There is no shortage of amazing achievements being made by women all over the world. From new businesses, to nonprofit organizations to movements like “#metoo,” which highlighted the prevalence of sexual harassment, it’s clear that women are unstoppable.
What else is clear? Women’s ages play no role in their impact. Although society still has an antiquated view of what women can accomplish past a certain age (or what they can’t accomplish before a certain age, for that matter), women prove time and time again that age, truly, is just a number.
For Jenifer Byington and Helene Bry, age is something to embrace—especially when getting older simply means becoming wiser (and a whole lot more fabulous). Jenifer and Helene, best friends who could be sisters with their beautiful blue eyes, blonde hair, and fit physiques, recently founded The Evolista—a lifestyle blog tailored to women in their late 30s to early 50s.
We sat down with Byington and Bry to learn more about they’re shaking up the blog world with The Evolista.
What was the motivation behind starting Evolista?
We saw the lack of blogs out there for women our age. Twenty/Thirty somethings have these beautiful lifestyle blogs for single girls, married, and small kids. Travel blogs have gorgeous trip inspiration posts. We wanted something that would have that same beautiful feel but talk about the things women in their 40s+ would find interesting.
Tell us how you both met!
Helene loves to tell this story because she thinks it has shock value - we met in bible study. Somehow people want to console us for the fact that we may be interested in faith.
What type of content can we expect to see on your platform?
We hope to fill the niche of doing something for yourself whether it’s about fitness, beauty, health, fashion, travel or entertaining. We want to show women what fun things are available for them.
How does your brand make an impact for women?
Women have a tendency to take care of everyone and everything else, sometimes at the expense of themselves. Getting older opens a world of possibilities for us. We see that as an opportunity to evolve into the best, most interesting versions of ourselves. We want to create a community where women have an opportunity to share their wisdom and fun ideas so we can all evolve together.
What are your favorite women’s causes?
Truly all causes that are geared towards women are our favorites but if we are naming names, we love that the Women Like Us Foundation focuses on women who are essentially being abused. These women need a champion and WLUF humbly serves them. Glamour Project is another one. It was started by Kara Fox and Evvy Shapero as a way to give women a happy moment. They go into shelters, put makeup on the ladies and take glamour photographs. It’s amazing to see the transformation that happens in the course of an hour. The women are very guarded at the beginning of the process and they gradually open up and actually start having fun just like we all did playing dress up or getting ready for a big night out now. I believe it reminds them of the person that has been hidden inside of them that they thought was gone forever.
Why is gender equality an important issue for you?
There is absolutely a bias in the workplace towards women and beyond that, inequity towards women in the world, especially in 3rd world countries. With respect to the workplace, it’s important for women to view their potential to rise as limitless and to work hard to achieve their goals. If you believe in a glass ceiling, you can bet you will find it. There are many women who faced obstacles, crashed right through that glass ceiling and did things their own way. Any of us who have kids know that the reason they get what they want is they don’t accept “no” for an answer. On a world level, it’s so hard to watch what women go through. Women around the world are in abusive situations just because they are female. We are so thankful for women (even girls like Malala) who stand up and do something. Everytime we see a profile on 60 minutes or read a news story about one of these women, we are so inspired. The Women Like Us Foundation is doing amazing work on behalf of women domestically and abroad that are suffering terrible abuse.
If you could name three women leaders that inspire you the most, who would they be and why?
It’s hard to pick just three female leaders because there are so many inspirational women out there, but here goes…
- Oprah is the ultimate inspirational leader. The fact that she suffered abuse, dealt with discrimination, worked her butt off for years on end to be the trailblazer that she is, championed people that needed a champion and showed us insight into the world on so many levels is what makes her one of our favorites. Oprah did a series on India where she profiled women from various income levels to show, not only gender inequality but the plight of women in India at the poverty level. It was shocking.
- Sara Blakely is such an incredible role model. After a lackluster Xerox sales job, she created a disruption to the pantyhose industry and made Spanx a household name. Her example as a young female entrepreneur and self-made billionaire is a game changer for so many. We heard her speak about embracing failure as an opportunity to take risks and grow from the experience. Whether you apply that in your work or personal life, it can have amazing effects.
- Coco Chanel started from nothing and became one of the most influential fashion icons of all time. She created an empire in a world ruled by men. She was responsible for getting women out of corsets and gave them the freedom of dressing in things that were formally just for a male wardrobe like pants and suits. It might not sound like a big deal but she literally gave women the freedom to move comfortably. She refused to follow trends and many of her designs are as relevant today as they were back then like the little black dress. She was the first designer to have a fragrance, which is one of the biggest channels of income for the fashion industry today.
What’s next for Evolista?
Our journey has really just begun. We will continue posting content on the blog about fitness, health, beauty and travel. We will be adding fashion into the mix. Also, keep an eye out for fun video content that will probably make you laugh but you also may garner some valuable tips. Ask us this question again in six months and we will definitely have a lot more to say.
Learn more about Evolista here.