The GREAT connector
It has become THE way to express yourself: social media. But how to best broadcast your message and maximize its potential? I asked the woman who foresaw the social media revolution and turned beauty- and fashion stylists into the new superstars: Brooke Wall.
Marlies: Brooke, your beauty and fashion talent agency The Wall Group represents talents like celebrity stylists Kate Young (Natalie Portman, Selena Gomez) and Lori Goldstein (Katy Perry, Rihanna). You also consult brands like Chanel and Estee Lauder. How did you make your dream come true?
Brooke: For me, it never was about just one dream; it was about an overall way of being and thinking. I was a rebellious child with a lot of energy and my own opinions. But instead of trying to control and discipline, my mother used to encourage me to express myself. “You’re going to do whatever it is you want to do. And you will succeed,” she used to say.
Marlies: She gave you self-confidence.
Brooke: Well, I think you create your own confidence day by day, by following your own passions and dreams. And if you really want to achieve something, you have to be patient and tenacious. You have to stay at it.
Marlies: It’s all about focus, isn’t it?
Marlies: My motto is: “dare to dream, dare to grow, dare to be”. You can dream big, but you have to be very selective when you choose which part you want to grow.
Brooke: I recently read that it’s actually not good for the brain to multitask. It can even lower your IQ! So it’s very important to take the time to prioritize, to keep asking yourself: am I still on the right course? It’s about the strategy of being. Always be prepared.
Marlies: Speaking of being prepared, I understand that when you first realized that social media was on its way, you bought every bit of information you could find…
Brooke: …and I ran around the office handing it out, saying: “You have to understand how this works, because there is going to be a value equation associated with this for our talent, and it’s coming fast!” (Laughs) This was about 7 years ago and literally everyone in the office was like: She’s lost her mind!
Marlies: And now millions of people express themselves through social media every day! Can you share some tips and tricks?
‘’If you really want to achieve something, you have to be patient and tenacious.’’
Brooke: If you want to have a large social media following, you have to have a strong point of view. You have to have a good sense of humor. Try to understand what the market is hungry for. For some people social media is as easy as having a conversation; for others, just sharing a picture on Snapchat can be a long, arduous process. But even when you dread it, try to learn as much about it as you can. This way you can maximize what it can do for you, not just what it can do to you.
Marlies: Yes, it’s so important to embrace the unknown! You have plaques with the word “bossy” in your office; such an original and fun way to appropriate a term that is still often used to describe women who use their ‘feminine’ power.
Brooke: I think that from a young age, women feel the need to direct and improve whatever it is they’re involved in, whether it’s family or business. For example when I give someone in my company critical feedback, I make sure I communicate information that will improve not only their professional- but also their personal life. Call that bossy if you like.
Marlies: Yes, or call it a form of feminine feminism! Thank you, Brooke!
Happy Women’s Day
Happy Women’s Day! I am extra excited about this edition, because wow, what a year it’s been for feminism! This is the year that we went global; that we showed up with our money, our bodies, our time and our voices to show the world: this is OUR time!
When I think of someone who is the embodiment of the highest level of expression, I have to think of German opera superstar Nadja Michael (47). This fearless feminine feminist is absolutely unforgettable in roles like Medea, Salomé and Lady Macbeth, performing phenomenally not just as a singer, but also a dancer and actress. How does she do it?
She started out as a contestant on the Norwegian version of ‘So You Think You Can Dance’; a few years later her debut single ‘Sunrise’ reached triple platinum status. But what makes Norwegian/Cuban star Alexandra Joner (27) such a feminine feminist icon is the fearless fun with which she expresses herself; in her singing and acting, but also in her fabulously sexy looks (often wearing marlies|dekkers, of course!). “I am fighting to make ‘sexy’ a positive thing!”
LUST for LIGHT
With her stunning staged photographs, Dutch artist Marie Cécile Thijs (1965) connects the past with the present in an intensely poetic, painterly way. Originally a lawyer, she decided more than fifteen years ago to follow her love for the camera. In just a short period of time, Marie Cécile became an internationally acclaimed artist whose works are included in the collections of museums like the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam and the Museum of Photographic Arts San Diego. She has also presented her art at TEFAF (widely regarded as the world’s pre-eminent fair of art and antiques), Art Miami and Photo Shanghai. For her signature series ‘White Collar’, Marie Cécile photographed the only surviving 17th-century pleated ruff in the world, then digitally added it to her models for an almost surreal, mesmerizing result.