If anyone knows beauty and fashion, it’s NBC’s TODAY show style expert Bobbie Thomas. Although she didn’t start her career in the beauty world like most expect, she’s always been focused on empowering women. Bobbie started as a rape crisis counselor before getting her degree in marriage and family counseling where she was asked to write an advice column that allowed her to help thousands of women. From there she took on national writing gigs and on-air segments before launching her own brand and becoming the go-to girl for beauty and style advice. Bobbie has a 15-month old son Miles who she adores and her challenging road to conceiving is one she documented very publicly to help other woman struggling with infertility. She is truly a wonder woman in our book. Bobbie shares with us details of her journey to motherhood, her love for comfy clothes and gives a few words of advice on the balance of motherhood.
How did you get to where you are today?
People are often surprised when I tell them my origin story because it didn’t begin in a fashion classroom or behind a beauty counter. I began my career as a rape crisis counselor interested in and devoted to helping empower women. While finishing my Masters degree in Marriage, Family, and Child therapy I was offered a unique opportunity to write a national advice column in J-14 magazine, affording me the opportunity to reach out to hundreds of thousands of girls and women as opposed to just a few. From there, I continued to contribute to national magazines, while also communicating with women as a television correspondent and on-air style editor. I worked to establish a personal brand centered on the belief that beauty and fashion are important tools that women can use to express themselves in positive and powerful ways. Over the past 15 years, I have covered beauty, fashion, and lifestyle trends on TV, in print, and online- trying, testing, and reviewing countless products that will help women look, feel, and/or live better, and ultimately those that will enrich their lives in one way or another.
Most recently, I co-founded my own company with my best friend aimed at achieving this goal, Pro Girl, and wanted our first project to be a makeup system and collection of beauty tools that make makeup application easier for women everywhere. We launched Woosh Beauty last fall and it’s been really exciting for us!
What would someone be surprised to learn about you?
When I’m not on TV, I can be found almost exclusively wearing comfy clothes and sneakers. While I love to dress up, now that I have my son, Miles, I go with function over fashion in my personal life far more than ever before. Also, that I’m a shorty. I wear sky-high heels at events and at the TODAY show, so people are often shocked when they see me “off-duty” and realize that I’m barely 5’4.
You were very open about your struggles with infertility, what did you learn from that journey?
Honestly, so many things. First, that infertility is far more common than I thought it was, with nearly 1 in 8 couples struggling with some form of it. I learned how important it is for young women to know their options and talk to their doctors about family planning as soon as they think they may want kids. I focused so much on my career in my 20s and 30s that I just assumed, at 39, it would be easier to get pregnant than it was, and I wish I had thought to ask questions earlier. I learned what tough stuff my fantastic husband, Michael, is made of. Most importantly though, I gained a deeper understanding of just how amazing and strong women are. I met and spoke to so many other women going through similar journeys and the stories we shared, and the advice and support I was given was overwhelming. There is an army of ladies out there who’ve been to battle and the respect I have for all of them cannot be measured.
Why was it important for you to share what was going on with the world?
I reached a point in my journey, a few months into IVF treatment, when I found myself whispering about what I was doing as if it was a secret. I had a moment of clarity when I realized that my job, as a professional girlfriend, has always been to share information with women and help to make their lives easier, so why would I stay silent about what I was going through if it could help someone else? I decided in that moment to write an article for today.com talking about my struggle to conceive so that it could start a dialogue and hopefully motivate women of all ages to think about the topic and become better prepared than I was if/when they want to start a family.
You wrote a very poignant letter to your former self in April…how did that make you feel? What did you hope others took away from it?
It was very important for me to write that letter because I know how easy it can be for women to put themselves (and their health) on the back-burner during their 20s and 30s. I wanted to pass along what I’d learned, and what I would tell my younger self if I had the chance, so that it could hopefully motivate even a few women to talk about their reproductive health earlier. Also, I wanted to address all of the people still struggling to conceive. I was so incredibly lucky to overcome less than 8% odds to have Miles, but I know there are many, many people still waiting for their BFP and I have not forgotten about any of them. We’re all a sisterhood and I am devoted to doing whatever I can to shine a light on the topic and contribute to the conversation.
What advice would you give to another mom early on in her journey in motherhood?
The cliches are true. Especially “it goes by soo fast” “SO, don’t beat yourself up, and try hard to live in the moment… making sure you enjoy the good, but also let go of the bad and move on. Because as they say, the days are long, but the years are short. And ps. to every mother breastfeeding or pumping, your hormones will hijack your perspective. It’s ok to cry, scream, and laugh within 30 seconds… (for those yet to understand, it will happen).
How do you balance being a mom and having a successful career? Any tips you’d give to other working moms?
Honestly, like many working moms, I actually don’t feel like I balance it very well a lot of the time. When I’m working, I want to be with Miles, and when I’m with Miles, I can easily start to feel anxious about not answering emails or getting back to my team about what they may need. The only way I can even try to balance everything is by asking for and accepting help. Miles has an amazing nanny, Alma, who is like a family member to us now, and the girls in my office always help to schedule calls and meetings around my time with him. He’s a pretty common fixture at our office too and we all adhere very much to the “it takes a village” mentality. Because it does.
What is your favorite part about being a mom?
I’ve created my own little boyfriend, who thinks I’m awesome and funny – at least for now.
What is one of your superhero mom moments?
Besides giving birth, celebrating the fact that he’s still breathing, growing, and most often smiling!
What was your biggest mom fail?
Ugh, so embarrassed… but getting home late after being wrapped up at work on crazy days and not seeing him before bedtime.
What 5 things can you never leave home without?
In addition to the usual suspects – cell phone, wallet, keys, I also usually tote around my Kindle for those rare quite moments, an army of lipgloss (I rotate all six of our Woosh Spin-On glosses), hand wipes for Miles, and pencils. I’m a dinosaur who loves pencils for quick note-jotting. I guess that’s 7 things, sorry!