Women who Wow
I am fortunate enough to know so many powerful women who spend their days inspiring, creating, healing, motivating, listening, helping, leading, growing, transforming, connecting, teaching, influencing, and impacting the lives of others in so many ways. I’ve gotten this far in life by looking up to amazing women who’ve graciously shared their wisdom and talents we me on my journey. I’m thankful that they’ve agreed to share some intimate moments in their lives in hopes of connecting and inspiring you with their stories of successes and learnings. Please help me welcome a Woman who Wows…Kim Wadsworth
Wadsworth Style | BridesMade
FB: Kim Wadsworth
Kim was born in Red Bank, NJ. She moved to Manhattan to live with my mother in the second Grade and has been living in Norfolk, VA for 35 years.
What words do you live by?
Who influenced you the most growing up?
“My grandfather Arthur Johnson who taught me how to be self-sufficient and highly productive since Kindergarten. I was cleaning the house, tending my own garden, collecting eggs in the chicken coup daily and learning to cook in the First Grade.”
“My mother Johannah Knowles who had ‘Style’ written all over her and was self-made in everything she did. Her success inspired me to write my destiny.”
“My step-father Charles Close who encouraged me to do everything– and to always do it well. His penchant for follow through and completing tasks was intense but instrumental in how I have approached every project I’ve ever done.”
Share with us the importance of Family
“My husband of 36 years, John Wadsworth embodies everything I could ever ask for in a friend, lover, and confidant. He is always direct, insightful, caring, strong and keeps me straight. He has zero tolerance for inconsistency and laziness, a mantra I adopted early on due to his influence. And he is a Renaissance Man in every way.”
“My sons are the wonderful prize you win when created in love.
“Julian is a videographer, musician, artist, writer and a sensitive individual who came into this world in ‘a burst of flames’ (he is a redhead.) He is very accomplished and has succeeded in areas of challenge where most would fail. He lives in Berlin.”
“Hunter is in marketing, managing, and over-seeing restaurant development of a company based out of Boston. He works in Brooklyn and in his ‘spare time,’ manages to paint amazing large canvases in a modern style that juxtaposes colors (primarily black and white) and interesting elements. He is secretive about what he does but when he ‘reveals’ his talents, we are always blown away at his self-taught prowess.”
Have you had a significant life experience that has helped define you or help you realize more about your heritage/roots/family and how has that altered your course of life?
“I lived with my Swedish grandfather for two years after my parents divorced from 6-8 years old. He had old school values derived from a European upbringing. As immigrants, he had a difficult life at the turn of the century. He was a widower so I was known as the “little wife.” I appreciated learning about keeping up a home, his property and the value of an earned dollar. I was taught by him that hard work and innovative ideas paid off. I never stopped embracing that work ethic and I think I successfully instilled it in our sons.”
Has there been a significant incident in your life either with health, family or your career that you had to bounce back from and how did you do it?
“I was in a terrible bus crash in Norway when I was 20. We went off a mountain 40 and fell feet down. Several people died or were hurt very badly. Other than shock and a concussion, I was fine but traumatized for quite some time. Then there was losing my parents. My father died on Thanksgiving Day 12 years ago of ALS and then eight years ago my mother died in 9 weeks of pancreatic cancer. Both terribly sad deaths to witness. It took years to move through their loss. I try to wear something of my mother’s every day. My dad was an artist so his work is around and always a comfort. Keeping visual cues of lost ones has really worked for me.”
What did you want to do/be growing up and how has that evolved?
“As a child, I wanted to be a puppeteer. I built stages, complete with curtains; puppets and their costumes; and wrote the scripts. Then Barbie came into my life (I owe so much to her) and my love of fashion, styling, beauty, home design- everything manifested in the “Barbie Realm.” She was my Style Icon. All the things I loved doing with my dolls (I was an only child) I now do with “Living Dolls” every day!”
Share with us about career, aspirations you have the roles you play in the community, why you love what you do, and what drives you to be the best.
“Sometimes it sounds a bit ridiculous when I share what I actually do– because I have so many ‘variations of the theme’ of who I am. I have had a makeup beauty business (and have a team who does hair) for close to 25 years. Beauty is my business but it doesn’t just stop at makeup. My holistic approach to all things pertaining to fashion and style seeps into other realms that include teaching makeup; curating closets; personal shopper; beauty mentor; fashion and beauty writer/editor; inspirational speaker; style coach; food stylist. The list goes on and on but the common denominator is LOVING WHO WE ARE AND HOW WE LOOK in the many aspects of our lives. I love making women look and feel beautiful. There is an art to it and I think I have it down to a Style Science now.”
Describe the ways you influence others you spend time with, work with, and/or impact daily?
“I have a huge responsibility publicly. Because I’ve been a style and beauty ‘voice’ for over two decades, many people rely on me for advice and for the example I set. I am stunned by the self-deprecating mind set so many women– young and old– have embraced. They sit in my chair and I must do serious ‘damage control’ right out of the gate to get them to a place of calm and trust. It’s exhausting but I am doing it in myriad contexts day after day. I love the challenge and adore being dedicated to such a worthy cause. I take it “one face at a time.””
Do you have a personal mission statement you’re committed to that gets you up in the morning?
“Absolutely. I’m all about, “Let’s Go!” I was a cheerleader in high school and my team spirit towards anything I’m passionate about never waivers. My ‘down days’ are short-lived. There’s really no time to throw yourself a “Pity Party” when things aren’t going your way; or you’re worried over money when business is slow. I just try to focus on the positive and see each new day as an opportunity to make a difference– for myself and others.”
What are your passions outside of your career or do they all intermingle?
“I kiddingly claim I’m the “Sybil of Style” because I have so many ‘personalities’. I’m obsessed with cooking so I’m a food stylist and hope to do more of it commercially. I love gardening. I was a florist for five years to help put my sons through private school so having flowers in the house each week is my gift to me. Honestly, all of these “side hustles” and interests interrelate. Whether I’m styling a plate or styling a “fashion plate,” it’s still all about curating something to look better than it was.”
Tell us about what keeps you fulfilled in your career?
“It’s all about keeping it interesting. I never know what’s next on the calendar. It could be makeup on a state senator; it could be makeup and styling for a car commercial; a bride and her entourage; a food campaign for a hotel; a bulging closet of a fashion hoarder. My lifestyle is all about fresh and new and that’s what keeps it interesting. I’ve never worked in an office or cubical. My car is my office and the road, is a path to all things exciting.”
What brings you joy?
“When a bride looks into the mirror after I’ve done her makeup on her wedding day and says,” This is exactly how I dreamed I would look.” When I do someone’s closet with them; then make them leave while I do final flourishes; then close the door and make them open it to see the new organization with fresh eyes and they say, “I feel so sartorially empowered.” When someone reads the magazine I’ve just designed and edited front to back and says, “I got so much out of this issue.” Those are the words that signal joy and let me know I’m doing it right.”
How do you set goals for yourself either short or long term for the many areas of your life and who or what systems do you have in place to stay accountable to them?
“I’m not really a “goal setter” per se although my friend encouraged me to do #92 Days of Summer this year and that was the first time I had ever written down– or attempted to accomplish– 92 things that needed to get done. I didn’t get them all done but I cheated into October and just actually checked something else off my list– cleaning a downstairs closet I have avoided. I have an internal “To Do” list that is constantly full so that’s enough to handle.”
What are your hobbies, interests, sports?
Crafting, scrapbooking, photography, creating holiday decor (I am a devoted Theme Queen) and Pure Barre exercise. I have worked out 3-4 days a week since I was 21. I have abs and quads of steel and am proud of it. I do Pure Barre 3-4 days a week. I’m close to joining the 500 Club– which is a BIG deal. Every time I finish a class I think, “WOW, I did it.” I love feeing accomplished after exerting so much energy. Oh, and did I mention I still wear sleeveless tops and short skirts at my age because I CAN!
-Do you have a special animal in your life?
“Pearl is our beloved Maltipoo of 8 years. She does multiple spins of joy when you come home after a long day. She loves to snuggle and kiss. She recognizes key words and has vocabulary knowledge that we continue to build on- well over 100 words. She is one smart and adorable dog who is very loved.”
Tell us about the people you surround yourself with and how you’ve developed those relationships.
“I see friendships as investments. They take time and attention, both precious commodities. Since I’m on the road all the time, I just call people I wake up thinking about. Texting makes me tired. I’m an empiricist– I want to hear, see and feel connections with those I love. Having to communicate only by FaceTime with my son who lives in Berlin is not my favorite thing- but I am grateful for the technology that makes it possible. I have some amazing friends, all so smart and talented. Because I had to do so much “shape shifting” as an only child with a mother who married four times, friends were my only constant so I value them.”
What are some of the greatest adventures you’ve been on?
“I have my degree in French and Linguistics so I lived in France during my third year in college, then Norway for a month so I learned so much about cultural immersion. It was a fabulous year. Later, I was a buyer for an art gallery in Dallas in my late 20’s and traveled all over South America for three years. The natives of those countries were so fascinating, so alive and so kind. It was an amazing experience that still resonates to this day.”
Where would you most like to travel or adventures you like to have in the next five years?
“I have never been to Italy nor Japan so they are next on the docket. I want to visit Oregon and Wyoming as well– there’s a little bit of cowgirl in me and I could live in a teepee or out on the range for a week or two although I’m not crazy about wild animals!”
What are the best things you’ve ever eaten and where did you eat them?
Tell us about your cooking skills;
“I cook 5 out of 7 nights. It’s how we control what we ingest from a calorie and sodium standpoint plus I just love to cook. It’s my therapy and I am confident in a kitchen. I have a few signature dishes from Chicken Calvados cream sauce with wild mushrooms; to red snapper in a mustard creme fraiche sauce. Dinner parties are where we splurge with calories. Who’s counting when you’re having fun!”
Do you have a favorite drink?
“My two favorites: French champagne and Vodka (preferably Chiroc or Titos)”
How do you approach how you consume food?
“I try to measure EVERYTHING. I have incorporated portion control into every aspect of my working and living regime. When I order out, I visually divide the plate in half and share; or I take the other half home. I read portions on cereal boxes, soup boxes, you name it. In makeup, I teach my clients to measure how much expensive creams, primers and foundations they are putting on their face. Less is just enough.”
Do you have any special approaches in particular to maintaining good health and wellness?
“I envy my husband. He meditates every day for as long as I’ve known him. But I have my own way of quieting my mind. Cooking, cleaning, and organizing are all ways I maintain personal wellness. I do take 5 vitamins daily, use organic Argan oil on my body and face, and have a vaporizer on while sleeping with Lavender essential oils to calm.”
What are ways you give back to the community?
“I owe my town of Norfolk so much. I have been good to it and it, to me. So I try to volunteer in as many areas as I can. I was the monthly beauty liaison for Look Good...Feel Better at Norfolk Sentara for sixteen years and the Flashes of Hope program for severely ill children at CHKD for twelve years. I am on the board of Visit Norfolk. I’ve also done many volunteer fundraising events for The Chrysler Museum and MOCA (when it was the VB Center for the Arts.) as well as being very involved in both the Williams School and Maury HS when my sons attended there. If you can’t endow with money the way you’d like, you can always donate your talents and energy to make a difference.”
How does Faith play a role in your life?
“It’s a private role that fills my heart daily with prayer and thankfulness. I am always thanking God for some miracle, some gift, some surprise, some spiritual moment that only happens when you believe.”
Do you have get-togethers with a “girl squad”?
“Every Saturday is a ‘Girl Squad’ with my brides and their Maids! My life is too busy to commit to anything on a regular basis. But I love being with my favorite pals when I can.”
What are your secrets to staying organized and working forward each day?
“I always lay out my clothes and have a written timeline of the day by my keys the night before. I even have the coffee maker set up the night before so my husband can bring me my “fluff” (coffee with frothy milk or almond milk) to start my day.”
How do you stay focused on what’s important to you or how have you secured the time to do so?
“I always wish that there was just one more hour to my day! I try to be mindful of how I prioritize my time although with so many jobs and obligations, it’s easy to get distracted. I live a life of deadlines and timelines, both unforgiving. If the magazine is going to press on a certain day, that’s the day. If a bride is going down the aisle at a certain time, that’s the time it will happen. There’s not a whole lot of wiggle room in my world so I’ve trained myself pretty hard to stay focused on the end time but I always give myself some “safety net” hours or days when possible.”
Tell us about your sense of style and fashion & how has your sense of style and fashion evolved over the years or has it?
“You can’t buy style although having fashion guides are always a blessing. My mother had it innately; and gratefully I inherited the gene. I always dip my toe in the “trend pool” each season but try my best to wear what looks the most timeless, chic, interesting, sophisticated and when I can get away with it (like a short skirt from time to time) youthful and fun.”
Do you have a favorite item in your closet you cherish?
“Oh, I have several fashion prizes. A velvet coat and a peach layered gown owned by Lady Romely McAlpine that I bought from Sotheby’s London 15 years ago. Silver shoes with dangling rhinestone straps by Manolo Blahnik that I obsessed over in the Bergdorf Goodman window 12 years ago and my husband bought them as a surprise. A fur trimmed black and white coat I bought at the Alexander McQueen atelier in London in 2001. There are a few others but I don’t want to bore you with all my fashion secrets”
Do you have a favorite shop or brand that you like to indulge in or a special approach to finding items that you cherish?
I love couture consignment shops just to experience how beautiful clothes use to be made! There are brands that fit me just right so I will get them from time to time, although I find I am needing less and less as I organize my looks for the season.
Tell us about any and all beauty routines, products that you believe in or secrets you’re willing to share that have helped you?
“I love Argan oil and swear by my Clairsonic for really removing makeup with my cleanser. I use a clay mask / rose mask (alternating) by Fresh and get a professional facial every 3 months. I love Latisse for longer lashes and swear by Botox for my “11’s.” I always use a primer before foundation and have to have loose powder to set my makeup, Most importantly, 7-8 hours of sleep, lots of water and a happy lifestyle always helps.”
If you could do anything and not fail (and we all supported you) what would you do?
“Have a brick and mortar store with all the things I love: one fabulous cosmetics line, good costume jewelry, and maybe some bridal accessories.”
“My mother always said, “First to thine own self be true.” It’s easy to put others before you as a mother, a wife, a friend, an employee. But if you aren’t fulfilled and joyful in what you do, all of the giving to others will get compromised and loose its luster. Always see yourself in the big picture and make sure that what you see looks and feels beautiful and at peace.”
Thank you Kim Wadsworth for Wowing us
You can find Kim here;
Wadsworth Style | BridesMade
FB: Kim Wadsworth
Thank you Kim Wadsworth for wowing us with your Timelessness...