When I learned late last year that Norma Kamali had a book coming out in February with the title, I Am Invincible, I knew I had to get her to speak at our NextTribe virtual Out Loud event, which she did. The title and the one line I read about the book made me sure she embodied all things NextTribe has been talking about these past four years.
This is the line that’s on the cover of the book that resonated so strongly: “I will age with power and influence change because I know my purpose.”
I started working right away to secure her as a speaker, and because of the holidays and COVID, it was harder than expected. But finally I got a yes, and her book inspired the title of our event: “Invincible Not Invisible.” Norma Kamali will be speaking about her book tonight, and she’ll be in her booth to live chat with anyone who wants to say hi.
An Extraordinary Life
Now that I’ve read the book, I am in complete awe of Kamali’s journey and her determination. The book is billed as part manifesto, part memoir, and part essential guide, and it delivers on all three fronts. She walks us through the decades of life–not only what she was doing in each ten-year increment from her late teens until now, in her 70s, but also what commonly happens to women in these stages, with suggestions for making the most of each.
The memoir part of the book hits the many highlights of her life, including making her first sleeping bag coat after a camping trip in 1974, dressing Grace Jones for a performance at Studio 54, owned by her friend Ian Schrager, starting the Wellness Cafe at her flagship building in New York.
She also writes the lovely story of meeting her soon-to-be husband. When she was in her 20s, an astrologer forecast that she would meet her soul mate when she was 65. At the time, the prediction was alarming. But when it happened, right on schedule at age 65, it was like a gift, a beautiful instance of timing being just right for both parties.
The essential guide element focuses on what she calls the three pillars of good health–Diet, Exercise and Sleep. She also gives fashion, beauty and workplace advice.
My favorite part of the book are her memories of her mother, who was devoted to living a healthy life, such as making her own juice every morning, and alternative healing even though she got labeled as an eccentric. Kamali dedicates the book to her mother, with the note “I have become her.” So many of us fear becoming our mothers, but for Kamali it is a high honor.
Whenever I read a book, I have Post-It notes nearby so I can mark passages and ideas I want to remember. Norma’s book looks like it has a fringe of hot pink eyelashes.
Here are some words of wisdom that I loved:
“I left my husband and the business we created together behind, but I kept my soul.”
Normalife (her wellness brand) “is about taking care of yourself and others. It embraces ideas that encourage kindness.”
“Turning 50 means you have survived.”
“Who knew that 70 could be the most active and exciting decade yet?”
“There is no beauty product or substitute for a healthy lifestyle.”
“Girls compete. Women empower.”
“Be a great example for all the women around you.”
“Do it for joy…and you can do it forever!”