unique

in design, sporting Boffi and Ritmonio tapware.

As you would expect of a property of this caliber, only the most exceptional amenities have been selected. A Rotex system provides endless hot water for the home, basalt floors and pool. The home also comes equipped with a temperature-controlled 1400+ bottle wine cellar and triple internal garaging.

There is no need to fight traffic to head to a beach when this resort-style estate is circa 20 minutes from Westhaven Marina and has beaches on its doorstep - Ladder Bay is a two-minute walk, while Long Bay and Waiake Beach are also a stroll away. This is an unsurpassed lifestyle masterpiece.



PRICE $14,750,000 NZD


Located in Agni, Ayline is situated just a brief stroll from the picturesque bay and its famous beach-front restaurants. The villa showcases a unique blend of Corfiot and Venetian architectural influences fused with modern aesthetics. Two distinctive features are the windows that amplify the panoramic views and the stone used on the façade and exterior walls, which was sourced directly from the property’s grounds. Each stone was meticulously hand-shaped by a skilled craftsman and fitted together like pieces of an intricate puzzle.

Ayline is on two levels and the living spaces are enhanced by exquisite interior design featuring contemporary French and Italian furnishings.

Initially planned for nine bedrooms and seven bathrooms, the property has been modified and currently consists of six exceptionally comfortable and impeccably designed bedrooms. The remaining three rooms have been repurposed to meet various needs. One of the rooms now serves as a spacious office with its own private entrance, offering panoramic views of the surroundings. Another room has been transformed into a gym, with stunning sea vistas and lastly, the third room serves as an additional office or library area.

On the lower ground floor, you’ll be captivated by the artistic atmosphere of the dual-purpose space—a dynamic art gallery meticulously designed to replicate a museum ambiance, allowing for the effortless rotation and change of exhibited art. At the push of a button, the room turns into a cutting-edge home cinema featuring state-of-the-art

audio-visual systems for a cinematic experience rivaling that of a professional theater.

The spacious living/dining area and kitchen, with large, sleek-framed windows and soaring beamed ceilings, is filled with abundant natural light, openness, and airiness. All these spaces provide access to the outdoor areas and the pool.

This beautiful property has direct access to the sea via a private jetty. Imagine being able to step out of your home and have the coastal waters just a few steps away.

Ayline is surrounded by an expansive Mediterranean garden unveiling a wide variety of flora, including over 50 olive trees and more than 100 diverse species of flowers, shrubs, and trees such as fig, pistachio, pine, pomegranate, jacaranda, lemon, orange, robinia, and kumquat. The abundant stone terracing across the property provides delightful outdoor living spaces. The pool area features 285sqm of terraces, some of which is covered by automatic bio-climatic pergolas. These areas provide an ideal relaxation and open-air dining setting while immersing in the picturesque views.

The infinity pool, strategically situated, gives the illusion of merging as one with the sea offering a sense of infinite space. Steps from the pool area lead first to a yoga and meditation spot with a panoramic sea view, followed by a waterside deck designed for sunbeds and access to the boat jetty.

In Search of Solace Finding new favorites



@willismith_2000 COPY EDITOR & CONTRIBUTOR


Megan and Hilary Cline, of Cline Family Cellars, are working to lead the winemaker into the next generation of family leadership, including by launching their own label, Gust.

And Tonya Pitts of One Market restaurant in San Francisco, who also runs her own consulting firm, is walking the walk in working to support women and people of color thrive in wine and food careers (while at the same time collecting her own accolades for being one of the nation’s best sommeliers).

For this month’s feature, I am focusing on two fabulous wines – a red and a white – from different parts of the world that I’ve become smitten with ever since they crossed my path.

While I frequently attempt to create a framework or overarching theme for the monthly wine feature, sometimes wines have made such an impression that regardless of a larger context, I feel


The family winery Tement has established itself as a world-class producer of Sauvignon Blanc in Styria, the smallest and one of only three wine growing regions in Austria.

Yes, Austria is mostly known for excelling in other varietals such as Riesling and Gruner Vetliner, but Tement has found serious magic with Sauvignon Blanc. Their signature bottling of the varietal is “Kalk & Kreide” which translates to “limestone and clay,” labels that perfectly describe the terroir of the

compelled to sing their praises. This is the case this month.

place, with the vineyards certified organic beginning with the 2018 vintage.

This area of Austria borders Slovenia and seeing the nation-state border as but a small impediment to the promise of the grape growing enterprise, in 2005, the Tement family founded Domaine Ciringa. This property is directly adjacent to Tement’s famous single vineyard, Zieregg, and it is considered the same vineyard despite the international border – Ciringa is Slovene for Zieregg.

Domaine Ciringa’s Fosilini Breg Sauvignon Blanc is, hands down, the most deliciously different Sauvignon Blanc I’ve tasted over the past several years. It’s not Napa. Not New Zealand. Not the Loire. It defies a typical assessment of Old World or New, finding some strange and utterly perfect accommodation that is uniquely its own. This is the magic of terroir in spades.

We tasted the 2021 vintage, which, on the nose, had wonderful grassy and herbaceous qualities, complemented by

notes of lemon verbena and wet, crushed stones. On the palate, there is an immediate experience of bright acidity and a refreshing minerality that speaks to the coralline limestone soils of this ancient seabed. Full of citrus, this is a delightfully, much more serious, expression of Sauvignon Blanc with a lush mouthfeel imparted by some significant aging time on the lees and in used Corinthian oak barrels, as well as stainless steel.

Bring this unique wine to a dinner party and “Wow” your dining companions with something deliciously unique and oh-so-utterly boutique. I can think of no better pairing with this wine than some grilled oysters on the half shell, the brine of the mollusk meeting the rich earthiness of the wine. Or perhaps some barbecued shrimp on a skewer, with a squeeze of lemon, served over al dente capellini with butter and fresh herbs.

Also, should you find yourself in the vicinity of Tement, be sure to book their luxurious accommodations (winzarei. at): eight houses with dozens of options

that span the estate grounds on both the Austrian and Slovenian sides. In addition to a spa, heated swimming pools, and daily morning deliveries of a breakfast basket filled with local bounty, there is the wine. Yes, the wine.


Who sets up wine operations smack dab in the middle of the big city? Michael and Anne Dashe, that’s who. In 1996, they established and opened Dashe Cellars in the Jack London Square district of Oakland, California. Just recently, with the creation of a wine and spirits venue called Spirits Alley, ensconced in an airport hangar on the old naval base in nearby Alameda, the Dashe’s moved their entire operation there. They describe it as an “urban winery” and you can sip wine among the barrels of aging wine or on the outside patio with a picture-postcard view of the San Francisco skyline.

In Search of Solace Finding new favorites

After careers with some of the top wineries in the world – including Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, Chappellet, and Far Niente – the Dashes are doing their own thing, specializing in creating some incredible wines from single vineyards across northern California. Among these are single varietal bottlings of Carignane that consistently deliver vintage after vintage.

Carignane is an ancient grape of Spanish origin and because it is prodigious in its yield, had long been considered a staple in producing jug wine or as a blending grape. Sadly, that reputation overshadowed what the grape can do as a single varietal in wine production and with Dashe, it is phenomenal.

We tasted two vintages of this wine. The 2017 bottling was sourced from the Evangelho Vineyard in Contra Costa County. I have a love affair with wines from this county. They are some of the oldest vineyards in the state with some of the oldest vines. When phylloxera first devastated California’s wine industry in the late 19th century and again in the late 20th century, the sandy soils of Contra Costa County allowed these vines to survive. Additionally, the population and development in the county

has exploded and the future of many of these vineyards is in peril. As a result, you can taste the determination, steadfastness, and history that these vines deliver in spades in the hands of the right winemakers and Dashe is not alone. Many other winemakers covet fruit from the ancient Zinfandel, Carignane, and Mourvèdre vines of Evangelho Vineyard, including Ridge Vineyards and Bedrock Wine Co. In fact, last year Bedrock purchased and leased the entirety of the vineyard, calling into question if any other producers will have access to grapes from the property.

A beautiful and opaque garnet in the glass, the nose is both earthy and full of dark brambles. Medium to full bodied, the flavor profiles are wonderfully rooted in these old vines, with hints of cassis, earth, and boysenberry preserves and well-balanced tannins.

The 2021 vintage, equally delicious, was sourced from an entirely different vineyard, the Joaquin Jose Vineyard. Also in Contra Costa County and also old vines – planted in the mid-1880s –this vineyard was set to become part of a state park until Matt Cline (yes, he is the uncle of the aforementioned Megan and Hilary Cline and had a career with Cline

Cellars until striking out on his own in 2001) saved it. Thank goodness he did.

The wine is a deep purple in the glass and fruit forward on the nose, with blackberries and black currants duking it out with hints of minerality and flint. A velvety mouthfeel, the fruit is bright – think blackberry and baked cherries –with hints of spice. This wine benefited from some aeration and will get only better with a few additional years of aging in the bottle.

These old vine Carignane wines are complex and we should reward their fortitude, execution, and depth of flavors with something worthy and classic. Moreover, these are uniquely American iterations of the grape so enjoy them with a quintessentially American London Broil, alongside roasted button mushrooms and crispy shallots, with a side salad of greens and radishes with a red wine vinaigrette.

I hope you enjoy these beautiful wines and if the vintages reviewed here are unavailable, try others. We find the wines we love while exploring. So explore.

And as always, Salud!



Growing up in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, was an adventure filled with discovery and exploration for Kitana St-Cyr. She was born in the light of her older brother, Gramsci.

Kitana was eager to emulate everything her brother did; with this, she began jumping horses because he did. She found solace and freedom in nature’s quiet embrace from an early age. Although her childhood home country lacked material wealth, her upbringing was rich in love.

As a child, tales of her great-grandfather’s Henri St-Cyr exploits as an Olympic rider were woven into her family’s lore. For Kitana’s father, these stories were more than just legends of sporting achievement; they were a legacy to be cherished and upheld. With this, he passed riding down to his children, instilling in them a sense of wonder and admiration for horses. Kitana carried this heritage throughout her life.

On January 12, 2010, a catastrophic magnitude 7.0 Mw earthquake rattled Haiti, leaving a trail of destruction and despair in its wake. The epicenter was near Léogâne, Ouest department, approximately 16 miles west of Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital. The country reeled in the aftermath of the disaster—poverty increased, political instability grew, and the infrastructure crumbled. Homes, schools, hospitals, and government buildings fell under the force of nature’s wrath, burying countless individuals beneath the rubble. Tragically, Kitana’s father was among the many lost to the devastation, his absence leaving an irreplaceable void in her family’s hearts. Driven by sheer survival instinct,

Kitana’s mother, Éléonore, fled to the United States with her children, leaving behind the debris of their former life and the memory of a husband. Arriving in Orlando, Florida, at 17 years old, Kitana began a journey to rediscover her identity. In the unfamiliar terrain of their new home, Kitana found solace in an unexpected yet not forgotten place—the stables. Kitana was taken under the wing of Brazilian Olympic Show Jumper Lucia Santa Cruz, her trainer/coach, mentor, and “auntie.” Kitana immersed herself in English riding, learning show jumping, spending hours at the stables, and developing her riding skills. Lucia found passion and reward in shaping Kitana; with this support, Kitana quickly began winning shows around Florida.

In 2017, Kitana relocated to Austin, Texas, and forged connections with others who shared her love for horses and a newfound passion for polo. Under the direction of former 4-goal Argentine professional and the head coach of the University of Texas’s polo team, Javier Insua, alongside Mexican player/coach Gustavo Galvan. Without prior experience, Kitana’s athleticism and natural talent propelled her forward, and everyone noted how quickly she picked up the new sport. Within a year, she was encouraged to enter the United States Polo Association (USPA) and play in her first arena polo tournament. Also, while functioning as captain, Kitana led the team to victory and was honored with the title of Most Valuable Player.

As a young Haitian woman in the sport, a buzz began developing around her as she was recognized as

one of the new faces of the USPA. “When sharing my story, it’s essential for me to highlight one thing, the traumatic earthquake experience not only taught me to be resilient, but I firmly believe God spared my life from the debris to fulfill a purpose.” Kitana became a well-requested player who had the opportunity to play in and win local and international tournaments. As Kitana’s skills in polo grew, so too did her ambition. Guided by the memory of her father and the family’s unwavering support, she set her sights on a new dream: becoming a professional polo player. During the 2024 winter polo season in Wellington, under Pamela Flanagan Devaleix’s guidance and with the support of the USPA and Josh Jakobitz, she formed the Polo Lifestyles Women’s team. As a 14-goal team, Kitana and her teammates Hope Arellano, Meghan Gracida, and Maggie Hill entered the Women of Wellington (WOW) tournament series, where they reigned undefeated and won the tournament.

Today, as Kitana prepares to begin a new chapter in her life, she brings the lessons of the past. Her journey, marked by loss and resilience, demonstrates the power of connection - to family, heritage, and the unwavering spirit within us all. Despite experiencing loss and displacement, her father’s legacy and Haitian roots emerged as guiding stars, leading her to a profound rediscovery of self. Through the humbling act of riding, Kitana finds her footing and reignites a flame that carries the legacy of those who came before her. This will undoubtedly make an enduring impression on future generations of young women like her.





The Celestial Mandate for a Radical Transformation in Devotional Living

“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” - Matthew 6:14-15




How do we console those in need, when we continue to feel disempowered? How do we inspire nations into a vision of hope when our personal story instills pain? How do we build our lives founded upon love, hope and compassion, when our brains are clouded by distortions that fog the brilliance of the

Absolute Truth’s expression.

“Let’s be clear: human activities are at the root of our descent toward chaos. But that means human action can help solve it. Making peace with nature is the defining task of the 21st century. It must be the top, top priority for everyone, everywhere…

It is time to flick the “green switch”. We have a chance to not simply reset the world economy but to transform it. A sustainable economy driven by renewable energy will create new jobs, cleaner infrastructure and a resilient future. An inclusive world will help ensure that people can enjoy better health and the full respect of their human rights and live with dignity on a healthy planet.

“Every individual must also do their part -- as consumers, as producers, as investors. Technology is on our side. Sound economic analysis is our ally.”Antonio Guterrez, Secretary General of the United Nations.

Our ability to surrender to the natural flow of our soul’s growth is dependent upon our ability to surrender and accept the fullest availability of spiritual resources to confidently serve our soul’s medicine upon this Earth. Our ability to perceive life’s deepest beauties requires that we learn to continuously release and harmoniously express our cosmic heart’s luminescent radiance.

Learning to truly love our expression of self is embraced through an ev-



er-expanding philosophy of self-forgiveness. The Universe is an ever-ascending flow state, whereby through inner alignment with that which is, and has always been, we gradually realize our natural path of homeostasis to transcend our sense of duality to welcome the cosmic unfolding of our soul’s expressed beauty.


When we are driven by a

cause, embodied by a vision to serve a mission, our ability to gather strength, source wisdom and inspire legions, requires that we engender a positive outlook, a fresh and radiant perception to catch the golden rays of light that nourish our soul’s potential for liberation through self-fulfillment.

As spiritual beings of light, sound and frequency, our vessels are designed to capture the spiritual light that emanates from all sentient

creation. From the Latin, “per” and “capio”, to capture through, our perceptions are formed by the lens of our perspective which has the potential to empower our inner guidance and construct our divine intelligence.

How we interpret the light of every perception and deliver the current of that expression through our existence determines whether we become empowered or diseased, vitalized or fatigued. Whether we are free to flow in ever ascending grace, or become ensnared in the chains that bind us from within, is determined through our efforts to attain alignment with our cosmic destiny.

For many who are becoming increasingly sensitive to energy, perceiving reality as a world full of threats is both paralyzing and toxifying. The brain and the body are holographic reflections of one another. The fears held within the mind create constriction within the organs and are responsible for the production of toxins that further cloud the mind and disease the body.

One’s impending sense of doom, which typically results in immense anxiety and panic attacks, is typically a misinformed reaction of the body’s attempt to cleanse the system of distortions, yet, as these past traumas, both

ancestral and past life, come to rise, without self-awareness of the miraculous Planetary Ascension process currently unfolding, these erupting emotions becoming associated with a false paradigm that creates further panic and more intense physical reactions.

These immense times of inner spiritual crisis in our lives represent a call to Wake Up and listen to how our bodies and the Supreme Reality are communicating with us. Recognizing this inner panic as an indication of the clearing of stagnant energy from our nervous systems, through self-forgiveness, we can gradually dissolve our fear-based ego identity for the revelatory birthing of our soul’s infinite beauty.

By dissolving our frustrations with reality and our judgments upon our fellow humans, we can focus and harvest all our soul’s energy into engineering our own inner harmony. As we consciously evolve in awareness of the power we hold to transform the world, our Divine perspective naturally crystallizes through magnetism of our inner alignment with the power of a higher purpose, Kundalini Shakti energy, that leads us to ultimate




self-forgiveness and the transcendence of duality.

There is no enemy, only spiritual alchemy. The moment we begin to realize the power we hold to transform the darkness within ourselves, which we are designed to absorb as the key to our soul’s growth, into the light we deliver, we discover our potential in reshaping the world through positive and compassionate partnerships, creative and innovative solutions, united by a power we evolve to behold in unison.


It is the power of the spiritual heart that

transforms reality, and the warmth of the physical heart that unfolds our genetic expression.

The cosmic will of the Universal Divine Mother is that all sentient beings realize their highest expression. In order for this divine intention of the Mother of Creation to rapture through our being, we are being driven to learn how to support the flow of this Kundalini Shakti energy as it reconstructs our nervous system and liberates us from the shackles of disempowering belief systems.

Self-forgiveness allows us to reclaim and harvest the power of our distracted awareness as we cultivate our sacred energy to align our lives with the power

that nourishes our soul’s as we rebuild Mother Earth through the revelation of our highest purpose and clear instructions that are interpreted through our awakened higher spiritual senses.

As we forgive ourselves for our own transgressions where we have welcomed disrespectful relationships, through the release of our false perceptions, our vibration naturally ascends with each empowering breath of release and surrender.

The ancestral trauma that we are all seeded into clouds our sense of reality until the pain within teaches us to burn the trauma into fire of awareness, which sources the illumination of our subtle body, our soul force, which is the Divine creative power of the Universe.

The Universal purpose for pain is the evolution of intelligence through the conscious expansion of the senses which are driven by our soul’s awareness. The greatest gift that we shall ever experience, across all lifetimes and every dimension of spiritual evolution, is our life’s existence.

We live to experience the gift of life, and such is the Path of Transcendence which requires absolute Self-Forgiveness so that we may behold the beauty of the Supreme Reality, with a lens cleared of self-judgments.

All is a reflection of ourselves, and the greatest joy is to feel free to see the infinite beauty of our God-Realized Self in all things. Love is the power that drives the Universal Forces into motion.



When we truly forgive, our thoughts, actions and habits are immediately transformed allowing us to be guided by a higher stream of consciousness. The reality we perceive is a projection of the stream of consciousness upon which we feed. Our individual goal is to arrive at a state of Heavenly coexistence whereby we are each the source of one another’s bliss. To enlighten the world, our aim should be inner alignment with the cosmic forces of existences, that naturally blossom through self-love and self-forgiveness.

Releasing our attachments to blame, and delegations of fault, clears our senses of perception to receive a higher broadcast of psychic intelligence that enhances our manifestations across all dimensions in our life, including our spiritual work within the lower dimensions of existence.

As we embody the lessons of our soul’s birthing, we gradually establish a foundation for Ascension, whereby we are able to support others in their physical purification and spiritual resurrection process as we guide them through the darkness of their soul, along the rewarding path of Self-Realization and Self-Actualization.


Scientists predict there is a super-massive blackhole at the center of every large galaxy that swallows nearby dust and gas creating massive jets of energy that themselves create conditions ripe for star formation.

Similarly, there is a blackhole located within the center of hearts, attracting life experiences that are intended to develop our sense of compassion which that

brings into order the higher orchestration of our organ system, to serve the evolution of our soul’s intelligence.

When we lose sight of our higher sense for existence, the torment of the reality that we have created based upon our lower vibratory belief system creates an angst for something more and dismay for what is.

Addictively, clawing away externally for experiences that can never truly bring peace to our ever-growing emptiness, at the gradual destruction of our sacred existence and the loss of all we care for, we finally listen to our intuition which guides us ever further inwards, to realize a joy that knows no end, as we unshackle ourselves from the psycho-emotional, karmic wheel of death and soul enslavement that we realize ourselves to be trapped in.

Through disciplined practice of ancient yogic exercises mastered to restore the spiritual energy channels that flow through our vessels, we regain our sense of self and discover a universal interconnectedness to life that delivers profound meaning to our existence.

As this new sense of cosmic self is develop, the ego dissolution process is a glorious rebirthing that intuitively informs, guides and nourishes itself. It is the fire of the heart that is our guiding light through life. It is the fire of the heart, that nourishes all creation, as devotional service for the gift of existence.


In the one-on-one consulting program that I have developed, GOL-D: Vedic Rainbow Body Ascension, I support my initiates through a very hand-on,

compassionate approach in dissolving the self-inflicted chains of oppression as I support the expansion of your Cosmic Soul, and welcome the birthing of their Higher Self.

Working through the spiritual realms and into the physical dimensions, I support my initiates in illuminating and dissolving toxic cords from current and past life traumas that have manifested into their lives, allowing the for the pain of your existence to be alchemized into beauty, strength and purpose.

Together, we work to realize your highest, genetically embedded purpose as we welcome the Universal resources available through the Planetary Logos, the spirit of Mother Earth, as the pain body is gradually dissolved to welcome the infinite cosmic power that awakens your higher senses and spiritual gifts, known as Siddhis in Sanskrit.

Leveraging ancient Eastern wisdom, we disentangle low vibratory aspects of your perspective for your natural golden expression to surface, fueling the expression of new abilities for energetic transference as your energetic bandwidth expands

Consulting packages are designed on an individually customized basis, based on each initiate’s akashic record. More information, as well as free meditations, exercises and extensive articles, can be found at: www.MonarchVisionary.com








What do you think? What side of the fence do you lie on? I will typically ask this question when I am providing instruction on the topic of confidence and as you would expect, you get valid arguments from both sides of the equation. When I am personally asked the same question, in typical psychologist-based fashion, I answer “both.” Success can most definitely build confidence because we see ourselves succeeding in completing the task or performing the skill. On the other hand, being confident while heading into a performance can increase the likelihood of being successful. What they share is this common denominator: confidence is an internal belief. Without internal belief, your successes may get interpreted as “being lucky,” not

the result of a deliberately chosen path, and you will no doubt be more hesitant and timid heading into a performance. Confidence comes from within, and it can also be taught.


Albert Bandura, a world-renowned psychologist, developed a theory based on confidence in the late 1970s/early 1980s. The theory states that an individual builds confidence through how they interpret information related to their own skills and capabilities in four distinct ways: mastery experiences, physiological state, watching others, and verbal persuasion.

In the case of mastery experiences, confidence is derived from the completion or execution of a skill in the past. If you have been able to execute a skill in the past, then you feel that there is no reason you should not be able to do so again. With physiological state, the interpretation of how one experiences what is happening with one’s body will impact confidence. For example, let’s say you head into a performance, and you notice your heart rate beginning to elevate and you say to yourself, “I am nervous,” and internalize it. This can go one of

two ways: you interpret your elevated heart rate as “this is bad, I should not be nervous” or “this is good, I am excited, and my body is getting ready.” The latter statement allows you to control and direct your psychological response, control your heart rate, and therefore, have better control over your performance.

An individual can also gain confidence by watching other people perform a skill. This may give an individual insight into what the execution of the skill could look like. This is especially beneficial for those that are considered visual learners. If you can see it being done, then it may be easier to replicate for yourself. It is important to note that you should not watch just anybody. Rather, it is much more beneficial to watch somebody that is close to or slightly above your skill set. If I watch someone who is significantly less skilled than me, then maybe I develop poor habits. On the other hand, if I watch someone extremely skilled, then it may be difficult to replicate, which may be actually serve to erode my confidence instead of building it up. And finally, verbal persuasion can lead an individual to enhance their confidence. Whether it be through a third-party, like a coach, or through your inner dialogue, affirming words can have a powerful impact on confidence.

Each of these sources has its drawbacks, however. For example, what if I do not have prior experience with this skill? What if I am “not feeling it” today? What if I do not have anybody to watch? What if I do not have a coach to hype me up? This highlights the importance of not only being able to pull from different and multiple sources, but also that you always have control over what it is that you say to yourself. Focus on your inner dialogue, but having other ways to maintain or enhance confidence in your back pocket will always be a plus.


Developing personal affirmations is a great way to build or maintain confidence. These practices can also look a variety of ways. One, they can be more motivational in nature. Telling yourself who you are and/or who you want to be while heading into a performance can provide the affirmative energy you need to perform your best. For example, Kobe Bryant’s persona on the court was the “Black Mamba.” This motivated him to act and perform a certain way on the court to ensure he would give his best every time. Two, they can be more focused on an instructional aspect of your performance. For example, when


lifting weights, I will tell myself “brace your core” to ensure I lift with proper form. Not only can this help you build confidence because it is something you have worked on, but it helps guide your attention to what you want to be doing in that moment and not what could potentially degrade your confidence.

Research conducted several years ago broke participants into two groups, both of which were given five minutes to prepare for a speech about why they are a good person. However, the difference between the two groups was that one was instructed to use their name (“Joey, you got this”) and the other was instructed to use pronouns (“I got this”) when talking to themselves about how they were going to fare. The group that used their name in their self-talk reported less stress, more confidence, were rated higher by the people evaluating their speech, and spent less time ruminating on their performance than did the group that used pronouns. Making even this slight adjustment in your vocabulary creates distance from the more primitive parts of your brain, so your self-talk becomes less egocentric and therefore, potentially less effective.

You can also use imagery. Imagery is the act of creating or re-creating experienc-

es in your mind, and if done correctly, your brain isn’t likely to know the difference between it and the actual experience. What imagery does is establish neural connections in your brain that make conditions such that the situation you enter in to does not seem as foreign or previously unexplored. Utilizing as many senses as you can, while also adding any emotions you might experience, make the image as real as possible, which will help create stronger neural connections. Also, you can use imagery to view yourself being successful or responding to adversity in a productive way. Both scenarios will help you build or maintain confidence when it’s time to go.


You will always be your biggest competition. If you cannot win the battle within, then it will be that much more difficult to win against a competitor. So, whether you believe a successful performance builds confidence, or vice versa, it is the internal belief that ultimately leads to more confidence. Learning to control your self-talk can serve to maximize both your abilities and your daily experiences.


Perfection in every detail. Pour l'éternité.

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