Over the summer, I had the good fortune to go see the new Broadway musical "War Paint," starring Christine Ebersole as Elizabeth Arden and the iconic Patti LuPone as Helena Rubinstein. I could write a thousand words on how amazing the production was, another thousand on the historical accuracy, another thousand on the cultural context, but those aren't articles I'm going to write. Instead, I want to write about a quote from the show that stuck a chord with me, and some quotes like it.
In an early scene, Harry Fleming, Rubinstein's marketing director, asks her how, in a world that sees her Semitic features as undesirable, she remains so confident in herself and her looks. Without pause, Helena Rubinstein replied, "Every morning, I get up and I look at myself in the mirror and I tell it that I am beautiful, and I dare it to defy me."
I couldn't move in my seat. It was a simple line, not a new concept, but the power LuPone edged her proclamation with floored me. Sometimes, now, on a bad day, if I look in the mirror and can't find anything good, as lame as it sounds, I think about Helena Rubinstein, sitting in a luxury apartment in New York City, one of the richest people in the world, a business powerhouse, looking herself in the mirror, telling herself, declaring to herself, that yes, she is beautiful. And I can feel beautiful too.
Here are some other quotes I go to when life goes bad. I hope you find something in them too.