We all know that the best moms out there have capes hiding under their regular clothes. They are gifted with the ability to do it all, while still making sure their cherished children are smiling. Molly Sims’ world revolves around her three kids, yet she manages to thrive in various careers simultaneously, from modeling and acting to starting her own jewelry line and getting involved in philanthropy. We asked her to give us the rundown on her professional and personal life, and how they seem to coexist so seamlessly.
1. Can you tell us a bit about your personal background? Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like?
Family is the most important thing to me. I grew up in Kentucky with my mom, dad, and brother in a very close-knit family. My brother and I love to get our families together with our parents. We do this frequently because our time with each other is very precious. Everything my parents taught me, I instill in my own children. My mom taught me to love unconditionally, and my dad taught me to never give up.
2. When did you enter the modeling world? How were you discovered and what were your first impressions of the industry?
At the end of my sophomore year in college, a girlfriend who had experience in modeling suggested I take some photos with a fashion photographer she'd worked with in Memphis. So I drove myself down to Memphis, took my first ever modeling pictures, and sent them off to the New York agencies. When a few agreed to meet me, I flew out with my mom and I was signed with Next Model Management.
3. Can you share any anecdotes for what it was like being a model and whether or not you felt supported by the industry or industry mentors or not? Were there any specific challenges you had to overcome/lessons you learned?
The number one thing you have to accept in the modeling industry is hearing the word “no." You're never going to be the tallest or most beautiful girl in the room, but you can be the most determined. I had to learn to accept this and never give up my determination to succeed.
"My brother and I love to get our families together with our parents. We do this frequently because our time with each other is very precious. Everything my parents taught me, I instill in my own children. My mom taught me to love unconditionally, and my dad taught me to never give up." Photo courtesy of mollysims.com
4. Please share a bit about what life was like for you as you as an actor. What were some of the highlights/challenges?
Acting for me was a dream come true. I feel so lucky to have had my experience on the show Las Vegas. It ran for five years (which was practically unheard of) and that cast became my second family.
"My son has always been affected by eczema, not crazy bad, but it flares up where we need hydrocortisone. I found [ProCure] and it uses coconut oil and is very emollient. It doesn't sting or burn, and it makes his eczema feel so much better"
5. Do you have any advice for balancing motherhood and marriage? Do you have any go-to philosophies or life mottos?
You have to take each day at a time. Being a mom is my greatest joy. My family, or my "tribe of five" as I like to call us, is my entire life.
6. What advice do you give for women who have a really bad day/month/etc? What has helped you dust yourself off and put yourself out there after a set back?
Never let a bad day get you down. This industry is tough and it will knock you down, but if you want to succeed, you can never stop working. It's easy to look in the mirror and critique yourself, but you have to remember you are beautiful and strong, and that if you believe in yourself, you will accomplish your goals.
7. Can you speak about your experience in business and entrepreneurship, including launching your own jewelry line? What was that like? Can you share the challenges/high points?
I launched my signature jewelry line called Grayce with HSN in 2010. It was a great experience learning how to put myself out there creatively in ways other than modeling and acting. I have my own sense of style, so I wasn't sure if people would appreciate what I found stylish. It truly was a great experience that kickstarted everything else I've done.8. How did you get involved with ProCure? Do you use it personally? Can you share what it does for you? How do you work with the brand?
Being a mom of three you have to be organized at all times. It started when I created travel kits and first-aid kids for each of my kids. My son has always been affected by eczema, not crazy bad, but it flares up where we need hydrocortisone. I found [ProCure] and it uses coconut oil and is very emollient. It doesn't sting or burn, and it makes his eczema feel so much better. So that's ultimately how I got involved. I try to use things that are paraben-free and as organic as possible. It really takes any itch, burn, or pain away.
9. Can you talk briefly about the philanthropic causes that you champion? Please share why these are your passion projects?
Giving back is so important to me and it's something my entire family cares about. I'm passionate about Baby2Baby and everything they do for low-income children. At my son Brooks' sixth birthday party we just did a backpack drive for Baby2Baby. Instead of bringing gifts, guests brought backpacks to donate.
10. Any fun summer plans? Can you share any tips for navigating family vacations while still looking cool, calm and under control?
We always spend summer in the Hamptons. It's such a great getaway from LA and gives us a chance to slow down and be together. While traveling with my babies can be tough, I always keep my big bag of tricks with me. We've got snacks on hand, legos, bottles...anything you could need!
11. Who would you want to play you in a movie about your life?
Definitely Sarah Jessica Parker. She'd add a little glam, a little humor, and a lot of style.
12. What is the first thing you do in the morning?
The first thing I do in the morning is get myself and my children dressed and ready for the day. Although getting kids up and dressed can be the most challenging part of the morning, I make it a priority to prepare ahead of time and pick out all of our outfits the night before. This is the best way to get the morning started on the right foot.
13. What is your biggest beauty secret?
My biggest beauty secret is skincare. When your skin is fresh and flawless you can tackle anything. I love serums, moisturizers, face masks, eye patches...you name it. I'm currently loving the Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask created by Marianna Hewitt and Lauren Gores Ireland. It's the best for travel, and as a busy mom I'm always on the go.
14. Please name something that is always in your purse.
In my bag I always have Wet Ones (I'm a mom, so that's an obvious one), some type of moisturizer, a pair of sunglasses, and snacks.
15. What is your go-to karaoke song?
If you know me, you know I'm a huge karaoke fanatic. Give me a mic and I will sing my heart out. I love a good, upbeat song.
Women of the Middle East have made significant strides in the past decade in a number of sectors, but huge gaps remain within the labor market, especially in leadership roles.
A huge number of institutions have researched and quantified trends of and obstacles to the full utilization of females in the marketplace. Gabriela Ramos, is the Chief-of-Staff to The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an alliance of thirty-six governments seeking to improve economic growth and world trade. The OECD reports that increasing participation in the women's labor force could easily result in a $12 trillion jump in the global GDP by the year 2025.
To realize the possibilities, attention needs to be directed toward the most significantly underutilized resource: the women of MENA—the Middle East and North African countries. Educating the men of MENA on the importance of women working and holding leadership roles will improve the economies of those nations and lead to both national and global rewards, such as dissolving cultural stereotypes.
The OECD reports that increasing participation in the women's labor force could easily result in a $12 trillion jump in the global GDP by the year 2025.
In order to put this issue in perspective, the MENA region has the second highest unemployment rate in the world. According to the World Bank, more women than men go to universities, but for many in this region the journey ends with a degree. After graduating, women tend to stay at home due to social and cultural pressures. In 2017, the OECD estimated that unemployment among women is costing some $575 billion annually.
Forbes and Arabian Business have each published lists of the 100 most powerful Arab businesswomen, yet most female entrepreneurs in the Middle East run family businesses. When it comes to managerial positions, the MENA region ranks last with only 13 percent women among the total number of CEOs according to the Swiss-based International Labor Organization (ILO.org publication "Women Business Management – Gaining Momentum in the Middle East and Africa.")
The lopsided tendency that keeps women in family business—remaining tethered to the home even if they are prepared and capable of moving "into the world"—is noted in a report prepared by OECD. The survey provides factual support for the intuitive concern of cultural and political imbalance impeding the progression of women into the workplace who are otherwise fully capable. The nations of Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, Jordan and Egypt all prohibit gender discrimination and legislate equal pay for men and women, but the progressive-sounding checklist of their rights fails to impact on "hiring, wages or women's labor force participation." In fact, the report continues, "Women in the six countries receive inferior wages for equal work… and in the private sector women rarely hold management positions or sit on the boards of companies."
This is more than a feminist mantra; MENA's males must learn that they, too, will benefit from accelerating the entry of women into the workforce on all levels. Some projections of value lost because women are unable to work; or conversely the amount of potential revenue are significant.
Elissa Freiha, founder of Womena, the leading empowerment platform in the Middle East, emphasizes the financial benefit of having women in high positions when communicating with men's groups. From a business perspective it has been proven through the market Index provider MSCI.com that companies with more women on their boards deliver 36% better equity than those lacking board diversity.
She challenges companies with the knowledge that, "From a business level, you can have a potential of 63% by incorporating the female perspective on the executive team and the boards of companies."
Freiha agrees that educating MENA's men will turn the tide. "It is difficult to argue culturally that a woman can disconnect herself from the household and community." Her own father, a United Arab Emirates native of Lebanese descent, preferred she get a job in the government, but after one month she quit and went on to create Womena. The fact that this win-lose situation was supported by an open-minded father, further propelled Freiha to start her own business.
"From a business level, you can have a potential of 63% by incorporating the female perspective on the executive team and the boards of companies." - Elissa Frei
While not all men share the open-mindedness of Freiha's dad, a striking number of MENA's women have convincingly demonstrated that the talent pool is skilled, capable and all-around impressive. One such woman is the prominent Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid bin Sultan Al-Qasimi, who is currently serving as a cabinet minister in the United Arab Emirates and previously headed a successful IT strategy company.
Al-Qasimi exemplifies the potential for MENA women in leadership, but how can one example become a cultural norm? Marcello Bonatto, who runs Re: Coded, a program that teaches young people in Turkey, Iraq and Yemen to become technology leaders, believes that multigenerational education is the key. He believes in the importance of educating the parent along with their offspring, "particularly when it comes to women." Bonatto notes the number of conflict-affected youth who have succeeded through his program—a boot camp training in technology.
The United Nations Women alongside Promundo—a Brazil-based NGO that promotes gender-equality and non-violence—sponsored a study titled, "International Men and Gender Equality Survey of the Middle East and North Africa in 2017."
This study surveyed ten thousand men and women between the ages of 18 and 59 across both rural and urban areas in Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and the Palestinian Authority. It reports that, "Men expected to control their wives' personal freedoms from what they wear to when the couple has sex." Additionally, a mere one-tenth to one-third of men reported having recently carried out a more conventionally "female task" in their home.
Although the MENA region is steeped in historical tribal culture, the current conflict of gender roles is at a crucial turning point. Masculine power structures still play a huge role in these countries, and despite this obstacle, women are on the rise. But without the support of their nations' men this will continue to be an uphill battle. And if change won't come from the culture, maybe it can come from money. By educating MENA's men about these issues, the estimated $27 trillion that women could bring to their economies might not be a dream. Women have been empowering themselves for years, but it's time for MENA's men to empower its women.