Interview by Melissa Meyers
Watch the video, read the interview, then buy Rory’s fashion & beauty picks.
Melissa Meyers: Was fashion a big part of your childhood?
Rory Tahari: My mother would always say, “You should be a fashion designer,” but I had my heart set on having my own talk show. That’s why I went to journalism school.
MM: How did you make the crossover to fashion executive?
RT: I met my husband. I was a television producer at the time, and it was a condition of marriage. He said, “My life is my work, and my work is my life. So, if you want to marry me, you have to work in fashion.” I was very scared, because I didn’t know anything about fashion. But 11 years later, I can say it’s been amazing.
MM: Do you wear other designers?
RT: NO! Of course, I do. It’s not fashionable to only wear one brand by one designer. I really try to incorporate everything into my wardrobe.
MM: Do you have a signature look?
RT: I really love to mix everything up. Am I walking the red carpet tonight, or am I mommy tonight? I dress based on my needs.
MM: Do you have any fashion icons?
RT: Madonna is an obvious choice. She has clearly changed the course of fashion. But someone like Queen Raina, the way she conducts herself, the things she chooses to participate in her life, to me, all of that goes into how I perceive fashion icons. Then again, I can also tell you I love Heidi and Seal. Seeing the two of them and how they’re into fashion is inspiring, too.
MM: What is your fitness routine?
RT: I love to exercise. I didn’t really discover exercise until about 3 years ago. In fact, when people tried to talk me into anything, I would say, “That’s a forbidden word in my life. I do not exercise as a policy!”
MM: What are your guilty pleasures?
RT: Definitely Häagen-Dazs ice cream. They have this new line called “five.” It really tastes homemade. And, I’m a closet cereal eater. I love eating sugar cereals. It reminds me of my childhood.
MM: Which cereals?
RT: Cookie Crisp because my father invented it. I remember I was once at a Jerry Seinfeld concert, and he said, “You know, Cookie Crisp,” because he loves cereal. “What kind of person would come up with this
idea? That you should wake up and have these miniature chocolate chip cookies?” My friend said, “Raise your hand. Tell them it was your father!”
MM: What’s your favorite vacation spot?
RT: Wherever I can be with my kids. My kids would tell you St. Barths.
MM: How do you balance your career, family life, and philanthropic work?
RT: I’m a firm believer in the work/life balance. If you have a happy mom, you have a happy child. It’s not quantity, it’s quality. So pick that hour and give your full attention to your child.
MM: What do you do for fun?
RT: Make photo albums. I love taking photographs. I went to journalism school, so by nature, I would describe myself as a documentarian. I had an unfortunate experience as a horseback rider. I broke my back. I had time on my hands. I now have about 110 photo albums.
MM: What don’t people know about you?
RT: Everyone thinks I am an outgoing, gregarious person, but the truth is I’m actually a very private person. I’m also totally anti-establishment; I love to break the rules. And, I’m spiritual; I see a spiritual healer. I said to her, “I can’t get on a plane, I’m terrified.” She said, “Ok, we’ll fix it.” I lay down on the table, and she did her spiritual work on me. I walked out, I didn’t feel any different, I didn’t think any different. Two months later, my best friend’s husband got the job to be president of Chanel, and she said, “Rory, you have to come to Paris right now!” It wasn’t until I was mid-flight that I realized I had managed to pack, go to the airport, go through security, get on a plane, and take off and had not even thought about it. And I’ve never had a problem flying since.
MM: What is one thing you can’t live without?
RT: I can’t live without being in control. Anybody who knows me knows I am a control freak.
MM: What are some of your favorite lists from your book, Lists for Life?
RT: Packing lists are my favorite, because I do a lot of traveling. I never forget anything; the only thing I forget to do is relax.
MM: How does your family feel about your lists?
RT: My family loves my lists. When we went down to Sea Island, Georgia, for my mother’s birthday, the first thing my eight-year-old son did was create a master list of everybody’s phone numbers. It’s now become part of the DNA of the Tahari family.
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