Startup Stories: The Beautiful 100

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Tell us about your entrepreneurial product or service.
After 20+ years in the fields of public relations & marketing, I've left the agency world to start my own gig(s) – an agency & a journalistic endeavor at the same time.

I'm here to talk about the one of the two that is closest to my heart and my great passion at the moment, The Beautiful 100 – set to become a coast-to-coast documentary on 100 of America's women who emulate intrinsic and resilient beauty, serving to further debunk mainstream culture's definition of beauty as we know it.

Some of these women are warrior-like heroines – their stories are the exception. Others may be everyday women fighting everyday challenges – moving through all of it with the Grace + Grit that has come to define the definition of beauty which this project seeks to promote.

The journey itself is already a thrilling ride… more importantly, in the end, perhaps the culmination of this work will serve to inspire others toward voracious living and self-acceptance.

What inspired you to launch your business idea?
Most of my life I was, what you would call, beautiful, by cultural standards, or told so, anyway. After losing my health for a season in my late 30's, while struggling with depression, and a suspicious lupus diagnosis… I found myself dwelling in the wake of heavy emotional and physical scarring. No therapy, no meds, could get me out of it. Only I could. For life to go on, Dwelling must at some point convert to Doing, something, and at the time I didn't want to Do anything. I wanted to sit in it. And I did. I felt exhausted, unkempt, bitter and ugly. And I was – inside and out. Not for a day. For years. Fast-forward.

As a result, I've had to reconstruct my life. My way of life post-divorce, my way of parenting, my schedule, my career, my relationships – most of them severely damaged or broken completely. And last but not least, I've had to reconstruct my self-worth around my middle-aged body, and embracing the fact that no, I really don't need to keep those Size 6 jeans around collecting dust anymore. And thanks to hormones, around my thinning hair and “changing center of gravity.” For someone who thought a lot of herself because of what was GIVEN to her, it's quite a life-changer to have to learn to love what you see in the mirror, when it doesn't look so good. I had to get to know the woman inside… who I really was, regardless of exterior presentation, and choose to step into a life of prosperity, regardless of my circumstance or appearance.

What I've learned is that being beautiful in that sense is about choosing to put something on, everyday. No different than underwear. No rules say you have to wear it. You just get to decide. Life will throw you surprises. Financial hardships, relational breakdowns, disease, parenting nightmares… you name it. So we women have to choose to embrace the beautiful, that Grace + Grit – la femme divine – that lives inside of us. Yes, we all have it. And we have to choose it, every f'ing day. It can be a hellacious thing – choosing to love yourself versus focus on your lack. And to give away all that you have to give, to yourself, your loved ones, your life's work, with graciousness, compassion, wit and tenacity. Women who do this are survivors. Of any, and every, situation.

Once I stepped into THAT place, I began encountering like-minded beautiful women scattered throughout my journey… who inspired me, encouraged me, took a STAND for me. And man, THEIR stories were horrific, compared to mine. So knowing that for every one of them, there are at least a dozen more, and so on, and to find 100 of them, share their stories with the world, so that they inspire others. Yeah, I dig that.

What problem does your business or organization solve?
The Beautiful 100 project is setup to inspire. Not solve.

My agency Big Engine, LLC is, conversely, a problem-solver in the area of brand strategy and brand launch. Where there is ambiguity for companies just getting out of the gate, repurposing, or diversifying, we bring clarity. We serve as an extension of their team and skillfully direct them to the answers that many of them already know – they just need methodology and execution. It also solves the problem of how I will eat. Ya.

What has been your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur and how are you working to overcome it?
Being broke. Busting my ass. Being smart. Being thankful.

Give us one word that people might use to describe you.
Intense.

How has Project Eve helped you and/or your business?
Not sure yet – hopefully it will expand my network, and offer me a vast network with which I would have never otherwise connected.

Give us an insider tip that relates to your industry or startup story.
Be authentic all things branding, multi-faceted in your methodology and efficient in your approach. Your brand will then rise to its highest potential.

Company: Big Engine, LLC

Website: http://thebeautiful100.squarespace.com

Follow my organization on social media here:
@bigEnginecreate
www.facebook.com/BigEnginellc

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