While I often wonder what “having it all” means, I do once in a while cross paths with people who embody this idea- most recently, Michelle Olsen, Vice President Brand Development, BeautyDNA. She has a successful career in the beauty industry, working with Dermstore from early on and now with BeautyDNA; she is happily married to a great guy named David, also formerly of Dermstore and now working with Net-A-Porter . She has three beautiful daughters. And she looks like what I always thought was the perfect depiction of a southern California woman: blonde, fit, heart-warming all-American smile. We caught up recently for breakfast in New York City, and she shared some of her secrets. My favorite? “Everything in moderation. Except champagne.” Given the recently reported health benefits of champagne, this is advice worth following!
AP: What city were you born in? MO: San Pedro, CA.
AP: What city to do you live in? MO: Mahwah, NJ.
AP: What is your middle name? MO: Nizich, my maiden name. I had my former middle name Briana changed after I was married.
AP: What is your astrological sign? MO: Cancer.
AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? MO: My sister, Devon and I have the same exact feet. It sounds weird, but we both have really large big toes. My left one is named Bertha.
AP: What is your most prized possession? MO: My family.
AP: If you could have dinner with the person of your choice, who would it be? MO: My dad’s mother, who passed away when I was very young. I would love to have a conversation with her as an adult.
AP: Describe your fashion style in three words maximum. MO: Feminine, classic, practical.
AP: Do you wear a watch? If yes, what model? MO: Sometimes. Usually Shinola.
AP: Diamonds or pearls? MO: Diamonds.
AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? MO: I believe you attract what you put in the universe so stay positive.
AP: What fragrance do you wear? MO: Liaisons Dangereuses, Kilian and Joya, Composition No. 6.
AP: Botox or not? MO: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder so it’s an individual decision.
AP: Hair color: natural or not? MO: Not, but I’m trying to achieve my formerly natural color. David at Artists and Architects Salon in Ridgewood, NJ is incredible.
AP: What are your special diet tips, if any? MO: Everything in moderation, except champagne.
AP: What do you do for exercise? MO: I love the Fitness Barre in Waldwick, NJ. Robin is the BEST!
AP: What are three things that you always have in your fridge? MO: Milk, bacon and eggs. We get a weekly delivery from a milk co-op to make sure those basics are always stocked. It saves time and I like that it comes straight from the farm.
AP: What is your cocktail of choice? MO: A Ketel One martini, extra dirty.
AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? MO: My motto is one day at a time. I try to stay present and focused on the most import priority each day and it usually varies by day.
AP: How many miles do you fly per year on average? MO: It’s slowed down a bit. Probably about 30k now, but at my previous job I was commuting to LA. It was brutal, but I do miss executive platinum status and staying with my family out there.
AP: What are your three top tips for travel? MO: 1. Try on complete outfits and make sure you love them before you pack. You’ll end up packing less and loving what you wear. 2. Always pack an eye mask, warm socks, earphones and a scarf in your purse or carry on. There is nothing worse than being too cold on a plane. 3. Do the TSA precheck screening — it’s worth the $100. Or don’t, that line keeps getting longer.
AP: 3 songs on your iPod right now. MO: Downtown – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Can’t Feel My Face – The Weekend, and I’m embarrassed to admit it but Sorry, Justin Bieber.
AP: What book are you reading right now? MO: Hating Women, Shmuley Boteach.
AP: Quote to live by. MO: “Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better, and your better is best.” St. Jerome.
AP: What is your worst pet peeve? MO: Group think and chronic negativity.
AP: What time do you usually wake up in the morning, and how many hours of sleep do you usually get? MO: 6:00 or 6:30am. I try for eight but usually end up getting around seven hours.
AP: What is your favorite thing about the beauty industry? MO: The products. I’m a beauty junkie at heart and can appreciate all the elements involved in product development and bringing an idea to life.
AP: Least favorite thing. MO: The shift in social media and the increasing pressure teens feel to be perfect and beautiful. Since I have three young daughters, I’m curious to know the proper amount of exposure.
AP: Who is your mentor? MO: My mentor is Rose, who was my boss when I was in college. She taught me about integrity, work ethic and loyalty.
AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. MO: Be mindful. Be kind. Be courageous. Be flexible. Be on time. Be honest.