Mary Alice Stephenson is a world-renowned style & beauty expert, philanthropist, mom and the founder of GLAM4GOOD. She has served as fashion director and editor for top fashion magazines, has worked with Hollywood’s biggest stars, and has made numerous television appearances. But it is her work using fashion to empower and inspire that Mary Alice is most proud of. She currently serves as the National Fashion Ambassador for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and has granted countless fashion related wishes for young girls struggling with life-threatening illnesses over the last ten years. She is an ambassador for Freearts NYC and in 2011 created STYLE4HEROES with the The Bob Woodruff Foundation to pamper our wounded warriors and their caretakers. In 2012, Mary Alice launched GLAM4GOOD, a social movement and brand that gives life changing makeovers, dramatic giveaways and inspiring, transformative fashion adventures to every day heroes.
When did you know you wanted to be in the fashion business?
I grew up in Michigan. I did not know anyone in the fashion business or in New York. I can remember at a very young age loving anything to do with fashion. At age 8, I used my allowance to buy fashion magazines. By age 12, I was the youngest Avon lady in the state of Michigan. When I was 16, I started working at a local fashion boutique, and by 17, I was styling everyone in the neighborhood. At 19, I started modeling locally in my college town of Boston and got a job at a fashion boutique on campus. I got my first official job in fashion as an assistant at Vogue by 23 and after years of hard work, I became the fashion director of Harper’s Bazaar at 35.
Since then, I have continued to achieve so many of the goals and dreams and have had a lucrative career as an editor, stylist, TV commentator and consultant. I use the examples of my early fashion experiences to show young people that at any age you can start living your dreams. Start right now! Connect to what makes you happy and do whatever you can to submerge yourself in your bliss wherever you are, with whatever tools you have! Slowly but surely you will achieve your goals as long as you connect to the power that you have to actualize those dreams. Nothing is impossible if you believe in yourself, work hard and keep striving for success. Just go do it. I promise that if you stop wishing, start doing and believe in yourself, anything is possible!
Tell us about Glam4Good.
As a way to bring balance to my career in fashion, I created GLAM4GOOD to give life-changing makeovers and dramatic fashion giveaways to transform lives and pamper people in need! Now GLAM4GOOD has turned into a movement, a community and an opportunity to ignite positive social change through style. GLAM4GOOD harnesses the healing power of fashion to create joy and boost self esteem.
Helping people was something that I had to do. I love every single aspect of my career, but when I started working for many philanthropic organizations and seeing the healing effect fashion can bring, my life changed. There’s a tremendous joy that comes from being of service. Once you experience that there is no turning back. At the end of the day I asked myself if all the magazine covers, celebrities and ad campaigns I had styled had really done anything to truly help make a difference in world. The answer was no. So I found a way I could still do what I’m passionate about and know that, when I leave this earth, I used fashion to truly change lives in a way that you can’t put a price tag on. I’ve had the honor to see fashion heal in such a profound way.
We have now launched a GLAM4GOOD destination in partnership with Huffington Post Style. You can go on GLAM4GOOD to read about our events and watch inspiring fashion videos and read posts about all the people and things that are not only glamorous but are making a difference in the world.
With everything you’re working on, how do you achieve work-life balance?
Every day I get to do what I love and am passionate about. Yes I have to work very, very hard but I know at the end of the day I make people feel beautiful and empowered and that brings me great pleasure and balance. When I do need to reboot I go to one of my favorite places in world, THE ASHRAM. It’s a week long detox for the mind, body and spirit! I also follow Deepak Chopra and Erica Ford on Twitter! Their inspiring, positive and meaningful tweets are soul quenching! @DeepakChopra @EricaFordNYC
Favorite thing about NYC?
My favorite thing about NYC is that on any given day, anything is possible!
What is your “power piece” – the one wardrobe in your item you can’t live without?
Jewelry adds soul to style. I can instantly “power” up any outfit by adding statement pieces that infuse my personality and mood. I like big bold pieces that instantly add a wow factor to even the most classic pieces in my closet! There is always fun, fashionable, well-priced pieces at Ann Taylor. I like to layer jewelry and try new combos every day another way! Instead of the old saying “when you are at the door take one piece off” my motto is put on one more!