One of my favourite campaigns I worked on in the last few months of my placement was Calvin Klein’s newest fragrance, CALVIN KLEIN WOMEN. I loved the meaning behind it and it was Chief Creative Officer Raf Simon’s debut fragrance for the brand, which made it even more exciting. An added excitement was when Irish actress, Saoirse Ronan was announced as one of the faces of the campaign and I was the only one in the office who knew how to pronounce her name. So at least I was helpful for something!
I was trying to push for Harry Styles’s song ‘Woman’ to be the song behind the campaign but I suppose it could confuse with the Woman/Women, plus as if I could have a say over what song fronts a campaign – lol.
I loved the concept behind the campaign and it comes at a very fitting time with the #MeToo movement and at a time when women are feeling more empowered than ever.
The ad campaign sees Saoirse Ronan and Lupita Nyong’o (another face of the campaign) talk about the women that they look up to and who have shaped them into the women they are today.
For Saoirse, it was Sissy Spacek and Nina Simone. She spoke about how the two influenced her personally, “What it boils down to is – does somebody else’s work affect you? Does it strike a chord? Seeing people doing something that they’re passionate about is inspiring. It encourages you to do the same, to feel the same.”
For Lupita, it was Eartha Kitt and Katharine Hepburn. When explaining why she chose these women, she said “I admire their fierce artistic points of view and that they did not betray themselves. I aspire to be similarly authentic and full of integrity.”
My favourite part of the release for the fragrance was,
“A woman curates herself, and draws from many, to transform. CALVIN KLEIN WOMEN is inspired by this inherent diversity; by plurality combined with individuality; by freedom, by the notion of resisting definition and living by no one else’s rules but your own. By the collective individuality that unites all women.”
‘Living by no one else’s rules but your own.’ I think this sentence would define me. What other people are afraid to do, I do. What they’re afraid to talk about, I talk about. A lot of people are concerned about what other people may say about them, but I’ve learned that you can’t stop anyone from talking about you and if they want to, they will – so let them talk, and do whatever the hell you want to do anyway. Saoirse Ronan politely put it, ‘You can be any woman you want to be.’ I recently learned that it’s your life and no one else can live it for you, so don’t let them. Live it how you want to live it and make the most of it by not being afraid.
The campaign is embodied by the line ‘I AM WOMEN’ because we are a combination of the women who have shaped us. We may be individuals but it’s the women who have influenced our lives that make us individual. As Lupita Nyong’o said, ‘It takes more than one person to make an individual.’
Who I look up to
As you’re probably well aware, I’m all about women empowerment and I champion a lot of women on my blog through my #GirlBossMonday Series and Placement Series interviews. The campaign got me thinking about the women that have shaped my life in some way or have influenced me in being the woman that I am today. And it was a lot harder than I thought.
Trying to pinpoint women that have been an influence in my life or shaped me in some way was difficult, because I’ve never thought about them that way. I think a lot of the women that I’ve come into contact with have shaped me, and it’s hard to think of just a minor few. There are celebrities and important people that I look up to of course, but trying to think if they have personally shaped who I am, is hard.
The women who inspire me, change all the time. It depends on where I am in life and at that moment, what I want from it. If I’m in a fitness frame of mind, then I look at women who have transformed their lives and bodies, but are normal women. Women that lead normal lives, don’t live in the gym, have the occasional treat but still show that you can do it, if you try. Women that I can relate to. I think that’s the most important thing. Being able to relate to the person you look up to.
Maybe it’s someone in a position that I hope to be in, in a year’s time, or in five year’s time, or ten year’s time. I’ll follow someone’s PR life in Australia through Instagram, envisioning what my life could be like in a few year’s time. Or a PR girl in New York, or Nashville or Belfast. The women I look up to are the women I want to be like. I look to them for inspiration and motivation. To see what my life could be like if I put the work in like these girls have.
People like my mum, my grandmothers, my aunts, my friends, my teachers, managers, have all shaped who I am today. The people you surround yourself with, shape you as a person. But if I think really hard about the women that have inspired me and are the reason I am where I am today, then it would be these women:
1. Victoria Magrath (In The FROW)
In terms of my blog, Victoria’s was the first blog that ever stood out to me and inspired me to start my own. I remember discovering her blog, reading through the pages and looking at all the amazing photography and thinking, ‘I want a website as amazing as this someday.’ I especially loved how professional the blog was, the catchy name and how everything was very luxurious; her clothes, the hotels she stayed in and fashion items she reviewed.
For years I have followed Victoria’s growth in the Influencer world, and it’s so amazing to see each milestone and to feel like you are a part of her journey. I also had the pleasure of meeting Victoria at an event through my placement last year and she was just as lovely as I imagined. I already looked up to her a lot but meeting her was the icing on the cake when she was so polite and took great interest in what I had to say.
I’ve also been following another blogger, Sarah Ashcroft for a very long time, back when she had around 15,000 followers and following her growth has been inspiring and extremely motivating. From her clothing lines with In The Style among others, never being in the country and getting to visit the most amazing places, buying her dream car, her dream house and just showing what you can do with hard work and determination.
2. Cathy Martin of CMPR, Belfast
I had my first taste of the Public Relations world when I interned for a week at Cathy Martin’s CMPR agency in Belfast when I was 16 years old. At the time, I had no idea what Public Relations was or what it entailed. The full week was spent preparing for Belfast Fashion Week, running all over Belfast to photoshoots, make-up studios, collecting clothes from different stores and other odd errands around the city. It was hectic but I loved it.
If I hadn’t gotten this week’s work experience at CMPR, I probably wouldn’t have gone looking for another PR Agency to have me and who knows what kind of job I would have ended up in. As a businesswoman, Cathy was (and still is) very inspiring as she has created an amazing brand for herself in Northern Ireland and is still growing.
For me, Cathy is very much what I aspire to be like. I want to have my own agency, my own personal brand, be very career focused and also have my door open for any other aspiring PR professionals out there to intern and see whether Public Relations is for them.
Even though it was a long time ago and it was a compulsory week’s work experience that I carried out during my AS year, I have CMPR to thank for my decision in following a career in PR. Once I got that taste of Fashion Week and not being sat at a desk 9-5 every day, I knew it was the job for me.
3. Samantha Barry, Editor-in-Chief of Glamour US
A group of women that inspire me a great deal are Irish women that have moved abroad and been extremely successful. One of the women that I look up to in particular is Samantha Barry, who was recently appointed as the Editor-in-Chief of Glamour magazine in America.
Samantha was born and grew up in County Cork where she also attended university. Samantha also studied for a Masters degree in Dublin and then worked for RTÉ (an Irish broadcasting channel) before moving and working in Australia, followed by a move to America working for CNN. At the beginning of this year, Samantha was appointed the Editor-in-Chief of Glamour.
An amazing CV for someone that came from Cork and also studied and worked in Ireland before flying the coop. This is extremely inspirational to me as I also come from a small town, and there’s a mindset that people from small towns can’t make anything of themselves and will probably stay in that small town forever. I really hope to be like Samantha someday and make it in foreign fields. Plus, the Editor in Chief of Glamour magazine?? How amazing is that?!
4. Sophia Amoruso, founder of Nasty Gal
I’ve spoken about Sophia Amoruso a lot on my blog in the past, as her book ‘#Girlboss’ will always stand out as a turning point in my life. I read this book over the Christmas break during my second year at university and it was the biggest kick-up-the-behind that I didn’t know I needed. It motivated me to no end, with my blog, my work life, my university life and what I wanted for my future.
I read this book, watched the TV series on Netflix and was truly inspired by Sophia’s back-story and how she built an empire from nothing and how anybody else could too, with the right attitude and work ethic.
The most amazing moment was during my placement year when my manager passed along an invite to me for the opening party for the Nasty Gal pop-up store in Carnaby, London. To be a part of Sophia Amoruso’s business in any way, shape or form was amazing. She wasn’t going to be there, but just to be invited to the party was so exciting! The jaw-dropping moment was when Ed Westwick walked through the door and I thanked Sophia Amoruso for making me incredibly motivated and for making this moment happen that I would remember for the rest of my life.
If I ever feel deflated or am lacking in motivation, I flick through the pages of Sophia’s book for the quotes that really stuck with me. I have a folder of quotes on my laptop that I go through now and again to reignite the drive in me and remind me why I’m doing what I’m doing.
5. My mother, grandmothers, aunts, friends, teachers, managers, colleagues
The majority of who I am today is because of these women. Most of them inspire me and motivate me to be the best version of myself, to go out and get the best life they know I am capable of. But from some of these women, they show me the life I don’t want to have and they tell me to go and make something of myself so that I don’t end up like them.
My family support me with everything that I want to do and never hold me back from anything I’m passionate about. My friends and I motivate each other because we know there’s better out there for us than the small town we come from and we remind ourselves that the only person that can make things happen for us is ourselves and hard work always pays off.
My teachers, especially my music teachers, choir teachers, singing teacher and piano teacher have always been so inspiring to me and they put so much time and effort into my music and always pushed me and made sure I didn’t let my abilities go to waste. Seeing how much they invested in me, made me want to invest in myself.
Looking back at all of my past employment, all of my managers have been female. Being around so many of these leaders has taught me more than I ever thought. From them, I know what kind of leader I want to be, what kind of leader works and what doesn’t work, how I would do things differently but also how I would do things similarly. A lot of my managers are huge inspirations to me and remain close friends. They always want the best for me, even if that means I have to leave my job and go onto something different. They are so supportive and never fail to keep in touch.
Who influences us the most?
We always say how these celebrities and people we don’t personally know, influence us. But it’s the people around us that influence us the most and shape who we are as a person. Through our mannerisms, how we act around other people and our personalities.
We call the people on Instagram with thousands of followers ‘Influencers’ and yes, they may influence our purchase choices and the way we do certain things, but the people I feel that influence me the most are the people I surround myself with. They influence my mood, my plans, my future and how I live my life.
This is why a lot of people say ‘You are who you surround yourself with,’ and I couldn’t agree more. If your friends are all unmotivated, lazy and unproductive then more than likely you’ll either be the same or you’ll ditch them to find people who motivate you and are proactive in everything they do. Don’t let this ‘Influencer’ craze make you think that these are the only people that influence you. Look a little closer to home when you next think of who influences you the most and that makes you the person you are today.
CALVIN KLEIN WOMEN is available now here. I wear it every day and my friends are obsessed!
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