Producer & Founder of “Creative Chaos”
– as told to The Silver Women
Women who inspired you as a young girl?
My mother Stevie Phillips inspires me and my former step-mother Marianne Howatson. They are strong businesswomen and have survived all kinds of ups and downs in their personal lives and careers. I have learned so much from them: how to persevere, how to keep your chin up, how to put one foot in front of the other and keep going.
Women who inspire you now?
I am inspired by Pema Chödrön. I was introduced to her teachings about ten years ago and her personal story and the lessons that she has imparted to me and to thousands of others around the world have become tools that help me navigate day to day life.
My close circle of women friends…..so many that also have struggled with life’s obstacles: illnesses, relationship and work issues…..and yet they are always there for me and likewise I would do anything for them…..we girls really are witches, aren’t we?
Also Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton. Enough said.
Most valuable lesson taught by your mother?
Be a leader, not a follower.
Have you made career changes over the years?
Not really. I fell into photography production in my early 20’s straight out of graduate school. I established my company a few years later, and this fall I celebrated 20 years. Rather than change, I am transforming a little bit now in order to stay ahead of the curve in a changing industry by developing a few new related verticals. It’s all under wraps though until I feel it’s ready to push out into the world.
I’m still considering what I want to be when I grow up though too. There is one more career in me at least. Time will tell.
Through the Decades !
20s: My 20’s were about school, moving back to the city after, and finding a path. The business of photography presented itself pretty early after graduate school. I have no regrets other than perhaps I wish I had pursued being behind the camera more. I think it was harder for women then. It’s not so easy now even and I have my theories about that – a conversation for a different day!
30s: My 30’s were about getting married, having children, and figuring out how to grow a business all at the same time. I wish I had worked a bit less, parented a bit more, and been able to attend to my relationship more. I wish I had discovered myself a bit more, but I’m doing that now.
40s: My 40’s have been about getting un-married and figuring out how to keep it all going despite that.
“This has been the most robust period of my life with crazy lows, but the most amazing highs. I am finding myself more and more every day – finally learning who I am, what I value, and who I want to be going forward.”
What have been your greatest challenges?
Losing my father who abruptly left my life when I was 35 and my own divorce ten years later have been my biggest challenges in life. But, through these challenges, I have learned the most important of my life’s lessons and I am still standing.
What are you most grateful for?
I’m grateful for so many things. Number one, of course, my children. I have a 14-year-old son, Nico, and a 10-year-old daughter, Dylan. Being a mom is the hardest, most rewarding job on the planet. I guess that sounds cliché, but clichés are such because they are true. I’m also grateful for the newest additions to our family: my friend Julianne’s son, Phillip, who I have hosted at our home for his junior and now senior year in school when she decided to take a job on the west coast – hosting him has taught me that I can be of service to others and it has been a blessing; Elisa, our live-in au pair and office intern – we can’t live without her now; and Elvis our snuggly dachshund puppy. I am also grateful for having discovered exercise – a bit late, but better now than never – kickboxing, lifting, and Soul Cycle of all things – truly I hate group classes, but Noa Shaw’s Soul Cycle class is where it’s at for me.
“As a mother of a daughter, I feel it’s very important, no matter what happened in this recent election, that the issues raised about equal opportunity for all women and girls cannot go back into the closet or get swept under the rug. We are all beautiful and important and our differences need to be celebrated.”
Has there been a significant circumstance good or bad that changed your outlook on life?
I hate to be repetitive, but it was my divorce. It changed my outlook in the most powerful of ways – it forced me to practice what I had been studying for so long. And, by doing so, I found my center, my confidence, my power, my sexiness, my smile.
Do you think older women are valued or celebrated enough?
Yes and no. I think that society is changing. Ageism is becoming more prolific in some ways as the youth of today need to accomplish more and more at an early age. And yet, I feel older women – the ones that aren’t afraid to wear it well – are valued – at least by the people I know. If that’s not the case, then I don’t need to know you. Hahahaha.
Thoughts on aging,
The downside Gravity
The upside Money cannot buy experience.
Your advice to young women of today?
Do everything. Try everything. Let go of insecurity and fear. Travel. Experience the world. Embrace others. Learn to meditate. Radiate love. And when you cannot be comfortable with where you are. The sun is always behind the clouds.
– Jenny Friedberg
Images courtesy of Jenny Friedberg unless credited otherwise.
FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS
Book/Novel: I loved Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner and
The Sun also Rises by Ernest Hemingway is a fave… I still regret sometimes that I didn’t name my daughter Brett.
Film: Cinema Paradiso (1988) my all time favorite.
City: New York of course! I love San Francisco too though. And London,Paris….Rio is pretty fab too.
Flower: Peonies are quite beautiful.
Skincare product you can’t live without: Aesops Fabulous Face oil
Lipstick or makeup product you can’t live without: I don’t wear makeup, but I’m addicted to eyelash extensions…..shhhhh!!!!!
Scent: I don’t wear scents much, but if I do it’s some kind of essential oil-sandalwood, patchouli kind of thang.
Food/Meal/Cuisine: I cannot live without sashimi!
Style Icon: Historically,women like Jane Birken;but, now some of my besties are the most stylish women around-They know who they are!