Inner Beauty Personal Style Power Figures

Boudoir Photographer Cate Scaglione Wants You to Know You’re Already Perfect

Cate Scaglione has seen it all.

As the owner of Life As Fine Art Studio in Red Bank, NJ, she’s photographed women in their 20s and in their 70s, fiancées and divorcées, every conceivable body type and even a Real Housewife. In fact, she’s widely recognized as one of the country’s go-to photographers for these intimate boudoir (that’s French for “a woman’s private bedroom or sitting room”) sessions.

“There’s a misconception that you have to be 25, blonde and thin to do this, but my average clients are middle-aged women with big careers and money to spend on a Bucket List experience for themselves,” says Cate.

Find out why she left the corporate track to carve out her own niche, what’s so magical about lingerie and why she thinks stripping down is the most freeing thing a woman can do.

Pop Culture Power Figures Relationships

Annie Dean and Anna Auerbach, Co-Founders of Werk, Have Had Enough with Business as Usual

Annie Dean (above left) and Anna Auerbach (above right) were strangers living on opposite coasts when they quit their high-powered careers to change the world together.

Connected by a mutual friend over a call that was rescheduled three times, Annie, a “recovering corporate real estate attorney,” and Anna, an immigrant from Kiev who went to Harvard Business School before becoming a McKinsey consultant and social impact COO, bonded over working-mother worries. Though they could have commiserated and carried on with business as usual, they decided instead to disrupt the outdated system.

That’s how Werk was born. The service pre-screens for leadership-track, career-advancing jobs with built-in flexibility so that women don’t have to ramp down, opt out or never see their families. The 600+ openings listed come from the likes of HBO, Deloitte and MM.LaFleur.

“Employees no longer work standard hours in a single space with one parent at home,” reads Werk’s manifesto. “We cannot parent like we don’t have jobs and work like we don’t have children. Flexibility is the highest-impact, lowest-cost tool companies can use to optimize their workforce.” Maybe that’s why Fast Company recognized Werk as one of the Top 11 Innovations That Made Women’s Lives Better in 2017.

Since our mission at Bare Necessities is to lift women up, we’re firmly in favor of Anna and Annie’s script-flipping vision. Read on for how these friends are advocating for women in the workforce on a mass scale. Thanks to them, more of us will be able to “have it all” in the not-so-distant, female-led future.

Power Figures Relationships

CEO Karyn Schoenbart on Having it All, Just Not All at Once

It’s 2018, the era of the Women’s March and the #MeToo movement, yet no woman has ever been elected U.S. president, 20 percent of Congress is female and 6 percent of Fortune 500 companies are lady-led.

So when an experienced executive literally writes the book on thriving in the corporate world while keeping the plates of her personal life spinning, you listen.

Karyn Schoenbart, CEO of market research firm The NPD Group, wrote Mom.B.A.: Essential Business Advice from One Generation to the Next, which came out this past fall. She’s also a wife and a mother of two. Recognized with award after award as one of the most influential women in business, Karyn is perfectly positioned to pay it forward. After all, what Millennial wants to hear she can’t have her cake and eat it, too?

In this exclusive interview with Bare Necessities, find out some of Karyn’s most liberating, hard-won insights and advice. Here’s to all of us leading the charge this year.

Inner Beauty Personal Style Power Figures Relationships

Jessica Matlin and Jennifer Goldstein See Beauty Everywhere in their Podcast for Women, Fat Mascara

By day, Jessica Matlin (top right) is the health and beauty director at Teen Vogue, and Jennifer Goldstein (top left) is the executive beauty and health editor at Marie Claire. Not glam enough for you yet? On nights, weekends and rare, spare moments in between, they become the co-hosts of Fat Mascara, the award-winning, first-of-its-kind weekly podcast about all things beauty. (The show’s name is an allusion to the bigger, better, juicier, where-does-it-end? trend in mascara and the like.)

Since last spring, Jess and Jenn have been “raising a wand” to their favorite products; interviewing celebrities, hair stylists and makeup artists, physicians and all manner of experts; reporting the latest industry news; answering listener questions and otherwise holding up beauty as a mirror to our culture.

For bravely, stylishly and hilariously exploring this often fraught women’s territory in a smart, fresh way, we hereby name Jenn and Jess this month’s Power Figures. Read on to hear how they know a hero from a zero when it comes to cosmetics, why these print all-stars became audiophiles, how they cope with stress when they’re at their limits and what beauty really means to them.

Personal Style Power Figures The Mind Behind the Design

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

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.

Inner Beauty Power Figures Relationships

Nitika Chopra on Learning to Love Yourself

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.

Personal Style Power Figures

Sarah Chiwaya, Fashion Trendsetter, on Staying Body-Positive

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.

Personal Style Power Figures

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

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.

Personal Style Pop Culture Power Figures The Mind Behind the Design

Dita Von Teese on Redefining Glamour

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.

Inner Beauty Power Figures The Mind Behind the Design

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

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.

Inner Beauty Personal Style Power Figures

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

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….

Personal Style Power Figures

Rosie Pope on Being a Mompreneur

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, 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, 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.