#BridgingtheGap with Style and Grace
The first thing you notice, no surprise, is that Heidi Nazarudin has style. And I don’t mean simply that she dresses well, or always has the latest. Real style goes beyond the exterior. People like Heidi Nazarudin are simply born with it.
The second thing you notice is her voice. A little Dutch, a sprinkle of South African perhaps? And something else, but what? There’s just enough international mystery and authority in that voice that you lean in a little, slow down. Pause. That voice makes you want to know her.
“Uh oh, I’m outta my league here,” was my first thought when I checked out her site, TheAmbitionista.com for the “Bridging The Gap Campaign”. The woman has a giant following as an established brand in the style and fashion blogosphere.
I should mention here that until about seven years ago, I was the clueless yokel who bought clothes two sizes bigger than me, as long as they were ON SALE. I’m the gal that production scouts for make-over shows are scouring mini-malls to find; the one they love to get their claws into for fashion intervention segments. A romp through my closet might have scared Heidi away. True confession, I still have a pair of suede shoes from… gulp… college. But here’s the thing, while Heidi has to be acutely conscious of labels for her work, she isn’t at all interested in assigning labels to people. Which kind of made her the perfect person for me to interview for the #bridgingthecap campaign.
Partnering up with Heidi provided the opportunity for two women, at different stages in our lives, to rummage around in each other’s closets ( if you’ll pardon the pun) and find all of the positive ways in which we line up.
Clicking around on TheAmbitionista.com, I was hooked. Heidi’s beautifully constructed website draws you right in. I was nodding and drooling and relating and it was a great reminder that women, no matter what our age, stage, or orientation, when we let down our hair and pull off our masks, most of us are far more similar than we are different. And the “differences?” Thank the little baby Moses in a basket of rushes for those! It’s the differences that give us texture, make us interesting, and allow us to learn from one another.
Heidi has her finger on the pulse of what’s trending, useful and functional, whether it’s the latest luxury items or a new mass product that lets working women go about their daily lives stylishly and effortlessly – she’s all about products and services that saves time, money and lives up to its promises. Heidi has almost a million followers on her main social media channels and they all over the map, aged 25-40.
“Style is not about age, or price point, it’s about being more approachable,” says Heidi. And she demonstrates a wonderfully balanced sense of high/low. Some of the designers and brands she works with are Rolls Royce, Louis Vuitton, Fendi and Christian Dior – all the way to H&M and eBay (where she has completed 6 campaigns with them in 2017).
We chatted about how advertisers and brand managers are always trying to put consumers (and her!) into a box by age, income, region or ethnicity and nothing rankles her more than that.
When our conversation turned to age, my being in my 50’s and she closer to the millennial generation, we both bridled at the misconceptions and definitions. “Millennials are this….women over 50 are all that…” Nope. Zip it, we laughed. Nobody puts baby in a corner. Not these babies, anyway. “The truth,” says Heidi, “is that we can all learn from each other.”
“Age is a number,” says Heidi. “Literally. I have friends of all ages from the 20’s to 60’s and none of us looks at life that way. You can’t group people by age. It’s insane.”
One of the top misconceptions that fumes her is that women over 40 don’t buy clothes. And we talked about the very skewed perception because those women are exactly the people with the disposable income and the ability to wear it.
I asked her if there were any hard and fast rules in fashion and her answer made me laugh. “If you’re wearing the exact same clothes as your daughter, that could be a sign that you need a new look.” Wait, so was the polka dot halter top, daisy duke cut-offs and five inch stilettos the wrong looks to chaperone at the Justin Bieber concert? I’m kidding! Sheesh, have a little faith, I’m not that hopeless!
What’s my fashion pet peeve as a Fierce 50 gal? Where did all the sleeves go? Why are all the gorgeous dresses sleeveless? What if I don’t want my arms to show, even if the skin isn’t quite hanging off the bone? What if I’m cold? Why do all of the female newscasters look like they’re attending some black tie at the Russian Embassy, complete with plunging cleavage and GI Jane arms? Heidi had some great answers for me from the designer side, which led to another whole conversation about clothes and comfort. The lady knows her stuff. She needs to start designing.
Before we rang off, ( Heidi was whispering down Sunset Boulevard, or maybe Rodeo Drive in her car when we spoke, which seemed pretty romantic as I microwaved a Lean Cuisine) I asked her what she would tell her 20 year old self?
“I would tell the 20-year old me not to care too much what my friends think,” she answered without hesitation. “Do what’s right for you, and stop worrying so much. Don’t let other people define you or put you down.”
Amen to that, sister.
Please join us in Reciprocal Mentorship … reach out to someone in your opposite demographic and share your stories, your hearts, and your dreams. You will find that we have so much to offer each other. Come on along! Bridge the Gap.