VANESSA COPPES CEO & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Influence is the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something. There have been so many people and instances that have shaped who I am today, but my mother by far has been the most influential person in my life. While she couldn’t find the proper words to guide me as a teenager, after I had my own children, so much came into perspective for me. My mother is the reason I believe I am capable of anything I set out to do. She continuously encouraged me to keep going despite the challenges that came my way. In her own pursuit of personal development, it’s the model I had to continue learning, striving to do and be better than I was yesterday. At 66, my mom is as hardworking and resilient as ever, and it’s no wonder everyone who comes in contact with her leaves wanting to be and do better for themselves. My father also influenced my tenacity and pursuit of self-improvement. He pursued his ongoing education until the day he passed, something I hope to instill in my own children. I have always surrounded myself with people from whom I can learn. Big or small, everyone in our lives can influence the decisions we make and impact who we become. The key will always be in how much or how little we allow that impact to be. As it’s been said, you are the product of the six people you associate yourself with the most. Choose wisely and the net of influence you cast will be bountiful.
JONATHAN CALIXTO FASHION CORRESPONDENT
When it comes to my professional life, I am thankful to have been influenced by many of the empowering women constantly surrounding me. At my first internship, I worked for TV host Lilliana Vazquez and her small but mighty team at the time, Hodaly Garcia and Jordan Pagano. And then there were the trailblazing women of Riviere Agency, along with some of the most inspiring women with great journeys to share at BELLA Magazine. I am influenced by their commitment to uplifting their communities and using their voice for change, and never taking “no” for an answer. Thank you for inspiring me and many others.
MINDY GURA & PAULA ORLAN THE STYLE DUO
Growing up with the most fashionable grandmother was probably the biggest influence for our passion for fashion. Our grandma Sara taught us early on that shopping could be a fun sport we could do together and that finding the bargains was the most exciting part. She taught us how to mix high-end splurges with bargain basics, and we always had the most fun shopping with her. We owe our success in our styling careers to our beautiful grandmother.
AMANDA MACTAS FOOD, TRAVEL & ACCESSORIES EDITOR
I am forever inspired by all of the amazing women in my life, especially those in my family. My grandmother, mom, and sister have all played huge roles in shaping who I am—always inspiring me to do better, dream big, and never settle for less.
JANENE MASCARELLA BEAUTY DIRECTOR
By far, my biggest influencer in fashion, style, beauty (and life!) is my 15-year old daughter, Kimberly. She’s the smartest, sweetest, strongest—and most stylish—person I have ever met. (She’s also a super talented artist!) I learn so much from her every single day and admire her confidence. If I want to know what’s hip in makeup and fashion trends, I turn to her. I’m simply in awe of her beauty—inside and out.
CHERYL DEVINE CIRCULATION DIRECTOR
As a child, my dad was a tremendous influence in my life. He taught me right from wrong and was respected by everyone with whom he came in contact. You could hear his laughter from another room, and he taught me confidence. He would take the time every weekend to plan trips for us to spend quality time, which built a lifetime of memories. Even though he passed when I was a young child, he is the reason I am who I am today. He still lives within me even though he is no longer with me. Thank you, Dad, for a lifetime of love and giving me the skills to become who I am today.
GINA LAGUARDIA EDITORIAL DIRECTOR
I feel like I’m the product of many, many influencers as I’ve been blessed with so many role models and mentors over the course of my career. Thinking back to when I first started out as an editor, one of the first people who really gave me a shot was Luciano Rammairone. He was the publisher of College Bound Magazine, a small, NYC-based magazine that emerged in the mid-90s and grew to a national media company on which I built my career for nearly two decades. Luciano entrusted me with a role for which I was not initially qualified, giving me enormous confidence and the “make it happen” nod that allowed me to work alongside some of the best of the best and forge lifelong friendships and working partnerships. Thanks to his leadership and the example he set for me early on—an amazing work ethic, steadfastness to get the job done, and enormous belief in the potential of others—I was privy to experiences and accomplishments for which I will be forever grateful.
LYNETTE BARBIERI BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATE
I’ve been in my business for over two decades. There is no question some people play a significant role in your life and in your career. I have met many people at different times through my journey that have had a positive influence on my business. An amazing leader, role model, and friend, Mike Pressler, spoke in front of a room once about always taking the high road; no matter what level of success you experience, stay humble. Those words taught me how to work with my team, make people feel special, and treat others the way you wish to be treated. The person who has more recently had an impact on my business is my business partner, Vanessa Coppes. She has an amazing ability to sell the vision! She also has a tremendous work ethic. When I just don’t want to get up and keep going or work on something that isn’t happening the way I would like it to, watching her has inspired me and given me the faith and belief that anything is possible.My grandmother was my best friend and the most selfless, giving person I have ever met. She taught me how to be more giving, and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about her. Lastly, I believe the most positive influence on my business now comes from the conglomerate of women with whom I get to surround myself every day. Together, we grow, work through adversity, and overcome obstacles to reach our goals.
ALEXANDRA ANASTASIO ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR
In looking back at the people who have been influential in my life from a professional standpoint, I must give credit to Claire Regan, a journalist and assistant professor at Wagner College who took me under her wing. From the moment I enrolled in my first journalism class, I knew I was meant to tell stories.Under Claire’s guidance, I learned the fundamentals of my craft, as well as gained the confidence to pursue my passion. Even after graduation, she continued to be a strong presence in my life, someone I could turn to when it came to navigating my career.Fast-forward many years and I am still being influenced by those around me with whom I’ve been fortunate to work with and learn from. I truly believe education continues even after you’ve left the classroom.
JENNIFER DECILLIS PUBLISHER
I would be remiss to say that just one individual has influenced my life, because I come from such a strong, dynamic family of influential people. My grandmother, Barbara, is the matriarch who started this core of resilient women, and she has taught me the importance of family, faith, and unequivocal love. She reminds me that life is precious, and I cherish how much we laugh together. My mother, Lisa, teaches me every day the importance of perseverance and pursuing your dreams in life. My aunts remind me that life should be lived to the fullest and it’s OK to be a little crazy along the way. My cousins—my goofballs—keep me young and excited for the future of family holidays with our own families. And then there’s my Rachie, more of a sister to me than anything. While growing up alongside her, she inspired me to mature into an exceptional woman, like her. And, of course, there are my brothers; they have always been the men that occupy my heart. My decisions in life have been greatly affected by how much of a mentor I could be to both of them as their big sister.