What makes these women love their work? Is it something in the coffee? In the attitude? Or is it something we can all learn from?
 Amsale Aberra 
Bridal and evening wear designer at Amsale, her boutique on Madison Avenue

What makes your job fun?
The fun part is really the designing. In the beginning, when my showroom was also my living room, I developed friendships with the women who came in—talking about the flowers, the dress, everything—and I can still do that. It's a way to bond with other women.

What are the drawbacks?
The business part. Sometimes it's like two different jobs—the creative part and the financial—and I'm like, 'Why am I doing this?' The biggest pressure is the deadlines.

You once said that every time you make a dress, it's like getting married all over again.
It's true. I try on every dress and say, 'If I were getting married next week, this would be the one.'

Nicole Keeter
Film critic for Time Out New York, at the Grand Screen in the Tribeca Grand Hotel

What makes your job fun?
I love watching movies, and it's a thrill to see them first. What's truly fulfilling about my job is that I can champion the worthwhile smaller films that might not receive the attention they deserve.

What are the drawbacks?
Getting nasty letters from people who don't agree with my review of a film can be hard. But I'm a movie fan, too, so I understand feeling passionate about something.

How do you keep yourself from falling asleep during movies?
On the days when I see three or four films in a row, I need a cup of coffee or a chocolate bar to help me through the later ones. But when a story is compelling, I'll leave the theater feeling invigorated no matter how tired I was when I entered it.

 Dylan Lauren
Proprietor of Dylan's Candy Bar in Manhattan

What makes your job fun?
The store is like the epitome of my personality, and I've always collected artistic candy packaging. Everything is very colorful, very happy. I made a table out of gumballs, and mosaics out of candy. We have a huge ten-foot-tall chocolate bunny that's our mascot. And candy makes you feel good. The store is like one big party. Some of the most conservative-looking people secretly love gummy bears or have a stash of licorice.

What are the drawbacks?
The fact that we don't have shelf space to carry everything people want. And there's definitely pressure: because I put my heart and soul into the store, I want people to love it.

Who influenced your sense of fun?
My father [Ralph Lauren], definitely, because he does what his passion is. And Janet Jackson—she's amazing.

DD Allen
Architect and designer, in her client Gwyneth Paltrow's house

What makes your job fun?
I spend most of the day looking at pretty things—beautiful fabrics, great furniture. It's all about being surrounded by beauty and trying to make something of it. And I get to collaborate with fun people.

Who are some of your more recognizable clients?
Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Phoebe Cates and Kevin Kline, and Tommy Tune.

Do you find that the celebrities you design for bring a lot to the table?
I suppose people involved in the arts tend to think more creatively about their surroundings, and certainly I've found that clients in the movies and theater know how to collaborate. A lot of times they'll be on the road for work, staying in hotels, while I do the job. They'll send back ideas from hotel bathrooms and places like that.

Rori Trovato 
Food writer and stylist for publications including O, The Oprah Magazine, at a cookbook photo shoot

What makes your job fun?
The fact that it changes every day. When I was a chef, I would make, say, duck night after night after night. Now I never do the same thing twice. It was always a dream of mine to go to Italy, pick the potatoes, walk inside to the kitchen, and make the gnocchi. I've been able to work all over the world.

What are the drawbacks?
There's a lot of schlepping. Definitely a lot of schlepping—of equipment, ingredients, everything.

What food presents the biggest challenge to you?
I always say that chicken is the hardest thing to make pretty. Particularly chicken breasts—they pretty much look like the sole of a shoe.


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