Walking a runway is empowering. On a mission world, with more than 1000 people at the Luxe Hotel on to uplift and support women, renowned Los Angeles retailer and founder of Destiny Candle Karen Michelle launched the Love Your Body event in 2015. At the red carpet runway event, women of all shapes and sizes get to take the stage and be their best, most confident selves.
“I felt I needed a mission to empower women and girls to get all they want, dream all they want and to be able to feel good about themselves,” said Michelle. “I truly believe that women and girls — and myself — need a support system.”
The day attracts press and influencers from around the world, with more than 1000 people at the Luxe Hotel on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, California to support the message of female empowerment. Michelle said that this year, “Guest celebrity singer Ketch, one of the Golden Buzzer winners on America’s Got Talent, will be joining the event,” in addition to some other surprises.
The Love Your Body runway show will take place this October, and proceeds will support event partner Artists for Trauma and other organizations of strength.
We caught up with some vendors and sponsors of the event to hear their personal stories and get a sneak peek at what’s to come this fall.
Laura Sharpe, founder of Artists for Trauma
Laura’s journey to serving and supporting trauma survivors began after she was in an explosive helicopter crash with her family in 2008. She’s blessed to be one of the survivors, after three lives were lost that day.
“The greatest superpower is collaboration. We know that none of us get anywhere alone. Through Artists for Trauma, [with] artists local and internationally, we cre- ate healing,” said Sharpe. “We empower trauma survivors through all the art disciplines of photography, film, sculpture, dance, music and mindfulness.”
Tara Joseph, founder of 3rd Eye Hi
3rd Eye Hi is a subscription box company for women in the health, wellness, fitness, lifestyle and beauty fields. Based in Nashville, the box features a curated mix of products from CBD to make users feel good to remedies for anxiety and roseacea.
Why is female empowerment important to you?
The foundation of our company is to bring women together and make them feel like they’re a part of something larger. We want women to feel like they can build each other up rather than tear each other down.
You were in the fashion business before 3rd Eye Hi. What inspired the transition?
I was in the fashion industry and modeled for years. There’s a stigma that goes along with that industry. [The transition] was about raising my girls to have confidence and be successful in any way.
Tell us something unique about 3rd Eye Hi.
Our tagline is “join our clique,” because a clique has a terrible connotation. We want all women to feel like they were part of our clique to turn the connotation upside down.
Penny Crook, designer, Deneault Bags
On a mission to create beautiful vintage bags with superior quality that are made in the U.S., the handbags and crossbody bags are designed to look even better when they age.
What inspired you to create Deneault’s unique bags?
I lost my dad in 2019. As I was helping my mom clean out her closets, we came across this very unique purse that my dad had given her over 50 years ago. It was timeless, fashion forward, but yet almost 60 years old. My parents’ marriage of 66 years carried over into the brand, a nod to remind people that this product is going to last as long if not longer.
What does the Love Your Body event mean to you?
My brand is all about love, family and loving yourself.
Deb Berman, skin care expert, Rodan & Fields
Rodman & Fields was founded by two dermatologists determined to give users the best skin of their lives and to boost their confidence.
How does skincare empower you and change your life?
Rodan and Fields believes that your face is your calling card. If you don’t have good skin, sometimes you don’t have confidence or feel deserving. Products that show visible results can make a huge difference in someone’s life, whether they’re a teen suffering from acne or at my age with concerns like fine lines and wrinkles.
Divorce was an awakening for you. What inspired you to be part of the Love Your Body event?
I was married for 38 years. My husband decided he was really not comfortable in our marriage anymore. We divorced. The little girl in me wasn’t afraid to stand up — where had she gone? Over time, I morphed into being someone who did not have confidence and did not feel empowered. I took that leap of faith to believe in myself. I did my first event with Karen Michelle and have not looked back since. The event is a touch of gold!
Emma Vida Ordoñez, owner, Valley Girl Beauty
Ordoñez manages the looks of the 200-plus models at the Love Your Body show, and she is the managing editor for CIE Fashion Magazine.
You work with foster care youth and many Los Angeles-based charities. Can you tell us about that?
I’m involved with Casa LA, [who throws] a yearly prom called Glamor Gowns for Foster Kids. I work with Worthy of Love, which helps homeless children have birthday parties and Chloe Cares in downtown Los Angeles which sets up refrigerators with food for the homeless. I also help to set up water systems for people in Africa. On top of that, I have a team of new makeup artists from the foster system, single mothers or new artists that I guide and help to continue classes and receive assistance after they leave the foster program. We provide makeup and hairstyling kits so they can make a living after being out of the system at age 18.
How do you do it all?
It’s amazing seeing all these people working together towards one common goal: to make everyone feel fabulous. I take it one day at a time. I prioritize and touch base with everybody every day. I love being spread thin.
Sahar Allure, owner, Sahar Allure Med Spa
This Los Angeles-focused spa offers a wide array of services to help men and women look good, feel good and act better.
As a successful woman entrepreneur, why is support- ing women in business important to you?
Beauty brings security and confidence. I started as a cardiac nurse, and I didn’t feel that satisfaction. When I started doing aesthetic nursing, I found out how people feel. They have insecurities because of a scar or a line. Once you take up these lines and you change the way they look, the whole personality, attitude and outlook changes.
Tell us about your newly opened Med Spa.
I’m a foreigner — I tell everybody, if I can do it then you can do it. I provide services for women and guys, a one-stop shop for lashes, massages, IV hydration, body sculpting, laser, botox, fillers and consultations for plastic surgery in one place.