01.04.13 Truth & Wisdom
To celebrate the first year of The Conversation, we felt there would be no better way than to highlight the women who inspired us to make a difference. Whether they did it by making us better on the inside or out, these women have taught us to be even prouder of our gender, to hold our heads even higher and to look forward to a future in which they are mentors, innovators and leaders.
Diane von Fürstenberg is synonymous with style. Effortlessly chic and totally feminine, her designs have somehow been both timeless and fashion forward since she began in the industry in 1970. Best known for the wrap dress, she knows women’s bodies better than they know themselves. The draping of her clothing leaves a woman looking and feeling her very best- not to mention turning heads all the while. Besides winning countless awards, among them a star on the Seventh Avenue Fashion Walk of Fame, she has been running a successful empire for decades, using her fashion sense coupled with her business intuition to be one of the most recognizable and reputable brands in history.
Diane continues to be a strong mentor for woman and girls to this day, and we are so inspired by her she was a guest on The Conversation. She also serves as the President of the CFDA and raises awareness and funds for multiple charities through the Diller-von Fürstenberg Family Foundation.
Image by Amanda de Cadenet
Mindy Kaling came on the scene as a writer, actor and eventually an executive producer on The Office, and she stole hearts almost immediately as Kelly Kapoor, an over-the-top dramatic girly girl. That she was Indian-American didn’t define her, but she didn’t downplay it either. She had curves, sass and was so hilarious you just had to love her. These days, besides being a bestselling author (if you haven’t read “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me” what are you waiting for?!), she currently is her own boss- she created and stars in the new hit series “The Mindy Project.” She’s smart, funny, classy and most of all- real, which makes her fantastic role model for women of all ages.
Photograph by Zachary Scott/New York Magazine
Pat Mitchell has been a powerful woman for a very long time, and although her achievements are vast, producing the first-ever TEDWomen Conference and then the bi-coastal TEDxWomen 2011 and 2012 makes Pat Mitchell a woman we admire fiercely. She is also the president and CEO of The Paley Center for Media, formerly the Museum of Television and Radio, in New York City. She shows women around the world that when you put your mind to something, you can make it happen, and for that we are forever grateful.
In April of 2012, after media outlets (men and women journalists, bloggers and onlookers) referred to Ashley Judd‘s appearance as “puffy,” suggesting it was an after-effect of plastic surgery, she took to the Internet to rebut these accusations. What ensued was a giant leap for women, who, for eternity have defended their looks publicly in ways that men would never dream. An excerpt of her powerful response:
“I choose to address it because the conversation was pointedly nasty, gendered, and misogynistic and embodies what all girls and women in our culture, to a greater or lesser degree, endure every day, in ways both outrageous and subtle. The assault on our body image, the hypersexualization of girls and women and subsequent degradation of our sexuality as we walk through the decades, and the general incessant objectification is what this conversation allegedly about my face is really about.”
We are inspired by her moving words and her pro-female attitude, and we feel she embodies the ideal Conversation woman.
Christina Hendricks is unapologetically curvy. She is unabashedly sexy. She is a real woman, who has a real figure, and is not afraid to flaunt it. Every year she’s on the best-dressed list for red carpets, and on the top of “Sexiest Woman” lists everywhere. What she does for the female figure is magnificent, and we should all be so proud to share and be confident in our beautiful, natural assets.
Victoria Mahoney is a writer, director and filmmaker who currently has an award-winning movie in theaters, “Yelling to the Sky.” Not only does she show audiences about being female, she delves into race relations and, more importantly, what it’s like in the real world. She is wildly talented and incredibly driven. She is someone everyone person on the planet, man or woman, could learn from, and that’s why we find her so important to our society.
Image by Joseph Viles
Kirsten Gillibrand is brilliant, powerful, beautiful and currently serving as a U.S. Senator from New York. She has a reputation of being a genuinely kind person, but also knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to use her strength and intelligence to achieve her goals. Senator Gillibrand was one of our most surprising guests on The Conversation. She showed us that a politician can be both strong and vulnerable at the same time.
Her organization, Off the Sidelines, encourages women to speak up and get involved in issues that are important to them and their future. Her political future in our country hasn’t met a glass ceiling yet, and if we have our way, it never will.
Image from Vogue.
Written by Rebecca Fernandez