I’ve been thinking a lot about my muses lately, women who’ve inspired me. As Gen-X’rs we don’t have a lot of strong female role models our age, so I tended to look back at strong women from previous generations who’ve inspired me and whose words and world views shaped me.
While they’ll never know me, I have them to thank for helping mold part of who I am and the person I aspire to be. A woman who is in charge of her life and does it with flair. Never stepping down from a challenge, while gracing the world with ambition, imagination and nurturing it with my, and others, writing.
Diane Vreeland is the woman who created the concept of the fashion editor. She was Anna Wintour before Wintour was born. Reigning at the helm of Harpers Bazaar, Diana filled the magazine with excitement and energy. She was a nurturer of Avedon and discovered Lauren Bacall. Vogue’s Andrea Leon Talley was her protege. Diana lived her life filled with passion and sought to incorporate that into everything she touched.
“If you were going to invent a character full of fantasy, glamour, ambition, imagination—not beautiful but rather jolie-laide, chic, with a sexy voice, feminine with a touch of masculinity, the ultimate trendsetter beyond luxury—that would be Diana Vreeland.” — Reinaldo Herrera
Helen Gurley Brown was the “It” Girl and the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan for 32 years. Her book, Sex and the Single Girl, was the basis of the movie by the same name with the iconic Natlie Wood. During the 60’s Brown was an advocate of women’s sexual freedom and used her role at Cosmo to provide women with role-models and a guide. She claimed we could have it all, “love, sex, and money.” My mother read Cosmo, and I read them, eventually subscribing and ending my subscription when she was ousted in 1997. However, she still helmed the reigns as international editor of 59 international editions of Cosmo until her death on August 13, 2012.
Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City, said it best: “Today New York City lost a pioneer who reshaped not only the entire media industry, but the nation’s culture. She was a role model for the millions of women whose private thoughts, wonders and dreams she addressed so brilliantly in print.”
HGB certainly shaped mine.
I’m forever thankful to these amazing women for their work, chutzpah and timeless inspiration.