Our mama muse Ali Levine talks
style, vulnerability and owning
motherhood like only you can.
Instagram:@alilevinedesign Kiddos: Amelia Rei (2 years old), next baby girl due May 2020 Home: Los Angeles, California Day job(s): TV personality, celebrity stylist, mommy influencer and blogger, podcaster (www.alilevine.com) It’s a sign: Cancer Turn it up: Z100 (New York station I grew up with); “Happy” by Pharrell Williams Retail therapy: Nordstrom, Zara, Barney’s (shoes or anything higher-end) and “Tarjay” (Target for budget) Globe-trotting: Dreaming of Morocco or St. Lucia—actual babymoon in Riviera Maya Favorite time of day: Early afternoon Dream gig: What I’m doing … along with having my own show
Career builder Long story short, I’m from New York and moved to Los Angeles a decade ago. In New York, I was working in corporate design and development, and also shopping and assisting on movies and TV. I eventually realized I wanted the red carpet, the trending, a fast-paced environment—and that was styling. I got an opportunity to move to L.A. and I took it. I started interning for major stylists and getting my hands dirty (baptism by fire style!) and eventually Ali Levine Design was born in the styling world!
Expert advice When it comes to dressing the bump, have fun with it! Accentuate your belly if you feel comfortable. Prints and stripes really help it pop! A fitted skirt and tee are a great casual look, as is a ruched dress and some booties. Think about fabric and comfort as well when it comes to dressing the bump. If it feels good, you’ll feel good in it! Maxi dresses are also fun and playful and you can add a cute blazer or jacket.
Confidence is key Search within you. Don’t look anywhere else, you’re not going to find it. Work you and who you are. We are all amazing and have to tap into that to find our own inner voice and feel that confidence. Clothing plays a huge part in this, too, and it’s why I love being a stylist—the right clothing choices can change someone’s entire mood and perspective for the day, week, etc.! Love yourself and talk nicely to yourself. I always say, “Confidence is your best accessory,” and it’s true that without it you really don’t have much, so no matter what you wear or do, have that confidence.
Being in the public eye can definitely affect my body confidence. I work really hard on that not happening with affirmations and journaling, but others’ comments and being in the Hollywood scene can definitely wear on me. After I had Amelia Rei, I didn’t have the “bounce back” I expected after an unexpected C-section, and that was very hard for me to handle being around celebs and friends.
Going into the next birth, I hope to be more prepared mentally and physically to not have it affect me as much. I think that’s a huge part of why I signed off social media after having my daughter because I couldn’t handle the comparisons and the way many mamas looked. I didn’t feel good in my skin.
However, when I came back from that time off, I found a whole new confidence, new incredible mom community supporting me, and I feel connected through this, as well as my postpartum depression journey. I feel as women we are pretty hard on our bodies and ourselves in general, so I have to remind myself to give grace and be kind.
Support group My favorite aspects of being a mommy influencer are the community and connection! There’s a real community in the mama world and it’s something powerful and amazing, and I love sharing and connecting with other mamas daily and helping them, encouraging them and sharing my own journey—the good, the bad, the struggles, the triumphs, everything! I’ve never experienced that type of vulnerable support until now.
My least favorite would be all the shaming, the heavy opinions, the negative talk and the mean comments and messages. You definitely have to get thick skin and realize it doesn’t have to do with you, it’s on them.
Takes one to know one I get this a lot: “I want to be an ‘influencer.’” The first thing I say is I didn’t wake up and declare I wanted to be an influencer. I fell into this from all of my other jobs and credibility, and after becoming a mama my brand transitioned. I would say if you really feel this way, find your voice. Find what’s unique about you, find your purpose and light to others, and share that. The rest will follow in time. Frequently now I think of my Instagram as a mini blog and journaling of feelings. Sometimes really happy ones, other times very hard ones. I share it all, for the most part.
Sister, sister Amelia has been really good about preparing herself for our second daughter. She’s been saying “baby” from the beginning and grabbing my belly and kissing it and saying hi. I feel they already have this special bond. We got Amelia a doll, stroller and bassinet (along with bottles, etc.) so she can under- stand the basic needs of the baby. She’ll rock her doll and ask me to sing and hold her. She even signs for milk for the baby since I taught her that when she was a babe. I feel like I’m following her cues, not doing too much and just encouraging the big sister role.
On the air “Things We’re too Lazy to Blog About” is on hiatus and will be back with more lifestyle and fun life updates in the spring! It’s such a fun show with such good topics and guests. With “Striptd Down with Ali Levine,” you can expect even more real and raw. I’m really working on going deeper and deeper as I share my own stories, as well as the guests and experts I choose to bring on. Everyone has a story to share, especially in parenthood, motherhood, entrepreneurship, etc. I want you to come to “Striptd” and leave feeling stripped! It’s vulnerable, it’s heavy, yet it has beautiful moments, like life and especially like motherhood.
I want all mamas and parents to have a sense of community, realness, vulnerability and authenticity. For me it started out of my own struggles with postpartum depression, and now it’s led into this beautiful cathartic way of healing and having incredible guests to inspire my listeners along the way!
By Erin Shea Long
Maternity portraits: Laura Bravo Metz—Soliofoto; All others: Courtesy of Ali Levine
Pregnancy & Newborn is an online community that embraces the trials and triumphs of motherhood. From positive pregnancy test, adorable bump pics and real-deal contractions to sleepless nights, heart-melting coos and first words, we’re here to cheer you on every step of the way.