This Angel Wears Prada: Why Leaving the Fashion World Saved My Soul

Today’s post was inspired by the lovely  Alyssa Summers  who sent me this message on Facebook

I love sharing this part of my story. It was a critical time, when my most important course-changer showed up.“Hey Hillary  – So great to have you at AY Live. I’ve been wondering, have you written anything about how/when you left your job at Prada? I’d love to hear about your experience: This topic really close to my ♥ right now!”

You have two choices with a course-changer: you can take the Victim road or the Warrior road.

You can submit to the norm, or walk into the dark and explore the unknown, infinite possibilities.

When I landed the job at Prada as the PR Manager of Miu Miu in the mid-90’s, it was a big deal. It had been my dream towork at a high fashion designer house… but it also came with a ton of pressure and stress.

I didn’t care. I’d “made it”. “Was it like The Devil Wears Prada?” you ask. The answer is no. Not at all. It was worse.

We worked the insane hours, and our boss treated us like we were her servants… but there was no happy ending. OK, the parties and clothing allowance were sweet, but not enough to take the pressure off.

In some ways, it was all about the sacrifice just to have the privilege to work there.

Nevertheless, after I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, it felt like a prison sentence. My dreams were over. It was absolutely crushing.

So, I tried to compromise.

I was on medication and I remember having to get my Avonex shot in Italy at 4am in my room from an Italian doctor and felt sick all day and pushed through anyway. One night, I was so tired at a dinner with Harper’s Bazaar that I fell asleep in my plate. I was exhausted.

What drove me to quit my job was a few things. One was my health — my legs and left arm were numb. Then, when I saw how miserable my boss was, I knew I never wanted to be that. But in my confusion, I still felt like a failure.

“Who would I be without this job?” I thought to myself. “No one will care who I am.”

The diagnosis forced me to get real about who I was as a person, and align my values. It revealed there were more important things for me to focus on.

I confess, I was attached to the titles, the labels. I defined myself by my job, where I lived, what I wore, who I hung out with…. All my friends were in fashion, and I knew if I quit my Prada job they wouldn’t give me the time of day. I measured my worth by what I’d accomplished — and I know this is an epidemic among women today.

I couldn’t heal my abusive past by piling on thousands of dollars worth of clothing.

I realized I’d built a mansion on a swamp. I had to go deep. I had to heal inside. I chose the Warrior road.

Though I left Prada, the experience was resume gold, and I could use it but on my terms. See? Infinite possibilities. I found a better job. I discovered yoga, meditation and worked with many healers to get my health in order. An entirely new world opened up for me.

I began to understand freedom and happiness.

One day, after watching my teacher lead an intro to yoga workshop, I walked out of the studio floating above the ground saying to myself, “I want to make people feel good in their bodies and souls, too.”

So I left NYC for LA to do my yoga teacher training, moved there, and was a PR director for a fashion company to support my new dream. I have been teaching since 2002, am a certified Anusara Yoga teacher, created Hillary’s Yoga Practice podcast,  produced my DVD Yoga Foundations and taught yoga around the world.

From there, I discovered that I loved the personal growth side of teaching. I started to coach women 1-1 and in my Inner Circle Mastery programs through the same transition I had made, to become the women they wanted to be, but were afraid to be.

I spent many years trying to force a square peg into a round hole. I learned that trying to be something your not is deadly to your soul. You must listen to your entire being to do your work in this world.

So, are you ready to get radically honest? Ask yourself these questions:

1. Am I defining myself by my job?
2. Are my values aligned with my work?
3. Who am I without this job? This home? This stuff?
4. If I walk away from my job will my “friends” still be there?
5. Am I ignoring a deep calling to please my family?

If you answered YES to any of these questions then do yourself a favor and find out your Why? Then Ask #3 again and meditate on it, take action and save your soul because your life depends on it.

Need some support because you’re in a job that’s killing your soul? I totally understand where you are at. No one needs to do it alone. I know I needed help and glad I asked for it. When you are ready the teacher appears, right?

I’d love to support you and have a new program I am creating to help you do exactly what I did — go for your dreams.

If this speaks to you then click here to apply for a complimentary clarity session.

Go ahead share this post now then comment with your answers… I’d love to hear your story too!




P.S. For all my concerned fashionstas who wonder what became of all the fabulousness I collected during my Prada stint: yes, I did keep a few key pieces like my grey stilettos. But nowadays, I wear them for me…. not the label attached.

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