A few years ago I was working with a designer here in Toronto, creating looks for her clients. It was through this collaboration I met Laurie Few. I created a special look for her; something outlandish while still being extremely sophisticated. To say Laurie's style is unique is to completely miss the point of her fashion sense. Laurie simply cannot be defined.
Laurie began her career as a lawyer in 1982, but soon realized her passion was elsewhere. First and foremost she is a brave voice for those who simply do not have one. With that skill she decided to pursue journalism. Within two years of landing her first journalism job (with CTV National News) she was made a producer. For many years she was a driving force behind the investigative work at W5. During Laurie’s time there, she won an RTDNA award and New York Film award.
In 2011, Laurie was appointed Executive Producer of 16X9, Canada’s most innovative news and current affairs program. With Laurie at the helm, the show has received multiple CSA nominations and won several RTDNA awards, a Gemini award, a New York Film award, a Beyond the Borders award and, most recently, an Amnesty International award.
Above all else, Laurie believes in journalism and the pursuit of the highest attainable version of the truth. When she is not working on a story, Laurie enjoys knitting, belly and flamenco dancing, and spending time with her husband and dog.
Recently I asked Laurie to tell me her definition of beauty:
"I like big, bold statements. I wear clothing like a costume which affords me a wonderful opportunity, every day of my life, to exercise my own creativity. My style is eclectic, original and fearless. I abhor rules and I avoid the obvious. I seek out creative, local designers – the more unique their designs, the better.
My work requires a certain level of fierce determination. I use this in all areas of my life; competitive spirit; strong character; these are the aspects which define me. I am 54 years old and I embrace my age. I believe that, as a woman, developing power and leadership is beautiful. My goal is to pass that understanding of strength as beauty on to younger women. I run a team of 15 journalists and the work is intense. So, for me, my leadership, my ability to harness and communicate with my own voice, my ability to be strong, firm and proud of my skills and intelligence have all influenced my personal style."
I asked Laurie what her favourite cosmetics products are:
1. Leaves of Trees Argan Oil. "This stuff is amazing. And it’s a local company! Yeah!! I like the Orange Blossom Argan Oil best."
2. "Daniel Thompson – Absolute Light. Not just saying this because this is Daniel’s column. This stuff is a GOD SEND when you’ve spent a long night in the edit suite and have to be back, on set, to do an interview."
You can watch Laurie's work on 16X9, which airs nationally on Saturdays at 7:00 pm on Global television.
Many consumers are now asking more and more often what types of ingredients are found in personal care products. And more and more articles are appearing to tell us which ingredients to avoid.
Cosmetics companies realize that they have to be more open and clear about their ingredients and it is very easy to read the entire ingredient list on any cosmetics product. However, the companies have also become very good at misleading with legal definitions, simple label claims, and subterfuge.
Examples of misleading labelling:
1. Implication Statements
The new trend in cosmetics is to tell the consumer what is NOT in the formula. You see it all the time: "Free from sulfates," "Free from Silicones."
The implication is that by not including these contentious ingredients the formula has met some additional safety for the consumer. This is not true at all. Or the implication is that the formula is more natural, which is also not true.
2. Companion Statements
Take a shampoo and you will often see the term "Silicone Free" on the front label. Then take the matching conditioner and you will see the term "Sulfate Free" on the front label. This misleading labelling is technically true, but the technique leads consumers to think both the shampoo and the conditioner are BOTH sulfate and silicone free. This is not the case as 99% of shampoos contain sulfates and 99% of conditioners contain silicone.
3. Building Consumer Trust with Buzz Words
Marketers rely on the fact that most consumers don't fully understand the terminology which surrounds the process of making consumer goods. Often the terms are printed in bold print: "vegan," "sustainable," "sourced from plants" - yet many of these terms simply mean nothing. Vegan just means not made with animal byproducts - many, many petrochemicals can be used instead; so is that better? Sustainable means (legally) "an agreed objective of international trade agreements," and the word actually has no practical or measurable application. Legally the term means it is a future objective of manufacturing processes.
As for "Sourced from plants: - did you know many irritants and thickening agents are sourced from plants? These terms give an impression that the product is somehow more "real" than it actually could be.
So how to trust a label? Well remember that none of the labels actually lie to you. It's all just misleading information based on the legal definitions of the words.
Read the fine print on the back of the packaging - the INCI ingredient list - and do your research. It's the only way to be sure.