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Power Figures

Personal Style, Power Figures

Dora Lau, Founder of Curvy Couture, on What Women Really Want

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Sometimes, fate meanders, bringing us baby step by baby step to places in life we never could’ve predicted.

Sometimes, it’s a straight shot.

Looking at Dora Lau’s success, you can almost see it preordained, each dot connecting sequentially and building on the last lesson at the optimal moment. Dora evolved from a curvy teenager searching for the right clothes she could never seem to find to a fashion stylist to a lingerie trailblazer, founding Dora L International, Inc. in 1991 and racking up the accolades. In 2012, she laddered up another level when she launched Curvy Couture, her self-funded label for women much like herself, with elevated expectations and a taste level to match.

Bare Necessities interviewed Dora about that process of finding your calling and achieving your dream—not just down the road, but every day.

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Inner Beauty, Power Figures, Relationships

Nitika Chopra on Learning to Love Yourself

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Nitika Chopra has empathy like some of us have parking tickets or high heels—in spades.

First, she’s a global citizen. Born in Ohio, she moved to Cairo, then Singapore, back to Ohio, on to New Jersey and Hong Kong and, for the past 16 years, she’s called New York home. She’s seen the human condition around the world, and the differences we share in common.

But moving a lot didn’t help her escape her personal conflicts. Nitika hated her name, endured a painful and debilitating case of psoriasis for a decade from age 10 and was divorced by her twenties.

Now 36, Nitika is not only all grown-up but fully self-actualized. As the host of Naturally Beautiful, a talk show that ran on the holistic lifestyle channel Z Living, she referred to herself as a “self-love guru,” and few have learned the hard way better than Nitika how to show oneself grace.

“I’m committed to helping others access tangible self-love. It’s such a buzzword these days, but the more I talk to people, the more I realize that most of us have no clue what it is, what it looks like, what it feels like, what it means. My mission is to make it tangible, to help them feel like they can achieve it. I use every avenue I can—my blog, my social media—to share the journey I’ve been on.”

We got philosophical with Nitika to find out how one gets from the lowest lows to the highest highs in the same lifetime.

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Personal Style, Power Figures

Sarah Chiwaya, Fashion Trendsetter, on Staying Body-Positive

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Sarah Chiwaya, the blogger and founder of Curvily and the associate fashion editor at Plus Model Magazine, walks the proverbial walk and talks the proverbial talk.

Curvily is about fearlessly bringing plus-size fashion to the fore where it rightfully belongs and, when Sarah came by our photo studio to show how she would pair some of fall’s trends with bras that really fit, that’s just what she did. As soon as the flashbulbs started popping, Sarah owned the place. She knew what she wanted, going so far as to schlep in her own accessories to finish each look. Sarah did not for one second flinch at a plunging neckline or shy away from a sheer shirt and, in her conversations off-set, dazzled everyone she met with her passion, wit and boldness.

Her message—wear whatever you want if it makes you feel great—was deeply resonant and inspiring and, what’s more, she wants the same for you, too. It starts with one’s own self-confidence, and it ends with fixing the way women are depicted in modern society and in the media. Her life’s mission is to actually bring about those changes. Sarah is more show than tell, and we got right away that we were in the presence of a Power Figure out to do no less than change something about the way the world works.

We dug deeper with Sarah to find out how she got to be so fearlessly self-actualized, what she’s seeing in the industry and what literally keeps her up at night.

Continue Reading Sarah Chiwaya, Fashion Trendsetter, on Staying Body-Positive

Personal Style, Power Figures

Emily Lau, Founder of The Little Bra Company, is Standing up for Small Chests

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Earlier in life, our petite power figure Emily Lau was a television writer/producer in California, forever on the prowl for bras that served her 32B chest. She could only find “glorified training bras” or those with “push-up padding that felt like pillows on straps,” she said. “Nothing really fit my smaller body type properly. I wanted a bra that gave me shape as well as looked good, especially when I wore wrap dresses and deep V-neck T-shirts. I still wanted to look like my natural self, just with a little more cleavage.”

Ninety-nine percent of us would have given up and settled for either uncomfortable or unattractive bras, but not Emily. Somewhere inside her, a wire tripped; she believed she could do better by women like herself. So in May 2007, The Little Bra Company—where “good things do come in small packages”—was born.

“I loved my career, but I had a real passion for lingerie that I’m happy I pursued.” As are we.

Continue Reading Emily Lau, Founder of The Little Bra Company, is Standing up for Small Chests

Personal Style, Pop Culture, Power Figures

Dita Von Teese on Redefining Glamour

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Among lingerie devotees specifically and appreciators of beauty and style in general, Dita Von Teese needs no introduction. She is an iconoclast and an icon, a modern muse and of another era entirely, a larger-than-life dynamo in a soft-spoken, petite package.

Born Heather Sweet, the self-described “mediocre-looking blonde girl from a farming town in Michigan” fell under the spell of Hollywood’s Golden Age of Cinema and, at a time when the rest of America’s youth was grunging out in flannel and combat boots, set out to remake herself in its raven-haired, red-lipped image. When she discovered that many of the glamorous screen sirens she admired were also dancers, she adopted her stage name and learned the art of the striptease. Since 1992, Dita has been synonymous with burlesque and can be single-handedly credited with its revival. Everything she touches, from her Swarovski crystal-bedecked sets and couture costumes to her lingerie collection and new hosiery line—reflects her impeccable eye for detail.

This past month, hours before the final sold-out New York performance of her latest show, “The Art of the Teese,” Dita visited Bare Necessities to tell us firsthand about her collection—both iconic styles (like Madame X) and new additions (like her Instagram fan-selected shade of emerald green)—and how she turned herself into a Power Figure. Read on for our exclusive interview.

Continue Reading Dita Von Teese on Redefining Glamour

Inner Beauty, Power Figures

Sophia Berman and Laura West, Founders of TRUSST Lingerie, are Reinventing the Bra

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Truss (noun): structural frames based on the geometric rigidity of the triangle
Trussed (verb): tied, bound or fastened
Trust (noun): confidence; a thing on which one relies

Bras are impressive feats of architecture in their own right, but they haven’t changed all that much in the last, oh, century. That is, until Trusst Lingerie came along.

The renegade bra company was co-founded a little over two years ago by Sophia Berman, CEO, and Laura West, chief product officer. This month’s Power Figures studied industrial design at Carnegie Mellon University, met later in life at a design firm and—both crafty and interested in textiles—soon found themselves wondering if bras couldn’t stand to be improved. Reinvented, even.

“We were talking about how much bras suck, how the underwires stab you, straps dig, and we said, ‘There’s got to be a different way to do this,’” said Laura. “The underwire isn’t a totally flawed system, but we knew there was room for improvement—for all women.” The general public seemed to agree: Their 2015 Kickstarter campaign raised $80,000, flying past the $25,000 goal they set.

Continue Reading Sophia Berman and Laura West, Founders of TRUSST Lingerie, are Reinventing the Bra

Inner Beauty, Personal Style, Power Figures

Freddy Zappe, Bra Fit Specialist, on the Art of Bra Fitting

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Seventeen years ago, when Freddy Zappe started answering the phones at the bra company that would become Eveden—renowed for its full-bust brands including Elomi, Fantasie, Freya and Goddess—she hadn’t the slightest idea what she was doing. Today, she’s among the most revered bra fit experts in the world.

A model-dancer-actress accustomed to traveling the world, Freddy had zero sales or lingerie experience, but when her mother was diagnosed with cancer, Freddy returned to New York to be with her. “I had to work for my own sanity. You can’t sit by someone’s bedside constantly; they don’t like it. I thought I’d do it for a few months and see what happened.”

What happened is this: Freddy became a Power Figure. She’s still traveling the world, this time as Eveden’s national fit specialist. Every day, she asks of herself, her industry and the women she meets the same question: How can I fix this? 

“It’s endlessly fascinating,” Freddy says. “Women come in all shapes and sizes, and because we have the tools to fit full bust and full figure—we now go from A to K cup, from a 28 band to a 56 band—we can fit virtually everyone.” Here’s how….

Continue Reading Freddy Zappe, Bra Fit Specialist, on the Art of Bra Fitting

Personal Style, Power Figures

Rosie Pope on Being a Mompreneur

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You may recognize Rosie Pope from her 2011 Bravo reality TV show Pregnant in Heels (baby bump + stilettos = reason enough to qualify as a Power Figure in our book), but she’s been making a name for herself in the super-competitive parenting space since before her first son was born in 2008. Now a mom of four, she runs RosiePope.com, an empire that includes maternity, nursing and baby clothes and accessories, bi-coastal MomPrep classes, an NYC-based parenting concierge service, 3 boutiques and a column in Parents magazine.

To celebrate the debut of her chic, affordable new line of nursing bras on barenecessities.com, we picked Rosie’s brain for insights into her mastery of running a business while running on caffeine, reframing the notion of balance and what really matters when bringing up a baby.

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Breast Cancer Awareness, Health & Wellness, Power Figures

Dr. Leah Gendler, Oncologist and Breast Surgeon, Takes Down Cancer Daily

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Eradicating the scourge of breast cancer is simply another day at the office for Dr. Leah Gendler. The renowned medical oncologist and breast surgeon spends each of her 14-hour workdays deftly excising tumors in the operating room or counseling breast cancer patients on what should be their next lifesaving move. That’s why we’re honored this Power Figure gave Bare it All so much of her valuable time to share what drives her forward and what gives her hope.

Continue Reading Dr. Leah Gendler, Oncologist and Breast Surgeon, Takes Down Cancer Daily

Breast Cancer Awareness, Health & Wellness, Power Figures

Bari Seiden-Young on her Work for The Estée Lauder Companies’ BCA Campaign and Breast Cancer Research Fundraising

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As our Power Figures monthlong series continues, we managed to snag a coveted slot on Bari Seiden-Young’s jam-packed calendar: Bari is the Vice President of Corporate Communications for The Estée Lauder Companies (ELC), and she leads the Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign on behalf of ELC, focusing media attention on annual high-wattage efforts to raise major awareness and funds that fuel life-saving research.

No matter if she’s illuminating the Empire State Building pink with supermodel and global ambassador Elizabeth Hurley or attending a black tie gala, for Bari, every last action she takes comes back to beating cancer. As with Lauren, the survivor, and Pamela, the fundraiser, Bari has an all-too personal cancer connection that drives her, too.

Continue Reading Bari Seiden-Young on her Work for The Estée Lauder Companies’ BCA Campaign and Breast Cancer Research Fundraising