March 13, 2016
Piera Gelardi is the fearless Executive Creative Director and Co-founder of Refinery29. Committed to shaping culture and celebrating individuality, this Noisemaker is intent on making an impact.
Neiman Marcus: Neiman Marcus Make Some Noise® celebrates bold women with bold voices who are leading the way forward in technology, fashion, film, music, food, business, and art. What does making noise mean to you?
Piera Gelardi: To me, making noise means being creatively courageous, identifying what’s important to you, being outspoken, and embodying the change you want to see in the world.
NM: What do you feel is important to make some noise about in today’s world?
PG: Being outspoken about injustices in the world, and using our voices to call for equality.
NM: What woman changed your life? How?
PG: Definitely my mom, first for bringing me into the world, and then for giving me the space to create myself within it. She has always valued and respected my unique being, taught me to be open to different perspectives, and shown me how to live life deeply and experience its beauty emotionally. Seeing her push through the challenges she has faced and continually work hard to become the woman she wants to be has been an enormous source of inspiration for me. I’ve seen her grow so much as a person, and I admire how she sticks to her values.
NM: Do you have a motto?
PG: My motto is “onward & upward!” It reminds me that life is imperfect, we all make mistakes, and there is always an opportunity to do better. It’s full of hope and possibility to me.
NM: What are the most important characteristics of a successful woman?
PG: I think success is absolutely personal and there are no unifying characteristics of what it looks like. What’s most important is defining what success looks like to YOU and following that. To me, success is to create content and experiences that empower women, express progressive ideas, and celebrate individuality. I also feel successful when I’m able to help other people succeed and reach their dreams.
NM: In your unique way, how do you feel like you’re making an impact on the world?
PG: I’m most proud of the role that we’ve played at R29 in shaping culture and connecting women to each other, themselves, and the world around them. We’ve been celebrating individuality and creating an inclusive vision of what beauty looks like for the last ten years, and I’ve seen our industry shift to follow suit, creating a more representative world.
NM: What advice would you offer young women starting off in your industry?
PG: Be prepared. To fully make the most of any opportunity, it’s paramount to come prepared by doing your research in advance, knowing your point of view about the company you’re meeting with, and knowing what you want from the opportunity. Don’t wing it. Because getting prepared takes time, practicing preparedness can also help you focus on fewer (but more valuable) opportunities. I always pay more attention to a carefully crafted personal cover letter than a form letter.
NM: How do you find balance in your busy life?
PG: I find balance by bringing fun and joy into my workday and observing little rituals that make me feel happy, connected, and taken care of. For example, having breakfast at home before kicking off a hectic day or taking five minutes to walk around the office and talk to people about how they’re doing and what they’re working on. For me, it’s also about pausing to take in inspiration and recognizing what I’m grateful for.
NM: Currently listening to?
PG: I can’t stop listening to “White Iverson” by Post Malone and “Crush” by Yuna and Usher.
NM: What’s the latest app you downloaded?
PG: Refinery29’s This AM app — a great digest of eight timely stories across culture, style, and global news. It’s my primer for the day!
NM: Describe your closet in three words?
PG: Color, pattern, party.
NM: What one thing do you do every day?
PG: Say, “I love you.”