When women support women, magic is inevitable. As rare as this phenomenon may seem, sometimes one does encounter a successful woman who is ready and willing to propel and support her female counterparts as opposed to resenting and feeling threatened. Self-made media mogul Devorah Rose falls squarely into the category of women who are in the business of supporting women. Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Social Life Magazine, Devorah is a femme fatale who truly understands what it takes to be a woman in a man’s world.
At first glance, Devorah is one of the beautiful ones; a quintessential Manhattan beauty with a wardrobe most Vogue subscribers would lust after. However, her most endearing qualities are her business savvy and her penchant for genuinely connecting with anyone she crosses paths with. Truly a self-made woman, Devorah has evolved from a wide-eyed Boston-by-way-of-Venezuela transplant to a thriving Manhattan entrepreneur with an energy that is as welcoming as it is magnetic. As a journalist, I was naturally intrigued by her simply due to my experience as a writer in New York and the knowledge of how hard it is to stand out in the saturated world of publishing. It is no secret that print media is dying a slow and painful death. With the cards stacked heavily against anyone who has hope for a career in publishing, Devorah single-handedly transcended the obstacles that discourage and destroy many careers. In the past decade, numerous publications and editors have tried to make a stake in the East End but had to close their doors. Devorah has weathered highs and lows with her head held high and come out a victor. Her talent for creative direction truly shined this summer when she placed Brooke Shields back in Calvin Klein for the first time in 37 years. Why didn’t anyone think of this before? The gesture was a meaningful choice for Devorah who is focused on celebrating women who have lived. When talking about having Brooke Shields pose in Calvin Klein underwear, Devorah says, “Brooke is more comfortable with her body now than when she was at 15 in the iconic Calvin ads. I hope women see Brooke, a woman of 53, embracing her body and that it changes the stories we as women tell ourselves and the other women in our life. I hope that mothers, sisters, and aunts tell the younger women in their lives how much better they feel about their bodies once they stopped trying to be skinny and focused on being healthy. And yes I hope women start to spend less time criticizing themselves and each other and more time not just accepting, but embracing themselves.”
It’s refreshing to hear Devorah discuss celebrating women’s bodies and combating ageism when the world of luxury and fashion is usually associated with unrealistic beauty standards. “If there is something everyone will agree about me is that I’ve always paved my own path,” Devorah smiles.
As a writer who is forever intrigued with women who succeed and thrive in traditionally male-dominated industries, I was naturally intrigued by Devorah. In the Hamptons, Social Life has become a bible of sorts for the who’s who of New York City and Hamptons high life. What was it like to build up this magazine? Has her journey affected the magazine’s content? Once I was able to steal a moment with her at the perennially anticipated St Barth’s Gala in celebration of Christie Brinkley’s Social Life cover story, we were able to really talk. “I was raised by strong women who were raised by strong women. I never understood sexism and ageism until the spotlight was shone on me. People didn’t appreciate that I was spearheading a magazine and dancing to the beat of my own drum. I was really young so it was hard for people to take me seriously regardless of the quality of my work. For me, that helped me realize how important it was to foster and celebrate women at any age. I’m happy I had strong life lessons because they taught me what I value and who I want to protect and celebrate.” And that’s when it became clear to me. The reason Devorah was thriving in one of the most competitive and cut throat industries in the Western world was because she had a purpose. She is among the few who genuinely love and celebrate women in general and are excited to empower our species at every possible opportunity she has. Devorah encouraged Christie Brinkley to get back in a bathing suit after a 30 year hiatus. Since first appearing in swim for Social Life Magazine four years ago, a new inspirited Christie can be found on the cover of People magazine and even in the pages of Sports Illustrated with her two daughters.
“Never in a million years did I think I would be in front of a camera in a bathing suit again!” exclaimed Brinkley in between snapping selfies with adoring fans, “Not many people think of women as sexy over a certain age, so when Devorah asked me to get into a swimsuit I was like, “Wait a minute,” but it was the best experience and I felt so empowered and it empowers other women too. It’s such a great feeling. It’s been wonderful and I love these images [photographs from July 2017 issue]. Devorah has this incredible eye. She puts together amazing creative concepts and material and then brings together the artists and lets them do their thing. I’m so happy and so proud to be a part of this. I truly thank Devorah for this exciting and unexpected experience.”
While huddled in a corner of the VIP tent, Devorah and I compared notes about the female experience in a male-dominated industry. I knew I had made a friend for life when I asked Devorah if she had ever experienced the feeling of being taken for a joke simply because she was a woman in a boardroom full of men. Instead of responding, she widened then smiled with her eyes as if to say she had lost count of those moments. But Devorah has never let the naysayers deter her and she is empowering other women through her bold editorial choices. This issue of Social Life is especially important, as it celebrates women at every age. And it’s all because Devorah was growing tired of the same old photo shoot with the same adolescent fashion models.
“Don’t get me wrong,” Devorah explains, “I love this generation’s models and often feature them in my editorial. But there is just something special about a woman with a story. There is something magical about an icon who can still reign supreme regardless of her age.” These days, it is truly a breath of fresh air to encounter a successful woman who stands behind women. Devorah Rose is the embodiment of that, and it is a pleasure to see her positivity radiate and rejuvenate all those in her path. Devorah is the kind of woman that makes you feel like your best self because she wants you to be your best self. She is a strong woman who makes the women around her stronger. She truly is the BFF we all need.