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Interview

Get Caught in the (Veronica) Webb: Model, Mogul, & Mom

This former Victoria’s Secret model is using her online platform to “smash the rules and redefine what it means to be a woman.”

Veronica Webb was one of the first African American models to fiercely sashay her way to the forefront of the fashion industry. From humble beginnings in a working class family living in Detroit, Webb has accomplished much since her early days as an aspiring animator and design student. After getting scouted by a makeup artist in a housewares boutique, she went on to model for Victoria’s Secret and Chanel and pose for Elle, Vogue, and Essence. She also worked with Karl Lagerfeld and Azzedine Alaia, who taught her French when the two lived together in Paris. Très magnifique!

After becoming the first black spokesmodel for a major cosmetics company (Revlon!), Veronica moved her success to the big screen with roles in Jungle Fever and Malcolm X. Where can we find Veronica Webb now? Try her blog, Webb On The Fly, where she gives us her inside scoop on beauty, fashion, fitness, and lifestyle— or read below to access Veronica’s latest life musings and favorite places to be.

What does it mean to you to be an empowered woman today?

Putting my own health and well-being in front of everything else. My mother was always independent. She was a triage nurse in the US Army, so she served many hours in active duty. While raising three successful children along with my dad, she continued to take college courses to advance her career until she retired at 65!

But do you know what came last? Her health. My mom worked so hard, and she was super fit and energetic, but not making time for daily exercise took its toll eventually. Alzheimer’s and dental complications ravaged her physical being. My sister, who is a physician, and I both feel that Mom would not have suffered so deeply at the end of her life if she had the time or allowed herself to make the time.

How has social media impacted your life and career?

Social media as a business tool is brilliant! I’m by no means a digital native. I started my blog WebbOnTheFly.com when I was 50 years old, and it gave my career as a model and a fashion & beauty writer a second life. There is nothing more powerful for my brand to tell my own story. Fashion, beauty, and health information for women over 40 is not as easy to access as you might think. So many subjects are taboo for women in mid-life: Menopause, sexual function, limited career opportunities, and seeing women pigeonholed as symbols of fashion and beauty. Webb On The Fly addresses all of these things and more.

What would you say to other women about how to navigate the world right now?

Take time to sit quietly, do nothing, and listen to yourself. We’re bombarded by shouting arguments over politics, race, and gender identity all day long. I feel like no one is listening to each other and rhetoric is the word of the day. It’s overwhelming. Listening to what’s on my heart at the beginning and the end of the day helps me navigate my relationships. This allows me to help friends, family, and colleagues come to a place where they can talk and listen to others with contrasting opinions.

What is one of the biggest challenges you have faced and how did you work through it?

Honestly, aging. My claim to fame began with my modeling career — a profession completely dependent on youth. Diversity was not a priority for brands during the eighties. Finding work as a model was difficult if not impossible for months at a time. I had also stepped away to have and raise children which made re-entering the job market that much more difficult.

So, I moved my skills and assets online. I think that the internet is the best thing for women working from home since the spinning wheel. You can launch a business from your kitchen table! I launched my blog WebbOnTheFly.com and used social media as free form of advertising. I’m growing, learning, changing, and mentoring other women in this space every day.


YOUR CAREER
The best piece of advice you have ever received…

“It is never too late to try something, learn something, do something or become something.” – My Mom, Marion Webb

How the fashion industry has changed since your career began…

The internet has blown open the gates and allowed everyone who loves fashion to have a platform. Women using social media have done one of fashion’s most important jobs: smash the rules and redefine what it means to be a woman.

How you use your platform…

To exchange information on health, beauty, and business.

YOUR CITY
Go-to lunch place…

Dig Inn, on the daily! It’s clean food served quickly in a cool atmosphere. When I want to splurge, I go to Majorelle at the Lowell Hotel in NYC for clean food served superbly in a sumptuous atmosphere.

A night on the town…

Dinner at Kung Fu Noodle Little Steamed Bun and a broadway show. Back home, we cuddle up on the couch with some NightFood ice cream! Since we all want to pig out before bed and get away with it, we might as well indulge in ice cream formulated by sleep experts with calcium magnesium and prebiotic fiber to help you sleep.

A spot to shop…

En Avance Miami. I always find the best under-the-radar designers before they appear in big department stores. The level of personal service is truly amazing.

YOUR BEAUTY
Must-have skincare products…

Huge fan of Valmont V Line Lifting Cream. It’s the perfect intersection of science and natural ingredients. ANYTHING that contains a physical sunscreen!!! I can’t stress this enough.

Don’t forget to treat your body as well as you treat your face! Kayo face-grade natural non-toxic body serums, soap, and scrubs are delicious!

Favorite makeup products…

ANYTHING that contains a physical sunscreen!!! I can’t stress this enough. It Cosmetics makes a CC cream foundation that is out of this world. Elta tinted sunscreen and Colorescience powder literally save my skin!

How you stay active…

I stretch BEFORE I get out of bed to make my day a little easier. I cycle through Barre, Yoga, HIIT, and SoulCycle on a weekly basis.

Your philosophies of aging gracefully…

It’s not about what you feel you’ve lost; it’s about everything you’ve experienced and acquired in life. If you don’t count your blessings and achievements, you will never know your worth or your wealth.

Teresa Deely

Teresa Deely is a junior at Columbia University majoring in English and Creative Writing. As President of the Columbia University Glee Club, she loves to sing, make music, and celebrate multiple modes of artistic expression. She believes that one’s skin is yet another canvas and vehicle for art, and has loved styling her hair and applying makeup from a young age. While she has spent most of her time in educating youth and leading enrichment programs for children, she is highly motivated in discovering new ways to care for herself and sharing them with others.

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