Beauty and strength are the parts of a woman that create a powerful one. It’s the kind of woman I hope to embody and also the kind of woman who also greatly influences me. When I learned of TyLynn Nguyen, I was drawn to her story instantly and how she has transitioned from diverse yet relevant industries and doing so both seamlessly and successfully. It’s easy to see her effect in such female-focused industries. First her modeling career and now design, fashion and lingerie--to be specific. Having been coined the woman who brought “sexy back” through her refreshed approach of the importance of the slip dress and with attention from Vogue and a plethora of today’s present-day top models, Nguyen has definitely caught our attention and we got to ask her a few questions to learn just a little more.
January Olds: When you were younger, who inspired you most?
TyLynn Nguyen: My mother inspired me most as a child. Her style, make-up, jewelry... all of it used to create these lavish fantasies in my mind about what glamour was. She was in the army so she had this incredible juxtaposition in personality I really love.
JO: Who inspires you now, why?
TN: Time to myself. I cherish this time because I have so much creative energy running in my veins, I need to sit still and absorb it. I have a child like imagination and because of past experiences I have to honor how I channel this energy.
JO: Describe what beauty is to you?
TN: Beauty is God’s promises. Beauty is my children’s laughter. Beauty is my husband kissing me on my neck. Beauty is pure expressions of love.
JO: What makes you feel beautiful?
TN: Sexy lingerie, my attitude towards myself, and a spiritual moment with my husband. I always go to those places when I’m feeling less than what I know I am.
JO: What was one of the most transformative memories for you in the last decade? And in the last year?
TN: My most transformative memory was the year 2015. I was pregnant with my 2nd child and wasn’t in love with my job at the time. I was a model. I sat down at my sewing machine and asked God for guidance. I went to school for Fashion Design and I heard a strong “Remember. This is why you went to school.” I started sewing and created my first bra and panty samples for my line. Greatest time of my life.
This year my most transformative memories have been getting pregnant with my 3rd child and my Paris trip to show my SS18 collection. I’m really excited for all that is to come. And grateful for the ups and downs I’ve experienced thus far.
JO: What is your morning routine?
TN: I wake up, kiss my husband, wash my face, brush my teeth, get back in bed and wait for my kids to run into our room (usually around 6am), get back up, get dressed, get the kids dressed and teeth brushed, make breakfast, pack lunch, take the kids to school, then head into my office. I love the morning. I feel like these are the routines my children will remember the most.
JO: Do you have a product you never leave the house without using?
TN: La Prairie duo. It’s sunscreen and night cream. I use the sunscreen every day. I also use your mask (Glow & Go) 2x a week to refresh my skin.
JO: Three items in your purse that you could not live without.
TN: Cocokind olive oil stick for my lips, my new fragrance oil (coming soon), and my saint laurent glasses
JO: As a designer, where do you look to for inspiration?
TN: The 90s supermodels, literally all of them.
JO: What other designers influence you?
TN: I take so many design influences from my own experiences...it is hard to pin point designers that I am influenced by. In general women I am influenced by are Princess Grace Kelly, Carine Roitfeld, Jackie Kennedy, Caroline Bassett, Madonna, Joan Mitchell, to name a few.
JO: How do you want women to feel in your designs?
TN: I want women to feel empowered, regal, and sexy in my designs.
JO: With a growing family, how do you find balance and productivity?
TN: No idea, I just do it.
JO: What do you want to teach your children when it comes to success.
TN: I want them to define success on their own terms. Connectivity and peace of mind are my definition of success but it could be completely different for them. As long as they can truly say they are happy, that is what I hope to teach them.
JO: What have you considered a hard lesson to learn?
TN: Not everyone is going to like me and that’s actually a good thing. You need opposition to grow.
JO: What brings you joy?
TN: My family. Anything and everything is for them. So grateful for the life God has given me.
Great risk comes with great reward. And while most would simply acknowledge this as a bold statement, Sadie Lincoln embodies it as a posture and wholeheartedly. What started off as a difficult decision in starting a business between her and husband, turned into a transformative investment that quickly shaped the way a culture of healthy exercisers viewed the lifestyle around fitness. What Lincoln thrives in surpasses simply the success behind a business and goes beyond into a philosophy of living life well. Best known as the face and founder of Barre3, we had the chance got to delve in deeper to learn Sadie’s story a bit more, the relationship she has with both sacrifice and success and what beauty and health really mean to her.
January Olds: What did sacrifice look like to you before success? What does it look like now?
Sadie Lincoln: I took the liberty of defining success as starting my company, barre3. Sacrifice before B3: Giving up time with my family and friends in place of long work hours and too much time commuting in the Bay Area. Sacrifice now: Letting go of some of my privacy and becoming more vulnerable as a public facing leader of my company.
JO: Being rooted in such a thriving company circled around health and wellness, what is your philosophy of living well?
SL: My philosophy of living well is living with purpose and a constant love of learning.
JO: What was your first memory of when you realized health was something important to you--or even enjoyable for you?
SL: When I was pregnant with my first child I realized how important living an intuitive life to be healthy. When I was pregnant I gave up all exercise programs and diets and just focused in on what my body and baby needed. I think the real way to be healthy is to honor what I need in each moment and remind myself that I am my own best teacher. My relationship to healthy behavior is way more important than copying what other people do to be healthy. I've learned to move in an intuitive way that feels good in my body, to eat in an intuitive way that is deeply satisfying and nourishing, and to honor exactly what kind of energy I need at any given moment. Sometimes I want to blow off steam and run hard up a mountain. Other times I need to sit silently, take a barre3 class, or even just drink a massive glass of wine with good friends.
JO: “Wholeness” is important in general, but in your field of work do you find a pressure in maintaining a someone “put-together” persona?
SL: The short answer is YES. The long answer is that I think we all feel this pressure. How could we not? We are bombarded with ridiculous ideas around what being successful looks like every single day. The real work is looking inside to observe this shame without judgment and then turn my awareness towards what really matters like being a kind person who cares way more about progress than perfection.
JO: Do you find owning a business as a woman has been opportunistic or more difficult as you’ve built your company over the years?
SL: It hasn't been difficult for me at all. I have always been really empowered and clear that I have no boundaries based on my sex. Even in times when I was in a less than ideal culture for women, I had a determination to break through and make my own career around my power as a woman.
JO: Do you believe in balance? Or is that a myth?
SL: I don't believe balance is a goal or something to achieve. I see it as a guide or north star to living a rich and purpose-driven life. The art of balancing life is the art of managing energy based on what each of us decides is important. The practice is to consciously direct energy and awareness to things and people in our life that matter to us.
JO: What was your educational background? And was the learning curve difficult or natural when it came to being a successful entrepreneur?
SL: In terms of education, I was a late bloomer when it came to school. I wasn't a strong student as a kid. I went to community college and this is when I discovered I loved being a student. I ended up transferring to UCLA. I went on to get my Masters in Education at the College of William & Mary. My whole company is centered around our love of learning. We believe that a good teacher is not someone who professes to have the answers. A good teacher is someone who inspires the student to realize that they are their own best teacher. As an entrepreneur, I am a student first, and the teacher second.
JO: What is one thing people assume about you that you would like to communicate, is not true at all?
SL: That I exercise every day and only eat healthily. Definitely not my truth.
JO: What do you consider the most important lesson in your life in the last year?
SL: The power of taking a break from social media was a big lesson for me. It gave me time to reflect on my relationship to social media and how I was allowing it to distract me from what I care most about including being present with my family. It also gave me the time to really think about why social media is important and to not undervalue the power it holds for each of us to express ourselves and have a voice.
JO: You’ve created a space for people that have transformed both the physical and even emotional/mental state. How does it make you feel? Like three words.
SL: Proud. Motivated. Protective.
JO: What makes you feel comfortable in your own skin?
SL: Sitting quietly, eyes closed, breathing mindfully with my awareness turned inward. Works like a charm!
JO: Describe what beauty means to you.
SL: The first thing that popped into my mind is diversity. Without diversity, nothing would be beautiful in my eyes.
JO: Barre 3 has a tagline “where ballet meets yoga and pilates”, what would your tagline be?
SL: My tagline would be "I-need-a-new-tagline-for-barre3-because-it-doesn't-fully-express-who-we-are."
JO: What are your three favorite items in your purse right now, why?
SL: Los Poblanos Lavender Lip Salve. -- A little piece of Tao's where I was born. Great also for my hair and nails.
My lucky owl. -- I'm superstitious and always travel with an owl.
Vapour lip and cheek stick -- An instant glow and shimmer never hurt.
I also love your restorative tonic mist. Especially in the winter when the dry weather kicks in.
JO: What is the number one character trait you think is necessary for building your own business, why?
SL: Resilience. Because you need it every single day.
JO: What do you think are the factors that keep people from living their best, most possible healthy lives?
SL: For most people, it's not having the very basics like healthy food, shelter, clean water, and safety.
JO: What are you most proud of? Why?
SL: My children. I never thought I would be a CEO but always knew I would be a mom. I am so happy to have them in my life.
JO: You have two children, what is something you want to teach them you were taught growing up?
SL: That being kind and confident is the most important over all other achievements.
JO: What is the best part about owning your own business that has surprised you most?
SL: No red tape rocks. Being my own boss allows me to get shit done in a timely manner.
JO: What has changed the most about the philosophy of exercise in the 90s vs. today?
SL: I could write a book on this subject so I will keep it to fashion. Two words: Exercise Thong.
With the busyness that can surround our days, health and wellness can sometimes feel difficult to prioritize and can be sacrificed due to our limited time and need for convenience. Fortunately what started as a light-bulb idea in 2011 for dancer turned entrepreneur Payal Kadakia in wanting to make exercise easy and accessible, has transformed into becoming one of the most influential businesses surrounding fitness today. We are talking about ClassPass: the startup that changed our outlook on working out.
Kadakia, currently serves as both Founder and as the Executive Chairman of this nearly half a billion dollar company. And as a family-centered, boss lady and once avid world-class dancer of a woman, Kadakia not only has shifted what feels like every millennial's lifestyle around fitness, she impressively exudes an overall passion for life beyond business. We got the chance to learn more about Kadakia and what it looks like for her to be fully be in.
Tell us, what is your daily ritual you can’t live without?
Drinking my green tea. I especially love the Ginger Lemon Green tea from Kusmi.
How do you balance work life and life-life?
I’ve used goal setting as a way to keep myself organized for years now. It helps me keep things in balance, especially when life and work get really busy.
What’s your biggest source of happiness?
I have a few. The people in my life and dance are both really important to me -- they bring me happiness in different ways. I also love helping other people live their best lives, that’s one of the biggest reasons I started ClassPass! I get so much out of helping other people achieve their goals.
Describe your perfect way to spend a free day:
If it’s a more typical free day, I love to work out, get some sun, enjoy a nice dinner with friends and family. But I’d also have to work at least a little, I really enjoy it! It helps my day feel complete. If it’s an actual vacation day though, I’d go to Disney World or Disneyland. I love a good amusement park day!
What makes you feel beautiful?
Dancing. My dance company Sa Dance had a show in New York a few weeks ago, and I felt like I was glowing for three days afterward!
Current top three go-to beauty products right now?
Your greatest life is on the other side of your greatest fear.
What was the most prominent reason for launching something like ClassPass?
I wanted to help others find what I found in dance. If ClassPass can help someone find their passion and keep at it, then I feel like I’ve succeeded.
What was the best business advice you’ve received and from whom?
My father said, “The only thing constant is change.” So, you have to learn to be adaptable and flexible. I revisit this advice in my personal and professional life all the time. It’s important to set goals but when you need to or you decide to, you can change them.
If you had to give your own, what would you advise to a budding entrepreneur?
Trust your instincts and get going!
As a woman who has achieved so much, how important has the support of other women been to your career?
It’s been paramount. My friends and the women I’ve surrounded myself with are all brave and amazing achievers that inspire me every day.
Who would you say is an inspirational mentor in your life?
Anjula Acharia. Anjula’s an entrepreneur, tech investor, and philanthropist and she’s one of my biggest role models. She’s so inspirational to me personally, because she is a South Asian woman who knew what she wanted and went after it fully. Her mentorship has helped me carve my own path.