There are some jobs that look so glamorous, they can hardly be thought of as work. Jenna Lyons, the executive creative director at J.Crew, has one of them. She's helped millions of people get dressed in the morning, including first lady Michelle Obama.
Jenna landed her first job at J.Crew when she was only 21 and has been flying up the ladder ever since. Today, she oversees a creative force of more than 100 designers and every aspect of the J.Crew kingdom. "I love going to work every day. I never sit on the edge of my bed and think, 'Oh, I don't want to do this today,'" Jenna says.
One of the most exciting moments of Jenna's career was seeing Michelle Obama appear on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in head-to-toe J.Crew. "The trailer came up and she comes up on the screen, and I could barely breathe."
Jenna lives by a few fashion rules she says everyone could benefit from following.
Make a statement with jewelry.
Balance feminine pieces with tomboy accents, like a military blazer.
Wear opposites. If you're wearing something tailored, sprinkle in some sequins.
Mix textures—pair tweed with silk, for example.
Scoring your dream job is about doing what you love, Jenna says. "You don't actually think about what time it is. I never look at the clock. I love what I do ,and I think I don't care about whether I've been there, you know, until 10 p.m.," she says "And do it 110 percent, whatever you do—whether it's getting the coffee, whether it's putting the finishing touches on that dress—do it 110 percent. The people you work with will notice, and that will be rewarded."
Buddy Valestro has been running his family bakery since he was 17. Today, customers line up for Buddy's sweet treats, and millions tune in to see him at work on his TLC show, Cake Boss. Now he's taking on one of his biggest jobs to date: making a cake for Oprah!
His beautiful—and delicious—creation is a cake in the shape of Oprah's favorite tree, complete with Oprah and her dogs sitting beneath it. "I wanted to make something that made you feel happy," Buddy says. "And I know that you love to sit under your oak tree."
The first time Buddy worked in a bakery, it was as a punishment. "Me and my friends got caught actually playing with matches. I was 11," Buddy says. "So [my dad] says: 'You want to play around with your friends on weekends? I'm going to put you to work, and you're going to start to understand what it's really like to work.' So I went to the bakery, and to my amazement, I instantaneously loved it." From that moment, Buddy says he knew he wanted to be a baker.
Buddy's dreams were initially inspired by his father, he says. "I so looked up to him and he was my idol and my mentor, and I wanted to be just like him," Buddy says. "My dad passed away when I was 17, and me and my family had to keep the business running, and I had to step into my father's shoes, which were really big shoes to fill."
When it comes to landing your dream job, Buddy says it's about working hard, following your dreams and finding your zone. "It's like an artist painting his painting. I don't hear nothing. I feel no pain, and I just concentrate," he says. "When you're done, you feel like you're so tired because you gave everything you have into that project, but you look at what you made and you're like, 'Wow.'"
Known as the rock 'n' roll florist, Jeff Leatham has made a name for himself with his unconventional style and bold designs. He's perhaps best known as the star of TLC's Flowers Uncut, but he's currently the artistic director of the Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris.
When Jeff first got involved in flower arranging, he didn't even know it was something he liked doing. "I never wanted to work with flowers. I trained to be a model in L.A., ... [but eventually] I said, 'I have to either move back home to Utah or get a job.' So, luckily enough, I had a friend that worked at the Four Seasons in Los Angeles at the flower shop," he says. "I walked into that hotel and I saw it was like art. This is like walking into a museum, and they're creating something so special that I said, 'I have to be a part of this.'"
Jeff says his designs are inspired by both passion and color. "People often say to me: 'What do you do with your designs? Do you sketch?' I used to sketch a lot, but my sketches are real bad," he says. "It's better to kind of sit back and look at color and go from there."
If you're looking to send flowers to someone, Jeff suggests sending a bouquet without a vase and passing on arrangements of many different types of flowers. "Just say [to the florist], 'What's the most beautiful flower you have in your shop right now?' ... Just send a big bunch of the same type," he says. "It's really important, too, to really think clean, simple and chic."
Jeff says living out your dream job is about creating something that will make someone else stop in their tracks. "We're all so busy in the brouhaha of everyday life," he says. "If you stop a businessman in the lobby of a hotel or if you make something in a restaurant and they'll stop and say, 'That's amazing,' you've done your job."
She's smashed through glass, tumbled down stairs, dangled from helicopters and walked through fire. Daredevil stuntwoman Angela Meryl has even jumped off the Harpo Studios roof! Her latest feat may have made Oprah—and the emergency medical team on standby—a little nervous, but she says this is just another day at the office for her.
As a girl, Angela says she was a tomboy who loved playing in the yard and getting into trouble alongside her brother. This adventurous spirit led to a successful career in Hollywood, where she's been a stunt double for actresses like Halle Berry, Beyoncé and Vivica A. Fox, one of the stars of the Kill Bill movies.
At first, Angela says her mother didn't take her kick-butt career aspirations seriously. "She told me to get a real job, actually," she says. Thankfully, Angela didn't listen.
Angela says she lives by the belief that if you follow your passion, you'll never work a day in your life.
If you love gadgets and gizmos, Internet analyst Omar Wasow might just have your dream job. Ten years ago, he introduced Oprah to email. Now, he's here to demonstrate a high-tech toy that has everyone buzzing—Apple's iPad. "I never knew I needed it, and now it's hard to live without it," Oprah says. "That iPad can do things you didn't imagine."
Omar was one of the first people on the planet to receive an iPad, which hit shelves in April 2010. "Apple called me, and they said, 'Would you like to get an iPad a week before basically anyone else in the world is getting one?' I jumped at the chance," he says. "It was like being a CIA secret agent. I wanted to show it to all of my friends, but I was sworn to secrecy."
Opportunities like this are just part of the reason Omar loves his job. "I get to play with the future," he says.
As a child, Omar says his parents and grandparents encouraged his curiosity, and now, he puts it to good use. After just a few weeks with the iPad, Omar has discovered many uses for the new technology. "There are a lot of fabulous things can you do," he says. "I love to read the news, and now I read the news in bed on the iPad."
With 10 hours of battery life, Omar says you can also watch movies, surf the Web, play games like Scrabble and share digital photos. One of Oprah's favorite features is the interactive book application, which syncs up to your Kindle. "I learned to read from comics," Omar says. "I know there's going to be a generation of kids who learn to read on interactive books."
Many people dream of soaring high through the air, and for Daphne and Eboni, it's all in a day's work. These women are two of the acrobatic "wine angels" at Aureole Restaurant in Las Vegas. Their job description? To gracefully ascend Aureole's four-story wine tower and retrieve bottles for diners below.
Inspired by the movie Mission Impossible, the wine angels are strapped into an elaborate harness system and pulled to top of the 42-foot glass and steel tower, which holds 10,000 bottles of wine.
"It's one of the greatest jobs I've ever had," Daphne says. "I love it."
Eboni says this is also her dream job...for now. "Ultimately, I want to become an amazing accountant," she says.
Printed from Oprah.com on Friday, December 13, 2013