If there’s anything we gleaned from our Women Of Style series, it’s that picking mentors to look up to for guidance and inspiration is a success must. Whether you’re pursuing a career in business, entertainment or design — choosing a roster of muses will serve you well.
Read on for 14 expert takes on inspirational influences and the role models who’ve impacted their lives.
Natalie Massenet, Founder Of Net-A-Porter
"I've always been inspired by Anna Wintour. She represents the intersection between the dream of fashion and the commercial viability and vision."
More from Natalie, here.
Mandana Dayani, VP Of Rachel Zoe Inc.
“I would have to say the absolute best part of my job is having the opportunity to work alongside a strong, smart, loyal, ambitious woman and mother – a role model and a huge source of inspiration for everyone at our company. I never fully understood the importance of a ‘role model’ until I began working with Rachel. But witnessing firsthand her ability to balance family, work and life has really enabled all of us to believe that, well…we can have it all.”
More from Mandana, here.
Jennifer Meyer, Jewelry Designer
"I'm really lucky that after I won runner-up for the Vogue CFDA challenge my mentor became Diane Von Furstenburg. Saying that still gives me chills. She gives me incredible advice daily. It's mind blowing."
More from Jennifer, here.
Dylan Lauren, Founder Of Dylan's Candy Bar
"I have always looked up to my parents, Ralph and Ricky Lauren. They are both very successful, down to earth and have a nice balance of creativity and business savvy."
More from Dylan, here.
Donna Karan, Fashion Designer And Philanthropist
"Anne Klein and Patti Capelli. They took this young girl and worked with me until I got it. I stand on their shoulders."
More from Donna, here.
Nevena Borissova, Stylist And Entrepreneur
"On a fashion level, I LOVE Mira Duma! She gets it on every level. I think she is not only a trendsetter but quite a smart business woman. I also admire the business sense of Mickey Drexler and Andrew Rosen."
More from Nevena, here.
Stephanie Von Watzdorf, Designer
“I have to say Dries Van Noten is one of my all-time role models. He is one of my favorite designers. I admire his art, his creations and the way he runs his business. He always does what he loves.”
More from Stephanie, here.
Amber Valletta, Model And Environmentalist
“Christy Turlington Burns is a definite role model. From her modeling career and extraordinary beauty to her intelligence, integrity and selflessness through Every Mother Counts, Christy is just a fantastic role model and has always been an inspiration to me.”
More from Amber, here.
Jessica Alba, Actor And Entrepreneur
“I’ve been lucky to have a number of great mentors like Tory Burch, and my business partner Brian Lee. They’ve offered great insight into founding a start-up, turning my ideas into tangible products, and maintaining authenticity in the marketplace. Of course, they also inspired me to go for it!"
More from Jessica, here.
Catherine Walsh, Senior Vice President At Coty
“I have many and can count on both hands the people that have changed my life. As a role model, Sarah Jessica Parker. Smart as a wip, extremely cultured, wise, nobel, caring and compassionate. Oh, and did I say fun? She has taught me how to keep it real.”
More from Catherine, here.
Margherita Missoni, Missoni Brand Ambassador
"My grandmother Rosita and my mother Angela have had a huge influence on me. They taught me to distance myself from the fashion universe. A great passion for our job runs in the family, but we also know that this is not the most important thing in the world, so we live our lives with lots of irony and detachment."
More from Margherita, here.
Beth Buccini, Co-Founder Of Kirna Zabete
"Jade Hobson. She was the Creative Director of Vogue for a long time, and started Mirabella magazine with Grace Mirabella. She was my boss at both Mirabella and New York Magazine. She’s now at Town & Country. She really taught me about the editor’s eye - in everything from flowers, to home, to fashion!"
More from Beth, here.