Modern Muse, our series celebrating accomplished, stylish, real women. In other words, women just like you.
Her books have sold over 500,000 copies. But penning the moments that define her doesn’t come easily. The bestselling author and parenthood writer shares what really matters, style after baby, and the lies that every mom tells. Meet our Modern Muse, Leslie Bruce Amin.
[Bailey44:] You’re a NYT Bestselling author and most recently launched Unpacified, dubbed a parenting platform for moms who are people, too. What does it mean to be a mom and a person?
[Leslie:] Being a mom is everything, but it’s not all there is. I had a really difficult time transitioning to motherhood, which I feel is super common. It’s hard for a lot of women because we’re successful, we’re independent, we’re pursuing careers, and we’re having families later. A woman spends all these years developing who she is and then over the course of labor and delivery her entire world flips upside down. The biggest priority now is this little person and keeping him or her happy, healthy and hopefully sleeping and eating.
My best days are where I start my morning having breakfast with my daughter and end them putting her down for bed. But also having my own time and being able to dive into work for a few hours. On those days I feel like I’m being a mom and doing something for me.
Did you always know that you wanted to start Unpacified?
It wasn’t until I had my daughter (Tallulah, 2). My husband – in earnest – said, “I don’t understand why we’re having such a difficult time when everyone else seems to be handling this well. What’s wrong with us?” I was looking for resources and people who were going through similar things. I was sitting there like, “What’s the flipside? I love her, she’s amazing, but I’m having a really difficult time.” People think that as new moms you should be overjoyed every minute. For me, I just wanted someone to be like, “You’re having a hard day? I’m sorry.”
How has your style evolved since adding ‘mama’ to your profile?
Becoming a mom is such a huge transition – your body changes, your priorities change, everything changes. One thing that was really important to me was getting back to being me, this new 2.0 version of me. I still want to be Leslie, but I only have a certain amount of time each day. I’m really grateful that Gigi Hadid has brought back the sneaker because that has single-handedly changed my life.
Tell us about Leslie 2.0…
Leslie 1.0 used to do everything at 100% until it was done. There’s this general idea that women can do it all, conquer it all and boil nipple shields in heels, and it’s just not always going to happen. I had to start learning how to prioritize in a really meaningful way. Some days I’m just going to do things at 75 or 80%, and that’s okay.
What are some of Leslie 2.0’s go-to looks…
I want to be feminine – especially in a line of work where I put out the vibe that I’m a girl boss – but I also want to be comfortable. I love Bailey44 because it’s fitted, it’s powerful, it’s neutral and it’s comfortable. Being a mom, that’s clutch. You never know when you’re going to be climbing over monkey bars. I also wear a lot of Rag & Bone, Helmut Lang and Alexander Wang. Being a mom, you can get away with a great white tee and a pair of denim jeans on just about every occasion.
Where do you look to for style inspiration?
Anyone who’s chic, feminine and powerful. Kate Hudson does an amazing job of that. She’s really feminine, but also brings in menswear pieces and is really sexy. Also the Michelle Williams and Carey Mulligans of the world. I love Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner, but who doesn’t?
Looking back, what are some of the moments that have defined you?
I struggle with this. There’s this push and pull of what women are expected to say versus what they want to say. Coloring with my daughter, getting on the floor with her and seeing how excited it makes her is so fulfilling. I’ve also written five books and they’ve all been on the New York Times bestsellers list and I think that’s a pretty big deal, too.
Who is your Modern Muse?
My grandmother has always been a source of inspiration. She was born in the ‘20s and had my mom and aunt in the late ‘40s. Most women weren’t badass boss moms back then, and she was. Her mother before her raised four girls on her own and owned a bar in Chicago. I come from a line of strong women who did not depend on anybody but themselves to leave their mark.