Power Figures Relationships

Dr. Catherine Pearlman is the Kind of Person Who Would Give a Stranger Her Own Kidney—In Fact, She Has

No less a national treasure than Mr. Fred Rogers once said, “Look for the helpers.”

Well, we can all stop looking, because we found her: Dr. Catherine Pearlman is a social worker and writer for the likes of The Wall Street Journal, Parenting and Her calling is to help families function more smoothly, help right some of the world’s wrongs through her writing and, oh yeah, help complete strangers by donating one of her kidneys.

This most giving of Power Figures gave Bare Necessities heaps of useful life advice. Reading it will make you feel like a better person; following her lead will make you one.

Health & Wellness Power Figures

Chaise Fitness Founders Used What they Knew to Create a Brand New Workout

Former gold-medalist competitive figure skater Lauren Piskin has trained everyone from the Olympic national team to Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler for Blades of Glory. After opening a Pilates studio in Manhattan, Lauren realized that, in a lot of ways, the workout could use an update.

Lauren’s daughter, Rachel, danced with the New York City Ballet from age 7. When Rachel retired from the company after a 20-year career, her body rebelled against her, physically rejecting the sudden change to her diet and fitness routine. That’s when she decided to follow in her mother’s footsteps, emerging as one of New York’s most sought-after physical trainers.

Just over seven years ago now, the mother-daughter duo co-founded Chaise Fitness, a boutique studio that revolves around the “Reinvention Method,” their custom chair-based workout class that mashes together Pilates, ballet, cardio and strength training in a low-impact, body-sculpting regimen accessible to women of all ages and abilities. Three locations offer 10 different classes, plus there’s an on-demand platform to give clients access to live-streamed classes and pre-recorded workout videos.

Bare Necessities talked to these two Power Figures and took a class to get a firsthand feel for what the family-run fitness empire is about.

Personal Style Power Figures

Kim France Writes About Style for Those of Us Who’ve Aged Out of the 18-34 Demographic and Lived to Tell

When your personal obsessions and your paid profession overlap, you’ve hit self-actualization bullseye, and that’s what’s so inspiring about Kim France. The founding editor of Lucky magazine (R.I.P.) and the brains behind the Girls of a Certain Age blog (its motto, “You know who you are,” should win the world’s best tag line contest if that were a thing), Kim has spent her career meditating on her love of fashion in the smartest, most unique and relatable way.

She is as passionate about eye cream and handbags as she is about art and culture. And since she’s 55 and owning it, and it’s her damn blog, she gets to share whatever she’s into, however she pleases. Her personal style and writing voice are both so peerless, we’d be willing to bet you’ll be into it, too. Read just one of her posts (well, finish this one first), and you’ll immediately get it.

Kim kindly gave Bare Necessities an exclusive interview about reaching publishing’s glass ceiling before the floor gave way, picking herself up by her chic platform bootstraps to find herself all over again and what’s so good about growing up. 

Power Figures

Kate Westervelt Had Her First Baby—and Launched Her First Company

They say necessity is the mother of all invention, which couldn’t be truer than for Kate Westervelt. The Boston-based founder and CEO of MOMBOX, a postpartum care kit for new moms, had her brilliant brainstorm in the baby aisle at Target, waddling around in a mental fog with an ice pack in her underwear shortly after giving birth and wishing there was an easier way.

Since its 2018 launch, MOMBOX has helped thousands of women across the country get the recovery goods they need based on the type of birth they had, delivered to their doors. The Millennial pink box comes with things new moms don’t even know to think about, like a sitz bath soak, energy bars and cooling gel pads for tender private parts. Kate spent more than a year testing products and building the site on her own, all while raising her son. It paid off: Yahoo named MOMBOX the #2 most-needed item after giving birth.

A former editor at Good Housekeeping and The Financial Times and writer for brands including Wayfair, Social Code and The Purple Carrot, Kate is now all in on MOMBOX. She gave Bare Necessities the scoop on her unique way of supporting women and what it’s like to birth a business…without an MBA.

Power Figures

Karen Catchpole Hit the Road 12 Years Ago…and Hasn’t Stopped Yet

This week marks 12 years of living on and working from the road for travel journalist Karen Catchpole.

One of the founders of Sassy and a former editor at Jane, Tell and Shop Etc. magazines during publishing’s boom times, Karen and her husband, photographer Eric Mohl, packed up their Manhattan apartment in the wake of September 11, 2001, hoping to find their place in a world turned upside-down. That’s when they took off on the Trans-Americas Journey, their 200,000-mile road trip through North, Central and South America.

From wherever their Chevy Silverado is parked at the moment (right now, that’d be Bolivia) the two explore on a deeper level than any vacation could ever allow. They also freelance, sometimes together, for the likes of Travel+Leisure, National Geographic Traveler, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Elle, WSJ Magazine, and loads more.

In her exclusive interview with Bare Necessities, find out why this Power Figure took a leap of faith to reprioritize her entire life, and learn how she keeps on keeping on more than a decade into an epic adventure with no end in sight.

Pop Culture Power Figures

Writer Gina Hamadey Shares the Power of Saying Thanks

Gina Hamadey gets the impact of the written word. A former editor, Gina honed her skills at O, The Oprah Magazine, Rachael Ray Every Day and Food & Wine, among others. Last year, Gina, now a content strategist, decided to try her hand at a different medium: thank-you notes.

During her “Thank-You Year” project, which she documented on Instagram, Gina expressed her appreciation in one handwritten note every day, to family members, childhood friends, doctors, neighbors, favorite authors…even a Trader Joe’s employee.

Three hundred and sixty-five letters later, she’s come to understand the power of praising it forward.

Gina chatted with Bare Necessities about setting ambitious goals, getting out of your own way and the tangible benefits of gratitude (including a new pair of shoes)….

Pop Culture Power Figures

Author Rachel Bertsche Writes About What Women Want

Rachel Bertsche’s calling card as a writer is throwing herself into uncomfortable situations to find the lesson so that we don’t have to. That’s what she does in The Experimentalist, her monthly Chicago magazine column, where recent exploits have included freezing off her fat cells and demolishing electronics in a “rage room.”

After relocating to the Midwest from New York, Rachel sent herself on 52 blind “friend dates” over the course of a year, trying everything from improv classes to rent-a-buddy services. That became the subject of her first book, MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend, which she followed up with Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me, channeling the likes of Jessica Alba’s pregnancies, Sarah Jessica Parker’s wardrobe and Gwyneth Paltrow’s goop-iness to see if she could live like a star on a mortal’s budget.

Her adventures have landed her a third book deal in the genre of very personal journalism: The Kids are in Bed, due out in 2020, looks at how parents can make better use of their scant spare time. We picked this Power Figure’s brain to find out what’s in her research for us.

Inner Beauty Pop Culture Power Figures Relationships

Author Virginia Sole-Smith Debunks Some of the Most Harmful Food Myths

Virginia Sole Smith The Eating Instinct BookVirginia Sole-Smith wrote the just-released book The Eating Instinct: Food Culture, Body Image and Guilt in America and co-hosts the new podcast Comfort Food, about the joys and meltdowns of feeding a family. Trained as a magazine journalist, Virginia embedded with nutritionists, dietitians, critics, mothers, food obsessives and others to get at why our meals are so often served with a side order of guilt and self-loathing.

Her deep dive wasn’t inspired by idle curiosity. Virginia’s daughter Violet was born with a rare, dire congenital heart condition. She spent the first weeks of life spiraling into heart failure, too weak to nurse. Once the problem was discovered, Violet was subjected to countless emergency procedures, including open-heart surgery at five weeks old. Stemming from her trauma, Violet stopped eating and became dependent on a feeding tube. It took two years for her to learn to eat by mouth again.

Bare Necessities talked with Virginia about body image, hunger, the so-called “clean eating” trend, the specious connection between health, weight and nutrition, and modern diet culture. (Virginia is adamantly anti-diet.) Surprisingly, the takeaways couldn’t be more uplifting.

Pop Culture Power Figures Relationships

Meredith Bodgas Helps Make the World a Fairer Place for Working Mothers

Meredith Bodgas has built her career on walking women through every major life stage and milestone. She’s been an editor at some of the most prestigious websites and magazines like The Knot,,, Babytalk,, Parenting and Ladies’ Home Journal to name but a few off her resume.

As a married mom of two, Meredith’s job and life goals aligned in real time when she became editor-in-chief of Working Mother. She’s as real as can be with readers, opening up about touchy subjects like ‘working mom purgatory’ (“When you’re too tired to function, not tired enough to use a precious sick day“) and “When you leave your child crying and feel like a crappy mom for working” and tackling them head-on from a totally personal yet universal point-of-view.

When it comes to advocacy, Meredith takes her platform seriously. She’s made it a priority to show way more diversity among the mothers she profiles and, when she realized Working Mother‘s leave policy didn’t hold a candle to some of the companies they were applauding in print, she prepped a presentation for the company’s leadership and negotiated a better deal for her colleagues…all while out on maternity leave.

True to form, and right in time for American Business Women’s Day, this Power Figure found an hour in the middle of the night while nursing her son to one-handedly tap out her replies to Bare Necessities.

Power Figures Relationships

How April Rueb and Samantha Zabell Turn Art into Activism

Some creative types seem to have more hours in the day than the rest of us. Like Beyoncé. And Oprah. And April Rueb and Samantha Zabell.

In their previous digital publishing gigs, April started out as Sam’s mentor, and they became fast friends. Now, with new day jobs firmly rooted in data—April is an analytics solutions engineer; Sam is a social media strategist—they’re prolifically and profoundly creative in their free time. April is a renegade feminist cross-stitcher; Sam is a self-taught hand-lettering artist. After the 2016 election, they launched Craft for Change (C4C), a collective of artists whose work they “sell” in exchange for a charitable donation to a cause.

Bare Necessities talked to this tireless under-30 twosome about the healing powers of art, the difference between a passion and a profession and how to keep going when the going gets tough.

Power Figures Relationships

Karolina Dehnhard, Esq, Walks Women Through Divorce

When she was 6, Karolina Dehnhard came to the United States from Poland with her mother, a suitcase, two hundred dollars and an American Dream. From an early age, she learned that nothing in life came easily; the same message would be driven home again when, at age 30, her marriage dissolved.

That didn’t stop Karolina, who completely reinvented her world by changing careers and founding a divorce resources group for women not unlike herself. Divorce Dynasty is her brainchild, a group of attorneys, doctors, accountants, therapists, financial pros, realtors and life coaches who guide women through each step of divorce proceedings. Karolina’s mission: to counsel and empower women facing one daunting, critical decision after another.

Karolina was honored in 2016 as one of the Leading Women Intrapreneurs for her contribution to the advancement of women in the corporate world, and this past February, she was honored by the Trade & Investment Section of the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in New York for her work toward global women’s empowerment. While in the process of writing a book, MRS to ESQ, about her journey, Karolina gave Bare Necessities the scoop on successfully starting over.

Health & Wellness Power Figures

Author Suzan Colón is About to Change Everything You Thought You Knew About Yoga

If you’re one of those people who’s ever said, “I can’t meditate! I can’t clear my mind! I don’t have time for that!” hear Suzan Colón out.

In her new book, Yoga Mind: Journey Beyond the Physical, the magazine editor-turned-yoga teacher is your medium between dusty Sanskrit chants and warp-speed modern reality.

Turns out the poses practiced by some 36 million Americans aren’t the half of it; you don’t even have to be able to move to do yoga’s true heavy lifting. Its real power, Suzan explains to Bare Necessities, is in transforming your mind, as she found when helping a friend who was paralyzed after an accident.

By changing your thinking, Suzan found, you could change your life. She walks readers through how to do that in 30 mini-lessons, near-effortless ways of adding mindfulness to the daily grind. She breaks down each concept into woo-woo-free terms—so Saucha becomes “spiritual spring cleaning,” Pratyahara is “quiet time for the senses” and Santosha simply means “being okay with what we have and who we are now.”

Each meditation comes with an assignment, from breathing exercises to coming up with a mantra to finding ways to treat yourself more kindly. This Power Figure upends what you thought about yoga by helping you find the critical distance needed to see yourself for who you really are—not your body, not your thoughts—regardless of the last time you hit the yoga studio.