By Courtenay Hall, Founder of BELLA magazine
When it comes to beauty and body image, BELLA magazine shares many of the same tenets that we hold close at The Sweat Life. Founder Courtenay Hall created BELLA around the motto “Beauty Defined By You,” encouraging readers to come up with their own framework of what they consider beautiful, not what advertisers and cover girls tell us we should look like. Instead BELLA offers up beauty in all its forms in the pages of the magazine, and asks readers to create their own beauty ideals. Here, we got the chance to talk with Editor-in-Chief Courtenay about all things beauty, body image, and the business of running a magazine.
How do you define beauty?
Beauty to me is happiness, kindness, and feeling comfortable in your own skin.
Why was it important to you to create a magazine with the mission ‘Beauty is Defined By You’?
This was so important to the foundation of BELLA as I wanted to change the way we talk about traditional beauty. Beauty is subjective, and I want women to feel confident enough to embrace what makes them feel beautiful on the inside and out, and live in their truth.
From your perspective, what is a healthy body image?
Looking in the mirror and feeling confident and happy with what’s staring back at you. There's only one you, so embrace it.
Is there something specific you look for when selecting the men and women who are profiled in BELLA (i.e. they have certain beliefs on self-beauty)?
Not really, but of course reputations play a part. I love talking to different people from different backgrounds to find out how they define beauty in their own life. That’s what makes beauty such an interesting topic, the answers are always different and it's interesting to see how they differ — you think you know someone, and maybe you really don't.
How are you trying to change the conversation around beauty and body image?
I think our tagline says it all — Beauty Defined By You. When we launched BELLA, we wanted to start a different conversation. So many of the other magazines out there define beauty for their readers, which I think is selling women short. Women are smart and independent, and we are at a point in time where presenting all forms of beauty within our pages, and letting women decide what makes them feel beautiful, is really a new way to discuss an age-old topic
As a female entrepreneur and editor-in-chief always on the go, how do you manage to do it all & also find time for yourself?
I have to admit this is something I struggle with, as I also have 3 small kids at home. At this point in my life, being with my family is all I need to find happiness at the end of the day. Maybe in a few years, when they are bigger, my answer will change!
What is your perspective on women in business shattering the glass ceiling?
I love it! I understand that it has taken time for society to adjust to women really being powerhouses in all areas of business, but women are here and rocking it.
In a world where we’re always connected, what are some of the simple things in life that make you feel the happiest and most beautiful?
A warm summer day, being in my favorite place (Laguna Beach, CA), and laughing at home with my husband and kids.
Any advice or final words for readers?
Life is short: dream big, live beautifully, and always be kind.
Courtenay Hall is the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of BELLA New York, BELLALAMag.com and a Special Correspondent for Celebrity Page TV. After years of working in publishing, with media outlets like Metropolitan Home and Elle Décor, Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications, and ROSIE, Courtenay began to see that there was a void in the tri-state area market for a lifestyle publication; one that spoke to all women, not just a certain demographic, about how to look and feel their best, with the emphasis on “Beauty Defined by You.” This approach set BELLA apart, as Courtenay’s vision was not to tell women what should be beautiful to them, but to include all aspects of beauty within the magazine and let the readers decide for themselves.
In January 2011, BELLA New York premiered as the tri-state area’s premiere women’s luxury lifestyle publication, offering a sophisticated combination of fashion, beauty, health, philanthropy, arts and culture, cuisine, celebrity, and entertainment news. Since the magazine’s inception, Courtenay has had the opportunity to work alongside personalities like Taraji P. Henson, Rob Lowe, Lisa Vanderpump, Nicky Hilton-Rothschild, Olivia Munn, and Maria Shriver.