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If you wrote the life story of Jamie Kern Lima for a fictional character in a novel, it might seem, well, unbelievable. Such is the nature of her stratospheric rise and indefatigable ambition. To start, she won the Miss Washington USA pageant in 1999 and went on to compete for the sash in the 2000 Miss USA pageant. She'd eventually win herself a guest spot on Baywatch and emerge as the lone female survivor on the first season of Big Brother. But the world was soon to know just how much brain was behind all that beauty.
In 2008, she founded IT Cosmetics and would eventually notch more than 1,000 appearances on QVC, which not only moved a lot of product but demonstrated Kern Lima's inimitable ability to connect with people. In 2016 IT was sold to L'Oreal for $1.2 billion and Kern Lima became the first female officer of a L'Oreal brand in its history and wound up on Forbes' list of America's Richest Self-Made Women.
Along with that success has come another few careers — as a philanthropist, inspirational speaker and New York Times bestselling author. So, yeah, she's got some stuff going on. But she wasn't too busy to chat with us about some of the things that have kept life under COVID vibrant, spirited, and healthy.
Not surprisingly, getting your inspirational memoir written and published (this February) was the highlight of Kern Lima's pandemic experience. "I share the story of going from Denny's waitress to billion-dollar entrepreneur," she says. With IT, she explains, "I wanted to move the industry forward by using all different kinds of people, calling them beautiful and meaning it; to shift culture around the definition of beauty." She met with a lot of rejection in the company's early days. Looking back, she says, "I think sometimes those painful nos were a kind of serendipitous grace."
Just because you're somewhat socially isolated these days doesn't mean you should forgo foundation. "CC Cream is life-changing," says Kern Lima. "It's this one step that can be your skin care, your full coverage, your SPF 50." Available in twelve shades, it is, as she puts it, "definitely a quarantine skin saver."
"Sometimes in the middle of quarantine, we just need a hug," Kern Lima says. Ain't it the truth? Enter the folks at Barefoot Dreams, whose super-plush Covered in Prayer blankie comes in four color schemes, each bearing an inspirational message. "I spent the past two years writing my book," Kern Lima recalls. "I'd be just sobbing my eyes out, and it was either I'm going to binge-eat Lucky Charms or wrap myself up in this blanket, because it literally feels like a hug." Sounds like she made the right choice.
Nothing like keeping a message of inspiration and perseverance close at hand (as it were). "Every day, literally, I do not take this thing off," says Kern Lima of Valencia's Gold Tone bracelet. She's such a believer that she decided to double her daily dose of encouragement. "I have a couple now...I just think we all need reminders of who we are and where we're going."
Shop it: Valencia Key "Believe" Bracelet, $100, valenciakey.com
Who hasn't experienced an uptick in their stress levels this past year? Well, Kern Lima has found a way to make the best of a masked situation with the essential oils in Plant Juice's mask spray. There are five adult varieties (and two for kids!), but Kern Lima's fave is Relax. "This is a game changer," she gushes. "It's amazing — you do a couple of sprays right inside your mask...if you're all stressed out."
"Let's talk about quarantine feet," says Kern Lima. Do we have to? Yeah, we have to, cuz padding around all day in our dry-heated or air-conditioned homes can put a beating on our tootsies, leaving them parched, cracked, and generally cranky. Footnanny lives up to its name; this package includes not just its stellar hydrating cream but a buffer and two ankle socks for a loving post-treatment swaddle. As Kern Lima puts it: "It's a whole pedicure in a box. I love the Eucalyptus cream in particular...definitely a quarantine must-have."
Shop it: Footnanny 1-2-3 Kit Eucalyptus, $50, footnanny.com
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