A renowned Los Angeles OB/GYN, published author, wife and mother, Dr. Michele Hakakha is ultra-talented and inspiring; we can’t wait for you to meet her. Now 12 years into running her own practice – a gorgeous state-of-the-art facility in Beverly Hills – Michele cares for everyone from celebrities to at-risk teenagers while raising her two young daughters with her husband, who also happens to be an OB/GYN doctor. Today, as part of our Women of Style series, Michele shares her career and women’s health advice along with her stylish picks and tricks for balancing work and personal life (hint: get up early!).
Her First Job
Michele (L) in Maui as a child. "This was taken in the '70s. My My sister and I loved to dig in the sand as children." Photo: Courtesy
"I grew up on Maui and worked in the operating room at Maui Memorial Hospital. I stocked sutures and sterilized surgical supplies, all the while wishing I was behind the doors of the actual operating suites. It taught me to realize that it takes a lot of people to help make my current job happen, from the janitors cleaning the rooms in the hospital all the way up to the nursing staff."
Challenges Of Training
Michele during her residency at Ceders Sinai Medical Center. Photo: Courtesy
"The time commitment is the biggest challenge. It takes four years of college, four years of medical school and finally, four years of residency - working 80 to 100 hours a week. We give up all of our twenties to school and training.
Her Advice For Students... "You have to do what you love. I can't tell you how many times different people tried to talk me out of going into this field because of the long hours and rising malpractice insurance rates. But ultimately, if you are happy going into work every day, it is worth everything."
What She Loves About Her Job
Michele with friends on her 40th birthday. Photo: Courtesy
"I love the relationships that I make with women. I am lucky enough to be there through many of the most wonderful (and challenging) times in a woman's life...puberty, marriage, pregnancy and menopause. I am privileged to have women share their most intimate secrets and experiences. I may be the only person that a young teenage girl tells about a recent rape. Knowing that she trusts me and knows that I will do whatever I can to help her creates a tremendous bond. And, being a woman and mother myself, I love that I can bring some wisdom and real life experience into a conversation."
The Downsides... "The hours can be extremely demanding. Labors can be long and deliveries often happen in the middle of the night. Sleep or no sleep, the next day still begins with two little girls asking for breakfast and a full day at work in the office."
The best career advice I've ever received is to follow your intuition. It has taken me a few years, but now I know that if my intuition is telling me that something isn't right, it usually isn't. I've learned there is a lot more to medicine than what's in a textbook.
He Role Model Or Mentor
Michele wearing Giambattista Valli. Photo: Courtesy
"I don't know that I have just one mentor or role model. There have been many women in medicine who have inspired me and who have taught me that you can have it all. I've watched them through my training and career, and I've seen how they manage a family, a demanding career in medicine and still have time for themselves. Seeing so many do it before me has allowed me to be confident that I would be able to do it too."
Misconceptions Around Women's Health
Left: Michele on her wedding day. Right: Michele's daughters. Photos: Courtesy
"There are so many myths and fallacies surrounding conception, pregnancy and childbirth, and so many women believe them. This was part of the reason I decided to co-author Expecting 411: Clear Answers & Smart Advice for Your Pregnancy a few years ago. It's a down-to-earth book on all the things a pregnant woman should know, and all the things she shouldn't worry about."
Common Health Mistakes Women Make... "Thinking that what they do now won't affect them in the future. I still see young girls smoking and making bad decisions regarding sexual partners. I always tell patients that "no one will protect you the way that you can protect yourself". Everything that a young women does to her body now can affect her in the future. It's so important to eat well, stop smoking, consume alcohol in moderation, use condoms and sleep. I see so many young women with a real disconnect between present and future."
Style & Personal Life
Her Personal Style
Equipment Silk Tee, $283, Stella McCartney Clutch, $1080, Paige Jeans, $199, Lanvin Flats, $484.
"I am often told that my style is very classic. During the day, I like to keep things simple. I love to wear a pair of really good-fitting skinny jeans from Paige or Mother with a silk shirt and some Lanvin flats. For an evening out, I tend to pick things that are feminine but still have an edge to them. I always add a burst of color with my accessories, whether it be my shoes or handbag. I just got a Stella McCartney linen fold-over clutch in a lipstick-color that I'm crazy about!"
I don't understand why people think that the more education you have, the less likely you are to be interested in fashion. I love fashion and all that goes with it.
Her Beauty Must-Haves
Chanel Illusion Eye Shadow in Fatal, $36; Clarins Double Serum Age Control Concentrate, $115; Lancome Juicy Tubes, $18; Chanel Sculpting Eyebrow Pencil, $29; Clarins Extra-Firming Eye Cream, $61.
"I adore Clarins products! Their extra-firming eye serum in particular is a life saver for swollen, puffy eyes and their double serum is wonderful to use at night. I love Chanel makeup, especially their shadows and eyebrow pencils. If I need a quick pick me up, I love Lancôme's ultra shiny lip gloss."
For A Glam Night Out
Manolo Blahnik BB Suede Pump, $595
"Definitely heels! I don't get to dress up much at work and am often wearing scrubs and tennis shoes. So, if I am going out at night I usually dress my wardrobe up with a great stiletto like a Jimmy Choo or Louboutin. This past season, I invested in a great pair of BB pumps from Manolo Blahnik."
Her Fashion Industry Icon
Michele on her 40th birthday. Photo: Courtesy
"I love Stella McCartney. Her pieces are so classic without being too frilly or over the top, and I can continue to wear them season after season. I wore a black strapless dress of hers to my 40th birthday party a few years ago. The silhouette of the dress was very flattering, and I felt amazing."
Her Favorite Tech Gadgets
Apple iPad 2, $349
"I can't live without my Samsung Galaxy S4! It helps me keep all my multitasking in order! I also love my iPad. There is a great app called Airstrip OB that lets me check in on all of my patients in labor, allowing me to keep an eye on both mom and baby when I'm out of the hospital."
How She Balances Work And Personal Life
Left: Michele's bedroom; Right: Lake Tahoe. Photo: Courtesy
"I started waking up about 10 minutes before everyone else and making a cup of tea. I sit in my living room or in a cozy corner of my bedroom and just enjoy the peace and quiet. I think ahead to all the things I have to do in the next 24 hours and prioritize everything. I may read a bit of news or a few pages in the current book I've started. It helps me have a little bit of time for myself because chances are that I may not have any for the rest of the day!"
"I also love to get out into nature. I grew up on the side of Haleakala on the island of Maui. Since moving to LA 16 years ago, I miss being with nature a bit more. Each summer our family rents a cabin on the shore of North Lake Tahoe and we spend our time kayaking, river rafting, horseback riding or just watching the calm of the water. It keeps me grounded."
Three Things We Didn't Know About Michele
Michele with her family. Photo: Courtesy
1.) "I'm a Virgo so I'm obsessive about cleanliness and order." 2.) "I drive my husband crazy moving picture frames around and making sure everything is in place." 3.) "I speak Farsi. My husband is Persian and I learned the language when we started dating back in the late '90s. No one ever expects me to speak or understand it so it's fun to eavesdrop."