Three Takeaways From My Bold Night In NYC


How Bold Are You

If you have been following along on Instagram you know that I’ve had what could be described as a fairytale moment in NYC recently. I wanted to share it here too because I feel like what’s happening over at Chico’s deserves more attention than I can give in an Instagram post, and if you know me you know I can get pretty wordy on Instagram. I know it’s a forum for pictures and while I do believe the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words I am a lover of the written word too! I believe that pictures are art, fashion is art and words on a page are art too so here it goes..

Now This is Bold

When I heard that Chico’s was going to take on aging head-on and that they were as tired as I was of the washed up images of women over 40 plaguing media today, I was thrilled. I’ve shared articles about Perennials (our 40+generation that just keeps coming into bloom year after year) and shared my own personal journey on age (you can read my forever fierce post here) but the truth is that while it’s easy to speak about my personal journey I am not an anomaly. My friends are also living their best lives in their 40’s and beyond. One of my very good friends just turned 60 and can outlast me in a spin class marathon. Women over 40 aren’t buying what society is selling them about women expiring at a certain age. But you know what they are buying? The coolest clothes, accessories, makeup, skin and hair care products… so why is that 20 year olds are staring back at me from most of those ads? I have my very own 20 year old daughters and while there certainly is something beautiful about walking around in a new and shiny twenty something year old body, their bank accounts are just as new as those fabulous legs, and they aren’t spending the kind of money that I am on handbags, so why aren’t companies getting that? Well I guess some are…which leads me to what this post is about.

Chico’s has always been a company that filled a gap for women over 40 but I think they are at the forefront of a shift. If you haven’t seen their new ad please check it out below. I can’t get that song out of my head most days and those ladies are who my friends are. I see my current and future self in that ad, and I believe you will too.

Say What?

So after hearing all about that fabulous new campaign and getting goosebumps while watching the video, I was thrilled to find out I would be flown to NYC to be a part of the big culminating event. I’m still pinching myself but it gets even better.  A few days before the event I found out that we’d be attending NYC’s famous Joes Pub for a evening of Jazz music performed by none other than Molly Ringwald. Yes, you read that right- America’s most famous 16 year old is now 50 and has launched a second career as a Jazz Singer. Who knew?? Then before I could even wrap my head around that I found out that Tracee Ellis Ross (the beauty from Blackish  with the equally beautiful iconic mother) was going to talk to us about becoming an Icon in her 40’s. I think the whole office heard me squeal for joy when I got that email.


Here’s Where It Really Gets Good

Here’s what actually happened when I got to NYC which lead me to feeling a little Cinderella-ish that night. After I checked into the super cute and iconic Bowery hotel and hopped an uber to midtown to drop off a package for a friend and pick up lunch I headed back to the Upper East Side for a quick nap. When I woke up I found an email asking me to be at Joe’s pub by a certain time for the red carpet.  I thought I was going to get to take pictures of celebrities walking the red carpet.  After getting dressed I headed downstairs and bumped into some of the inspirational women I had met during my first How Bold Are You Listening session where we talked about the upcoming campaign before it even launched. We debated walking and ubering and eventually hopped our heels into a uber to make our way a few blocks up to Joe’s pub. My feet are still thanking me for that one.

Someone Pinch Me

When we got to the Pub I found out that we weren’t there to film and take pics of celebs on the red carpet, we were actually going to walk the red carpet! The evening progressed with me chatting briefly with Tracee-though I wish I had told her how smart and funny Blackish actually is and how grown up me loves her just as much as little girl me loved her mom. Next time.. The evening moved on to inspiring speeches by  Lesley Jane Seymour and Diane Ellis the president of Chico’s, who was so kind and gracious and actually thanked each one of us (chico’s gals) by name. I met and sat in our reserved section with Tonya Sharma the beautiful model that appears in many of the ads for Chico’s and my other new Chico’s friends. We were all moved by Tracee Ellis’s speech where she talked about feeling her most beautiful in th her 40’s and then we were wowed by an amazing musical performance by Molly Ringwald.


After all that while still on cloud nine we floated across the street to Indochine where we took full advantage of the How Bold Are You Electronic Photo booth. We found our seats and dined in style with our tablemates. I think I made the coolest friends as these guys (pictured below) were super chic stylists who work at the Wendy Williams show. The were very impressive and kept me laughing through dinner (there were some great vegetarian options on the menu too so I didn’t starve). After dinner my friends and I headed back to the Bowery and had drinks and really good girl talk. I ended the night by opening a gift from chico’s which was the prettiest journal in a gold clutch-Two of my favorite things.


Here are my three top takeaways from the night

Beauty isn’t synonymous with ageand it’s not always a thing, it’s a feeling too. There is beauty in the confidence that comes with age. The knowing who you are and more importantly who you aren’t. Beauty can begin and endure at any age. Tracee Ellis Ross said that she feels her most beautiful now in her forties! I agree with Tracee; don’t get me wrong no one is saying that glowing 20 year old skin isn’t a thing, but we are talking about feeling good in your skin and that can happen at any age.

If you go into something with an open and grateful heart I know the universe will upgrade you Red carpet event? Awesome. Walking a red carpet at an event? Mindblown. My main goal no matter where all of this takes me is  to always remain open and grateful. As I reflect on this past year I can remember with each and every piece of good news I received I felt surprised as if I had been given a beautiful gift and that was true for the small bits of good news and for the mind blowing pieces too. I’ve had people say “I knew you would be selected” for this or that, but the truth is I don’t focus on what I know I am going to get or what I think I deserve. I just try to focus on doing my best at whatever task I’ve been given and that makes all the good stuff even more special. I have no expectations. I’m just open to what the universe has planned for me  and grateful to be able to do things that I love and have it resonate with someone else.

It’s never too late-My friends and I chatted late that night about how we evolved into where we are now. For many of us this isn’t a role we began in our twenties. For me I just started this journey in my forties and so did many of them. The Accidental Icon (famous instagramer, blogger and daytime professor) became a fashion Icon in her 50’s, Tracee in her 40’s and Molly Ringwald… well I don’t know how long she’s been a jazz singer but it’s news to me and it looks like she’s living the life of her 16 year old dreams!

Beauty Is as Beauty Does

I keep saying this and I won’t stop-if you are waiting for someone to give you permission to pursue your wildest dreams let me be that someone. Get out there and be bold!


Here’s the awesome video


Until Next Post,

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Tonya Parker is a counselor, author and certified life coach who believes in helping women look and feel their best! Ambassador for O, The Oprah Magazine and author of Single Mom Chic

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