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This article by Barbara Fox was prepared for the July 10, 2002 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Kathy Ireland: Model Turned Celebrity Entrepreneur

Cross Dale Carnegie with a super model, sprinkle in

some specific Christian doctrine, and what you get is Kathy Ireland,

author of "Powerful Inspirations: Eight Lessons That Will Change

Your Life," a 184-page hardback published by Doubleday for $19.95.

She began Kathy Ireland Worldwide (KIWW) with a line of socks and

parlayed it into a billion dollar business that markets home furnishings,

flooring, and accessories for women. Unlike another celebrity supplier

to K-Mart, Martha Stewart, Ireland has managed to keep herself scandal

free.

Ireland offers her personal and business advice on Thursday, July

11, at 7 p.m., at the Somerset Marriott in a seminar sponsored by

the Friends’ Health Connection. Cost: $25. Call 732-418-1811.

At the age of four Ireland started a rock painting business, pricing

paperweights at a nickel, in comparison with her sister, who charged

a dime. "I could work very quickly and still turn out beautiful

rocks. From early on, I understood that I needed to give people the

best possible product for their money."

When she took a paper route, a job that was supposedly for boys in

those days, her father admonished that if the customers expected their

paper on the driveway, then put it on the porch. "That was the

foundation of my learning to under-promise and over-deliver."

As she tells it, she never made top dollar. "I had a really good

start and was able to work as often as I wanted, but I was never the

highest paid or the top choice in the business. It was an interesting

time in fashion because the super-model era was just beginning with

beautiful girls like Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell,

and Claudia Schiffer, all of whom were just starting out. I knew that

I had a finite amount of time before I would be quickly replaced by

the up-and-coming stars."

Then she had a skiing accident and was out of work for months. "I

was not as prepared as I should have been. Since the accident, my

approach toward powerful financial wisdom is simple. `Live slightly

below your means, and you will always have enough money to live.’

"I was much more financially responsible when I had less money,"

she admits. "When the larger paychecks started coming in, I stopped

planning for my future in the way that I used to. I stopped taking

money off the top for my emergency fund. It was easy to forget the

basics."

Her other lessons:

Faith is the key to stability and the cornerstone of life.

Success in life is achieved by experiencing and conquering

challenges.

A strong family foundation will influence you and your loved

ones for life.

Powerful answers come from meaningful and important questions.

Change is the only certainty in life.

If we don’t understand our value, our beliefs and boundaries

will not protect us.

We are all capable of living our lives with great joy.

Most of Ireland’s tips are neither new or original. What makes

them interesting are the autobiographical revelations of a model turned

actress turned entrepreneur. At every turn she struggled with her

conscience: whether to be photographed topless (no), whether to continue

with a brewery contract (no), and whether to use the Lord’s name in

vain in an Edward Albee play (the words remained unchanged but the

character was rewritten so the words would seem like a prayer).

Celebrities are frequently importuned, which makes her advice on handouts

valuable. Her dictum: "Help others to the degree you can afford.

When it comes to loaning money be discerning and don’t be afraid to

say no. This doesn’t make you a bad person. If you do decide to loan

someone money, be sure that it’s money you can say goodbye to."

— Barbara Fox


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