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Donna Karan, Queen Rania of Jordan, Sarah Brown, Arianna Huffington

Dear Pennies,

Please accept my apologies for neglecting you yesterday and Friday. Friday I crashed after all the fashion week hoopla, and yesterday, I was at an all day symposium. The Wie (Women: Inspiration & Enterprise) Symposium was hosted by Sarah Brown, Arianna Huffington, and Donna Karan. The event also featured other fashion, beauty, and entertainment heavyweights like Christy Turlington, Bobbi Brown, Diane Von Fursternberg, Sheila Johnson, Elizabeth Banks, and Ashley Judd.

I arrived at the event during the second panel with Donna Karan (fashion designer) as moderator, Diane von Fursternberg (fashion designer and president of the CFDA), Tamara Mellon (co-creator of Jimmy Choo shoes & accessories), Lauren Bush (former fashion model, currently a designer & philanthropist), Glenda Bailey (Editor-in-Chief of Harper’s Bazaar), and Sheila Johnson (co-founder of BET and documentary filmmaker) as panelists.  During this panel, each panelist gave their background and discussed how they were able to achieve success.

My highlights of this panel were Glenda Bailey’s sarcasm and honesty, and a comment from Diane Von Fursternberg. Glenda Bailey’s sarcasm was an excellent addition to the panel because she was honest and entertaining. During her speech, she stated that working your way up is overrated and that if you have a dream & a passion then you can achieve it. She said that she broke into the world of publishing and magazines simply by approaching her former boss at Marie Claire. In essence, her main point seemed to be work hard & network and the rest will fall into place. Also in this panel, a question was raised asking each panelist to discuss how other women could make that first step towards making a difference in the world. Diane Von Fusternberg responded by saying that she begins each morning by doing something that doesn’t benefit her. I found this comment to be both empowering and inspiring.

The next panel featured the entertainment world heavyweights i.e., moderator Jane Rosenthal (producer & co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival), Nancy Meyers (director & writer), Nora Ephron (journalist/screenwriter), Elizabeth Banks (actress), and Christy Turlington (former model turned documentary filmmaker) as panelists. This discussion was definitely more lively. I believe this was because most of the panel consisted of writers/directors who tend to be very opinionated. I really enjoyed what each woman on this panel had to say, they each had their own spark and they knew how to communicate.

Elizabeth Banks brought up issues in Hollywood such as how a female lead usually isn’t cast until after the male lead, and also, most men don’t want to play second fiddle to a female character. Meaning most male actors don’t want to be in a movie where they aren’t the lead. This was surprising to me although when I sat down and really thought about it, my initial shock slowly disappeared. It is still very much a man’s world so they control everything from government to entertainment. And they aren’t going to allow a woman to come in and run the show anytime soon. Nancy Meyers also had great commentary on film & entertainment saying no matter how popular computers & other electronics get, going to the movies will still be popular. Jane Rosenthal ended the panel by saying that she produces movies that are original, exciting, and that she can sell to the world.


Nancy Meyers, Nora Ephron, Elizabeth Banks, Christy Turlington at the Wie Symposium

After this panel, it was lunchtime and I met two very awesome chicks, Anvi and Maddie, respectively. They made an eventful day even more fun (sorry had to shout them out). After lunch, there was a panel on business/finance and then one on health and wellness. I am sad to say these were my least favorite panels. Not because the women on the panels weren’t dynamic because they were but I’m just a fashion/entertainment type of girl. I plan on getting better educated about finance and business since I want to one day become a business owner but I’m just not well versed enough in the field to understand it. But I will say that Mellody Hobson (president of a Chicago money management firm) gave an excellent analogy when she compared hard times to walking in a blizzard and stated that you must put one foot in front of the other and ignore the storm and you’ll get through it.

The day culminated with a performance by Estelle and a fashion show curated by Donna Karan. I enjoyed Estelle’s performance and the dresses from the fashion show were lovely. The dresses were all white because the event proceeds went to the White Ribbon Alliance to support safe motherhood around the globe. Also, the dresses were on sale and those proceeds also went to charity. I loved how the event was about helping people while helping people. My only gripes about the event was that I didn’t love the venue, the set-up was nice but where it was located was a little odd and out of place.

Overall, the event was well worth the price of admission and I would recommend it. There are always going to be things you don’t like about events and people but the important thing is to focus on the positive. This event brought together so many beautiful and inspirational women who are at the top of their game. There were prizes such as a Jimmy Choo giveaway, awards for outstanding women, and a chance to meet other women and be inspired while giving back. All in all, this event definitely should become a yearly event.

And there it is. Press Pen reporting live from de la Pen…the Fashion and Style of the Pen.


WIE Fashion Show

Estelle and Donna Karan