One of my closest friends, Julie Smolyansky, was recently named to – get ready for it - Playboy Magazine’s new list of America’s Top 10 Sexiest CEOs. (What, you expect anything less from a blogger who discusses cleavage and all things “down there” on national TV?) Julie runs Lifeway Foods, which produces Kefir, a tangy, probiotic-rich, yogurt-y drink that basically was Dannon Activia before Dannon Activia was Dannon Activia. Playboy writes: “Julie became CEO, treasurer and president when her father, the founder, died of a sudden heart attack. She went back to work the next morning, and under her direction the company more than quadrupled its stock price. A fitness junkie, she ends every day with a trip to the gym."
Setting aside the sheer absurdity of a Top 10 “sexiest CEO” list even existing, I want to point out the fact that Julie was one of just a few women recognized who doesn’t run an overtly sexual business. The other winners include a few lingerie company CEOs, the founder of a pole-based workout empire and a porn star. But Julie is spreading the word about a powerhouse food that quite literally has saved lives – people with debilitating IBS and Crohn’s Disease, severe autoimmune disorders, painful lactose intolerance and more write to her every week thanking her for Kefir and how it has helped them regain their health.
I thought about Julie and her healthy endeavors when I first heard about about iVillage’s new campaign, Health Is Beautiful. Running in conjunction with National Women’s Health Week, Health Is Beautiful is all about how being healthy can make you beautiful – both the way you feel on the inside and the way you look on the outside. In my mind, the reason women like Julie are so beautiful is because they take care of themselves as a whole person. They find a passion in life and follow it. They cultivate a strong sense of confidence and empowerment. They tap into their intuition and nurture their creativity. And they find a physical outlet to release stress, be it running marathons or painting watercolors or getting a massage. All of those things, I believe, pave a path towards inner peace and contentment and how could that NOT translate into outer beauty?
When you are strong and confident and passionate, you feel emboldened to take care of yourself. You eat healthy foods. You go for your annual check-ups. You workout. You treat yourself kindly – you don’t look in the mirror and think harsh, negative thoughts about the body staring back at you. You don’t jump on the scale three times a day, especially when you know the number will drive you crazy. You do the things you need to do to keep your body humming along smoothly. And that all translates to a happy, healthy, beautiful, and yes, even sexy, woman, inside and out.