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The Keds Champion in white canvas.

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is published for THE ALLBRIGHT by Neighbourhood Media Limited

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Charlotte Adsett ( CREATIVE DIRECTOR Ray Searle ( EDITOR Georgie Lane-Godfrey ( CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Harriet Cooper SUB EDITOR Katie Wyartt CONTRIBUTORS Molly Benjamin, Clare Brass, Sheena Bhattessa, Lucinda Chambers, Isabela Chick, Tracey Follows, Beth Greenacre, Serena Hood, Amy Jackson, Alex Jones, Tabitha Lasley, Elodie Levasseur, Lisa Licht, Rocio Montoya, Kate Mosse, Rebecca Newman, Katy Parker, Mariano Peccinetti, Sarah Raphael, Eve Rodsky, Brigette Romanek, Jes Salter, Lucy Sheridan, Alice Tapper, Suki Thompson, Joslyn Thompson Rule, Kate Wills






he turn of a new year always gives us pause to reflect on the year just gone and to think about what we want to accomplish over the next 12 months. It’s also the start a new decade, so as we enter the 2020s we’re thinking about our global sisterhood of amazing women, and all the things we can achieve together. At AllBright HQ, we’re looking ahead to our physical expansion into New York and Washington DC, with new clubs as well as residencies planned in Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney and beyond. We’ve been overwhelmed by the feedback on our LA club opening and our residencies to-date, and continue to be motivated by the passionate women we meet on our journey around the world. With that in mind, we want to make 2020 the year of you and your career. So many women in the AllBright sisterhood are true career pivoters and this inspired us write about ‘The Power Pivots’ on p.54. These incredible women made the brave and bold move to change their path and follow their dreams. If you have a pipe dream that involves a significant change, then why not make this the year to make it a reality? While radical change may not be on everybody’s agenda, we know we’re all on a continuous journey to self-improvement. Whether that means addressing stress, understanding the importance of work-life balance or stopping self-sabotage, our ‘Inspire Your Best Self ’ feature is packed full of inspiring stories and advice to get the new decade off to the best start. Elsewhere in this issue we’ve spoken to industry experts and rounded up the hottest trends for 2020 (p.14). From tech to travel and finance to film, it’s an essential read. Finally, we’re delighted to have Diane von Furstenberg, a woman who inspires us both, on the cover. The ultimate female founder, ‘DvF’ is a hugely influential figure in the fashion industry and beyond, from the design of her iconic wrap dress and her worldrenowned fashion brand, to her philanthropy, particularly in her own neighbourhood, New York’s Meatpacking District. We are looking forward to being neighbours as we open out first NYC club in the district later this year. DvF’s ‘InCharge’ manifesto chimes perfectly with our Sisterhood Works mission, so our partnership offers real synergy as we work together to empower women. Happy new year and here’s to a great decade!



Anna Jones Co-founder


© 2020 Neighbourhood Media Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, whether in whole or in part, without written permission. The publishers and editors are not responsible for unsolicited material and it will be treated as unconditionally assigned for publication subject to AllBright magazine’s right to edit. @AllBright


Debbie Wosskow, OBE Co-founder




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Where to go and what to do this season

14 WELCOME TO 2020

Futurologist Tracey Follows gives her predictions for the upcoming 12 months


Art curator Beth Greenacre discusses the women to watch over the year ahead


AllBright speaks to the experts in interiors, travel, tech and entertainment for the inside track


Meet Diane von Furstenberg, designer, entrepreneur and expert in the business of fashion


Sarah Raphael explores how the best way to deal with stress might be to change the way you view it


Expert advice and insights on how to be your best self this year


The Let’s Reset founder gives an exclusive look at her book on wellness in the workplace


Dame Kelly Holmes opens up about her battle with mental health while pursuing medals

50 MY OWN WORST ENEMY Writer Alex Jones explores the worrying trend for self-sabotage among working women

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Why the time is now to stop dreaming about a different career and learn to embrace change


The AllBright founder Anna Jones tells us how she risked everything to pivot her own career


Meet the women who reinvented their roles with a career change


Style notes for the season ahead

68 WORKWEAR THAT WORKS Classic pieces and essential updates to your wardrobe staples


The latest launches, seasonal solutions and must-have buys


The best new bases for flawless skin

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How getting to know your second brain is the biggest trend in wellness right now


Nutritionist Amelia Freer gives her rules to live by for eating well


The AllBright Academy reveals why its latest courses are designed with Asian and Australian women in mind


Alice Tapper on the gaping gender pension gap and how to overcome it


Decoded CEO Kathryn Parsons reveals the secrets to her success


Meet the members creating their own sisterhood at the club


Members’ events and happenings at The AllBright over the past few months


Shining a light on Margery Kempe, the first female autobiographer

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ALICE TAPPER Alice Tapper is the founder of Go Fund Yourself - an online platform designed to make personal finance more relatable. An economist and management consultant by background, Alice wrote about the pension gap for this issue - a less well-known but equally worrying version of the gender pay gap. “For years the financial domain has been a masculine one. It’s time to change that,” she says. “Taking ownership of your finances is key for being your best self both now and in the future.”

TRACEY FOLLOWS For this issue, futurologist and Futuremade consultancy founder Tracey Follows gave us her predictions for 2020 and insights into what we can expect during the year ahead - key knowledge for any woman wanting to succeed. “To be their best selves, women should use their intuition more,” she says. “It’s one of the best data points we have, especially as women. Culturally, we’re often encouraged not to listen to it but when we do, it often gives us a glimpse of the future.”

DIANE VON FURSTENBERG Fashion designer turned business mogul DvF is best known for building her empire based around her iconic wrap dresses. Now, she’s flexing her entrepreneurial muscles once again as both an investor and new partner for The AllBright. “2020 is the 100-year anniversary of women voting in America and 400 years since the Mayflower Pilgrims arrived in America - the new world! We can’t miss this moment, it’s a call to action and every woman has to embrace it,” she says.

SHEENA BHATTESSA LUCINDA CHAMBERS & SERENA HOOD Former Vogue editors Lucinda Chambers and Serena Hood recently launched their new e-commerce site Collagerie, designed with a view to demystify fashion with expertly curated products and clever styling advice. For this issue, they have rounded up the top trends and key pieces to look out for in 2020. “Having just launched, we’re excited to get to know more of our Collagerie community over the upcoming year,” says Serena. “We can’t wait to help inspire them to style and shop beautifully.”

Combining her love for travel with a wish to share female-focused travel tips with other globetrotting women, actress Sheena Bhattessa founded luxury travel and style guide Citizen Femme in 2016. In this issue, she rounds up the hottest travel trends for 2020. “Personally, I’m also excited for the women-led film initiatives I’m working on,” says Sheena. “Being your best self means taking every opportunity life presents. We all have something to give - have confidence in that, and you never know what will come out of it.”


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KIMONO: KYOTO TO CATWALK V IC T OR I A A N D A L B E RT M U S E U M 29 Fe b r u a r y - 21 Ju n e

This sweeping exhibition looks at the sartorial and social significance of the kimono from the 1660s to the present day, in Japan and across the world. Alongside ultra-rare 17th- and 18th-century kimonos, there’ll be contemporary designs as well as pieces from fashion and film inspired by the traditional garment, including Alexander McQueen’s kimono-style dress worn by Björk on the cover of her 1997 album Homogenic and the original costume for Obi-Wan Kenobi, played by Alec Guinness in the 1977 epic Star Wars.


David Hockney: Drawing from Life explores the artist as a draughtsman, focusing on depictions of himself and a small group of sitters, including his beloved mother Laura and his muse Celia Birtwell. Around 150 works have been collated by the National Portrait Gallery for the exhibition, which revisits these subjects over five decades; 27 February - 28 June;


A L I S ON JAC QU E S G A L L E RY 21 Ja n u a r y - 2 4 Ma rc h Alison Jacques Gallery in Fitzrovia presents Dorothea Tanning: Worlds in Collision, a solo exhibition featuring a rarely shown body of the artist’s later work, from 1981 to 1989, much of it centred around the bicycle, a subject matter with which she was fascinated at the time.



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arts & culture

FUTURETENSE: EGO ELLA MAY Southbank Centre, 7 February South London songwriter and vocalist Ego Ella May brings her contemporary jazz and neo-soul compositions to the Southbank Centre as part of futuretense, a series of free weekly gigs. Expect seductive vocals and hip-hop beats from the singer, whose debut album So Far was released in September, and who has been hailed by critics as a ‘shining future-soul queen’.


AISHA AND ABHAYA ROYA L OPE R A HOU S E 21 Janu ar y 9 Feb r u ar y

A heart-tugging modern fairytale about two refugee sisters, Aisha and Abhaya, who have fled their homes and find themselves in a new world. Performed by contemporary dance company Rambert, the ballet explores their struggle to survive after being separated from their family. This world premiere - a co-production between The Royal Ballet and Rambert - promises a combination of visually stunning film, striking choreography and lavish costumes.


A rip-roaring exploration into the delightfully eccentric, extravagant and glamorous world of the ‘Bright Young Things’ of the 1920s and 30s, as seen through the lens of celebrated British photographer Cecil Beaton.


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Alexander McQueen celebrates the symbolism of flowers used throughout its collections with a beautiful new exhibition, Roses. The brainchild of creative director Sarah Burton, it showcases many of its iconic floral pieces, including Lee Alexander McQueen’s dress entirely constructed from fresh flowers for spring/summer 2007. The show is part of an ongoing programme to open up understanding into the thinking, research and expertise of the atelier, and the unique working processes at Alexander McQueen.



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2 5 Ja nu a r y - 13 Ap r i l

For Picasso, paper wasn’t merely for sketching out ideas. He created sculptures, assembled collages and practised print-making, using everything from café tableclothes to newspaper cuttings in the process. Spanning his 80-year career, this exhibition offers a new insight into his creative spirit and working methods - all via the medium of paper, with highlights including Women at their Toilette (1937-8), a collage that's being shown in the UK for the first time in more than 50 years.

WOW – Women of the World S OU T H BA N K C E N T R E

6 - 8 Ma rc h

2020 marks the tenth anniversary of WOW – Women of the World festival, and this year’s programme looks certain to pack a punch, with three days of worldclass speakers, activists and performers exploring the state of gender equality and tackling subjects that matter most to women and girls across the globe.



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13 January - 9 February

This programme of six newly commissioned artworks and events, including a sound installation and a spoken word performance, asks us to look at wellbeing in new and unexpected ways, in what is billed as a refreshing antidote to the vast wellness industry that “has fuelled societal pressures to conform”.


12 Ma rc h - 6 S e pt e m b e r This spring sees the eagerly anticipated opening of the Andy Warhol retrospective at Tate Modern. Alongside the more iconic prints of Marilyn Monroe, Coca-Cola and Campbell’s soup cans, a highlight has to be the room dedicated to the largest grouping of his 1975 Ladies and Gentlemen series ever shown in the UK, depicting figures from New York’s transgender community.

Women are taking centre stage in London’s theatreland this season. The Pulitzer-winning play Fairview by Jackie Sibblies, directed by Nadia Latif (above), tells the story of the Fairview family as they celebrate Grandma’s birthday, while simultaneously highlighting our destructive preconceptions. It’s at the Young Vic until 18 January, following a sell-out run in New York. Josie Rourke’s critically acclaimed City of Angels returns to the West End, as the Donmar Warehouse’s production transfers to the Garrick Theatre with singer Nicola Roberts making her stage debut alongside an all-star cast including Hadley Fraser, Rosalie Craig, Rebecca Trehearn and Emmy and Grammy Award nominee Vanessa Williams. Meanwhile, the stage adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, directed by Katie Mitchell and adapted by Alice Birch, comes to the Barbican for four performances (2 - 5 April). Those treading the boards in town include Maxine Peake, who returns to the National Theatre in Lucy Kirkwood’s new play The Welkin (15 January - 28 March), in which she plays an 18th-century midwife who sets about defending a woman sentenced to hanging for murder. Jane Horrocks stars alongside Daniel Radcliffe and Alan Cumming in Samuel Beckett’s macabre comedy Endgame at the Old Vic (27 January - 28 March); and Jennifer Saunders will reprise her role in Blithe Spirit, written by Noël Coward and directed by Richard Eyre, which will run at the Duke of York’s Theatre in the West End (5 March - 11 April).


Mindfulness. Compassion. Tolerance. Discover the principles of Buddhism in this comprehensive exhibition, which traces its beginnings in 6th-century BCE India to having more than 500 million international followers today, via a fantastic display of manuscripts, ancient scrolls and precious artefacts. Plus, gain an insight into meditation and lose yourself in a natural soundscape. Until 23 February 2020;



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Dorothea Lange: Words and Pictures MOM A , NE W YOR K 9 Fe b r u a r y - 20 Ma y

Using her work to provide a social commentary of the world around her, American photographer Dorothea Lange’s pictures convey stories about everyday life. Today, her portrait of a migrant mother from 1936 remains the most iconic image from the Great Depression. This exhibition looks at the impact of words when combined with those images, which bear in mind Lange’s belief that “all photographs - not only those that are so called ‘documentary’ can be fortified by words.”

T he Diary GLOBAL AllBright’s unmissable events from around the world

A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS Kreeger Theatre, Washington DC Khaled Hosseini’s bestselling sequel to his novel The Kite Runner is set against a backdrop of war-torn Kabul, where two Afghan women end up married to the same man. Despite their situation, Mariam and Laila become unlikely allies, facing brutality, starvation and fear at the hands of an abusive husband and an oppressive regime, but their love for each other is the key to survival. The ultimate tale of women supporting women. 17 January - 1 March;

CUE: 50 YEARS OF AUSTRALIAN FASHION MAAS Museum, Sydney 29 Ju n e - 17 Au g u st

It’s been 50 years since the first Cue store opened its doors in Sydney, satisfying the city’s demand for contemporary fashion inspired by the youth culture of Swinging Sixties London. Today, the brand is synonymous with Australian fashion that’s both designed and manufactured locally. This exhibition explores five decades of Cue’s history via garments, designer illustrations, photography and advertising from this iconic Australian label.



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arts & culture

Hong Kong Cool:

Ballet x Fashion MUSIC


S Y DN E Y OPE R A HOU S E 27-31 Ja n u a r y The world’s most famous younger sister comes to Sydney for the Australian premiere of Witness!. A reimagining of Solange’s songs from her last two albums, A Seat at the Table and When I Get Home, this show is billed as nothing short of a multisensory experience. Expect over 20 musicians, dancers, strings and a brass ensemble, including her signature soulful bass.

WEST KOW L O ON F R E E S PAC E 6 - 8 Fe b r u a r y

Anatomy of a Suicide L I N DA G RO S S T H E AT R E , N E W YOR K 3 0 Ja n u a r y - 15 Ma rc h

Alice Birch’s award-winning play is the latest Off-Broadway production by the Atlantic Theater Company. Anatomy of a Suicide explores the relationship between mothers and daughters via three generations of women, each with their own struggles that echo through their family. Experimental, original and, at times, strange, this play raises questions about exactly what we pass down through our genes.

It’s been almost a century since Coco Chanel first collaborated with Diaghilev and the Ballet Russe, starting a tradition of fashion designers and choreographers inspiring each other creatively. That legacy continues with these special performances, for which each choreographer will work with a different emerging local fashion designer to create a truly stylish display of dance.

ART BASEL HONG KONG Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, 19-21 March With the premier galleries in Asia all making an appearance, as well as many from Europe and the US, Art Basel’s Hong Kong edition has earned its reputation as the most exclusive art show in the region. Today, Art Basel Hong Kong is all about reflecting local diversity through both historical material and cutting-edge works from established and emerging artists.



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From avatars to ageism to advertising using ‘deep fakes’, futurologist Tracey Follows explores the developments that will be shaping the year ahead. Plus, on the next few pages we look at the upcoming trends in art, fashion, tech, travel and more 14

this is 2020


was a year of tension. Like an elastic band about to snap, many around the world are on tenterhooks waiting for the other shoe to drop, waiting for the centre ground to re-emerge, waiting for certainty to return. Here’s the bad news: 2020 will be another year of waiting. Not only are we entering the fourth industrial revolution, we are also at the fourth ‘turning’; a point in time that feels like crisis but is actually the creative destruction of an old system in order to give way to the new. Our trends forecasters spend time scanning for signals of change and our researchers talk in depth to innovators of all ages all across the world. Their foresight leads us to believe that the ‘new’ system may not become fully apparent for another few years. We can expect uncertainty, volatility and ambiguity to continue throughout 2020, as a new social order struggles towards birth while many 20th-century ideals and institutions finally expire, although not without a fight. Such is the level of uncertainty and complexity that emotions will again be at the fore in 2020, as feelings continue to trump facts. This will be exacerbated by technological innovations that see faked content move from the periphery into the mainstream. Expect ‘deepfakes’ to move into influencer advertising to try to entirely reflect each of our personal preferences, visually. The virtual world will come of age in 2020, with more companies creating digital twins of their services or systems, enabling them to test and innovate in simulations and model the effects. Avatars will replace celebrity brand spokespeople and identity will become an even more fluid concept, not just in reality but as we move in virtual worlds too. Ageism will come to be recognised as the biggest discriminatory factor in our society, as millennials continue as the largest generation in the workforce and the Boomer captains of industry begin to retire. It is becoming apparent that more work needs to be done about intergenerational fairness and in 2020, as a new decade dawns, we should see more policy and business initiatives that support intergenerational contact, communication and innovation.

Generalists will start to emerge and prosper over the specialists as more people continue to diversify in order to spread their risks. Near-forgotten classic virtues will also start to make a return: integrity, self-restraint, mutuality, and the adherence to public standards. Those who conduct business irresponsibly or seek personal advantage to the detriment of others will suffer reputational damage, as people seek to reinstate common decency and personal honour. Activism will give way to more interest in impact investment as businesses are compelled to prove their ethical mettle, and the whole idea of ‘cultural fit’ gives way to ‘ethical fit’, with young talent holding their employers to account. Expect supply chain partnerships that don’t live up to the mark to be upended. This is also the year Africa becomes the place to look to for inspiration as Chinese investment into the region powers exciting innovation there. Data privacy concerns that feel individual and atomised will finally be taken seriously, probably thanks to a large data security breach shocking global governments and regulators into action. While a trend for ‘social cooling’, where people are afraid to voice their real opinions for fear of chastisement will continue, offline movements promoting free speech will grow. Privacy has been an issue for 2019, but the notion of security will dominate next year: for brands, for businesses, for citizens too, as we struggle to re-balance a newfound digital liberty with safety issues around services that, like all kinds of magic, are invisible to the human eye. In essence, 2020 is set to be a year of emotion and innovation but, sadly, not resolution. No wonder then that the Pantone Colour Of The Year 2020 has been announced as the dreamy, oceanic shade of Classic Blue. We could all do with a splash of tranquility and calm in the year ahead.

“Emotions will again be at the fore in 2020, as feelings continue to trump facts”

Tracey Follows is a professional futurist and founder of futures consultancy Futuremade (

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In Hong Kong, progressive independent contemporary art centre Para Site is hosting Koloa: Women, Art and Technology. Its content is based on the lifelong research of Tunakaimanu Fielakepa, aka the Dowager Lady Fielakepa, the foremost knowledge-holder of ‘koloa’ or customary women’s arts in Tonga. The exhibition (open now) includes a rich array of Tongan art practices, from ngatu (bark cloth making), kafa (woven rope) and fine weaving of traditional ceremonial garments and mats. As well as historical heirlooms, there’ll also be recent commissions made especially for the exhibition to promote the Dowager Lady Fielakepa’s ambition to stimulate and support villagebased women’s groups that gather and maintain the skills, stories, songs and knowledge that make up koloa. Koloa: Women, Art and Technology, until 23 February, Para Site, Hong Kong;

The Art Agenda AllBright’s resident curator Beth Greenacre highlights the women to watch and the female-focused exhibitions to see in 2020


ood news from the art world: 2020 is set to be another year of seeing overlooked women artists, both past and present, finally being celebrated. While we’ve seen a revaluation of women artists in institutional  shows and commercial galleries over the past year - think Phyllida  Barlow,  Carmen Herrera and Rose  Wylie - there’s still much to be done in terms of promoting representation. These shows are some of the highlights of the year ahead - visit them and send a message to curators everywhere that female artists have just as much appeal as their male counterparts. In a world where ticket sales mean success, seeing these exhibitions can have serious impact. See you there.


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this is 2020 LINDY LEE

Looking further afield, British curator and director of Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE is presenting a major survey of Chinese-Australian artist Lindy Lee later next year. Lee’s practice has historically presented the experience of Chinese diaspora in a country that has a problematic history with its multiculturalism. Anchoring her practice and dual identity is her Zen Buddhism, which cements her engagement with the elemental and our relationship to the cosmos, a trait that has run through her work from the 1980s to the present day.  Lindy Lee, 3 July - 20 September 2020, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney;


Next year I am looking forward to watching the outcomes of curator Apsara DiQuinzio's Feminist Art Coalition (FAC), which was formed in 2019 to organise performances, programmes and exhibitions of art by women across 50 US institutions in 2020. As well as creating a brilliant website filled with resources, it is also staging shows. One of the projects I am most excited about is Witch Hunt, a survey of mid-career feminist artists organised by curators Connie Butler and Anne Ellegood and hosted jointly at their institutions the Hammer Museum and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Witch Hunt, autumn 2020, Los Angeles;



Over at Tate Modern, visual activist Zanele Muholi will have their first major midcareer exhibition. Muholi’s bold photographic and activist practice challenges hetero-patriarchal representations and culture; their subjects are confident, strong and beautiful, confronting both the camera and society’s prejudicial intolerance. Zanele Muholi, 29 April 18 October, Tate Modern, London;

In New York, the Brooklyn Museum will have a retrospective of work by Lorraine O’Grady, a significant figure in contemporary performance, conceptual and feminist art. In the show, O’Grady explores the construction of identity, and especially that of black female subjectivity - a term for how a woman sees her role, and how that role contributes to her identity and meaning. Organised by curator Catherine Morris and feminist art writer Aruna D’Souza, the exhibition will present the artist's diptychs two conjoined pieces of art - which adeptly convey non-binary thinking.  Lorraine O’Grady: Both/And, November 2020 - April 2021, Brooklyn Museum, New York;

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In London, I’m excited by the first ever major survey of British artist and writer Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s work at the Tate Britain. I have been avidly following her career for a while now, having included it in an exhibition I curated with David Bowie back in 2004, the year Yiadom-Boakye graduated. Since then, she has become known as one of the most important painters of her generation, winning the prestigious Carnegie Prize in 2018. Her figurative paintings present imaginary, enigmatic black characters that allude to historic portraiture, raising questions over identity and representation. Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, 19 May - 31 August, Tate Britain, London;


Another prestigious London institution hosts its first retrospective dedicated to a woman. Can we really believe it has taken the Royal Academy of Arts 258 years to do so? The retrospective will present 50 works - one from each of the 50 years of pioneering performance artist Marina Abramović’s career. Now 73 years old, Abramović has repeatedly used her own body to test the limits of her physical and mental endurance. The London show will include photographs, video, objects, installations and recreations, including the iconic Imponderabilia, which the artist and her then partner, Ulay, first enacted in 1977. To re-enact it, the RA will recruit young men and women to stand naked in a doorway facing each other while visitors and audience members will squeeze through an uncomfortably narrow space between them. The result? A fascinating insight into gender identity as participants chose who to face as they pass. Marina Abramović, 26 September - 8 December, Royal Academy of Arts, London; ARTEMISIA GENTILESCHI

Heading back in time, the National Gallery will host the first major monographic exhibition in the UK of the 17th century’s most famous female artist, Artemisia Gentileschi. When the National Gallery acquired her self-portrait back in 2018, its number of works by women artists rose to a massive 24 out of the 2,300 in its archives. So this exhibition is sorely needed, not only in terms of representation but also for finally shining a spotlight on the exceptional Gentileschi, the first female member of the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno in Florence at a time when female artists were barely accepted. Artemisia will bring together around 35 works by the artist, from both public institutions and private collections around the world, for a truly important first in British art. Artemisia, 4 April - 26 July, National Gallery, London;


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this is 2020


&DESIGN with The AllBright West Hollywood’s interior designer Brigette Romanek

When it comes to interior trends, you should treat them like salt - add them to taste, start lightly and, if you like them, add in a bit more at a time. And don’t try to incorporate all the current trends into one room - it will look forced and you run the risk of dating the room quickly. Here are my top four trends for 2020.

Framis rug by Mary Katrantzou, From £3,572,

Content by Terence Conran Balance Tall Shelving, Limed Oak, £699,


Asymmetry is a big trend at the moment. Take shelves - placing them asymmetrically on a wall, in a jagged layout, is a great way to bring visual interest to a space. Move one up or down by three or four inches to create a fun visual twist.


This year, the trending colour is blue with an undertone that can go from a lighter blue to a brilliant purple. An easy way to incorporate this into your home is with wall colour - grab a glass of rosé, a paintbrush and get going. If you don’t want to paint, add blankets, pillows or wallpaper in the same hue.


It’s all about graphic rugs in 2020, moving away from more traditional styles. Now, rugs are becoming crazy, cool and very abstract, with artists from different mediums generating a whole new palette of design to create a playful landscape for your room.


Plants have now become part of the furniture, breathing new life into a room. Make sure any plants you buy don’t touch the ceiling - always leave at least three or four inches clearance so the plant has breathing space and room to grow. Big Ken Kentia Palm, £120,

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Former Vogue fashion editors Lucinda Chambers and Serena Hood are the duo behind expertly curated shopping site Collagerie. They reveal the key trends for 2020 and the designers to watch...


Colourful, oversized visor styles, ideally with a gradient lens, will be a key look when the sun makes an appearance. ZARA Two-colour sunglasses £17.99



The perennially popular shape is well-loved for a reason, thanks to its practical, clean design. This year’s must-have will be the ’Aby’ by Chloé, which pays homage to the ’Paddington’ the cult early 00s bag with a signature padlock. CHLOÉ Aby leather tote £1,220


Metallic hardware lit up the catwalks at the spring/summer shows, from statement necklaces at 3.1 Phillip Lim to climbing cuffs at Elie Saab. Whatever you pick, make sure it’s chunky.


Once again, bold colour ruled the runways, from slick suiting at Helmut Lang and Balenciaga to more feminine dress silhouettes at Victoria Beckham and Valentino. Whatever your shade of choice, make sure you wear it top-to-toe for maximum impact.



MISHO Chunky chain choker £350

VALENTINO Crepe midi dress £2,000


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this is 2020


Meet the emerging brands on our radar this year


Expect oversized bows to be a big theme this year, particularly with the London designers. We saw bows dressing up décolletages at Roksanda and Erdem and adorning dresses at Molly Goddard and Richard Quinn, but they translate well to accessories too. WANDLER Lotte mules £400




STAUD Loved by editors, influencers and celebrities such as Alexa Chung, LA-based brand Staud’s bags have been a runaway success thanks to their minimal designs and accessible price point of under £300. Moon bag, £225; AVAVAV Blending a Scandi aesthetic with a high-fashion Italian feel, AVAVAV takes a minimalist approach but pairs it with colourful fabrics and playful, voluminous silhouettes, while keeping sustainability at its core.


It appears every season, so we can’t seem to escape that animal magic. This year, stripes take over from spots as we move away from the ubiquitous leopard and towards zebra and tiger prints instead. REJINA PYO Amelia midi dress £725

NANUSHKA One of the first brands to make vegan leather luxurious, Nanushka does cool girl minimalisim with a 1970s vibe so well. Wardrobe capsule pieces include belted wrap dresses and pencil skirts.


Nineties minimalism is back, and it feels like a breath of fresh air. Find the look best at brand of the moment Bottega Veneta, where the clean-cut looks and accessories are beautifully crafted and have timeless appeal.



BOTTEGA VENETA Shoulder pouch £2,100

Expect a new spin on this key heritage piece. Whether it’s cropped, frilled or featuring open-air sleeves, there are plenty of new takes to choose from this season. PALMER//HARDING Vana trench coat £695

All pieces available to buy at

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COMPLETED WORKS A newcomer to the world of jewellery, Completed Work’s pieces have a distinctly sculptural look, making you feel like you’re wearing a piece of art. They’re all also made in London, letting you champion home-grown British talent. Self Portrait earring, £185;

SSONE Neutral tones come together with contemporary lines in sustainable brand SSONE’s aesthetic. Based around the concept of reimagined classics, the collection uses organic, natural materials as well as repurposed textiles for truly ethical design.


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The tech developments to look out for This year we’ll see tech changing the way we consume, from AI beauty experiences to live-streamed shopping BY I S A B E L A C H IC K , M A N AG I N G DI R E C T O R AT F OU N DE R S FAC T O RY

AI Gets Personal AI is slowly creeping in to create more personalised experiences across the web. ModiFace, which has just been bought by L’Oréal, is a good example of this - it offers augmented reality experiences for the beauty industry, including 3D virtual make-up and skin diagnosis services. It won’t be long before our needs will be met before we even perceive them.

Authenticity is King Gen Z prizes authentic conversations and connection, and this is driving the success of livestreaming and social commerce platforms. Shopping is becoming increasingly social, with

companies such as LiSA allowing you to create your own shoppable streaming channels - think QVC for the next generation.

The Death of the Mass Brand Social media has created the means to reach highly engaged niches and brands are responding to this by launching businesses that target specific audiences. Take RadSwan, which was founded by fashion influencer Freddie Harrel after she raised £1.5m through all-female investors to launch her line of premium synthetic hair extensions online, disrupting the afro hair care market.


T H E L A T E S T I N N O VA T I O N S IN SUS TA I NA BIL I T Y By Clare Brass,

director of innovation consultancy Department 22

From food waste to the latest developments in clothes recycling, there are plenty of new apps and products on the horizon that will make it easier to go green Make Your Own Fertiliser

smart mealworm farm and micro-ecosystem that empowers you to recycle your own food waste and turn it into protein for your plants.

Food waste accounts for around 20% of America’s landfill, and the average family produces over 181kg of food waste each year. The new Zera Food Recycler from Whirlpool aims to address that issue, converting 95% of a typical family’s household waste into ready-to-use, homemade fertiliser through a whizzy, fully automated process.

The Future of Fast Fashion

Stuffstr is a clever app that closes the loop and recirculates every garment you own, from socks to sequins. It facilitates selling back any unwanted clothes you’ve bought in the past five years directly to the shop you originally bought them from, with big brands including Adidas and John Lewis already on board.

The Rise of Mealworm Farms

Looking for a novel way to reuse your food scraps at home? The Hive Explorer is a portable,


The biggest FinTech disruptors By Molly Benjamin, founder of She’s On The Money We’re starting to see some really exciting developments from companies disrupting the traditional finance space - here are the ones to look out for. The Power of Green With women expected to hold 32% of the world’s wealth in 2020, you can expect a greater focus on ethical investing - women, more so than men, are drawn to investments that have a positive social impact. They don’t want their money to support activities like forest logging, tobacco production, fossil fuel creation and gambling. Happily, FinTechs such as Wealthify, PensionBee and Wealthsimple all offer ethical investment solutions. Tech Takeovers Brilliant technology is starting to streamline everyday functions such as onboarding, loan applications, investing and budgeting. Barclays has recently introduced bank statements with company logos to help customers identify their spending patterns, while Mint lets customers leverage machine learning in order to receive recommendations on how to optimise spending, budgeting and improve their credit score. Back the Bots As traditional financial advice becomes increasingly expensive and inaccessible, there’s a transition towards robo advising, which offers low-cost, quick and intuitive ways to invest. FinTechs offering this include Nutmeg, Wealthsimple and Moneyfarm.


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Entertainment The new female artists to add to your playlist BY LISA LICHT


2020 is set to be a strong year for female voices, with plenty of exciting new talent on the horizon. Here are three of my top picks.

Cinema’s best upcoming offerings BY PRODUCER AMY JACKSON

This year we’re going to see female filmmakers going from strength to strength in the bigger budget blockbuster space, with more investment bringing their voices to the big screen. PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN Killing Eve writer Emerald Fennell’s first feature is set to premiere at Sundance in January. Produced by Margot Robbie under her LuckyChap Entertainment banner and starring the incredible Carey Mulligan, insiders have likened it to Get Out for women - I’m intrigued! BLACK WIDOW Aussie director Cate Shortland brings Marvel’s Black Widow  to screens worldwide this summer. The trailer promises some serious action, with Scarlett Johansson and British gem Florence Pugh teaming up to kick some ass. BIRDS OF PREY: AND THE FANTABULOUS EMANCIPATION OF ONE HARLEY QUINN Margot Robbie takes centre stage in this Suicide Squad spin-off, where Harley Quinn ditches The Joker and joins a band of female superheroes. Robbie returned to the role on her own terms, collaborating with writer Christina Hodson and director Cathy Yan. I’m sure it’ll be a bombastic treat. 

The best reads to bookmark in 2020


I FEEL BAD ABOUT MY NECK by Nora Ephron; Introduction by Dolly Alderton (Penguin/January) A reissue of a modern-day classic from the late Nora Ephron - essays on motherhood, life, death and the craziness of modern women’s lives. With a new introduction by the fabulous Dolly Alderton, this is one for every woman to give to her daughter, her sister, her friend, her Ma, herself - ourselves… HOW MUCH OF THESE HILLS IS GOLD by C Pam Zhang (Virago/April) This debut novel - from Chinese American writer C Pam Zhang - is an evocative, beautiful, dreamlike sweeping story of family and belonging, set against the staggering backdrop of California in the days of the American Gold Rush. A major new talent. HOW TO STAY SANE IN AN AGE OF DIVISION by Elif Shafak (Profile & Wellcome Collection/July) The next in a wonderful collaboration between Profile Books and the Wellcome Collection - Joanna Cannon’s wonderful Breaking & Mending was the launch title in the series - this manifesto offering a “rallying cry for hopefulness” from novelist and thinker Shafak will analyse how writing can nurture democracy and tolerance. Unmissable. Elif Shafak

Kate Mosse’s next novel, The City of Tears, is published by Macmillan in May. The 2020 WPFF will be awarded on 3 June.

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This New Jersey-born singersongwriter has emerged as a streaming sensation and is fast becoming something of a queer role model. Expect powerful anthems, like her track I Believe You, an open letter addressed to anyone who has been sexually assaulted.

Maggie Rogers

Rogers sent the internet into meltdown a few years ago when a chance encounter with Pharrell Williams at her music college led to her landing a record deal. Now, her striking folk-electronica is making waves of its own accord.


If you don’t know Spanish star Rosalía, you will soon - her modern interpretations of flamenco music have won five-star reviews from critics around the world and last year she had the most-viewed music video by a female artist (1.1 billion views and counting).


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ALTERNATIVE AIR POWER While it may not happen in 2020, the topic of electric aviation is taking flight. Rolls-Royce is planning to launch a test flight of its debut electric plane, ACCEL, in 2020, while Airbus’s experimental electric E-Fan X aircraft is set to take off in 2021. Israel’s Eviation intends for its commercial all-electric plane Alice to launch in 2022, and Easyjet has partnered with Wright Electric, planning to have a fleet of electric planes by 2030. The future for electric aircraft looks bright, at least for short-haul travel, sooner rather than later.


FUTURE of TRAVEL Sheena Bhattessa, founder and editor at Citizen Femme, the luxury travel guide for women, looks ahead to how we’ll be holidaying this year and the destinations that are set to buzz THE ROMANTICISM OF RAIL Train travel is gaining momentum as an alternative to flying, in no small part a result of the ‘Greta effect’. For a winter escape, take Switzerland’s Glacier Express through the world’s most beautiful alpine scenery. In summer, stop at any one of the 30 charming stations that line the sun-drenched French Riviera between Cannes, France and Venetimglia, Italy, or hop aboard the luxurious Palace on Wheels, which winds its way through Rajasthan.

WELLNESS, REINVENTED 2020 will see opportunities for a more defined, enriching wellness experience, as hotels switch-up their offerings with forest bathing, sound healing, astrology and guided meditations, not to mention evermore comprehensive sleep programmes. Unlike a typical spa getaway of massages and manicures, the focus is now on transformative travel. New York is leading the way with the newly opened Equinox Hotel, the first foray into hospitality for the fitness club. With a motto of ‘health is wealth’, it offers guests everything from on-demand IV vitamin drips and minibars with supplements to a performance-driven spa. Just a few blocks away, Aman has plans for its first urban sanctuary, bringing its holistic approach to the heart of Manhattan next year.


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TAKE THE PATH LESS TRAVELLED There’s a move towards discovering new locations and second-tier cities in a bid to protect our planet. Over-tourism doesn’t just affect the more obvious destinations like Venice, it’s places like Machu Picchu too, where there are concerns about a new airport threatening to destroy a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Thailand’s Maya Bay (made famous in The Beach), which is now closed until 2021 to allow it to recover from the damage caused by visitors. Let the less popular (and usually better value for money) destinations take a front seat; swap the tropical Cambodian resort of Kep for Phuket, choose Siargao in the Philippines instead of Bali, and Brussels over Bruges.

It’s a big year for Japan with the Summer Olympics. While they take place in Tokyo, Kyoto should also be on your radar, with a flurry of hotel openings planned, including Mitsui Hotel, Hotel Fauchon and an outpost of the hipster Ace Hotel, not to mention the only-just-opened Aman Kyoto; so too Okinawa, which has bounced back since last year’s fire razed the UNESCO-listed Shuri Castle, with the opening of the first international outpost of Hawaiian grande dame Halekulani. With several hotel openings (The Norman, The Jaffa, The Setai), at least a dozen more under construction and the Tel Aviv airport getting a major expansion, Israel is hot stuff, offering cultural and historical travel, beach resorts, outdoor activities, culinary hotspots, and so much more. Portugal continues to have a moment. It’s been high on the travel agenda for a while now, but it has real staying power. There’s Lisbon, of course, but there’s also Porto and the Douro Valley, making the case for under-tourism.

GREEN GAME CHANGERS Whether it’s immersive food tourism or the new wave of veganism, what we consume continues to be a hugely central part of the travel experience. Cult documentaries such as 2018’s The Game Changers have made a massive impact on the world’s plant-based club, which is burgeoning - fast. Saorda 1875 is the UK’s first vegan hotel, with 11 rooms at its Perthshire location, catering specifically for "vegans, vegetarians and the plant-curious".

THE HOT HOTEL OPENINGS From five-star city stays to sustainable boltholes, the hotelscape continues to develop apace. The Londoner is hotly anticipated, labelling itself as the world’s first Super Boutique Hotel. Digging six floors deep in Leicester Square, it will open June 2020. Villa Copenhagen is another big one for next year; right next to Tivoli Gardens, it will offer a conscious approach to luxury with a focus on all things eco-friendly. The recently refurbished and reopened Eden Rock St Barths looks set to reclaim its Caribbean crown, so too Oil Nut Bay and the exclusive Guana Island in the British Virgin Islands, following the devastating damage caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017.

For more travel inspiration visit

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BUSINESS Having spent more than four decades on the frontline of fashion and business, no woman symbolises success more than Diane von Furstenberg. Here, The AllBright co-founder Debbie Wosskow sits down with a woman at the forefront of the New York sisterhood PORTRAIT THOMAS WHITESIDE


he’s a fashion designer, wife, mother, grandmother, activist, trailblazer and now, of course, icon. But above all of those things, Diane von Furstenberg, DvF to most, is one of the most successful and enduring businesswomen on the planet. As the inventor of the wrap dress, worn by everyone from Michelle Obama to Kate Middleton to Oprah, DvF’s working life epitomises the American Dream - the daughter of a Holocaust survivor who married a prince and crossed the Atlantic to build a hugely successful business (twice over) in the Big Apple. Today, we’re meeting in the very city that made her. It’s a blue-sky, blustery winter morning in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, where the AllBright team are preparing for the opening of our next outpost - a brand-new club that will sit in the middle of one of New York’s most vibrant districts.



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DvF knows the neighbourhood better than anyone. Over the past 20 years she has played a pivotal part in the regeneration of the area. “The Meatpacking District was so bohemian when we arrived, full of artists and drag queens and creatives… We used to sit and drink in the bars on Gansevoort Street - it was a lot of fun,” recalls the 72-year-old as we sit in the sprawling warehouse office that is home to her 5,000sq ft flagship store, 150 of her staff, and also her New York apartment. “I am so delighted that The AllBright is coming to New York,” she says with a genuine smile. “It is so in line with all my beliefs highlighting women and giving a platform for their voices. I’m excited for everything we can create together here.” To understand DvF, you need to first understand where she came from. Born in Belgium in 1946, she was born just 18 months after her mother Lily was liberated from Auschwitz weighing just 49lb and on the brink of death. Today, she credits her mother with instilling in her the unwavering self-belief that empowered her to build and withstand the highs and lows of fronting a business empire.  “My upbringing is at the core of who I am. My mother, as a Holocaust survivor, was intent that I grew up fearless and independent,” she says. “I was not allowed to be afraid of anything. If I was afraid of the dark she’d lock me in the closet. It sounds brutal but after five minutes of being in there, when your eyes adjust, you realise it’s actually not dark anymore.” Over tea she recounts how her fashion empire

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“Things can change and be changed. It’s all a matter of perception”

began when she came in New York. DvF arrived as a young princess in 1969, with her first husband, Prince Egon von Furstenberg, and a suitcase full of jersey dresses she’d made while working as an apprentice to the Italian textile manufacturer Angelo Ferretti at his factory. When the legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland admired DvF’s early designs, the iconic figure-hugging wrap dress in its first iteration was brought to the world in 1974 and became the cult item for every woman in New York - from Warhol’s legion of party animals at Studio 54 to the stiffer Upper West Side set. “In the 1970s, somehow that dress became a symbol of liberation,”



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“All people who are successful have had a feeling of being small” she adds. “It was sexy enough to get the guy but safe enough that his mother wouldn’t mind. It was everything. It made the woman wearing it feel confident.” By the time she starred on the cover of Newsweek in 1976, aged just 29, she’d already experienced more than many people do in a lifetime. She’d moved from Europe to the US, had two children, built a hugely successful fashion brand, sold more than a million wrap dresses and purchased the Fifth Avenue apartment of her childhood dreams. But as anyone who has built a business will know, it’s not always plain sailing. By the mid 1980s, oversaturation combined with a fall in

demand for her dresses forced DvF to sell many of her licences, diluting the essence of what she had originally created. “When I was on the cover of Newsweek, I appeared at that point to have the world at my feet, but I knew the situation wasn’t as good as it seemed or looked,” she reveals. “Similarly, when people said it’s all over, I knew that wasn’t true either. Nothing is ever finite - it’s all a work in progress and failing is a part of that. Nothing stands still. Things can change and be changed. It’s all a matter of perception.” And so DvF left New York for Paris. While there she founded a publishing house and took time to regroup. She


returned to New York in 1990 and relaunched the DvF brand in 1997, at the age of 50 - with the wrap dress back at the centre of her collection. It was what she describes as her “comeback”. Yet the return demanded a departure from her previous life. A new start, in a new area that was full of potential - and that was Meatpacking. “When I came back to New York it was a difficult time,” she admits. “I thought I’d lost my identity. My brand was being sold in discount stores and had lost its way. That’s when I decided to move away from our space on the Upper East Side and start afresh downtown.” Her next move was to buy a carriage house on West 12th Street. “Everyone thought I was crazy at the time,” she laughs. Twenty years on and the Meatpacking District has been transformed, although the area still retains the buzz she was initially drawn to. That same feeling of potential and people coming together was exactly what attracted The AllBright to the area too. “Soon after I moved here I met two young guys who had a dream of transforming this elevated railroad into a park,” DvF says, referring to the High Line, which, together with her husband Barry Diller and their Diller von Furstenberg Family Foundation, she saved from demolition by contributing over $50 million towards its regeneration. The elevated park - an oasis amid the hustle and bustle of the city - is now one of the most visited tourist attractions in Manhattan, with millions of visitors each year. It was no mean feat to rebuild her fashion empire but as any entrepreneur knows, you have to understand how to fail in order to succeed. And today, despite making Forbes’ World’s 100 Most Powerful Women list and being one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People twice, DvF still says she feels like a “loser” at least twice a week. “It’s true!” she insists. “All people who are successful have had a feeling of being small.” Her resilience and realism in her


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approach to the tougher times is refreshing and truly inspirational. Perhaps even more inspiring is DvF’s unwavering dedication to empowering other women. Her focus has now shifted beyond designing dresses to fronting an entire movement, InCharge, a platform that she hopes will inspire women the world over to achieve their goals. And a sentiment entirely aligned with The AllBright’s mantra: Sisterhood Works. “When I was a child I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to be in charge and it’s only now that I’ve formalised what it is,” she says, matter-of-factly. “I’ve experienced enough to have lived two lives, but the secret to that really is simple: own it. Own your imperfections and they become your assets; vulnerability becomes your strength.” It’s impossible not to be inspired by her words. If we’re simultaneously creating sisterhoods, providing support networks and encouraging environments where we’re in charge, more women will rise to the top, smash glass ceilings and become success stories to inspire future generations just as DvF has done. “I’ve never met a woman who’s not strong - we can pretend that we aren’t because we are afraid, but if tragedy strikes then women take over, so it’s better to discover your strength before there is a tragedy. It’s inside all of us,” she says. “Even when I’m fed up and depressed and tired and believe me, it happens - I have myself and I am me. That’s why it’s so important to nurture a relationship with yourself. I can’t stress that enough.” DvF really is a woman who lives by her values. Championing plans to level the playing field in business, she is throwing herself into a wide array of philanthropic projects, advocating for women and the community. As well as sitting on the board of women’s leadership network Vital Voices, she also hosts the annual DvF awards - a ceremony that honours four women each year who have shown extraordinary strength and leadership in commitment to their causes. She’s

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“My mother, as a Holocaust survivor, was intent that I grew up fearless and independent”

Diane and her mother Lily, picture by Bob Colacello

also a prolific public speaker and a regular writer, continually using her influence for good. Last year, for example, she also became known as the ‘godmother’ of the Statue of Liberty after producing and starring in Liberty: Mother of Exiles, an HBO documentary about the monument and DvF’s dedication in raising funds to bring the institution to life. “My mother had written a note to me that was published in my book, saying ‘God saved me so I could give you life, and by giving you life I got my life back, you are my torch of freedom’. The man running the Statue of Liberty foundation had read my book and that’s how he got me. They wanted me to raise $100 million, so I raised the money and I pitched the documentary to HBO and I ended up being in it too.”



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Diane von Furstenberg’s manifesto for being InCharge CONNECT

“This is so important. Every morning I make sure the first two emails I send are solely to benefit others. It’s so important to do something for other people – introduce someone to someone else they’d never meet. That’s when you realise we all have a magic wand, and the more you use it, the more powerful it becomes.”


As The AllBright  expands into new territories, launches new projects and we continue to grow our network, 2020 is set to be our most pivotal year. And, just as DvF welcomes our newest club to her neighbourhood, we are delighted to bring her into The AllBright fold as both an investor and new collaborative partner to help us drive positive change for women everywhere. “It’s a new decade, a round number, the year of the woman,” DvF says, as we finish our tea, “It’s also the 100-year anniversary of women voting in America and 400 years since the Mayflower Pilgrims arrived in America - the new world! We can’t miss this moment - it’s a call to action and every woman has to embrace it.” The AllBright will be co-creating a series of events at the DvF flagship store in the Meatpacking District throughout the year. The AllBright New York will open on West 15th Street in late 2020.

“Pay attention to people you normally wouldn’t pay attention to - converse with people you wouldn’t usually engage with, expand their universe to expand yours. It’s the only way to learn and progress.”


“Never underestimate the power of storytelling - the most effective way to inspire is to be open and talk not just about your successes but also about your vulnerability and challenges.”


“Choose a path and know your values and then use them to help others and to fight violence, abuse and inequality.”



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In celebration of sisterhood. The BrightList celebrates the outstanding, visionary women who are inspiring true sisterhood through their actions and achievements.


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your best self

Inspire Your

BEST SELF Forget ‘New Year, New You’. For 2020, we’re focusing on nurturing the best version of ourselves, from promoting our productivity to cancelling out negative comparison. This is our expert guide on how to do it ILLUSTRATION ROCIO MONTOYA

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Tipping Point The biggest barrier to being our best selves? Stress. While we’ve all been given advice on how best to manage it, the real way to properly address stress might actually be to change our perspective... WORDS SARAH RAPHAEL


tressed’ and ‘stressful’ is all too often the answer when friends ask how we are and how our work is. It’s a word that has no place in the polished versions of ourselves that we project online. We post our awards, public-speaking engagements, thriving social life and holiday snaps, but the physical and emotional burden that comes with maintaining this ‘best self’ is kept out of shot. ‘Stressed’ has a negative visual, rarely said with a smile by someone who feels they are thriving at work and that everything is going well. Those people are undoubtedly also experiencing stress - just the positive effects of it. So how do we transition from a negatively stressed person to a positively stressed one, without undergoing a personality transplant or some sort of transcendental therapy at a retreat in Peru?

Stress is the body’s natural response to stimulus requiring our attention or action. Positive stress is sometimes referred to as ‘eustress’ from the Greek ‘eu’, meaning good. When it’s working for us, stress helps us rise to the challenge, makes us feel excited and focused, leading to a sense of satisfaction when the task is completed. When it’s working against us, we feel exhausted, overwhelmed, irritable, perhaps a bit ill from sleeping problems, headaches or feeling our stomach is tied in knots. To counter these symptoms, we might drink more, go out for a cigarette, and cancel exercise classes or social plans because they seem like a waste of precious time. In psychology, negative stress is sometimes referred to as ‘distress’ - “when a person faces continuous challenges without relief or relaxation” (Cleveland Clinic). This is when the red flags go up and burnout can occur. “Stressed” was my usual response to “how are you?” and “how is work?”. “It feels like I’m running on a treadmill and someone keeps putting the speed up”, was another. As the editorial director of the fastest growing digital media company for women - with a feisty team of journalists, art directors and creatives reporting to me, and a ‘sky is the limit’ C-suite above me - overwhelmed became my default state. My growth target was 20% month on month. Until when? I thought to myself, suspecting the answer was: until I crashed. Have you ever taken a big job knowing in the back of your mind that you’ll probably be able to handle it for two years, but that’s ok, because by then you’ll have figured out your next move? Only to become so caught up in achieving company targets you forget to plan your next


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your best self

move and end up feeling like there’s no way out and you’ll just have to be this stressed forever? At the ‘peak’ of my career, in my highest status position, I was sleeping for just two hours a night, struggling to find a solution to persistent IBS, and feeling very lost. Part of my burnout, I now realise, was how I perceived stress at the time. In her TED talk, How to Make Stress Your Friend, health psychologist and Stanford lecturer Kelly McGonigal says she spent years telling stressedout people that stress was bad for their health. She then discovered a shocking truth - that it’s only the people who believe stress is bad for their health that actually suffer significant health problems due to stress. She cites a study of 30,000 people in the US who were asked how much stress they had experienced in the past year over a period of eight years, and whether they thought stress was harmful to their health. From correlating death records, the study found that people who reported high stress had a 43% increased risk of dying - but that that risk only applied to the people who also believed that stress was harmful to their health. Those who reported high stress, but didn’t think that stress was harmful to their health, actually had the lowest risk of death, even compared to those who reported low stress. So with the right perspective, a highly stressful job can contribute to a healthy lifestyle. McGonigal went on to observe that “chasing meaning is better for your health than trying to avoid discomfort”. In other words, a degree of stress is inevitable, but if you’re working towards a goal that has meaning for you, it’s likely to feel positive. Not 100% positive 100% of the time, of course - that’s getting into mania territory. Even on a professional path that holds ultimate meaning for you, there will be periods of low energy and lost vision. But rather than using what little energy you have to berate yourself for being unproductive, these periods can be reframed as creative rest. As part of the senior management team, in my editorial job, I was offered business coaching. Of all the advice the softly spoken Canadian woman in her 50s at the other end of the phone gave me, the necessity of downtime was the piece I found myself regurgitating most often. My coach explained that the graph of success is very up and down and that nobody can be at peak performance 100% of the time. We require downtime in order to re-energise, gather our

learnings and create some headspace before we can shoot back up to peak performance. Your ‘best self’ has to include periods producing work that is ‘good enough’ rather than perfect. In the Harvard Business Review, psychiatrist and leadership development specialist Dr David Brendel writes: “I help clients reach peak performance by actually doing less work at key times - and by engaging in downtime activities that cutting-edge research shows to be effective in boosting productivity.” Just think: how many times have you stepped away from your desk and gone for a run or to meet up with friends, only to find the answer pops into your head once you’ve stopped consciously looking for it? As Audre Lorde said: “Self-care is warfare. Rest is fundamental to productivity.” For me, the transition from negative stress into positive stress required a more radical step away from my desk. With hindsight, I had started to perceive the stresses of my job as negative because I had lost passion for what I was doing. What I really wanted was to work for myself, not manage a big team, and to retrain as a psychotherapist. A year on, I’m doing both, and to my great surprise, I’m earning more than ever. I experience stress often enough, working with luxury fashion clients as a consultant alongside studying for my Masters, but I find the stress motivating rather than debilitating because the work is funding my studies and my studies mean a lot to me. The stress feels like it’s working for me, not happening to me, and with that as the foundation, everything seems more enjoyable. Now that I’m viewing my career as a marathon with highs and lows, rather than a sprint on a treadmill, the ascent back up to peak performance feels worth it again. As any therapist will tell you, the first step is awareness. If you’re feeling downbeat and unproductive, remember that productivity is cyclical and that taking your foot off the pedal and concentrating on other areas of your life during those times can ultimately help you achieve more. If the low period and stress starts to feels like prolonged distress, it might be time to reassess whether the work you’re losing sleep over still feels meaningful to you, or whether your goals have actually shifted and it’s time to make a change. If the satisfaction you get from the job feels worth the stress it takes, you’re likely in the positive stress zone. You’re also very lucky.

“At the ‘peak’ of my career, in my highest status position, I was sleeping two hours a night, struggling to find a solution to persistent IBS, and feeling very lost”

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THE ART OF G E T T I N G W H AT Y O U WA N T by Elodie Levasseur, brain-based coach and founder of Dream Sparkle and Shine


he purpose of setting goals is to establish a big vision that will inspire you to take actions towards achieving them. Research by psychology professors shows that you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. Goal setting doesn’t have to be done at the beginning of the year - in fact, you can make the choice to improve yourself or set new achievements at any time of the year. Before you start setting goals, you need to reflect on what your values are - this will help you make better decisions in different areas of your life. The best way to achieve your goals is to break them down into strategies to reach quarterly - this will reduce that overwhelming feeling you might have when you look at them. Let’s say your new goal for 2020 is to have the most inspiring career you’ve ever had. To break this down, the first strategy would be to start by understanding where you are now in terms of having an inspiring career. Actions include listing a set of skills that you’ve developed along the way and writing down the jobs you’ve had that most inspired you, and why. The best way to think about strategies is to imagine your goal is the title of a book you’re writing - the strategies are the chapter headings and the actions are the words that move you through each chapter. Look at goal setting as if you’re embarking on a journey, a road trip that will be filled with learnings and explorations. The purpose of setting goals is not to make you happier - the mindset of “once I reach my goal, then I’ll be happy” means you are restricting your level of satisfaction, as there will always be another milestone to achieve. Enjoy the many paths you can take to reach that goal, whether you achieve it or not - either way, you’ll always learn something new along the way.

Skyrocket your efficiency with these productivity apps


Get all those chores out of your head and onto this to-do list, which gives you a clear daily overview, prioritises tasks, allows you to delegate and records tangible progress.

Enables collaboration, communication and coordination on projects at the touch of a button, giving users perspective over everything with its simple but effective interface.

A time-tracker device that works on your desktop, tablet or phone, it crunches the numbers, sending you data that will help you identify your priorities and adjust your systems accordingly.

Widely considered the best calendar app for Apple devices, the focus here is on ease of use - natural language processing allows you to quickly create events and reminders.

Trim your to-do list Embrace the Pareto Principle: that in work and life, 80% of results come from 20% of input. “You need to be comfortable with being less busy to be more productive,” says time management coach Elizabeth Grace Saunders. “Take a good look at what really matters. Do certain projects, meetings, or communications bring impact? If so, spend more time on those activities. And drop the areas that might feel productive but don’t get results.” When tackling your to-do list, think about the end result you want, then list tasks in order of importance, and take it from the top. Out of ten items, the top two will mean more than the other eight combined.


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your best self


INVISIBLE L ABOUR by Eve Rodsky, author of Fair Play


sk yourself something, and be honest: is the division of labour fair in your household? It definitely wasn’t in mine. If you did answer yes, congratulations - you are one of the lucky few. Currently, 25% of divorces in the US are attributed to this issue alone, so it’s high time we started talking about the ‘she-fault’ - when responsibility for domestic tasks automatically falls to the woman in the relationship. It’s an issue with lots of names - the second shift, the mental load, emotional labour - but the term I like most is invisible work, a name coined in 1987 by sociologist Arlene Kaplan Daniels. In her thesis, Daniels claims that the twothirds of labour women do to run a home isn’t even considered work because its unpaid or undertaken behind the scenes. What I liked about the term invisible work was that there was a modicum of the solution in there. Because, I thought to myself, how can you value what you don’t see? I truly believe visibility equals value, and valuing this work is essential. We can’t keep doing this without recognition the cost is too high in so many ways. Firstly, our cortisol levels go through the roof. In fact, mothers I spoke to to research my book put their stress levels at 8.5/10. Scientific research has shown that women are twice as likely to be affected by anxiety disorders as men, so this inequality towards domestic labour is only increasing the gender stress gap.

“The labour women do to run a home isn’t even considered work because it’s unpaid” Then there’s the cost to our relationship in terms of the resentment it engenders. No wonder it’s sounding the death knell for so many marriages today. Not to mention the economic cost - the ‘motherhood penalty’ means women earn 4% less for every child they have, yet their invisible workload increases. Finally, the most hidden of these costs is loss of identity. Taking on more banal responsibilities leaves us less time to pursue our passion and purpose. We end up disconnected from the things which make us who we are. But while there clearly is a problem, no one seemed to have a solution. The Guardian suggests going on strike, The New York Times said to move to a country where you didn’t speak the language so your partner had to do everything.

Most other people advised me to make a list, to quantify all the invisible work I was doing. So that’s what I did, and I asked women from all over the world to contribute. It was entitled The Sh*t I Do List. I ended up with a 98-page spreadsheet with 20 subtabs filled with the craziest responses - the ultimate 19-million megabyte list of invisible work. But when I sent it to my husband, the only response I received was the eye-covering monkey emoji. I quickly realised making a list wasn’t going to cut it - it was simply a rant without a solution. I’m a Harvard trained attorney and a mediator - surely I should be able to communicate with my partner and resolve the issue? So I spoke to experts across ten disciplines including neuroscientists, psychologists, behavioural economists, even clergy, and interviewed 500 men and women of different nationalities and ethnicities in order to devise the Fair Play solution - a hands-on guide to navigating this most contentious of issues with a system that lets you divvy up responsibilities fairly. These are the key principles for you to follow: Reclaim your right to be interesting The more time you spend on mundane domestic tasks, the less time you have to pursue what makes you uniquely you. Disconnection like this only leads to resentment. Understand 50:50 isn’t always the right equation The science shows that perceived fairness in a relationship is more important than actual fairness. Start from where you are now and work towards a place you feel is fair in terms of getting your time back. Establish your values and standards Many women fear handing over responsibility because they feel the work won’t be done to their exacting standards. Address this by starting conversations with why these standards matter to you - when your partner understands why it’s so important, you can work together to establish what is reasonable. Remember that all time is created equal Society tends to view a man’s time as diamonds - finite and valuable - but women’s time as sand. Reframe that perspective to start looking at time in terms of minutes, not dollars. Your hours are diamonds too, and having the choice over how you use them is key to respect. Fair Play: A Game-Changing Solution for When You Have Too Much to Do (and More Life to Live) by Eve Rodsky (GP Putnam’s Sons) is out now

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2020’s must-reads for a better working life



by Helen Tupper and Sarah Ellis

by Alicia Menendez

Worried that asking for that pay rise might seem pushy? Stop. Journalist Menendez argues that women are held back at work by their socialisation - to be amenable at all costs, to efface their own needs - and advises us to quit worrying about what other people think. Based on extensive research, interviews and lived experience, this book makes a powerful case for reframing likeability.

Jobs for life no longer exist, yet we still think of careers in strictly linear terms. Corporate leaders Tupper and Ellis advise us to step off the career ladder, and embrace a more circuitous path. By following their simple steps - playing to your strengths, staying true to your values, and building your networks - you’ll be able to step nimbly from one field to another, while always moving forward.

Out now, Harper Collins



Is anxiety always destructive? Not according to neuroscientist Suzuki. She makes the distinction between ‘bad’ anxiety, a debilitating state that stops us doing anything and ‘good’ anxiety, a motivating force that can boost productivity, increase creativity and fine-tune emotional intelligence. The book is packed with tips for parsing the two, facing down your fears, and putting ‘good’ anxiety to use.

If Ambridge’s own story doesn’t inspire you - the successful copywriter was once homeless, and started her business from the back seat of her car - then her advice on how to nix your imposter syndrome and leverage your individuality will. Told in frank and funny style, this unconventional careers guide is a must for freelancers, entrepreneurs and aspiring creatives everywhere.

Out 9 January, Penguin

by Dr Wendy Suzuki

Out 6 February, Yellow Kite

by Ash Ambirge

Out 13 February, Virgin Digital



Best for: developing business skills and building yourself a supportive female-led network Created with the aim of helping women achieve their business goals, this free digital programme is available to all working women, regardless of their age or stage of career. Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur, an established executive or a freelancer, The AllBright Academy can give you the tools you need to further your career.

Best for: gaining self-knowledge so you can make more informed decisions at work and in life Based in London, School of Life is part of a global organisation offering courses to help users develop their emotional intelligence, teaching you to apply psychology, philosophy and culture to everyday life. Courses range from workshops on reducing anxiety to classes on how to mentally prepare for marriage.

INTRODUCTION TO PUBLIC SPEAKING Best for: reinforcing your sense of self-belief so you can command the attention of a room Public speaking inspires dread in even the most confident people, but once learnt, it’s a skill that will stay with you forever. This online course hosted by Rochester Institute of Technology via edX teaches you how to compose a clear and impactful speech, and deliver it without nerves.


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your best self


Take a breath B

reathing is the new mindfulness, with classes on box breathing, zen breathing and transformational breathing now nudging Pilates and yoga down the schedule. “The way we breathe has a direct effect on the way we feel,” explains Aimee Hartley, author of Breathe Well and founder of The Breathing Room. “Breathing fully with the diaphragm stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps us feel calm and relaxed. If we slow our breathing down, we can reduce our heart rate and lower our blood pressure.” The first step to better breathing? Identify

the sort of breather you are. According to Hartley, people fall into one of four camps: chest breathers (your chest rises more than your lower abdomen on an inbreath), belly breathers (your lower abdomen rises more than your chest), reverse breathers (your lower abdomen is sucked in) and breath holders (your jaw is clenched and your breath is shallow). Once you’ve established your type, you can begin building healthier breathing patterns, starting with full diaphragmatic breaths (see diagram below). Breathe Well by Aimee Hartley is out 6 February (£12.99, Kyle Books) Illustrations: Mira Lou Kellner

Train to Gain

By Joslyn Thompson Rule, Stylist Strong’s creative director and Nike global master trainer Strength and muscle mass are the top two biomarkers of health and longevity. Women start to lose muscle mass in their early 30s, so it’s important that we counteract that through strength training. Start with mastering some fundamental movement patterns, such as squats, hip hinges or single leg exercises. I recommend starting with a regressed

version of a full bodyweight squat, lowering down to a high bench, until you have the mobility and strength to go lower.

tire of seeing how strength training makes women feel - it’s so much more than just aesthetics.

Strength training isn’t just good for your body; it’s good for your mental health as well. I took up strength training when I was on the rowing team at university and it gave me a level of confidence that I couldn’t get from anywhere else. I never

Always make sure you take time to rest as part of your training. If you don’t, it may have the opposite effect to the results you were hoping to achieve, as it’s only during rest that your body has the opportunity to recover and adapt.

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Comparison CURE

The comparison epidemic is growing, as more and more of us fall prey to digitally-driven competition. But there is an answer, says the world’s first and only comparison coach WOR DS LUCY SHERIDAN


of us, our lived reality feels exactly the opposite and instead ccording to the dictionary, comparison is “a of finding inspiration in seeing other people live big, bold, consideration or estimate of the similarities or beautiful lives, we can ruthlessly compare ourselves to dissimilarities between two things or people”. what they are being, doing and achieving. That sounds fairly innocuous, doesn’t it? Where The sinister impact of social media on this complex we start running into trouble is when this cannot be disregarded. A 2014 survey of college students, practice of the above, and the meaning we attach to it, for example, found Facebook use triggers feelings of envy becomes a habit that adversely affects our life. (which were also found to predict depression symptoms). On the lesser end of the scale, it might be a bit like biting The pressure to ‘keep up’ socially and live a life that looks your nails: it’s not ruining anything, but it doesn’t do you good has never been so wide-reaching and invasive. We are any favours. So, this might translate to an occasional worry in the midst of a comparison epidemic brought about by about your career and the odd ‘bitchy leak’ when you hear the power couple that is social media and technology. about Becky from the office flying first-class. On the higher, So, here we are, faced with more acute end of the scale, a a growing, insidious problem complex can embed itself. This that shows no sign of slowing, manifests itself when, from our THREE WAYS and yet we are undercomparison judgements, we TO GET COMPARISON resourced and our tools are develop beliefs about ourselves UNDER CONTROL too blunt to address it. But and others that lead to mindsets instead of succumbing to selfand behaviours that then IDENTIFY YOUR COMPARISON TRIGGER judgement and negative govern our lives. In life, it feels INDICATORS (CTIs) - Recognise the people that evoke self-talk, we can cure the like being caught in a fog feelings of jealously or competition because you want what they have, whether it’s an outlook on life, material poisonous tendencies of unable to get out, with your view possession or a certain status in the world. comparison and prevent its overwhelmingly affected. toxic effects from infiltrating And now the digital age SEEK YOUR CRYSTAL OF INSIGHT - This insight will our lives by applying means we are waking up every usually be understanding what is going on in your own this magic, works-every-time day to a Las Vegas of comparison life that is causing you to feel jealousy or frustration technique to our lives. It’s accessed via our devices: open about the other person’s situation. called The Comparison Cure. all hours, dazzling bright lights, ACT ON THAT INSIGHT AND MAKE A CHANGE THAT anyone welcome and always STICKS - Take action to power fiercely self-focused The Comparison Cure: How To something new to consume to efforts to achieve that thing you want for yourself, Be Less ‘Them’ And More You bet against yourself on the so much so that you stop giving a hoot about what by Lucy Sheridan (Orion) is poker tables of your seemingly anyone else is doing, whether you see them every day out 26 December or they are a stranger on the internet. small potential. For the majority


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ill 2020 finally be the year the social media bubble bursts? If the latest stats are anything to go by, it could well be. According to new survey data, one in three adults in the UK have slashed their social media usage in the past 12 months  because they feel overwhelmed  by social networking. Many cited poor effects on their mental health as a key reason for quitting, fed up with the negative spiral that comes from endlessly comparing themselves to others. But what if those comparisons could be used as a force for good instead? That’s the idea behind the latest initiative from The Female Lead, a campaign that showcases inspirational female role models around the world. “Every week there are stories linking social media to depression, anxiety, self-harm, eating disorders and bullying, with girls said to be worst affected,” explains


The Female Lead founder Edwina Dunn OBE. “Current advice focuses on limiting time online, but this seems a simplistic response to a nuanced problem. Rather than just limiting usage, how can we make the experience a positive and enriching one?” The answer is its groundbreaking ‘Disrupt the Feed’ research, which surveyed teenage girls across the UK and found that switching out even a handful of the accounts they followed for positive female role models made a startling difference. “We focused on creating more of a ‘balanced diet’,” says Dunn. “The research proved that following just four new inspirational women can transform girls’ wellbeing and boost selfesteem.” One participant in the study discovered a scholarship programme for RADA that furthered her dream of going to theatre school, while another found out about climate change marches from an activist the research recommended and started attending marches herself. “This new ‘diet’ of interesting women and life stories helps girls believe in a more exciting future,” says Dunn. “It’s that simple.”

4 p o s i ti v e In s ta a cco u nt s t o f o l lo w


ABIGAIL HARRISON @astronautabbyofficial

Chowdhury is a multilingual sports journalist and the first female Bengali sports presenter to work across the UK’s mainstream networks.

This aspiring astronaut dreams of being the first to journey to Mars and inspires girls to get involved with the US space programme.

MINA DEZYANIAN @ironringgirls

KATY HESSEL @thegreatwomenartists

Dezyanian’s account brings together women in engineering to create a strong community helping each other build careers in the STEM professions.

This curator, writer, art historian and presenter is best known for running @thegreatwomenartists, an account that celebrates female artists on a daily basis.


Hosted by AllBright founders Anna Jones and Debbie Wosskow, each episode of Sisterhood Works allows you to get up close and personal with inspirational women, discussing the secrets to their success and how they overcame obstacles along the way. Recent episodes have featured bestselling author Kate Mosse and Dame Kelly Holmes.


The new podcast from Mika Simmons - awardwinning filmmaker and founder of the Lady Garden Foundation - showcases heartfelt, honest and uplifting experiences from women such as Bryony Gordon around gynaecological health. Guests talk about their formative years, periods and their relationships with their bodies in what is an educational and ultimately empowering discussion.

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Author of the chart-topping books The Happiness Project and Better Than Before, Gretchen Rubin offers practical, accessible advice for finding inner peace and adopting good habits that will last in the long-term. Rubin’s sister, LA-based TV writer and producer Elizabeth Craft, co-hosts and acts as guinea pig for her informed instruction.


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Let’s Reset

Let’s Reset founder Suki Thompson is on a mission to inspire women to reset their approach to wellness in the workplace. Here, she gives an exclusive insight into her new book on how to make that happen PHOTOGRAPHY RANKIN

WHILE THERE ARE NUMEROUS CELEBRITIES, sportspeople and high-profile stars coming forward to talk about mental health, I’ve always been struck by how very few businesspeople are doing the same. So I decided to create a business called Let’s Reset,with the aim of helping everyone be at their very best in the workplace and encouraging businesses to put wellbeing on their balance sheet. Over the years, I’ve been inspired and encouraged by conversations with so many female business leaders and experts. I’ve listened to their personal stories of resilience and wellbeing. Some have made me cry, others have made me gasp in awe, but I have always seen the individuals in a different light, a better light. So with the help of my brilliant friend Rankin, who has an ability to see into the soul of every human being, we got prominent leaders in their fields to share their real-life stories in a book. Each one brings to life why there is a need for companies to reset their attitudes to mental health, wellbeing and resilience - and the success this can bring. It can often be difficult to get women to speak out, whether that’s on stage, at conferences or in the workplace. But with this book, it has been the inspirational women who have truly shone. As well as offering an opportunity to glimpse inside the lives of successful business leaders, each person interviewed has offered top tips on how to build your own resilience and wellbeing from their personal experience. I hope every person who reads it finishes feeling empowered, both to be strong enough to break the pattern of the social media machine and to talk openly about the importance of wellbeing and resilience at work. If we all take the time to stop and listen, the workplace can be better, happier and more effective for everyone.

Words of wisdom from Let's Reset “Practise making decisions, so when it’s really important you know how to really make a difference.” Suki Thompson, Let’s Reset CEO “Be true to who you are at work. The good, the bad and the ugly happens to all of us, but openness helps those around us.” Lady Nicola Mendelsohn, CBE “Own your differences. Don’t hide them, don’t fear them. Celebrate them and reveal them to everyone as they are what make you unique, memorable and truly awesome.” Nishma Robb, marketing director, Google “Don’t feel pressured to be hyper-responsive. We can respond too quickly and thoughtlessly without enough rest. Never underestimate the power of sleep and downtime when it comes to good decision-making.” Lindsay Pattison, CCO, WPP Let’s Reset by Let’s Reset and Rankin Photography is out now


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your best self

Pippa Glucklich CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, AMPLIFI UK AT DENTSU AEGIS NETWORK & FORMER PRESIDENT, WACL ONE THURSDAY NIGHT THREE YEARS AGO I went to bed and my husband was there lying next to me. When I woke up the next morning he wasn’t there. My life changed forever that day as he tragically took his own life. It was like a bomb went off. There was not a single facet of my life that it didn’t touch. We had been together for 27 years, married for 21. It was, and is, really, really tough. I don’t think I will ever get over the shock. Although I know now that it’s true, I still somehow don’t believe it really happened, not to us - it feels like an outof-body experience. Suicide is now part of who I am and I wish more than anything that it wasn’t. I have asked myself a million times why he did it. He had always had low-level depression and I understand now that there can be a number of different contributing factors. Typically, it’s said there is some form of depression (be that underlying or very evident), combined with use of chemicals (alcohol or drugs) and then there’s a trigger that causes it. In his case, he was having a really hard time at work and felt he couldn’t find a way out of it. He could have done, but his identity was so tied up with work and, for men, that is often the case. I chose to go back to work soon afterwards. I had time off for the

it has made me a better leader. It has made me take much more time with our people. If we don’t nurture our people and help them thrive, then we simply don’t have a business. After Michael died, it brought it all into clearer focus. I don’t want what my husband did to define me, but it has fundamentally changed me, without a doubt. On my first day in my new job here I told the team what had happened to me and how it made me view the world differently. I was surprised by how supportive they were. People say to me they can’t imagine how I get out of bed every day, but what choice do I have? I have good days and bad days. I often ask people when I start a meeting to give me their scores out of ten as to how they are feeling. They generally say, ‘eight’ or ‘nine’, but I will tell them it relates to their whole self, not just work, and encourage them to be honest. We are a team and are here to support one another. I’m still coming to terms with my loss. I try to be kind to myself and others. I can only do as much as I can do and, like all of us, too often put my ‘game face’ on to get through. Every night my son and I tell each other three things we are grateful for. Always simple things; our dog Digby usually features, or the sun was shining or something that made us laugh. Being thankful for the small things puts things in perspective and helps a lot.

“Every night my son and I tell each other three things we’re grateful for” funeral but I was worried as we were in the middle of a big pitch. I felt I had to be there and flew abroad for the final meeting. I thought I would be fine and able to get into work mode but on the plane on the way back I realised I couldn’t cope. I couldn’t just compartmentalise work and home so separately; they were inextricably intertwined. So much so, that after that I crashed and burned and then had to take three months off. I realised I couldn’t be the same Pippa I had been - it wasn’t who I was anymore. It has totally changed my priorities and outlook on life. In many ways I think

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SOME SAY THAT WHEN SOMETHING REALLY BAD HAPPENS TO YOU, IT’S AS IF TIME STANDS STILL. For me, it was the complete opposite. When I was told I had cancer, my mind raced to all the worst possibilities. How long did I have left? Would I see all my kids become adults? Would I get to meet my grandchildren? I was diagnosed with follicular lymphoma, which is an incurable blood cancer, in November 2016. I was beyond shocked. As Facebook’s vice-president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, I was used to a life constantly on the move. I was young, energetic and I didn’t even feel unwell. The only warning sign was a tiny lump in my groin that I had found a month earlier. I lost half a stone in the three days after the diagnosis. I’m an optimistic person by nature but I had to dig deep to find the strength to carry on for myself and for my family. The survival rate for this type of cancer is variable, and I knew from the beginning I didn’t want to give up working. Of course, there have been hard moments, but the unbelievable kindness of people as well as more practical help makes a big difference. For example, I’ve been offered ginger sweets to help deal with nausea and lavender to help me sleep. Little moments that

remind you that people are thinking of you. I’m also part of a brilliant Facebook group called Living with Follicular Lymphoma, which is very inspiring and a source of strength. At Facebook, everyone is encouraged to bring their authentic self to work, which means different things to different people. Part of this for me is being honest about my cancer.

“It was the day I was diagnosed with an incurable blood cancer that my life changed forever”

I’ve had two other CEOs get in touch privately to say they have the same cancer as me. I wonder what impact it has on a person to hide such a big thing? It never occurred to me that I wouldn’t tell people. Many businesspeople talk about having an illness, but if they do, they talk about it in the past tense. Why not be honest and upfront about it? Otherwise, we’re creating an unattainable level of perfection. We’re not being true to people and it puts stress on everyone in the organisation. We need to be able to have honest conversations in the workplace and remove that stress. Vulnerability in leadership is a crucial part of it.


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your best self


“Being a minority in a workplace means I naturally have had to become resilient. I am still different from what ‘normal’ looks like”

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I HAVE SEEN A MASSIVE CHANGE IN THE PAST FEW YEARS as more people have started to recognise the importance of a healthy and happy workforce and how it can deliver back to the company in terms of productivity, creativity and general profit. For Gen Z and millennials, it is a non-starter if a company doesn’t focus on their people. I believe that more companies need to incorporate mental health allies into the fabric of the business, as sometimes people just need to talk. Those conversations can stop problems further down the line. Being a minority in a workplace means I naturally have had to become resilient. I am still different from what ‘normal’ looks like. I am often the only woman in the room and definitely the only ethnic minority. Others look up to me and that can be a huge responsibility. I rock up day after day because I have an amazing network of cheerleaders; people to lift me up when I need it. I was involved in a pitch a while ago and we lost. The winning agency took the client out for dinner to fish for information and what they found out really shocked me. They didn’t want a female business director on their account, let alone a black one. I was so upset - it was so personal. You have to bounce back from things like that and get the verbal slap back from your cheerleaders to enable you to get up and carry on.


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Against All Odds

Since retiring from athletics, Dame Kelly Holmes has been incredibly open about her struggle with her mental health – a subject that none of us should be afraid to talk about, she says WORDS LUCIANA BELLINI


f you were asked to conjure up an iconic Olympic image, Dame Kelly Holmes crossing the finishing line in Athens 2004, arms flung in the air in euphoria and eyes wide with disbelief, would be high up on that list. The double gold medal-winning athlete stormed to victory in the 800m and 1,500m - a feat still unmatched by any female British runner - when she was 34. This was after years of being beset by injuries and illnesses - ruptured cuffs, a torn achilles, stress fractures, glandular fever, tonsillitis; you name it, she had it. The wins were made all the sweeter because of the knowledge that this was, most likely, her last roll of the dice – in her mid-30s she was already considered past her prime by many. But while her physical setbacks were well documented, no one knew that she was also struggling with debilitating mental health issues. At the height of her career in 2003, Holmes was plagued by episodes of deep depression and started self-harming, a fact that she shared with no one at the time - even her family and closest friends had no idea what she was going through. It was only after retiring from athletics and writing her autobiography in 2005 that she finally opened up about her struggles, at a time when talking about mental health was still very much a taboo subject. But Holmes knew it was a story that needed to be told, so she kept sharing it, giving motivational talks around the country and setting up her own charity, the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, which helps young people in areas of deprivation gain the confidence, resilience and self-esteem needed to succeed. If anyone knows about embodying those qualities, it’s Holmes. Today, she continues to fight to bring conversations around mental health to the forefront and recently launched her own podcast, What Do I Do? Mental Health and Me, where she speaks to



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“From the age of 14 I’d known I wanted to be in the army and be an Olympic champion, and I’d achieved both by the time I was 34” guests such as Davina McCall and Alastair Campbell about their own battles. Here, she tells us how she used her setbacks to fuel her phenomenal drive and shares why she still has one big win up her sleeve. When I was asked to write my autobiography in 2005, I wanted to tell the truth about my journey. I didn’t want to just write about running around a track, I wanted to write about who I was as a person and how that made me drive for success. A lot of people were saying, “You’re superhuman”. I wasn’t superhuman. I went through a lot of highs and lows and it was really damn hard. But I had a dream, I had a talent and I had the resilience to continue even when things got tough. I wanted to explain that so I could inspire other people. My lowest point came at the height of my career. It was 2003, I was getting ready for the World Championships and I had a massive breakdown. That’s when I became a self-harmer. I felt like I was under a big black cloud and yet two weeks later I was standing on a podium with a silver medal around my neck and no one knew. When I wrote about it in my book that was the first time anyone


heard about it, and it was scary. I was afraid people would judge me, and some did, but I knew it was something I had to start talking about. It’s so important that we normalise conversations around mental health. That’s why I started my podcast, so I could speak to people in the public eye about their experiences. I got to talk to Alastair Campbell about his psychotic breakdown, Davina McCall about how she’s used fitness to cope with alcohol and drug addiction and Rory Bremner on being diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 50. Through the podcast I wanted to prove that you can still be successful if you’ve struggled – you just might need to ask for help along the way. Most people that have been successful have had setbacks; they just learn to switch it back up. To me, resilience is about understanding that life is a journey. It’s about looking back at where you’ve been before. When we perceive failure, we focus on it all going wrong and forget about where we started; we forget that until then it was actually going pretty well. Resilience is about figuring out the changes we can make to stop it happening again.


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have another goal to achieve, not in sport but something else. I’m going to be standing on a stage for Businesswoman of the Year one day – I’ve just got to figure out what for!

Personally, I see failure as a driver to go, “Ok, I’m not in a good place but to get out of it maybe I need to think slightly differently about this approach.” When I retired from athletics I suffered a huge loss of identity. From the age of 14 I’d known I wanted to be in the army and be an Olympic Holmes crosses champion, and I’d achieved Kelly the finish line to take Gold in the both by the time I was 34. I Olympic 1500m in 2004 left school with no exam results; in my eyes, I had no other gold medals! But I did, and I want to skills. Then I started my charity, where give people hope to go for their we pair disadvantaged young people dreams. I believe I went through this with sporting role models who are journey so that I can now stand up in transitioning out of athletics. We front of hundreds of people and tell focus on learning your transferable them my story. skills - what it is that’s makes you who you are and how can you use that I don’t see age as a barrier to success. in employment. Twelve years on, Look at someone like Joanne Pavey, we’ve helped 350,00 young people who won her first major championship and nearly 750 sportspeople. at 40, after having two kids. Age wasn’t a barrier for her because she I want people to see that my mental believed she could do it. In business it health issues didn’t define me. It really doesn’t matter what age you didn’t stop me being successful; in are – you could be leaving school and fact, it made me stronger. I never be an entrepreneur or you could thought I’d win two gold medals have had a long career and decide to I still don’t believe I’ve won two set up on your own. I still feel like I


I schedule ‘me time’ every single day. I give myself a minimum of 15 minutes each night and get in a hot bubble bath, light some candles and play chilled music. Even if I get home at midnight, I’ll have that bath. I’m on the go all day - I don’t have children, but because of that I fit in every single thing I can and run around like an idiot. I know that I need that time each night to switch off. Sisterhood is about realising how powerful women are and not being afraid to shout about it. It’s about women coming together and standing out in the crowd. We have a tendency to think we shouldn’t admit when we’re good at something because it looks like we’re being too ‘out there’, but I think women should be forceful about their strengths. We have to push each other and support each other.


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Worst Enemy Writer and self-confessed ‘‘architect of her own downfall’’, Alexandra Jones explains the allure of self-sabotage ILLUSTRATION ROCIO MONTOYA


friend recently called me to ask if herbal sleeping tablets had ever worked for me. I said I’d never tried them. “I’m starting a new job,” she explained. Oh, I replied. I see. For the past ten years this friend had missed the first day of every single job she’d ever had. A few ‘celebratory’ glasses of wine always ‘got out of hand’ and before she knew it, rather than turning up smelling like day-old Merlot, she was calling in sick. At first we laughed at this funny quirk of character but as the years rolled on, her ability to mess up before she’d even started began to seem positively pathological. “I get so nervous,” she explained, “I feel like the wine will help me sleep.”  “Behaviours that stand in the way of us achieving our

long-term goals are said to be self-sabotaging,” explains chartered counselling psychologist Dr Sarah Crawford. This could mean procrastinating away all our prep time (what I call “suicide by Netflix”) until projects are both late and a bit crap. Or it could mean the fact that I’m writing this article from my bed, curled into my laptop like a king prawn, despite the fact that I know it’ll aggravate the trapped nerve in my neck (sitting really is the silent killer). Selfsabotage is the gap between ‘should do’ and ‘did’ - an oddly alluring space that I’ve all too often found myself in. It’s such a common trait of modern humanity that we’ve come to fetishize selfsaboteurs, particularly female ones. Most notably there’s Fleabag, which deals with the fallout from life choices that are so self-

“Self-sabotage is the gap between ‘should do’ and ‘did’ - an oddly alluring space that I’ve all too often found myself in”



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“Perhaps that is why we’re culturally so obsessed with selfsaboteurs - because we learn so much about ourselves” evidently self-destructive that one Guardian reviewer called it “a squalid little story of a life gone wrong”. There’s also Emma Jane Unsworth’s novel Animals, about two 30-something women stuck in a destructive cycle of booze and fags and drugs and bad men. The film version, starring Holliday Grainger and Alia Shawkat, debuted to great acclaim at Sundance earlier this year. Then there’s comedian Roisin Conaty’s sleeper hit GameFace, Halle Butler’s novel The New Me and Ottessa Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation - all narratives of women who are, in some way, sabotaging themselves and, in the process, opting-out of modern life. And who can blame them? Modernity has imparted many wonderful gifts - the right to vote, the pill, moisture-wicking trainer socks - but it has also created a set of heavy expectations. We must be successful and wear the right clothes and be seen to support the right causes. We must have jobs as well as families, and be equally enamoured of, and devoted to, both. We might feel unfulfilled, worn out and lonely but we must perform otherwise for social media. Part of the allure of these narratives, though, is that ultimately each protagonist overcomes their selfsabotaging tendencies.  For me, it hasn’t always been so straightforward. I’ve gotten drunk the night before a half-marathon

that I’d spent months training for, handed work in late myriad times because I was desperate to get it ‘just right’ and ended perfectly good relationships for ridiculous reasons. In her book, Fight: Win Freedom from Self-Sabotage, the cognitive hypnotherapist Hazel Gale argues that we self-sabotage because of internal narratives she calls them our ‘monster stories’ - that make us believe we cannot, or do not deserve to, achieve our bigger goals. And in hindsight, instead of enjoying the experience, much of my half-marathon training was spent fretting that I would get an ‘embarrassingly’ slow time. Ditto, working and reworking articles until they were so late that my editors were sending passiveaggressive emails was a symptom of the fact that deep down I didn’t believe I was good enough to get the commission in the first place. Same for the relationships - I believed that the other person would leave me because I was somehow ‘unloveable’, so I left them first. It’s a neat trick - I am the victim but also the architect of my downfall. Of course, I spent years trying to correct these tendencies; like my friend who’d finally decided to switch to herbal remedies the night before starting a new job, I often vowed that I would be better prepared next time I got a commission, or that I’d give the next guy a real chance. But life is

not like books and films; where Fleabag was given a crash course in breaking free from unhelpful narratives by a hot priest, it took some therapy for me to really understand why I kept falling into the same old patterns of behaviour. In her book, Gale advises looking at the most painful things that have happened in one’s life and figuring out what lessons we learnt from them. She advises journalling to keep track of our patterns of behaviour. Personally, I found the most helpful thing was to take part in more activities that made me feel good about myself and invest less in the ones that took an emotional toll. I swapped-out Tuesday nights in the pub for more wholesome pursuits like running - and stopped trying to compete with myself and others while I was doing them. There are no methods that are guaranteed to help everyone overcome self-sabotage; the process of working out how to do it for ourselves is one of profound self-discovery. And perhaps that is why we’re culturally so obsessed with the narratives of selfsaboteurs - because we learn so much about ourselves, about others, about the nature of humanity in general, by delving into our bad habits, or watching others delve into theirs. Perhaps, when it comes to selfsabotage, the journey is just as important as the destination.



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THE SCIENCE OF SELF-SABOTAGE Business psychologist and women’s leadership coach Jess Baker on the psychology of self-sabotaging behaviour and how we can break the cycle


elf-sabotage starts in that gap between making a decision and taking action on it. I call this gap “the fear zone”. You’ve been forced out of your comfort zone, but you’re not yet in the zone of genius where the magic happens, so you’re left hovering over the zone of fear. It’s here that selfdoubt begins to creep in. Ultimately, the brain isn’t wired to be happy. Instead, it’s designed to protect you, so your initial thoughts are always to map the danger. And as your brain attempts to protect you, this manifests itself as self-sabotaging behaviours. While this might be everyday things such as having another glass of wine or watching one more episode, there are also plenty of examples of self-sabotaging ourselves in the workplace. Procrastination, waiting for permission to take action, hiding on social media when we should be making ourselves and our brand more visible are all common workplace examples. Recognising this behaviour is the tough part the brain is very creative in the way it selfsabotages. Many people will get a feeling of guilt - an underlying worry or fear about something they should be doing that they aren’t, which can cause them to tense, feel nauseous or even hold their breath. But if these signals don’t come, simply conduct a sense check: are you being really honest with yourself? What is the fear that is holding you back? For many, that is just as likely to be a fear of success as it is a fear of failure. When a new venture succeeds, it can have far-reaching consequences. From absorbing more of your time, energy and money, to forcing you to do more travel or public speaking, or even putting pressure on relationships through jealousy and resentment, there are plenty of factors that might make you hesitant to succeed.

To break the self-sabotaging cycle, we need to replace self-doubt with self-belief. This will lead to you feeling more courageous, turning inaction into momentum. This is where to start:

TAME YOUR INNER CRITIC Self-doubt will often stem from a criticism our brains have previously heard and now no longer question. Try ‘decentering’, a well-known method that involves writing down a negative thought and inserting the phrase “I’m having the thought that...” before it. This gives you space to observe and analyse the thought before reacting.

INTRODUCE SELF-COMPASSION When a friend is in tears, we immediately react with kindness, but we rarely extend the same compassion to ourselves. According to self-compassion expert Dr Kristin Neff, a useful phrase to tell yourself is: “May I be kind to myself in this moment. May I give myself the compassion I need.” Simply repeating this in times of distress will remind you to go easy on yourself.

COUNTER PERFECTIONISM A lot of people who self-sabotage have perfectionist tendencies. To counter that, try an exercise called ‘reframing’. Instead of seeking perfection, tell yourself “I’m just going to give this a go” and allocate yourself a time frame for this trial period. This takes the pressure off, and afterwards you’ll be able to assess whether it’s productive to continue.

TAKE TEENY-TINY STEPS Often, we self-sabotage because we feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the task. One practical tip is to break it down into tiny steps and then just do the first. Research from Stanford Business School has shown that incremental achievements are good early motivators, so completing one will help give you momentum towards your end goal.

Jess Baker is a business psychologist and women’s leadership coach;



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T O PIV Whether you dream of writing your first novel or running your own business, the time has come to pivot your career and make that change. This is why - and how - you should be doing it now WORDS JES SALTER


ast you mind over these three women: Martha Stewart, Victoria Beckham and our club’s namesake, Madeleine Albright. What’s the common factor? Hugely successful career pivots that saw Stewart switch from being a stockbroker to setting up a catering business in her 30s, Beckham hanging up her mic for a career in luxury fashion and Albright becoming a diplomat in her 40s, following an early career as a journalist. While 50 years ago workers would likely be in a job for life, today everything is more fluid. According to a recent study by InHerSight, an online platform that supports women at work, a massive 73% of American women are interested in changing careers. It’s not just the US: a separate study by the financial services company Investec found that half of Brits were planning to change career in the next five years. Liz Ward, founder of Slick Pivot, who describes herself as the UK’s first “pivot coach”, says a pivot is a “mindset”. “It involves looking at what is going well and where you’re experiencing areas of tension, which is where you start looking to make changes, be they professional or personal.” Bear in mind that pivots can come in all shapes and sizes. It can mean a complete career U-turn, from pastry chef to personal trainer, or it could be slight tweaks: a different role in an organisation you love, from HR to marketing, or upping one aspect of your job so that it becomes your main focus. Think the head of communications taking on the company’s newsletter to feed their creative drive, for example. “Women can choose a part of their role or skill set that they already love and make the most of it,” says Karen Meager, founder of training and consultancy company Monkey Puzzle (monkeypuzzletraining. and author of Real Leaders for the Real World, says. “This also means they do not need to ‘leave behind’ all of their previous experience, which can be hard to do psychologically when you’ve spent years training for a profession.”



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MAKE THE CHANGE Not only is the pivot becoming more popular, but it’s also becoming essential to women’s professional development. According to the InHerSight research, the top three reasons women wanted to change careers were the need for more pay (32%), a need to do something they believed in (16%) and, most worryingly, experiencing burnout (13%). Meager believes that a career pivot can tackle this: “It can help prevent burnout in particular because you are focusing on an element that has a lot of meaning for you, that meets your values.” Part of the benefit of pivoting is that you can tweak your job to suit your own dreams. Indeed, in a separate survey by US financing company Guidant Financial, the main reason female entrepreneurs in the US set up their own businesses was to pursue their own passion. And while setting up your own venture can definitely help with work-life balance in the long term, Meager cautions that, in the short term, it doesn’t always help. “A lot of businesses fail in their first few years, so unless you already have something scoped and up and running, be prepared to put a lot of time and energy in, especially at the beginning.”

THE TIME IS NOW It makes sense to make the change now. A report from US commercial real estate services and investment firm CBRE estimates that more than 50% of current jobs will be replaced as technology and artificial intelligence change the way we work over the coming years. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing - Ward says technological advances mean “we can build businesses and create lifestyles to live the life we want”. What’s more, she says, new working patterns (including flexible working) can help too, giving us “the ability to really curate our lives in the way we want”. Ultimately, the time has finally come for women to step into the entrepreneurial spotlight. In the US, four out of every ten businesses are owned by women, with female-led businesses having grown 58% from 2007 to 2018, according to data from Guidant Financial. “Women leaders are often perceived as more trustworthy than male leaders and this is an advantage if looking for investors,” Meager says. All you need to do now is make that pivot.


So, the burning question is how to do it. Ward believes in giving yourself time to dream. “I often suggest to clients that they write down their perfect day almost like a future diary entry - what would you be doing, both personally and professionally, what environment would you be in, what would be happening?” From there, it gets even more creative: “Create a physical vision board and turn your words into pictures,” Ward says. “Those visuals guide your unconscious mind towards change.” Ward says you should forget the grand reveal, or, as she calls it, the “ta-da moment”. “I say, start small so that you avoid the fear of failure and tell yourself that this is the pilot period. If you don’t feel that you’re committing to it forever, it allows you to experiment and removes the risk.” Her final tip is to build and grow your support network, both with supportive cheerleaders that you already know, and other people who are going through their own pivots. “People with a pivot mindset can really fuel each other,” she adds. Finally, find your inspiration. These women are just the ticket…



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THE TIME IS NOW With statistics showing that the average tenure at one company is less than five years, now, more than ever, people are switching not just roles but actual career paths. The idea of signing up for one route and feeling obliged to stick with it is a thing of the past - as evidenced by the rise of the entrepreneur. What a liberating thought that we can make numerous pivots throughout our career as we not only discover what we are good at, but also learn about ourselves and what we enjoy doing. There are so many women who have done some incredibly inspiring pivoting. From a dinner lady pivoting into an MP, lawyers pivoting into handbag designers or a pop star pivoting into a fashion designer, we were compelled to feature these women and tell their stories. Whether you have found the career path that fulfils you or whether you have a gut feeling that there is something better suited to you out there, these women won’t fail to inspire you in one way or another. Anna Jones AllBright co-founder 56


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Anna Jones CEO of Hearst UK to AllBright co-founder After finding herself frequently on stages talking about women in business, Anna Jones quit one of the most high-profile jobs in publishing to put her words into practice and co-found The AllBright. “I had always had an entrepreneurial itch to scratch. I tried to be an ‘intrapreneur’ when I worked in the corporate world, behaving like an entrepreneur in a large organisation. I knew exactly what I wanted to achieve as CEO of Hearst, and once that strategy was underway, I started to think about what I wanted to do with the rest of my career. The ultimate catalyst was meeting my co-founder Debbie and seeing an opportunity to develop a company with a clear purpose at its heart, focused on something I felt so passionate about. But the move was a risk, and of course I was nervous about it. Almost my whole career had been spent in the media and I had reached the very top of a company I loved. There was plenty of self-doubt - an emotion I still struggle with today - but I’ve learnt to frame it in my mind as a problem to overcome, the same way I would any issue in business. I ask myself why I feel that way, talk to people I trust, and try to unpick it in a structured way until I get to the root of the problem. It usually helps me find a workable solution. The most challenging moments of my career have always been when I have done something new - like transitioning to CEO or going to my first investor meeting when only 1p of every £1 goes to female founders. But in those moments, I found my strength in the women around me. I think that is key to starting something new - having a group of trusted friends and advisors to turn to when times get hard.”



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Gwyneth Paltrow Actress to CEO of goop Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow has been one of the most famous faces in cinema since the 1990s, thanks to starring roles in films like Sliding Doors and Shakespeare in Love – for which she won both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe. But despite having started her career as an actor, Paltrow pivoted her position to reinvent herself as CEO of international online lifestyle brand goop. Having launched it first as a weekly newsletter from her kitchen back in 2008 for her unbiased travel, shopping and recipe recommendations, Paltrow then grew the platform to become a globally recognised brand and e-commerce site. Today, the company is estimated to be worth $250 million. “I think goop has always really dictated to me who she is as much as I’ve tried to shepherd her into what she is,” says Paltrow of her home-grown brand. “There are certain aspects of people’s businesses that I really admire, but I never think, ‘Oh, I want to do it just like they did it.’ Frankly, I think we’re simply trying to build a significant business. We’re trying to build a global lifestyle business that matters, and that is impactful and new.” The actor-turned-entrepreneur believes passion and vision are key to goop’s success. “It’s critical that we make things of incredible value, whether it’s content or product,” she says. “We’re really trying to make things that will enrich somebody’s life. I take that really seriously.”



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Ambika Singh Marketing manager at Microsoft to founder of clothing rental company Armoire With a diverse background working in both tech start-ups and corporate America, Ambika Singh pivoted her career after noticing a gap in the fashion market and bringing numerous female investors on board. What challenges do women face while pivoting their careers? We seek validation because we need to know that we’re on the right path. Some might say it’s because we are overly cautious, but what is also true is that we tend to be afforded fewer opportunities - so maximizing the ones that we have is important. Having a team of strong women means that one woman’s success is all of our success. When our pack is honest with us and encourages us to take risks, we feel more capable and confident breaking into male-dominated industries. The best secret weapon any woman can have is a team of strong women behind her.

Martha Stewart Stockbroker to lifestyle media guru Despite now having a name that today encompasses a global media brand synonymous with all things lifestyle, Martha Stewart actually started her career on Wall Street. Having majored in history at Barnard College, New York, Stewart got a job as an institutional stockbroker after graduating - a role she credits with teaching her what it takes to build a real business. From here, she began to pivot her career to pursue her passion, starting a successful catering business and, less than a decade later, writing her bestselling guide, Entertaining. Finally, in 1990, she published her first issue of Martha Stewart Living. “By 1990, I was the 49-year-old mother of a grown daughter, a divorcée, and I knew that I was onto something big,” she writes on her blog. “I’ve been dubbed a ‘late bloomer’, and I love the moniker.” Believing that age should never be seen as an excuse to stop you pivoting into your dream career, Stewart believes the key to success is to prioritise getting yourself into the right position to pursue that goal. “Once you realise that you have identified a passion, invest in yourself,” she says. “Figure out what you need to know, what kind of experience and expertise you need to develop to do the things that you feel in your heart you will enjoy and that will sustain you both mentally and economically."


How did you end up with so many female first-time investors? Armoire was created to relieve the pressures the “modern boss lady” feels to help her always dress the part, so this happened quite organically and many of our early customers became our investors. They quickly saw the problem Armoire was solving, and they were able to experience first-hand the confidence, empowerment and joy it brings. What’s the best advice you’ve taken on board? Michelle Obama said: “You can’t make decisions based on fear and the possibility of what might happen.” I bounced between working at Microsoft and wanting to start this business. I realised that there was never going to be the perfect time for me to start it.I needed to dive in head first if I was going to make this happen, and I never wanted to regret not trying to create Armoire. I am constantly trying to take risks because that is what helped me begin the most rewarding thing in my life.


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Ayesha Hazarika MBE Comedian to Labour adviser to journalist Having started her working life as a stand-up comedian, Ayesha Hazarika decided to pivot her career to take on the world of politics. After working in the civil service in a number of highprofile departments, including the Home Office and Downing Street, Hazarika eventually rose up the ranks to become a special adviser for the Labour Party. “Having a well-known side hustle in stand-up actually helped me, as it made me stand out and I could use my writing skills to help politicians with important events like Prime Minister’s Questions,” she explains. Of course, the journey to this position wasn’t without its challenges. “The anxiety of starting something new later in life is tough,” she says “especially when you were very comfortable and happy with what you were doing. I also did a lot of work for free at the start of my career change, which was hard financially.” Clearly, it was a decision that would pay off as Hazarika spent a total of eight years in Westminster, working for the likes of Gordon Brown, Harriet Harman and Ed Miliband and heading up initiatives on topics such as women and equality. “Women can sometimes lack the confidence when it comes to changing their career,” explains Hazarika. “It can be daunting and there can also be structural barriers like caring for children or older relatives. But that doesn’t mean men are ‘better’ at it than women - they often just have fewer obstacles in their way, a big network and colossal self-belief.” Last year, Hazarika pivoted her career once again, using her insight into current affairs and writing skills to reinvent herself as a journalist. She now serves as editor of The Londoner - the Evening Standard’s daily diary section. “You do need to be prepared to be resilient, determined, energetic and put in the hours,” says Hazarika about changing careers. “You also have to accept that it may not work out the way you wanted, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

Elizabeth Warren Teacher to senator Former law professor Elizabeth Warren’s pivot was born out of her intellectual prowess. One of the most influential experts in the field of bankruptcy law, Warren helped set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under the Obama administration. Over time, she built up a national profile as an outspoken critic of banks and credit card companies, before pivoting from being a leading advocate for reforming the financial industry to Democratic contender. The 70-year-old was first elected in 2012, not only becoming the first ever woman to be elected to Senate from Massachusetts but making up the largest female US Senate delegation in history - something she thinks is key for female empowerment: “If you don't have a seat at the table, you’re probably on the menu,” she says.



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Alyce Tran and Tania Liu Lawyers to co-founders of accessories label The Daily Edited Having bonded over the water cooler about their shared love of fashion, Australian lawyers Alyce Tran and Tania Liu launched The Daily Edited initially as a side hustle from Tran’s kitchen table. First taking form as a blog, the platform eventually evolved into an e-commerce site selling practical, personalised leather accessories designed to take women from the boardroom to business dinners and beyond. Launching in August 2014 with just three designs, within a week The Daily Edited had sold out as people flocked to buy its bespoke premium accessories, each of which can be customised with the owner’s name, initials or calligraphic message. Soon, the pair were working 18 hours days, processing orders during their lunch breaks. Six months later, the pair decided to quit their top-tier law firm to pursue The Daily Edited full-time and the monogramming business, which now sells accessories for men as well as women, has since turned into a £15million fashion empire, with boutiques in New York, Sydney and Melbourne and offering worldwide shipping from online store “The best decision in my life was leaving my legal career to see if we could grow this,” Tran told CEO Magazine. “When I left my job I felt a sense of relief. I don’t look back anymore.”

Ava DuVernay PR to film director Now a writer, director and producer, Ava DuVernay’s career change led her to become the first AfricanAmerican woman to direct a film with a budget of over $100 million, A Wrinkle in Time. Impressive stuff for a woman who has previously said she never even picked up a camera before the age of 32.

Ava DuVernay for Vanity Fair, 2018, by Justin Bishop. Taken from the upcoming exhibition Vanity Fair: Hollywood Calling. The Stars, the Parties, and the Power Brokers at the Annenberg Space for Photography, Los Angeles, from 8 February to 26 July.

Starting her career as a journalist at CBS News, where she covered the OJ Simpson trial, DuVernay decided to move away from celebrity news and into the world of film, working in marketing until she began her own publicity firm. Here, she worked on titles like Collateral, Dreamgirls and Invictus, before making a documentary of her own about alternative hip-hop in LA called This is the Life in 2008. It took another two years before DuVernay realised filmmaking was her path. Shot in just 11 days on a budget of $50,000, she created her first feature film, I Will Follow, in 2011, all while maintaining her full-time permanent role. “I kept my publicity job while making my first three films,” DuVernay told Elle. “I knew that as a black woman in this industry, I wouldn’t have people knocking down my door to give me money for my projects, so I was happy to make them on the side while working my day job.” Seven years later, she’d be working with Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey and Mindy Kaling to create live action Disney remake A Wrinkle in Time - a film celebrated for its message of female empowerment.



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Victoria Beckham Pop singer to fashion designer & beauty brand founder For so many of us, our first memories of Victoria Beckham are as ‘Posh Spice’ - one of the five iconic characters in cult 1990s band the Spice Girls, today recognised as the bestselling girl group of all time.  From there, after marriage and the invention of  ‘Brand Beckham’, VB hit stratospheric levels of fame. Yet Beckham decided to pivot her career, transitioning from singer-turnedWAG to businesswoman by carving out a path in fashion. After launching her eponymous brand in 2008, within just three years it had grown into a business worth $60 million, become a hot fixture at New York Fashion Week and won Designer Brand of the Year at the 2011 British Fashion Awards. Now, she’s introduced her own beauty line, firmly positioning Victoria Beckham as a major player in the luxury market. “For a long time there, I was a bit of a laughing stock,” she has admitted. “And while everybody was busy laughing, what was I doing? I was laying the foundation for what I have in place now.” Life lessons from a Spice Girl: no matter what your previous experience, there’s always room for reinvention.



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Freddie Harrel Banker to digital strategist to stylist to hair and beauty entrepreneur The queen of the portfolio career, Freddie Harrel has mastered not just one, but multiple successful pivots. Having started her career in banking in Paris, Harrel soon realised that finance was a mismatch for her creative personality and so went back to school to retrain as a digital strategist. From here, she transitioned from finance into fashion, moving to London to work for brands such as ASOS, Topshop and Vestiaire Collective. Still finding her creative potential untapped, Harrel pivoted her career again, starting her own style blog. From here, she began hosting SHE Unleashed, a series of talks and workshops on confidence and style, before launching Big Hair No Care, her brand of ethical afro hair extensions that hosted pop-ups in London, Paris and Brooklyn. Now, she’s switching this up once again by rebranding and launching beauty start-up RadSwan. Set to disrupt the black hair market, Harrel has already raised an impressive £1.5million in investment from all-female backers. “The internet turned me into a beauty start-up founder,” she says of her most recent pivot. “But I look at this journey, and I can’t help but notice the obvious: it was all that I was ever meant to do. Following your feelings.”



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Alice Clark-Platts Human rights lawyer to crime writer Alice Clark-Platts had a high-flying career as a human rights lawyer, where she worked on cases with Snoop Dogg and Winnie Mandela, before she quit her job to write crime thrillers full-time. She is also founder of The Singapore Writers’ Group. Why did you decide to pivot your career? I moved to Singapore in 2011, pregnant with my second child. After she was born, I started to write the novel I’d been thinking about for years, taking the time to write when she napped. When I finished that novel, I began looking for an agent. Once I found one, it seemed a real prospect that my lawyer days were behind me. How did you transition to become a writer? I’ve always written. I began what would become my first novel when I was still a lawyer but I really only wrote the first few pages then - I was quite busy in court! But one of the best things I did was to apply for the Curtis Brown Creative online course. This gave me a huge boost of confidence and endorsed what I was doing. I would really recommend it to budding writers. What was the biggest challenge along the way? Believing in myself. It’s always scary doing something new and women are particularly guilty of imposter syndrome. It’s only now, having recently completed my fourth book and with two publishing contracts under my belt, that I really consider myself to be an author. What would you tell other aspiring writers? There’s nothing to lose. I know many people who have developed writing careers at the same time as working full-time, so if you’re committed, willing to learn and disciplined, just go for it. I always thought of it as just writing 90,000 words - they would probably be rubbish, but when I’d finished, I could always go back and change them. Either way, it would be better than a blank page.

Amy Thomson Communication agency director to creating the Moody app Amy Thomson left her job in marketing to launch Moody, an app designed to help women better understand their hormones, in order to let them live well. Here, she explains the story behind her transition into tech. “When I was first thinking about building Moody, I met Net-a-Porter founder Natalie Massenet. In a one-hour breakfast meeting, she gave me three pieces of game-changing advice: 1) Y  ou can’t do it all, so choose to make the pivot and then commit to it fully. 2) Own the stereotype and reclaim it. Moody was named there and then. Natalie identified that the science behind the app was as much about emotional support as periods. I had in that moment a business and a brand to begin taking it out of idea stage. 3) Raise money. Natalie encouraged me to go out and start pitching, to see if I could make this idea into a commercial opportunity. The proof came when I did raise £1 million and we began to build the business from January 2018. But fundraising was tough. Standing in hundreds of big board rooms or environments designed to intimidate you tests your resolve as a founder. Being told by men in an old-school financing system that personalised wellness for women won’t make money will do the same. Self-doubt and imposter syndrome are the symptoms of systems that are not created to support women. The beauty of pivoting career is you can do it at any time, but mapping it out is key for it to be sustainable. So, calculate the risk, ensure your idea is financially viable, both commerically and personally, and talk to as many people as possible.



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your best self

Carolyn Harris Dinner lady to MP Carolyn Harris went from working as a barmaid and dinner lady to becoming the Labour Member of Parliament for Swansea East, deputy leader of the Welsh Labour Party and leading a successful cross-party campaign to abolish children’s funeral fees and establish the Children’s Funeral Fund. Here, she tells us how she made her pivot. “I’ve always been interested in politics - from an early age I would go out canvassing with my parents. But I started my family quite young - I was 21 when I had my first son - and life got in the way. My husband and I were like most families in Swansea East - just about keeping our heads above water. I think the catalyst for change came when my eldest son, Martin, was killed in a road traffic accident in 1989. As you can imagine, it completely ripped our world apart and I was broken for a very long time. It was about five years after his death that I decided I needed to do something more proactive, so I went to university at the grand old age of 34. After graduating, I worked in a few different roles in the charity sector, before joining my predecessor, politician Sian James, as a caseworker. It was a huge decision to step out of my comfort zone and change paths in my mid-30s, but it was something I always dreamed of doing. Before, it seemed unachievable to the likes of me, a young working-class girl from Swansea East. But the innovative ideas and fresh thinking that comes from those who are new to a sector is valuable. Imposter syndrome still rears its ugly head now and again, of course, but less frequently. I was 45 when I started my career in politics - it’s never too late.”

Reshma Saujani Lawyer to founder of Girls Who Code Despite having begun her career as an attorney, Yale law graduate Reshma Saujani is now CEO of Girls Who Code - a nonprofit that aims to increase the number of women in tech by supporting them in learning to code. Saujani had tried to pivot her career previously, in 2010, when she ran for US Congress, making her the first IndianAmerican woman to do so. Despite losing, Saujani credits the experience with teaching her that it’s better to take risks and fail than to not try at all. “I was 33 years old, and it was the first time in my entire life that I had done something that was truly brave, that I didn’t worry about being perfect,” she says in her TED Talk, which has today received over four million views. “So many women tell me that they gravitate towards careers and professions they know they are going to be great in, and it’s no wonder why. Most girls are taught to avoid risk and failure, to smile pretty, play it safe, and to get all As. But it’s often said in Silicon Valley that no one even takes you seriously until you’ve had two failed start-ups. We have to undo the socialisation of perfection. When we teach girls to be brave, they will build incredible things.”



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PR I NTS C H A RM ING H&M’s latest partner in its muchhyped series of designer collaborations is Colombian designer Johanna Ortiz, known for her colourful prints, dramatic silhouettes and sculptural ruffles. An exclusive pre-drop of four dresses from the collection was released in December, and the main collection is launching nationwide this March. Welcoming spring with some Latin American flair, the full range includes maxi, midi and mini dresses, as well as separates and swimwear that will work across seasons. From £34.99;

The FASHION Fix Style notes for the new season ahead COMPILED BY CHARLOTTE ADSETT


Sustainable fashion brand Everlane has launched a new line of puffer coats that will give you a warm glow in more ways than one: the oversized Re:Down Sleeping Bag Puffer (£150) features Everlane’s cruelty-free Re:Down fill made from recycled down from pillows and comforters, while the shell fabric is made from renewed plastic bottles.


Tapping into the 1990s and early 2000s nostalgia trend, Prada’s minimal Sidonie and Emblème bags both continue to reign in the fashion world. Make a statement this season with a bag that’s set to become a collector’s item, each one available in a vast array of colour-block options. Sidonie (left) £2,170 and Emblème (above) £1,760;



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Little known fact: twice a year, Zara offers a Studio Campaign Collection, an edited capsule range made from higher quality fabrics designed by a separate design team. The winter collection was inspired by Parisian woman and features structured tailoring and impressive detailing that looks far more expensive than it is. From £49.99,


D i ve d e ep int o t his s eas on’s mos t p o pular shad e CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: MAISON MARGIELA Skirt, £335,; JIMMY CHOO Shoes, £495,; KALEOS Sunglasses, £150 GUCCI Jeans, £870; Model image, STELLA MCCARTNEY Model image, CHINTI & PARKER ; DVF Dress £286, CHLOE Bag £1,160,; KEDS Pumps, £59.99, BOTTEGA VENETA Blazer, £1,775,; TIFFANY Ring £1,325, Model image, ZARA


The secret weapon of fashion stylists everywhere, a steamer is an efficient and gentler alternative to ironing, producing wrinkle-free clothes in seconds. This easy-to-use, lightweight steamer from Scandi brand Steamery refreshes garments and reduces odours, bacteria and dust, so you can wash them less often too. Cirrus No.2 Steamer, £110,



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The Shoes

CLOCKWISE, FROM LEFT: ZARA Gold pumps, £29.99,; BURBERRY Beige slingback pumps, £550,; BALLY Pink slippers, £470,; Model wears ZARA MICHAEL MICHAEL KORS, Black Ava studded suede pumps, £170,; ZARA Pink heels, £99.99,; GUCCI Black embroidered loafers, £615,; CHURCH'S Black studded tassel loafers, £683,



Wo r k w e a r Wa r d r o b e Timeless classics that will see you through this year and beyond COMPILED BY CHARLOTTE ADSETT

The Bags

TOP ROW: GUCCI Ophidia GG tote, £1,125,; PRADA Mini bucket bag, £1,962,; KNEED Golche bag, €1,595,; MANSUR GAVRIEL Ocean mini leather tote, £485,; BOTTOM ROW: BOTTEGA VENETA Marie bag, £2,505,; GIVENCHY Eden mini shoulder bag, £1,128,; BURBERRY Small Elizabeth bag, £1,790,; SAINT LAURENT Manhattan canvas and leather tote, £1,400,; Model wears KNEED, Alexia bag, €850,



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The Coats

FROM LEFT: Model wears STELLA McCARTNEY,; BURBERRY Chelsea Heritage trench coat, £1,490,; CHLOÉ Blue trench coat, £2,175,; BAUM UND PFERDGARTEN Belted wool-blend coat, £244,; SAINT LAURENT Herringbone coat, £2,855,; NANUSHKA, Faux leather coat, £725,

The Blazers

FROM LEFT: ACNE STUDIOS Coral blazer, £550,; GUCCI Tuxedo jacket, £2,650,, DRIES VAN NOTEN Blue blazer, £835,; ROSIE ASSOULIN Check print blazer, £2,601,; MULBERRY Elle houndstooth jacket, £835,

The Dresses

FROM LEFT: DIANE VON FURSTENBERG Athena dress, £271,; RIXO Indra dress, £335,; WEEKEND MAX MARA, Party dress, £390,; IRIS & INK Alva dress, £150,; CHINTI & PARKER, Verticals dress, £550,; Model wears VICTORIA BECKHAM,



23/12/2019 14:06


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The Kneed to know With clever designs and female-focussed initiatives, handbag brand Kneed has the perfect accessories for strong, successful women WORDS LUCIANA BELLINI


f there’s one brand that embodies female empowerment, it’s KNEED. Founded by global traveller Keren Or, who until then had built a high-flying career running luxury clubs and restaurants around the world, the luxury handbag brand has been created by women, for women, with cleverly made, beautifully crafted bags that incorporate busy women’s daily needs – hence the name – while still remaining chic and stylish. From an array of well-thought-out interior pockets for water bottles, inbuiltdevice chargers and other exquisite design details, they are timeless classics for the modern woman. Celebrating women is at the forefront of everything the brand does, from the skilled female artisans who work in its Tuscan factories to the bags themselves, with each one dedicated to a strong woman in Keren’s life. Its latest initiative is ‘Women in Charge’, a series of events featuring inspiring, smart-minded women sharing their stories on everything from setting boundaries to the power of saying ‘no’. We asked Keren about how she started the brand, the challenges she faced and why they chose the legendary model Jan de Villeneuve as the face of KNEED.

Keren Or, founder of Kneed. Bags, from left to right, Coco in Nappa Rosa Antico, €695; Alexia in Nappa Calf Slate, €850; Sivan in Stamped Calf Bordo, €995; Liberty in Stamped Calf Rutenio, €675; Liberty in Nappa Calf Navy, €675



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allbright partnership Why did you decide to launch a handbag label? It all started with the birth of my twins in 2015. One thing I really struggled with was finding a diaper bag I liked – the only ones I could find were either very practical but incredibly unattractive, or ones from luxury designer brands that were covered in labels (and still looked like a diaper bag). Both made me feel like I should have the label ‘Soccer Mom’ on my forehead and drive around in a mini-van. I wanted something that was practical and well organised, but still looked chic and cool, and I couldn’t find it. So I decided to build a brand around that concept. What has been the most challenging thing about starting your own business? The most challenging thing has been getting the brand known – the game has completely changed in terms of marketing and the fashion world is going through some serious transitions. But the best thing has been discovering our community of ‘KNEED Women in Charge’. It has been so inspiring and gratifying to meet all these incredible women and hear their stories. What sets it apart from other brands? When it came to the aesthetics of the brand, I had certain parameters in mind. I have been a victim of fast fashion and trends, but with my kids growing up I’m becoming more conscious of how we shop. I knew that I wanted to create something timeless, something that would last forever and could be passed on through generations. That’s why the bags have no labels on them and almost no hardware. They are also incredibly practical - every bag comes with a charger for your phone and some have special pockets for your water bottle, laptop or iPad. At the same time they’re still luxury products, using the highest quality leathers and pure craftsmanship from masters in Italy. Why did you place so much importance on craft and heritage when making the bags? I work with small, family-owned companies that are real artisans in their craft - to get the curves right, to keep the structure the right balance between firm and soft, all that takes

incredible skill. I also work with a lot of women - one tannery we use is owned by a woman who took it over from her mother and aunt and all the braids on the bags are handmade by the most incredible woman. I am such a family person, so to see these companies working together to keep the family traditions going is so moving. How did you come up with the ‘KNEED Women in Charge’ initiative? When I thought about all the women in my life, that helped me when I was developing this business, it reinforced the fact that this company was founded by women, for women. Each style has been inspired by an important woman in my life, like the Golché, named after a dear friend of mine who is a serious female leader in a maledominated field, and the Maneeka, named after an incredible artist friend who helped me come up with a lot of the designs. We want to support every woman to be in charge of her own life, and the charger in the bag became a metaphor for that. Why did you choose Jan de Villeneuve as the face of the brand? We chose Jan as she’s not only an iconic model with a prolific career who’s been at the top of her game for 50 years - and still looks amazing - but also because she’s incredibly inspiring, funny and intelligent. She perfectly embodies the community we are building through the brand. What can we expect next from KNEED? We have some amazing new styles coming out this year that will take care of your needs at the beach and beyond, and recently we’ve held some incredible events bringing women together, like the one at The AllBright Mayfair in November. We’re looking forward to taking our ‘women in charge’ on the road to keep inspiring, learning and making connections to help support one another. To find out more, follow @the_kneed



The signature bags for smart-minded women

ALEXIA in Crinkle Patent Black, €850

MANEEKA in Stamped Calf Jungle, €1195

COCO in Rosa Antica, €695

GOLCHE in Smooth Calf Bordo, €1595

MIMI in Opaque Python Light Gold, €975

RAE in Smooth Calf Nutmeg, €875

All available from


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Set to disrupt the sponsored content you’re bombarded with on social media, recently launched My Beauty Brand is all about peer-to-peer recommendations, without the need for influencers. Users can set up personalised e-stores from which they can sell products via images of their beauty looks, earning a commission of up to 20% each time. Founded by Max Leykind - the brains behind Eyeko - and Robin Derrick, the former creative director of Vogue who also happens to be married to renowned make-up artist Lisa Eldridge, this digital platform is set to truly shake up the beauty industry.

The BEAUTY Fix The latest launches, trends and hero buys COMPILED BY CHARLOTTE ADSETT

SHE SELLS SEA SHELLS Pearlescent polish is set to be a major trend for nails this year. Right on cue, the new What the Shell? collection from Nails Inc takes inspiration from the beach for an irresistibly iridescent effect. The four pretty pastel shades feature the brand’s signature silky application, its patented widehugging brush giving a flawless application. £11 each,

GOT IT SUST New beauty destination SUST Beauty curates the most innovative sustainable and environmentally responsible brands so they’re all in one place, offering you an easy way to ethically shop your beauty self. Expect the likes of MontaMonta, Amly and Neighbourhood Botanicals (pictured right), among other thoughtfully crafted, non-toxic, responsibly packaged brands that promise beauty without compromise.



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beauty & wellness

L I G H T FA N TA S T I C Transform cold, dark evenings with a scented candle from Bella Freud Parfum, which has released its classic 1970 candle in a limited-edition gold ceramic pot (£110), and introduced Ciao (£45), a seductive combination of fig leaf, orange blossom and vetiver. Sana Jardin, meanwhile, has unveiled its socially conscious, 100% vegetable wax candle collection, inspired by its bestselling scents (£48 each). All available from

Super Serums

The editor-approved moisture boosters for winter As the cold weather hits our skin hard, these are the hydrating elixirs that really work to repair damage and restore radiance CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: VOTARY Toning Serum, £75; BIOEFFECT EGF Serum, £125; DR SEBAGH Serum Repair, £69; GLOSSIER Futuredew, £23; LA MER The Regenerating Serum, £275; HOURGLASS No28 Primer Serum, £24; INDIE LEE Daily Vitamin Infusion, £61; DR BARBARA STURM Hyaluronic Serum, £235; HERBIVORE Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative Soothing Serum, £45; DR ROEBUCK'S Ningaloo Firming Serum, £55; VERSO Antioxidant Turmeric Booster, £79



The definition of ‘cult cream’, Augustinus Bader is the skincare brand to bookmark, thanks to its sell-out wonder product, The Rich Cream, and some game-changing recent launches. First up is The Body Cream (£130), which contains German biomedical scientist Bader’s much-lauded patented formula that causes dormant skin cells to self-regenerate. Then there’s the recent collaboration with Victoria Beckham on her debut skincare product, Cell Rejuvenating Priming Moisturizer, a cell-rejuvenating priming hybrid (£92).



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Relax & RENEW

This season, Harrods and La Mer are partnering to open the UK’s first Spa de la Mer. Here, renowned facialist and AllBright resident expert Georgia Louise explains why we should be making it a priority to visit WORDS LUCIANA BELLINI

I Georgia Louise, La Mer Global Skincare Ambassador

t’s that time of year where winter feels interminable and it seems as if spring will never arrive, but there is one bright spark on the horizon. Two legendary brands, Harrods and La Mer, have teamed up to launch La Mer’s first full-service spa in London – the only place in the UK where you can enjoy La Mer’s indulgent face and body treatments. Open from 1 February 2020, Spa de la Mer is set to be the ultimate destination to unwind and take some much-needed time for yourself, whether that means trying a soothing body treatment or experiencing one of its luxurious facials, two of which are world exclusives. And it’s not just about the treatments – the intimate spa room will also incorporate healing energies and precious ingredients, with soothing waves of sound and vibrational tuning forks used to harmonise your body and mind for a truly holistic approach to wellbeing. Because we all know it’s not just about how you look on the outside – it’s about how you feel on the inside too. If there’s one person who understands that, it’s AllBright West Hollywood’s resident facialist and La Mer’s global skincare ambassador Georgia Louise – here, she shares why she thinks it’s so vital to invest in your skincare, as well as her top tips for how to unplug and unwind.



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allbright partnership

The Moisturising Soft Lotion, £195; The Moisturising Cool Gel Cream, from £65; The Moisturising Matte Lotion, £195; The Moisturising Soft Cream, from £65;

THE BEAUTY BRIEF A guide to Spa de la Mer at Harrods’ top three facials, to help you choose your perfect treatment The London Detox Facial

Exclusive techniques and La Mer’s super potent Miracle Broth™ combine to diminish discolouration and uneven skin tone, as well as illuminating and hydrating the skin. 60 mins, £175

The Jet Lag Facial

Why do you think it’s so important we take time for ourselves and invest in our skincare? I see it as a lifestyle commitment. If we want to feel good about ourselves, it comes from inside. These days we’re all running around like Duracell bunnies, so it’s important that we prioritise self-care. I tell people they need to invest 10% of their time on themselves – that isn’t a lot, but it’s amazing how many people don’t even have 10% to give to themselves. How often do you recommend clients take time out for treatments? I would say minimum once a month to feel the benefits long-term. That monthly programme is all about maintenance - tuning in and seeing if we need to make any adjustments to their skincare routine. I break all the rules and have treatments three times a week – an acupuncture session, a massage and a facial. My favourite La Mer treatment is the Miracle Broth™ Facial - its signature, ‘Holy Grail’ treatment. It uses the pure concentrate from the Miracle Broth and incorporates draining and massage – it’s so relaxing.

Other than treatments, what else do you always make time for that helps you feel and look your very best? I meditate three times a week and do yoga and Pilates twice a week. If I feel stressed or tired I will always have a hot bubble bath, which is very British. There’s something about covering your body with water for 20 minutes and just letting go that’s so freeing. I find it very healing. What are your top tips for looking after winter skin? As the humidity goes down our skin starts to dry out, so it’s important to make sure that you’re hydrating your skin three times more than during the rest of the year. La Mer’s Renewal Oil is incredibly nourishing and soothing – I recommend adding two or three drops to your cream day and night. You also need to exfoliate more frequently in the winter, so instead of exfoliating once a week try doing it twice a week using the La Mer Replenishing Oil Exfoliator, which is made with sugar crystals and sea salt. It buffs away dead skin cells and is just lovely.


This personalised treatment targets facial contours with exclusive lifting massage techniques and the renewing energies of the Miracle Broth™, revealing a more youthful appearance. 60 mins, £175

The Miracle Broth™ Facial

Known as the crème de la crème of facials, this treatment transforms skin with bespoke massage techniques and a pure infusion of the coveted Miracle Broth™. Exclusive to the spa experience, this priceless extract helps bring skin back to its best. 90 mins, £200 To book and discover the full treatment menu, visit book-appointment or call 020 7225 5762 and quote 'AllBright' to receive an exclusive La Mer gift* post treatment. * Please note that La Mer gifts are only available while stocks last.


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Best for... A SHINE-FREE FINISH KEVYN AUCOIN Foundation Balm, £42


Best for... A NATURAL, SECONDSKIN FINISH PAT MCGRATH Skin Fetish Sublime Perfection Foundation, £60

With their diverse range of shades and clever formulations, the new wave of bases promise so much more than a flawless finish COMPILED BY CHARLOTTE ADSETT

Best for... A DEWY GLOW SURRATT Dew Drop Foundation, £70 Best for... MATTIFYING OILY SKIN SHISEIDO Synchro Skin Self-Refreshing Foundation, £39

Best for... BOOSTING HYDRATION CLÉ DE PEAU Beauté Radiant Fluid Foundation, £105

FACE VALUE Beauty brands are introducing evermore multi-dimensional formulas to their foundations, to boost skin health as well as coverage; not to mention a ground-breaking number of hues to ensure inclusivity - while Charlotte Tilbury’s Airbrush Flawless Foundation comes in 44 shades, Anastasia Luminous Foundation is available in 50, to suit any skin tone. Best for... SHADE RANGE ANASTASIA Luminous Foundation, £43

Best for... FULL COVERAGE CHARLOTTE TILBURY Airbrush Flawless Foundation, £34

Best for... BRIGHTENING NARS Natural Radiant Longwear Cushion Foundation, £25

Best for... ON-THE-GO TOUCH-UPS MILK MAKEUP Flex Foundation Stick, £32 Best for... A LONG-LASTING FORMULA GUERLAIN l’Essentiel Natural Glow Foundation 16h Wear, £44



22/12/2019 22:03


DR SEBAGH AD 4.indd 68

17/12/2019 10:52


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Gut Keeping the gut happy is essential in maintaining overall wellbeing, from mental health to our immune system. Gut expert Rebecca Newman teaches us how to take better care of our tummies ILLUSTRATION THEGUTSTUFF.COM


ccording to Greek physician Hippocrates, “All disease begins in the gut”, yet it's taken 2,000 years for modern science to wake up to its importance. In fact, current research is uncovering links between the state of our intestines and almost all other aspects of our health: the influence of our gut over how we think and feel is so extensive, some scientists call it the ‘second brain’. The gut ‘microbiome’ is the collective word for the trillions of microscopic organisms within the small and large intestines of the human gastrointestinal tract (GIT), mainly bacteria and fungi. We have a very close association with these microbiota. Some 70-80% of our immune system is located in our gut; bacteria forms a physical barrier that covers the gut wall, helping to prevent viruses and other illness-causing microbes from entering the body. More than that, this bacteria also stimulates the lymph system that lives within the gut wall to produce lymphocytes (the white blood cells that fight infections) - just one of the reasons they are key for our health and the prevention of chronic disease. “A healthy balance of bacteria may help to better manage inflammation in the body,” adds nutritional therapist Eve Kalinik. “Current research suggests a link between the state of the microbiome and inflammatory disorders such as diabetes and heart disease, as well as autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. I believe the current interest in gut health has been forced on us by an exponential rise in these complaints.” But it’s not just inflammatory and autoimmune disorders that our microbiome influences. Recent studies have shown that, alongside our genes, out-of-whack gut microbiota can also contribute to colorectal cancer (bowel cancer). “Colorectal cancer is a huge burden in the UK, and is mostly preventable,” says Dr Lisa Das, consultant gastroenterologist at OneWelbeck clinic in Marylebone.



“There is a genetic role in the development of colorectal cancer, and I believe a dysbiotic microbiome [the scientific term for microbial imbalance] also plays a role. Specifically what and how to manage or alter this, however, is still under investigation.” Mental health is also increasingly in the picture. Not only is some 90% of the ‘happy hormone’ serotonin manufactured in the gut, but an overgrowth of unfriendly bacteria, such as Klebsiella, may release chemicals that prevent our brain from using the serotonin we have already made. “In the same way that when we feel stressed in our mind, it affects our gut,” says GP and Doctor in the House presenter Dr Rangan Chatterjee. “We are also discovering that when our gut is unhappy it can send messages to our brain, via the vagus nerve. It is a two-way conversation.” The research around how the gut-brain dialogue works is still in early stages, but specialists are exploring the hypothesis that an imbalance in bacteria could actually lead to anxiety and depression. But how can you tell if your gut is in a bad place? “Obvious issues are gas and irregular bowel movements,” says Kalinik. “But things like low mood, disturbed concentration, dull skin, food cravings, poor immunity and low energy could be other things to look out for.” Many of us may, she says, have become so used to living with the more minor complaints such as bloating, we don’t realise these can be fixed. Or, for that matter, that they may be symptoms of a greater problem. Clearly, we should be taking better care of our microbiome. The good news is that small lifestyle changes can make a tremendous difference to the gut - and, in turn, to the rest of our wellbeing. “We need to become more respectful of the process of eating,” advises nutritional therapist Peter Cox, emphasising the value of sitting down to eat and chewing food well. “We need to avoid processed foods and sugar, or excessive coffee and alcohol, and look to diversify our diets. Most of us struggle to eat a wide range of foods. Aim for seven vegetables a day, including leafy greens like kale and spinach, bitter herbs such as endive, radicchio and rocket (which are nutrient-dense, and stimulate the liver to produce digestive bile).”

“An increasing body of evidence shows the ecology of our gut to be critical to our long-term health and the prevention of chronic disease”



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“Many of us may have become so used to living with minor complaints such as bloating, that we don’t realise these can be fixed. Or, for that matter, that they may be symptoms of a greater problem”

Foods containing non-digestible natural fibre - aka prebiotics - have a particular benefit, as the fibre stimulates the growth of beneficial bacterial. Such foods include leeks, garlic and onions, plus oats. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi and natural ‘live’ yoghurts are also ideal. And what about probiotics – products that actually contain strains of beneficial bacteria? Take them, but do your research - many probiotics fail to deliver their bacterial load to the gut as too often they are killed by the digestive process. One that has been proven by a recent study, undertaken by Professor Simon Gaisford at University College London, to deliver bacteria to the gut alive and thriving is Symprove, a water-like drink in which four bacteria are suspended (£79 for four weeks; Symprove has consistently impressive clinical trials when used for IBS and IBD - and also in patients with recurring infections such as e.Coli. “When you have an effective probiotic,” explains Gaisford, “the new bacteria that reaches the gut can lower the resting pH of the gut to a point where pathogens - such as e.Coli or MRSA - cannot survive.” According to a study Gaisford published last year in the International Journal of Pharmaceutics, probiotics can also raise the levels of butyrate - a fantastically health-promoting shortchain fatty acid, which is critical in reducing inflammation (with knockon benefits to almost all aspects of wellbeing). “This basically means that taking an effective probiotic can make a healthy person healthier.” Sadly, though, supplements are not a silver bullet. Lifestyle will also have a significant impact - in particular whether you exercise enough, get sufficient sleep and take time to relax. “One of the most important ways to manage gut bacteria is managing stress, so consider meditation,” says Kalinik. Also, ditch the midnight munchies. “Eating late is asking your gut to work late. Fasting


BOOST YOUR BACTERIA Four probiotics to give your gut a helping hand

ANATOMÉ £60 for 60 capsules

CLEVER KOMBUCHA £9.95, to receive a case of kombucha every month

WILLY'S £9.95, 1,000ml

SYMPROVE £158 for 12 weeks supply

overnight for 12 hours, so having nothing later than 8pm or earlier than 8am, seems to have a positive effect on the microbiome, giving your body proper time to rest and digest.” For some of us, more radical action may be needed. In such cases, Cox and Kalinik both use stool analysis. These cost from around £270 and can give a comprehensive snapshot of issues such as yeast overgrowth and parasites, which can then receive targeted treatment. They both caution against cheaper home-testing, as the value of the test lies in the expert interpretation. So for those wanting to collect samples in the privacy of their own home, opt for a test that allows you to send samples off for professional analysis. For individuals with really severe conditions, for example when a bacterium called Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) dominates the bowels, resulting in lifethreatening extreme diarrhoea, tummy cramps, fever and infection, a faecal microbiota transplant (FMT) can be undertaken. This involves a healthy person’s stool being implanted into the colon of someone who is unwell, the idea being to improve their microbiome. Already used at Guy’s and St Thomas’s for C. difficile, private clinics are also introducing FMT, with research showing it can improve IBS and ulcerative colitis symptoms, encourage weight loss and decrease depression, among other things. One such clinic is the Taymount Clinic in Hitchin, the first specialised clinic in the world, with over 2,500 clients completing a ten-day Gut Flora Transplant programme to-date. A pioneer in digestive health, the clinic only transplants microbial cells and uses ten donors per client to increase microbial diversity. But if you feel your gut is out of whack, start by making those food and lifestyle tweaks, which are often enough, according to Chatterjee. So next time you’re out for dinner and you see kimchi on the menu, remember: go with your gut.


Tried & Tested

MEET THE EXPERTS The specialists who will help you towards a healthier gut

Eve Kalinik

A self-confessed “gut enthusiast”, nutritional therapist Kalinik is passionate about the benefits of a healthy attitude and approach to eating well and, in addition to being a nutritional therapist, has published a book on the subject, Be Good to Your Gut. Portobello Road, Notting Hill, W11;

Peter Cox

Cox moved from a background in conventional medicine to nutritional therapy when he recognised the vast health benefits of appropriate nutrition. He works with companies including Goldman Sachs and also runs open clinics. 9 Weymouth Street, Marylebone, W1;

Taymount Clinic

The world’s first clinic to specilaise in gut flora transplants, also known as FMT. Taymount Clinic clients receive ten transplants over the course of ten days, as well as personalised dietary and lifestyle advice to help them overhaul their gut health. Works Road, Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire, SG6;


Providing a variety of gut health tests, Healthpath offers you an insight into your own biochemistry. This information is collected via a DIY stool sample, which is analysed in a lab for bacteria, yeasts, parasites, worms, zonulin and other biomarkers that can indicate intestinal health.

The Gut Stuff

After discovering that despite sharing 100% of their DNA, they only have 40% of the same microbiota, Lisa and Alana Macfarlane (aka The Mac Twins) decided to launch The Gut Stuff, an online platform filled with resources to help educate people on their gut health. There’s also a helpful ‘gut shop’ too.

PU T T O THE TEST Kate Wills trials faecal testing – the health industry’s latest weapon in the fight against poor gut health

t’s Friday night and I’m wearing latex gloves and spooning my own faeces into a tube. It’s not exactly how I’d choose to spend the weekend, but I’ve decided to get my poo tested. Where once stool samples were only used by GPs to test for Crohn’s disease, gastroenteritis and bowel cancer, there are now a host of private companies that will, for a fee, analyse your faeces to give you information about your microbiome - 100 trillion bacteria living inside us which is said to be as unique as your fingerprint. My testing kit from HealthPath cost £389 and comes in a sleek white package. I also fill out an online questionnaire which takes around 20 minutes and asks me to tick symptoms from a huge list. They range from the digestive (flatulence, bloating) to the cosmetic (dry skin) to the emotional (anxiety, depression). Two weeks later, I get an email telling me my results are in and I schedule a call with Alex Manos, functional medicine practitioner at the company. I can’t help glowing with pride when he tells me my microbiome scored a 5 for diversity (the highest he’s ever seen is a 7). He tells me the majority of my immunogenically effective bacteria are low and I have elevated zonulin, an indicator of low-level inflammation that might be preceding other symptoms of diabetes or leaky gut syndrome. Chronic stress increases it. Alex recommends a prebiotic to support the diversity of the microbiome, a probiotic because my zonulin is elevated and vitamin D to support the immune system. He also prescribes exercise, stress management and sleep to support gut health. Personally, I found the whole experience fascinating, as if it shed new light on my body. It was also reassuring to discover that my gut was mostly healthy. I’d recommend the test to anyone who wants to know more about themselves. Or anyone who wants to have the strangest response to the ‘What did you do at the weekend?’ question.




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Healthy Eating

Strip it back

Nutritionist Amelia Freer explains her approach to food that can help you be your best self WORDS GEORGIE LANE-GODFREY


ictoria Beckham. James Corden. Sam Smith. With an army of A-list clients and 145k followers on Instagram, Amelia Freer is renowned for being the nutritionist to the stars. But rather than promoting glitzy intensive fads or questionable ‘clean eating’ cleanses, Amelia has built up her loyal following through her philosophy of Positive Nutrition - a balanced approach that focuses on what you can eat rather than what you can’t. Grounded in common sense, Freer’s approach is an accessible one, designed to help people who know the basic principles of eating well, but not how to cope when real life gets in the way - think birthdays, holidays, stressful days at work. Her latest book, Simply Good For You, is an amalgamation of all that advice to help put good nutrition into practice, whatever the situation. These are her guiding principles.

WE NEED TO START STRIPPING AWAY THE LAYERS OF NOISE WHEN IT COMES TO NUTRITION. You can find entirely contradictory, yet emphatic, advice on pretty much every aspect of health and wellbeing. What’s more, there’s often a bigger overlay of emotional and cultural pressures on women around food, which can definitely make it harder to find a relaxed balance. My advice is to focus on what we need as individuals, and work from there.

MY APPROACH TO FOOD REVOLVES AROUND POSITIVE NUTRITION. This focuses on the variety of things we need to eat every day to nourish our bodies with essential nutrients rather than on the things we supposedly ‘shouldn’t’ be eating. It guides us towards the various components of a healthy balanced diet, rather than worrying about deprivation or restriction - two things that always seems to me to be a big focus of more general ‘healthy eating’ messages.



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THE IDEA OF ‘GOOD’ OR ‘BAD’ FOOD IS A MYTH. I really dislike these moralistic judgements. Who says that having a slice of birthday cake at your friend’s 40th is ‘bad’? If these moments nourish our social and emotional health, there’s nothing inherently ‘bad’ about them. Such black-and-white thinking can inadvertently be a real risk factor for creating unnecessary anxiety and restrictive rules around food. Yes, we need to find a sensible balance and prioritise having plenty of healthy foods, but a little perspective and common sense can go a long way.

LITTLE CHANGES ADD UP TO BIG SHIFTS OVER TIME. You don’t need to do everything all at once. Simple ideas, such as having some protein at breakfast, eating an extra portion of vegetables each day and having a glass of water mid-morning, are all examples of where to start. If you can, try to keep the actions positive (adding in healthy habits) rather than negative (restricting the less-healthy ones), at least to begin with.

FOOD CAN BE ONE OF THE SIMPLEST WAYS TO BEGIN A POSITIVE CYCLE OF CHANGE. I’m talking both mentally and physically. Of course, food isn’t everything - sleep, movement, mindset, connection and community are also hugely important - but it’s a good place to start. I rarely meet a client who couldn’t do with eating more dark-green leafy or cruciferous vegetables, or taking vitamin D, as we don’t make it in our skin from October to March in the UK.

I DON’T BELIEVE IN SUPERFOODS. It’s just a marketing term, however tantalizing the idea might feel. But there are certain foods that pack more nutritional punch than others, such as oily fish, brightly coloured vegetables, berries, nuts


and seeds, some fermented foods and organic extra virgin olive oil. Personally, the thing that makes me feel most amazing is who I ate a meal with, not what I ate.

COOKING ISN’T ALWAYS A RELAXING HOBBY FOR PEOPLE, BUT THAT CAN CHANGE. It starts with good shopping. Having the right ingredients in the kitchen makes cooking far simpler. Making a meal plan can be a really helpful tool, so find a handful of simple recipes, and actually learn them, so you don’t need to constantly stop to check the next step. Then get the radio or a good podcast on, pour yourself a little glass of wine, and reassure yourself that your food doesn’t have to look Instagrammable to still be delicious and nourishing.

MY BEST PIECE OF ADVICE IS TO ORDER AN ORGANIC VEG BOX. It’s an effortless way to get ethically sourced and super fresh produce to your doorstep. It usually works out cheaper than buying from the supermarket, and it means you cut down massively on packaging too. In the US, you could consider joining a CSA scheme for a similar service.

REMEMBER, YOUR FOOD BUDGET IS POWERFUL. We spend a huge amount of money per household on food each year, so use it to consciously support producers and providers that are investing in sustainable agricultural practices. Eat more plants and a little less meat. Be vocal about unnecessary plastic and boycott shops that don’t adapt. Safely store and freeze leftovers, rather than letting them go off in the back of the fridge. Eat as seasonably and locally as possible. After all, eating ‘well’ is about more than just the food you put in your body. Simply Good For You by Amelia Freer (£22, Michael Joseph) is out now


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With the launch of two new AllBright Academy courses tailored towards Asian and Australian women, the club is delivering its empowerment message to the world WORDS LUCIANA BELLINI ILLUSTRATION MARIANO PECCINETTI



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y now we’re all familiar with the dismal statistics: in the world of entrepreneurship, only one in five businesses in the UK have female founders, and market data has shown that only 2.19% of venture capital goes to a female-led business. It’s no better in the corporate world, where only one in six senior executives in the UK’s largest listed companies are women. But while we may be more familiar with the stats closer to home, a quick look at markets further afield reveals just how widespread these issues are. Take Hong Kong, where, on average, women earn 22% less than men and just 13.1% of directors are women, compared to 37% in the UK. Or Australia, where women hold just 6% of ASX200 CEO roles, down from 7% in 2018. Not only are things not improving for women currently, in some cases they’re actually going backwards. That’s one of the reasons why The AllBright is so determined to make sure its core mission - to connect and empower working women has a truly global reach and why, in November, it held a week of activations in Hong Kong and Sydney to launch two brand-new versions of its popular Academy course, ‘For Executives’, specifically tailored towards Asian and Australian audiences. Drawing on some of the most inspiring business minds in the local communities - including Hong Kong-based female founders Barbara Yu Larsson and Vera Lui, Australian publishing powerhouse Paula Joye and CEO of La Prairie Australia and New Zealand, Rosi Fernandez - the courses cover everything from the importance of taking risks to building resilience and fostering those allimportant connections.

And there was one central message that became clear across both cities: the power of networking and the vital role it plays in business. “Hong Kong, like the UK, has a long history of traditional male clubs where business leaders, politicians and philanthropists meet to socialise and discuss business, but a modern, femalefocused space is non-existent,” explains Barbara Yu Larsson, the founder of tech start-up PAKT, a service that allows you to store your entire wardrobe online. “Hong Kong has a healthy balance of senior female executives across many industries, from legal, finance, health and medicine, as well as media, hospitality and luxury brands. Networking is critical in every business, but it’s very important to approach it in a holistic way and understand how it will best help your goals. Women in Hong Kong rely on their work and social networks for connections, so a resource like The AllBright will really change the landscape.” Alongside the Academy, The AllBright has also expanded its online community space, AllBright Connect, as part of growing its sisterhood around the world. “Sisterhood is everything - our business is called Kindred because I started it with my sister and we are kindred spirits, but I think that’s women in general,” says Lizzie Renkert, Academy faculty member and co-founder of Australian fashion brand We Are Kindred. “We should be open with our information and our learnings. [That’s why] it is so important for organisations like The AllBright to band women together - to develop a worldwide community where women feel that they can ask questions and impart their knowledge.”

“Women in Hong Kong rely on their work and social networks for connections, so a resource like The AllBright will really change the landscape”


Applications are now open for The AllBright’s latest Academy courses, ‘For Executives: Hong Kong’ and ‘For Executives: Australia’. To apply, visit


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Mind the Pensions


Alice Tapper, founder and author of Go Fund Yourself, explores the gender pension gap – the insidious issue leaving women vulnerable in retirement


hile the gender pay gap has taken centre stage, leaving us familiar with the grim realities of pay inequality, waiting in the wings is its lesser-known but equally worrying bedfellow, the gender pension gap - an issue leaving women woefully unprepared for retirement. With what feels like an ever-tightening squeeze on our incomes, the prospect of saving money may feel like a fairy-tale to many, but the good news is that women are in fact saving more than ever before. Since 2007/08, the average savings of women has risen 4.6%, according to a recent report from Scottish Widows, which translates to an additional £5,900 in retirement income each year. However, the report also highlights what has been described as a ‘gender pension gap’ - an alarming £78,000 discrepancy in the average pension savings of retirement-age men and women. While the pension gap might not have received the same attention as the gender pay gap, this is no reflection on the scale of the issue. A report published by trade union Prospect found that the gender pension gap (39.5%) was more than



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SISTERHOOD WORKS almost four in ten women working double the size of the total gender part-time would choose to increase pay gap (18.5%), leaving the average their hours if childcare were cheaper. female pensioner £7,000 per With a reduced salary and crippling year worse off than their male childcare costs, saving for retirement counterparts. is, understandably, deprioritised. As for an explanation, fingers To make matters worse, 2013 may first point towards the gender saw changes to the child benefit pay gap. After all, earn less and it scheme, which, until then, had figures that you’ll save less too. But been a universal, non meanscurrently the gender pay gap only tested, tax-free benefit. The explains approximately 28% of the introduction of the new High pension gap, according to the Income Child Benefit Tax Charge Pensions Policy Institute (PPI). (HICBC) meant that once a Clearly there are a variety of other parent’s income reaches £60,000, factors at play, because as the a 100% tax is applied to the high UK gender pay gap narrows, the earner, effectively cancelling out same cannot be said for the the benefit. gender pension gap. For those earning between One obvious component is the £50,000 and £60,000, a portion fact that women spend more time (1% for each £100) is repaid. away from work, or are partThose no longer time employees, entitled to the a fact that the full amount can PPI estimates either opt to accounts for pay it back via almost half of a tax bill or tick the difference Auto-enrolment means there are in retirement minimum contribution levels but the a box on their child benefit savings. Perhaps standard advice is to pay in as claim form unsurprisingly, much as possible, as early as to say no to lower-earning possible. A basic rule of thumb is to payments. With women have also take the age you start your pension the already been less able and halve it. Then put this significant time to save over the percentage of your pre-tax salary constraints that past decade into your pension each year until most parents thanks to an you retire. For a more thorough face today, it’s income squeeze calculation, check out the Money that has seen Advice Service's pension calculator. understandable that those on their income higher incomes stretched across tools/pension-calculator might choose rising childcare to avoid the costs and house administrative burden, in turn prices. Less than half (47%) of missing out on valuable NI women earning between £10,000 credits, which count towards and £20,000 are saving enough for your State Pension. retirement compared with twoThese constraints create a thirds (65%) of those earning perfect storm, meaning many £40,000 or more. women are missing out on But women also face a ‘free money’ from employer ‘motherhood penalty’ – the contributions and tax relief. Not opportunity cost that having a only is the discrepancy itself child has on your pay, pension and concerning, but women should career prospects. A report by The be saving more than men. People’s Pension found that after According to the World Economic having children, nearly half of Forum, women can not only women reduce their hours, with expect to live longer and spend over a third (36%) leaving work more time living alone in altogether and 15% returning in a retirement, but their retirement lower grade or lower paid role. needs are more expensive too. While for some, these figures It’s a worrying thought, so it’s represent a personal choice, for time to act now and narrow that many, it’s an unavoidable sacrifice. pension gap. This is how… According to the same survey,



HOW TO PLUG THE GENDER PENSION GAP Know where you stand Ignorance is not bliss. Check your workplace pension’s annual statements for an estimate of your monthly retirement income. You can also request a State Pension statement to know exactly what you already have in your pot.

Get what you’re owed

Make the most of your employer’s contributions and government tax relief. This tax relief on pensions means that some of your money that would have gone to the government as tax goes into your pension instead. Many employers match the contributions their employees pay, so it’s worth checking you’re getting what you’re entitled to.

Go it alone

If you’re self-employed or not eligible to join a workplace pension scheme, set up your own personal one now. Your options include stakeholder plans (which have capped charges) and SIPPs (which can offer a wider investment choice, but often come with higher charges).

Don’t miss out Check the Pension Credit, which is designed to top up your income to a minimum level, and the Attendance Allowance, which you can claim if you have an illness or medical condition. You may also be entitled to help with council tax, heating costs and Cold Weather Payments. Visit to check eligibility. For more financial inspiration, visit  @go_fund_yourself_


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T h i s Wo r k i n g L i f e

Cracking the code Kathryn Parsons wants technology to be accessible to everyone - especially women. Here, she tells us how she rewrote the rules of a boys’ own industry WORDS TABITHA LASLEY


s the CEO and co-founder of Shoreditchbased start-up Decoded, Kathryn Parsons is on a mission: to teach anyone - really, anyone - to code in a day. She’s also about as far from the classic coder archetype as you can get, more likely to be giving keynote speeches in heels and tailoring than hunched myopically over her laptop in a hoodie. But her success is proof, if proof were needed, that tech is no longer a boys’ club. Parsons’ route into programming wasn’t a conventional one. She studied Classics at Cambridge, and also speaks Japanese, French, Mandarin and Italian - a skill set that arguably helped her pick up code, the millennial ‘modern language’. After interning at a women’s magazine and being tasked with building the website (a job no one else knew how to do), Parsons taught herself to code from scratch with only the help of a book. It was this same can-do streak that led her to set up Decoded. Opening its doors in 2011 to a class of ten people, Decoded now has Data Academies in 85 cities around the world and counts multiple multinationals and FTSE100 companies as its clients. From The Sunday Times’ Top 30 Female Power List  to The Telegraph’s Britons of the Year 2014, Parsons has unsurprisingly topped countless power lists, sits on the business advisory boards for the London Mayor and Number 10 Downing Street and has received an MBE for services to education. Here, she reveals her secrets to a successful working life.



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I’VE HAD TO WORK HARD AT RELAXING. Starting a business is all-

Sunday, I’ll know what I’m doing every hour of the week ahead. It gives me a real sense of calm. To do this, I look at the week before and decide what was most valuable, not necessarily in monetary terms, but in terms of development and growth. The main way I make it work is by trying to not make it feel hectic. Women often take on lots of responsibility; they’re asked to fulfil a lot of roles. I look at my sister, for example, managing her career with three children, and think she’s superwoman. You need to have the strength to say no, and the confidence to know where you should be spending your time.

consuming, but if you’re managing and hiring other people, taking your own wellbeing seriously sends a message to the entire company. I love yoga, climbing and trail-running. Living in the city can be tricky but if I get the opportunity, I’ll put on a small backpack and run for three hours. I love being outside by myself and reconnecting with nature.

THE ONLY THING I REALLY EAT FOR BREAKFAST IS REPORTS. In the morning, I wake up at seven, have a cup of black coffee and some yoghurt. Then I dive right into the data. I can open up my phone and get a live report of all the learner programmes that are happening globally and what the feedback is on them. If I’m in London, I’ll go into our Shoreditch office and work until my downtime between six and eight. As a rule, I won’t do work events on Mondays and Fridays, but Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, I’ll be out with the business, having dinner with the team, clients or investors.

PEOPLE SEEM TO FORGET THAT THEY CAN START A BUSINESS AT ANY AGE. There are reports now that say some of the best start-up founders are in their mid-40s. Women put themselves under a lot of pressure to achieve things by a certain age. I stopped after talking to a male founder in his 50s, who was on his third business and thinking about what he was going to achieve by the age of 60. I was 30 at the time, and could never have imagined the incredible journey I’d go on over the next seven years. That conversation was incredibly liberating simply because it helped me take the pressure off myself. If you’re loving your work, if you have a passion or an idea, age should be dismissed. We need to do things on our own timeline.

The tech CEO’s ultimate edit, from her working wardrobe to her beauty shelf

THE KEY TO MASTERING LONG-HAUL TRAVEL IS HYDRATION. In the past few weeks we’ve kicked off coding sessions in Hong Kong, Mexico City, New York and Barcelona, and my partner lives in San Francisco so I’ve got long-distance travel nailed. On flights, I put a skin-quenching face mask on (I don’t care who sees me, I have no shame ), drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, and watch a good movie to help me switch off.

I BELIEVE LEARNING IS A WAY TO REDUCE STRESS. After all, knowledge is power. If you’re empowered with knowledge about something, it’s harder to be scared of it. I used to feel like I was going to pass out when I had to speak in public, so I read books on it, and did a bit of hypnotherapy, which transformed me. I’ve done hundreds of keynote speeches since, in front of crowds of thousands. I’m now a really passionate public speaker.

TECHNOLOGY IS AN INCREDIBLE, ENABLING TOOL. But it’s been treated like a dark art. So many people feel excluded by it, especially women, but the belief that tech is an exclusively male domain is complete nonsense. There is no difference between a man and a woman’s ability to learn this stuff. The only difference is confidence.

IN EVERY PRESENTATION, I INCLUDE A PICTURE OF KATIE BOUMAN. She’s a 30-year-old computer scientist who led a team of data scientists to image black holes for the first time in human history. Next to her, I show a picture of Ada Lovelace, the first person to ever code and write an algorithm. Not only do women belong in technology, they’re making breakthroughs. They are literally making the invisible visible. They are inventing the technologies that are completely reshaping the future.



From top: BURBERRY Society bag, £1,890,; AMANDA WAKELEY Embroidered gown, £2,995,; CHARLOTTE TILBURY Light Wonder Foundation, £34,; ROKSANDA Larisa wool-blend coat, £2,495, ALEXANDER MCQUEEN Houndtooth check blazer, £1,640,; AURELIA Miracle Cleanser, £42,; NICHOLAS KIRKWOOD Mira pumps, £495,


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We met at The



s the founder of Alison.Style, a personal styling service offering online and in-person shopping packages, Alison McDougal is the best advert for her brand. She arrives looking effortlessly chic, but for a woman who has spent her career curating people’s wardrobes, this won’t come as a surprise. With a background in fashion tech, Alison initially worked for The Chapar before co-founding Marks & Spencer’s online personal styling platform, Try Tuesday. Now specialising in wardrobe reviews and shopping packages, Alison’s niche lies in her personal touch, allowing her to understand her clients’ individual needs to give their wardrobes a bespoke touch. A founding member of The AllBright Rathbone, Alison has seen her business flourish within the supportive environment of the club, helped in no small part by her relationships with other members. From business mentors and clients to friends who are always on standby to offer her a quick pep talk, she’s learnt first-hand the power that can be unleashed when women throw their weight behind supporting one another. Here, she shares her stories of the three women in her AllBright sisterhood.

Kristen Shannon Founder and CEO, Highliner Technology Both founding members of The AllBright Rathbone, Kristen and Alison had a moment of serendipity when they met on the club welcome tour two years ago. After forming an initial connection over a glass of Champagne, Alison asked if Kristen would trial her next project: a personalised monthly styling subscription service. Kristen, who runs a tech company providing online support to people in management roles, then became her biggest champion, giving Alison guidance and instilling in her the confidence to conquer the scarier aspects of running a business, such as sourcing funding. “I always had a voice in my head telling me I couldn’t do it and Kristen made me realise I can,” says Alison.



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Mimi Gaston-Kennedy Founder and CEO, PRE Salons Alison and Mimi have seen each other at their best and at their worst. After bonding over a shared need for legal advice, Alison now names Mimi as a “constant” in her everyday working life, providing her with everything from make-up and relationship advice to a contact to help her with social media. Mimi says she’s endlessly inspired by Alison’s drive, while Alison admires Mimi’s decisiveness and proactivity. Mimi’s business – a beauty salon start-up – has been on a similar trajectory to Alison’s since they met, and they have cheered one another on through landmark moments. Above all, they have given each other the faith to never give up.

Uma Satkunam Founder and CEO, Miss TeaSmith Uma is a regular at the Rathbone club and it is here that she first met Alison, tapping away on her laptop at an adjacent table on the first floor. Uma is the founder of Miss TeaSmith, a range of Sri Lankan tea blends, and someone Alison cites as her “motivator”. While running your own business can be lonely work, Alison says Uma is the one who always encourages her to take a step back, get some perspective and celebrate what she’s achieved. Having worked in more corporate, competitive settings previously, the pair are both passionate about the AllBright’s atmosphere of mutual support, and have enjoyed watching each other’s ventures grow.



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In the club

Exclusive members’ events Hong Kong Pitch Day Our first Hong Kong Pitch Day, held in partnership with HSBC Private Banking at the smart Upper House Hotel, was one of the highlights of our weeklong pop-up in the region. The room was filled with top investors and inspiring female entrepreneurs, pitching businesses ranging from children’s clothing brands and online personal shopping services to cloud-based prediction software. Guests and speakers left armed with new contacts and some exciting follow up conversations in the works - watch this space…

Dinner with Rachel Zoe Sisterhood was in full swing when Rachel Zoe took over the rooftop of The AllBright West Hollywood for an elegant dinner to celebrate the latest edition of her Style Box subscription service. A group of her closest friends, including Jen Atkin and Kelly Sawyer, came to raise a glass to the launch before heading downstairs to carry on with a cocktail party late into the night. 92

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AllGreen Pitch Day Our West Hollywood Pitch Day, in partnership with HSBC Bank, got a sustainable makeover as part of our AllGreen week, with female founders coming to pitch a wide range of eco-minded businesses to our panel of investors and venture capitalists. The illuminating morning featured everything from recycled fashion and sustainable snacks to an ultra-eco toothbrush - all aimed at trying to make the world a better place.

The AllBright Goes Global As part of our mission to take the AllBright sisterhood global, we hosted two breakfast events in Sydney and Hong Kong to launch our digital academy and networking platform, AllBright Connect, aimed at women in Australia and Asia. Trailblazing female entrepreneurs and executives from the local landscape came to talk about their journeys to success and explain what sisterhood means to them. Further proof, if it were needed, that sisterhood works.

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More events BMW i Breakfast Panel To kick off our AllGreen week of programming, we held an enlightening panel talk with BMW i at The AllBright Mayfair, accompanied by a delicious zero-waste breakfast cooked by The AllBright’s executive chef Sabrina Gidda. It was a busy morning for Sabrina, who also hosted the panel, which delved deep into the world of sustainable eating and brought to life our recent excursion, where we took a group of members on a tour around The AllBright’s innovative local suppliers in a fleet of all-electric BMW i3s. Photography: Matthew Whitley

BMW i Evening Panel Event Continuing on from the morning event, in the evening The AllBright teamed up with BMW i to bring together three leading female pioneers and tech innovators at our Mayfair club to discuss the future of mobility. Henrietta Thompson, editor-atlarge of Wallpaper*, was joined by Roseline Walker, safety and risk researcher at TRL, Dr Larissa Suzuki, entrepreneur and smart cities designer, and Daniela Bohlinger, head of sustainability design at the BMW Group, for an insightful discussion on design in sustainable cities, the value of public spaces and what the future of travel holds.

Photography: Matthew Whitley


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Friday Club with Chinti & Parker The AllBright joined forces with female-founded British fashion brand Chinti & Parker to create a four-part ‘Friday Club’ series hosted at our Rathbone and Mayfair clubs, inspired by the Bloomsbury set’s salons of the same name and the brand’s ‘Friday Club’ cashmere jumpers. The intimate talks ranged in theme from lively discussions on what it means to be a woman in art to whether we need to channel our inner alpha to get ahead in business. Photography: Ania Shrimpton

Tory Burch In-Store Event Thinking outside the box was the order of the day at Tory Burch’s Regent Street store, where AllBright members and guests gathered for a stimulating discussion on the power of unconventional thinking, led by AllBright’s resident art curator Beth Greenacre, elite executive coach Lynn Blades and Anna Jones. Afterwards, guests had the chance to shop the AW19 collection with an exclusive in-store offer.

KNEED Dinner Sometimes, breaking glass ceilings and living in power means creating boundaries and learning how to say ‘no’. That was the topic of discussion at the dinner held by luxury handbag brand KNEED at The AllBright Mayfair, where members enjoyed a panel talk with KNEED founder Keren Or, Elodie Levasseur (Marketing Strategist and Brain Based Coach) and Nik Govier (founder and CEO of Blurred). The talk was accompanied by a feast of modern Italian dishes inspired by the brand’s fine Tuscan craftsmanship. Photography:

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women in history

Words of Devotion Meet Margery Kempe, the English language’s first autobiographer, who overcame mental torment to find her voice and share it with the world WORDS GEORGIE LANE-GODFREY ILLUSTRATION ROCIO MONTOYA


here are plenty of things that are extraordinary about Margery Kempe. Not only did she start her own brewery business, travel extensively around around Europe and have 14 children – a true feat of survival in medieval times – but she also created the first autobiography written in the English language. Clearly, hers was a life worth remembering. Born around 1373 in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, Kempe married at the age of 20, and had her first child just a year later. It was after she gave birth that Kempe describes how her ‘mental torment’ began – an experience modern readers would diagnose as postpartum psychosis. This rare yet serious illness affects women after childbirth, causing delusions and hallucinations as well as signs of depression. It would certainly explain Kempe’s claim to be ‘seeing devils’. But in the 14th century, these hallucinations were deemed a ‘spiritual affliction’ – a belief only confirmed by her claim that she was only rid of her ‘torments’ after experiencing a vision of Jesus. It was this

visitation that caused her to devote her life to God and undertake pilgrimages to sacred destinations across Europe, travelling as far as Jerusalem. During these pilgrimages, Kempe would dress exclusively in white, and incessantly weep and wail to express her devotion. Dramatic and emotional, this outpouring of devotion not only drew attention, but also censure, with people referring to her as the

“Sir, ye shall wish some day that ye had wept as sore as I” Mar g e r y Ke mpe, 1 3 7 3 - 1 4 3 8 96


‘Madwoman of God’. At times, she was even banned from church as her passionate crying was deemed ‘too disruptive’. But although society repeatedly tried to silence her, Kempe was determined to find her voice. Despite being arrested several times and very nearly being burned at the stake as a heretic, Kempe’s fervent defence of her beliefs led her to become one of the most notable female Christian mystics in the late medieval period. It was after her last pilgrimage that Kempe decided to record the story of her life and devotions. But, like many women of the time, she was illiterate and so enlisted the help of a local priest, dictating her story in her own vernacular. The result was her Book, which depicts 60 years of her life in her own words. Today, the only surviving manuscript is held in the British Library. As controversial as the woman who wrote it, The Book of Margery Kempe has divided readers, with many calling into question its veracity and others doubting it could have been the work of a woman. But while Kempe’s book describes her religious experiences, it also describes the human realities of her life as a woman, from her work to her eating habits and even her sexual temptations. A Medieval Fleabag, Kempe’s story still resonates today – she was a remarkable woman who society tried to malign and silence both in life and then in death but who overcame obstacles to ensure her voice was heard.

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