The National Women’s History Project brought forward the most amazing theme for Women’s History Month 2014, “Women of Character, Commitment, and Courage”.  As a WOMAN from the Caribbean, a Mother, and a business WOMAN, I understand and am inspired by the many roles we WOMEN play in the everyday walks of life. In an effort to recognize the amazing WOMEN who patronize EDRIS Salon, I am choosing to look more closely at the many positive influences that played a large part in their walk to becoming women of character, commitment, courage, AND more. xo Edris.

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Dawn Brown – has an established career in fashion PR and is the former PR for the Iconic NYC department staple Barney’s. Lois Joy Johnson – has a distinguished editorial career working for leading fashion magazines and a notable author.  Camille Young – is a senior level business executive at a major pharmaceutical company. Candace Taylor Horvath – has achieved a successful career balance between energy trading and health & wellness consulting. Monique Pean – is a visionary jewelry designer and a young entrepreneur to watch.

 

There are a multitude of women (both past and present) that have inspired us to strive for excellence.  We want to celebrate one of your female inspirations and how they inspired you.

Louis J J In high school I clearly didn’t fit the preppy format so I turned to three strong independent woman- Georgia O’ Keefe, Coco Chanel and Diana Vreeland- as role models. I loved their work, personal style and challenging lifestyles.

Dawn B Dorothy Dandride, Lena Horne, Ava Gardner, Bethanne Hardison, Faye Overton, Diahann Carroll, Babara Brown all have inspired me for different reasons.

Camille Y My mom, Joycie Lewis inspires me daily through her strength, her resolve, her elegance, and her faith.

Candace Y My female inspiration and informal mentor is Karyn Calabrese.  Karyn is the owner of several vegan/vegetarian restaurants in the Chicago area and is primarily responsible for the raw food/health movement there.  She is a 66 year old self taught, vibrant, amazing woman.  Karyn has been my inspiration since I was in high school.  I used to drive to Chicago from the suburbs just to see Karyn (who I idolized at the time) and to visit her raw foods cafe to buy as much as my little paycheck could afford.  Karyn continues to be an inspiration to me because of her work on transforming the standard of beauty and health at any age, her drive to continually growing her Chicago based wellness/restaurant empire, and her commitment to taking time to mentor young women like me.  http://www.karynraw.com/

Monique P My younger sister, Vanessa Péan, is my role model. While I was working in finance, Vanessa tragically passed away in a car accident at the age of 16. At that moment, I realized it was necessary for me to reevaluate what I wanted to do with my life and I decided that I wanted to find a career that allowed me to combine my passions for design, art, travel and philanthropy. My sister had been raising money for philanthropic efforts in Haiti, and I wanted to continue the work that she had begun. I saw an opportunity to not only raise money for philanthropic initiatives through the profits of my company, but also to leverage the MONIQUE PÉAN brand to raise awareness of important environmental and social issues.

 

How can young women today be an inspiration to their peers?

Louis J J Don’t compete with them. Share. Share your experiences and solutions to help one another through the journey. Encourage every woman you know to be less judgmental of other women and more enthusiastic with praise. And…skip the selfies and minute by minute updates of your day/ outfits/ snacks!

Dawn B Be willing to learn from others and then pass that knowledge on. Too many young women are caught up in the game of “I’m more fabulous than you” when they should be helping one another. And more than anything, keep your-self respect!

Camille Y Be genuine. You never know what true part of yourself will touch and inspire another. But by always being true, you allow the possibility to connect.

Candace Y I think the most important way young women today can be an inspiration to their peers is to work tenaciously towards their goals with unwavering focus and determination.  The actual goal is of less importance rather it is the means – the work ethic, the passion, the drive that will inspire others to unleash their own potential and do the same.

Monique P I would encourage young women to explore different philanthropic initiatives. There are countless organizations that need help and through volunteering, one can learn a lot about the world while setting a strong example for others.

 

If you had to name ONE female celebrity that can be labeled a “role model”, who would she be and WHY?

Louis J J Two. reporter / correspondents Andrea Mitchell and Rachel Maddow for their fierce brains and ability to say what they really think with wit and poise.

Dawn B At the moment – I’m loving Angelina Jolie.  She’s beautiful, has 6 kids, a loving relationship, and is committed to giving back. Lupita  Nyong’o is also doing it for me. She’ s so different from the most recent women of color. Her dark skin, natural hair, and colorful fashion plate, are things that make her a game changer.

Camille Y Henrietta Lacks may not be considered a “celebrity” by today’s definition, but this woman should be. She died at 38 in 1958 reportedly due to Cancer. Her cancer cells, however, are still alive and multiplying in every lab around the world. Her cells are the basis for advancement in cancer research and cures for many diseases.

Candace Y This is was tough one.  I think the term “role model” and “celebrity” was hard for me to reconcile.  The only person I can think of at the moment is Kerry Washington (and this may be because I just watched an episode of Scandal).  I think of Kerry Washington as a role model because of her effortless sophistication, her beautiful way of being, her desire to keep her private life private, and her ability to breakdown stereotypes through her roles.

Monique P I am honored that Natalie Portman has worn my jewelry. She is beautiful and I admire her for her professional achievements as well as her commitment to raising awareness of important global environmental and social issues. I would love to see Natalie wear my jewelry again for a momentous occasion.

 

What does the word LEGACY mean to you?

Louis J J Leave behind a trail of doing good and loving well. Daughters, sons, lovers, friends, spouses, colleagues, family who benefited from your kindness, ability to help, words of wisdom and encouragement.

Dawn B Reach for something better in their lives even if it’s just picking up a book and gaining a different perspective on life.

Camille Y A gift left behind, taught, instilled, inspired that keeps giving well after the “giver” departs.

Candace Y Legacy is what you leave behind like an echo or impression of yourself – your philosophy, your way of being, your assets, what you’ve created – that lives on in others or has an impact on society.  A legacy can certainly be one of family lineage but to me it is more about those people you have touched in some way.

Monique P To me a legacy is what one leaves behind for future generations. I believe that it is important for our generation to unite in an effort to slow environmental damage so that future generations can appreciate the Earth’s beauty and have a safe place to live. When I began designing jewelry, there were very few sustainable fashion lines and sustainability was not closely associated with luxury. It took a while for attitudes to change, but since then, the green movement has made enormous strides in the world of fashion and environmentally friendly and sustainable luxury options are becoming more readily accessible. It’s exciting to see the shift in the consumer’s mindset!