Jewel Toned is a brand committed to supporting the curves and dreams of all women. As much as our shapers tone your incredible curves, we believe the stories behind the women who live their dreams set the tone for our culture as a brand and as women.
Our latest project, Jewel Toned: The Heart Series, explores women with strong feminine qualities in a variety of inspirational ways. Our inaugural interview is with Karen Firsel.
Firsel is a media maven and mother of two, whose CV includes production for Ann Curry, Anderson Cooper, and Oprah (the one and O-nly). We spoke with Karen about her early days in television, her transition from news to lifestyle, balancing a career and family, and her thoughts on media for the current moms and future mavens in us all.
I was born and raised in Chicago, I attended University of Illinois for college.
She looks at me and says, “That’s not gonna happen. Oh, no you’re not! TV, that’s so rare that it actually works…” I remember that conversation, so I just worked really hard - I was a broadcast journalism major at Illinois and was very fortunate to find good connections with my first internship which was Peter Jennings World Nightly News, and my second internship was with David Letterman in New York.
I think girls are still focused on fashion magazines, and the body images of those women and the models are obviously so unattainable. I think we do have a lot to move from in the right direction, in terms of those types of images that are just bombarding us. I do feel - listen, I have it on my phone - they have those apps where you can make your skin look flawless and you can really change so much of a picture so much so that you’re like, “That doesn’t even look like me!”
Someone asked me the other day about some media personalities that I aspire to or look up to and I only had a couple on my list and they’re with... The Today Show. Listen, I love the Kardashians because I love the business around them, I love that the sisterhood is so great - but we don’t have a great amount of role models in terms of media to focus on.
My daughter is a huge soccer player, I love that the women’s team did so well and won The World Cup.
I think that’s amazing, I think those are our idols for these girls… girls who are athletic, girls who are working as hard as they can, or girls who are running companies, or people who are working - I think that’s where the role models should come from; in the media there aren’t a lot of really good role models for girls - even for me, I was like, "that’s a hard question…" like, well I love Maria Menunos, because I do love her, and then I love Tamron Hall, but then I was like…
Ellen is an amazing person to aspire to because her entire being is about thoughtfulness and kindness and she’s really taught tolerance, which is the most important thing we have to teach our kids is tolerance.
in terms of finding the right role model for these girls. The fashion magazines are not going away, the reality stars are not going away, but you’ve got to sort of weed through that to get to the good stuff.
I think authenticity is really important to me. I think individuality and being exactly who you are and if it’s not who everyone else around you is, that’s okay. I think, being myself and sort of bending the rules or bending the what people want to box you into makes me feel the most happy happy; because that means being a product of being authentic, being myself, and being able to not conform what I think other people think I should be or want me to be.
I’m fueled by my friendships. My girlfriends are very important to me. There’s a group of five of us who have gone through preschool through now together, and we’re all still friends. We’re very different; I say we have more commonalities than we have differences, but we are still as tight as ever through 40 years of friendship and I feel very lucky to have that group of girls. We tell it how it is, we don’t judge, we are so different, but at the same time we can come together and rely on each other and just knowing you have really really good friends who are there for you and understand what you’re going through, I think that fuels a lot.
I’m impressed with you all. I love what you do. I love women being entrepreneurial in spirit and just again carving their own path, changing the game, I think is really important, and I think there’s a place for everybody.
May 25, 2017
Posted by Devon Norris
May 22, 2017
Posted by Devon Norris