Growing up, so many friends of mine had female idols that they looked up to – but for me, this wasn’t quite the case. There were, of course, some public figures that I admired. For instance, I adored Jennifer Lopez, Salma Hayek and Monica Bellucci for their beauty, style, grace, and talent. But that’s not to say that I wanted to follow in any of their footsteps per se.
When it came to career inspiration, I looked towards the likes of Steve Wynn, Warren Buffet and Elon Musk – as, in the generation before me, there really weren’t a ton of female entrepreneurs who were in the public eye doing what I wanted to do. But I think that not having an idol who covered everything I wanted to do was actually an advantage.
When you are at the forefront of a generation where the rules of the game are evolving, you aren’t going to have perfect examples of people doing what you want to do. You have to pick and choose aspects of different leaders and figures, and piece those together yourself. And you have to forge your own path. That’s why, if anything, my true idols are my peers. We’re a generation that is doing things entirely differently. We seamlessly fuse lifestyle, style, profession, social media, femininity and so much more into successful careers and new ways of doing business.
Being with Kim Kardashian West from literally day one is the perfect example of what it means to forge a new path, and the challenges and rewards that come with it. I don’t think there’s anything more inspiring than watching your best friend start from scratch, only to build a world-renowned brand and an empire that has inarguably led our generation into new territories. I can still vividly recall the first time we pulled up to an event and realised that people were taking pictures of her because they knew who she was. It was completely electrifying – we were both surprised and ecstatic – and it was just the first of many to come.
That’s not to say that it was all glamour and glory. There were plenty of struggles and our fair share of low points. In my opinion, how you approach those struggles is the defining factor of what makes a truly great icon. To overcome, you need to stay strong no matter how low the lows are, while simultaneously pushing forward. Unfortunately, the higher you get, the further people want to see you fall. And if you can come out on top time and time again, that’s when a real icon is born and where I find inspiration.
In many ways in this day and age, we need to be our own idols. In a world where social media can warp perception, it’s important to remember what’s truly real and to not compare the curated highlights of someone else’s life to your real-life grind. My own social media is the perfect example. You don’t see the exhaustion of hours of travel, back-to-back meetings, lack of sleep, and an overflowing itinerary when you view a snap from a photo shoot, beautiful scenery from a lunch meeting or the view from a plane while heading to my next meeting. You don’t know that there are plenty of times where I would happily trade an evening gala for a full night’s sleep. While social media provides invaluable tools for new forms of communication, it never gives the whole story.
I suppose that’s why my true idols are those whom I have had the opportunity to see behind the everyday glamour, to learn about or witness their struggles, humanity and realness firsthand. People like Sophia Loren, who, while being one of the greatest sex symbols or our time, relishes in a wisdom that only comes from an appreciation of the quieter moments. Or Kim, who despite being one of the most ambitious people I know, is fiercely loyal and has the biggest heart. Being a true icon is multifaceted. It’s having a greater vision, the strength to persevere, and the rooted wisdom of knowing your own soul.
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