Four Influential Women Dish on Career Success, Interview Outfits and the Secret to Networking


Are you posting a #WCW on Instagram today? If you haven’t already, you should, because today is International Women’s Day, a day when women all over the world are celebrating each other and the collective goal of building a more unified working world. And it’s no secret that the fashion and beauty worlds are led by smart, successful women who not only influence the way we shop, dress and curate our top shelves (not to mention our Pinterest boards) but also inspire us with their amazing personal achievements and career stories. From nail polish moguls and fashion designers to editors and photographers, we interviewed four amazing women who filled us in on their work wisdom, career advice and (bonus!) what they wore to their first interviews.


Andrea Lieberman | Creative Director and Founder of A.L.C.

Describe your personal style in three words:
An effortless uniform.

Who is your style muse?
I celebrate personal style and have a deep appreciation for women who own it, from Sade to Ali MacGraw to Patti Smith.

Describe the outfit you wore to your first real-world job interview:
My first real-world job was in high school at a store called Style Counsel in SoHo. I showed up in Doc Martens and black pants with a homemade bum flap that I sewed on myself. My hair was half-shaved and dyed deep navy.

Tell us how you got your start in the fashion industry:
I have been interested in fashion from a really young age. I started taking classes at Parsons while still in high school, and I enrolled there for college just after. My first official step through the door would be my internship at Romeo Gigli.

What is the best advice you give to others who want to follow in your footsteps?
My advice: Intern, intern, intern.

What’s your favorite and most effective way to network?
Authentically. For me, it’s about finding common ground.

Name some female leaders you would love to have a working lunch with:
Michelle Obama. No explanation necessary. [Apple’s] Angela Ahrendts because of her undeniable strength as a leader and her ability to engage both her organization and the community at large. Beyoncé: She is a force, a beautiful, dignified, creative who is continually pushing the boundaries.


SHOP: A.L.C. sweater | A.L.C. cashmere sweater | Christopher Kane trousers | rag & bone bootie


Deborah Lippmann | Celebrity Manicurist; Founder and Creative Director of deborah lippmann

Who is your style muse?
I’m lucky enough to work in an industry where I am surrounded by so many style muses and creative geniuses who inspire me every day. Between my editorial work, New York Fashion Week and red-carpet season, I am blown away by the talent so many of my dear friends possess.

Tell us how you got your start in the fashion industry:
When I was working at Frederic Fekkai, Martha Stewart sat in my chair and had a manicure with me. She told me that I was extremely talented, and I was flabbergasted—it was a big deal to me that she was even in my salon chair! A little while after that, Allure sent a reporter in undercover, and [the magazine] called the salon afterward to let them know I was going to be included in The Directory, a section of the nation’s top industry spa/salon/stylist pros. It all happened within a year; I was blown away!

What is the best advice you give to others who want to follow in your footsteps?
I would say that if you have it in your gut and you want to try it, you have to go ahead. Go with your gut, and get as many mentors as you can. There’s no one road to success. Estée Lauder didn’t get to where she was the same way as Bobbi Brown. I’m not getting there the same way anyone else before me. Be true to yourself; be willing to listen.

What’s your favorite and most effective way to network?
Talk to everyone you can, and don’t be afraid to approach anybody!

What is the one piece of advice that sparked your success?
Take off your blinders and step into the unknown! If you’re passionate about something, figure out a way to make it happen. But also know that owning your own company is a 24/7 job, and you need to be ready for that.


SHOP: deborah lippmann nail polish (seen here in Wild Thing, Higher Ground and Happy Days) | Proenza Schouler sweater | Victor Alfaro cardigan | Vince skirt

Faith Xue

Faith Xue | Editorial Director for Byrdie Beauty

Describe your beauty style in three words:
Polished, fun, experimental.

Who is your beauty muse?
Toss-up between Zoe Kravitz, Fernanda Ly and French makeup artist Violette.

Describe the beauty look you wore to your first real-world job interview:
It’s hard to remember exactly, but I imagine I went with my standard black liner, rosy lip and loose wave combo—it hasn’t failed me yet.

Tell us how you got your start in the beauty industry:
I started my career in editorial through a nontraditional route: I worked at an agency as a ghostwriter for celebrity websites. I ended up learning so much about the digital space and how editorial and social intersect there, and it was during that period I discovered my love of beauty. From there, I started working as an editor for an online site owned by L’Oréal while freelance writing on the side. One day, the current president of digital at CMG reached out to me about a job at Byrdie—we had worked together at my first job at the digital agency—and, of course, I jumped at the opportunity.

What is the best advice you give to others who want to follow in your footsteps?
Do your best work, always—even if you don’t have your dream job just quite yet. You never know who will be watching, or which relationships you’ll build that will impact you in the future.

What’s one piece of advice that sparked your success?
I interviewed for an editorial assistant position at a website I admired right out of college and, though I didn’t end up getting it, the editor shared one piece of advice that really spurred me to push myself and ultimately helped me get where I am today: if you want to work in editorial, the most important thing you can do is write, write and write. Even if you have to write for free, even if it feels like no one is reading your work, even if you already have a full-time job and you have to do it after hours, building a portfolio that shows your skill and passion, that’s ready to go at a moment’s notice will ultimately serve you in the long run (and impress potential employers). This is advice that applies to any occupation, too.

What’s your favorite and most effective way to network?
I like networking naturally, usually through mutual friends or colleagues (though a nice email and coffee date work, too).

Name some female leaders you would love to have a working lunch with and why:
Obviously Katherine Power and Hillary Kerr, the two incredibly inspiring cofounders of CMG (luckily, I already get to work for them). Eva Chen and Michelle Lee for being trailblazing Asian women in editorial, and probably someone outside my industry doing things that is ultimately changing the way women live—like Sonia Patel, chief pharmacist for the digital pharmacy, Capsule.


SHOP: Vince Camuto pump | A.L.C. coat | Tibi blouse | FRAME blazer


Emily Soto | Fashion Photographer

Describe your personal style in three words:
Classic, chic, romantic.

Describe the outfit you wore to your first real-world job interview:
I was taught in school how to dress “professional,” and I definitely bought a pantsuit with a white button-down and pulled my hair back. I cringe thinking about it, as it’s so not me!

Tell us how you got your start in the fashion industry:
I am a self-taught photographer, and I knew after graduating from school that it was something I wanted to pursue, but coming from a very small town, I really didn’t know where to start. I have learned so much from stepping out, saying yes to opportunities, and not being afraid of rejection or failure. I believe one of the most important things in the fashion industry is believing in yourself and being confident in your work.

Name some female leaders you would love to have a working lunch with:
Iris Apfel, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres… I love that they have paved the way for women in so many different ways, and I would love to hear their stories.

What is the best advice you give to others who want to follow in your footsteps?
Love what you do. It’s so important to stay passionate about the work that you are doing. As a photographer, I feel as if the best photos reveal so much of the photographer’s sense of self.

What’s your favorite and most effective way to network?
I love Instagram; it’s an easy way to stay connected and up to date on what is happening in the industry.


SHOP: 3.1 Phillip Lim shirt | Topshop blazer | AG jeans | Gucci loafer | Topshop bomber jacket | Elizabeth and James bag

{ 24 comments… add one }
  • editor March 9, 2017, 11:39 am

    Jo: Thanks for pointing that out. You’re right. It was an oversight on our part and we’ve updated the story. We’re so sorry for the mistake.

    Leslie: You’re absolutely right and we’re embarrassed that we made that mistake. We’ve updated the story. Thanks so much for your feedback.

  • abbie schiller March 8, 2017, 9:01 pm

    I love it. Thanks for inspiring, for supporting, and for getting it.

  • Andrea March 8, 2017, 8:27 pm

    Pretty sure faith is of Asian descent. And yes the other girls are Caucasian. Can we just celebrate today for what it is instead of making it a race issue? Thanks

  • Joy March 8, 2017, 7:59 pm

    Faith Xue is Asian, one of the four women highlighted. The’re not all white.

  • Andrea March 8, 2017, 7:40 pm

    This was a great tribute to International Women’s Day and I am always drawn back to Nordstrom because of its stance as a company and its visible humanitarian touches. I wish more consideration were given to including one of the many amazing women of color who make significant impact in the world of fashion and the like.

  • Judy March 8, 2017, 6:31 pm

    I agree with Anne wholeheartedly. Enough with the politics. Oddly enough, I come to your store when I’m looking for something current, but traditional/conservative in style. And here you are being harassed into banning anything Trump and celebrating women who are “anything but’ the conservative atmosphere of your store. I got on your website to look at the latest line of clothing and, instead, have to see the same thing we see on the news every night — feverish, selfish little clots of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world isn’t devoting itself to making them happy — wrapped in a disguise of “Yeah Women”!!

  • Paul Wellborn March 8, 2017, 5:39 pm

    I certainly do appreciate successful women. They make America Great! I was so inspired by National appreciate Women’s hard work day I thought of Ivanka Trump’s line of clothing and accessories and wanted to support her entrepreneurship by buying several items of her line. I have heard her merchandise is more popular than ever and is she is selling off the charts! You used to carry her line didn’t you?! I came here to buy her product from you but alas, it is not available here. So sad.

  • Phyllis pinto kavanagh March 8, 2017, 4:28 pm

    A huge disappointment just advertising.

  • PK March 8, 2017, 4:27 pm

    I know most of the women showcased are white women, but I just wanted to call out – not “all four” women are white. Faith Xue is an Asian woman – please don’t over look her! 🙂

  • Karen March 8, 2017, 4:18 pm

    Pass the savings to your consumer instead of focusing on a “greeting card” celebration! This is soooo silly 😜

  • Karen March 8, 2017, 4:15 pm

    So silly that jo had to throw “Caucasian” into this silly little celebrations ! Tired of racist comments like this

  • Nicole March 8, 2017, 4:13 pm

    Loyal Nordstrom fan (and a woman of color). Though I can appreciate this expression of awareness, it would’ve been great to have seen the same thing for Black History Month — and better yet, to see more women of color. Are there really only FOUR influential women in fashion?

    If you’re going to get in on current events and trends, it would feel more authentic if you all did the research and put together a thoughtful compilation. Understanding that you cannot be everything to everyone, but I’m sure there’s a way to do it without alienating your loyal customers (including Trump supporters).

  • Karen March 8, 2017, 4:11 pm

    Such a waste of corporate money! Instead of advertising another “greeting card” holiday give us a price break.
    Nordstroms has gotten so politically silly 😜

  • Siohban March 8, 2017, 4:00 pm

    Why is everyone saying the four women are white? Faith Xue is clearly Asian.

  • Anne March 8, 2017, 2:20 pm

    Wow. I came here to buy some shoes and was hit with politics instead. You guys just don’t get it. Just sell your goods and shut up about your politics. I don’t want to hear it. I have been a dedicated high spending Nordstrom fan for many years but I’m done. Funny that you tout International Women’s Day too when you screwed over Ivanka Trump for no other reason than politics. And good job picking those white women to represent women. So hypocritical.

  • Response to Terry March 8, 2017, 2:00 pm

    Dear Terry,

    It wasn’t just one season, it was years of not meeting goals. If Calvin had tanked year after year yes they would drop the brand too. Its happened before to other brands not just Ivanka. This is showing fairness. But people like to read what they want and not learn facts. I used to work for the company for 6 years.

  • tracy March 8, 2017, 1:58 pm

    to put ivanka on the same level as calvin is quite the stretch

  • Elle March 8, 2017, 1:08 pm

    As a loyal Nordstrom customer, disappointed that you did not highlight women of color. Have you heard of William Opko? Just asking.

  • Valeria Luis March 8, 2017, 12:52 pm

    Loyal nordy here as well. Thank you for sending a message here today and thank you for sending a message and dropping the Ivanka line. Political consciousness affects consumerism now more than ever and I’m proud of nordys.

  • Leslie March 8, 2017, 10:20 am

    Thank you for recognizing International Women’s Day. As a white woman, I think this segment would have been a lot more interesting, relevant, and politically significant if you had included women of color.

  • S March 8, 2017, 9:56 am

    Thank you for acknowledging the day.
    I’m a loyal nordy

  • Terry March 8, 2017, 9:06 am

    Gigi, I wouldn’t say everyone. Uplifting? I don’t think so. I’m not happy about the way Nordstrom has treated Ivanka Trump. The excuse about the sales of her clothing line does not make any sense. If Calvin had an off season, would you dump him entirely? If you’re going to inspire women, then show fairness to all women!

  • Gigi March 7, 2017, 9:14 pm

    I adore this! So excited to be in love with a company that empowers and uplifts everyone. Our society can be so toxic, but companies like Nordstrom make each day a little brighter.
    What a lovely bunch of inspirational women!

  • Jo March 7, 2017, 9:10 pm

    Thank you for celebrating International Women’s Day. However, I noticed all four women highlighted are Caucasian. Considering there are so many women of color in the fashion and beauty industries, I hope to see more diversity next year.

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