Whether she's developing business leaders, or reclaiming meals with toddlers, Downtown Chic Mom on the Street Meagan Hooper does important work in new ways, with a classic style.
I'm the CEO and Founder of bSMART, a mentorship and networking app that guides women through personal and professional challenges in order to increase the number of women in leadership.
I leveraged an arts degree and professional theatre and film experience into a career on Wall Street, working my way up from Administrative Assistant for the founder of a premier hedge fund, to the firm's Chief Operating Officer. I then helped launch the operations for a global wealth management firm.
Now I offer training through the bSMART app with comprehensive mentorship, short podcasts, masterclass videos, mentorship notes, and a powerful network and industry groups for online support.
In the midst of building my business and channeling my entrepreneurial spirit, I continue my pursuit of the arts, from performing stand-up comedy to appearing in film, television, and theatre. I'm a graduate of Wake Forest University and live in Soho with my husband, Joe, daughter Harriet, and pug, Stella.
Which three words best describe your style? Downtown, chic, understated.
Where are your favorite places to shop? Alexander McQueen if I had the budget… The tailoring is unparalleled. Alexis Bittar for accessories. I live in the Soho neighborhood of Manhattan surrounded by a lot of retailers, but I end up curating most of my pieces on Shopbop.com or finding designer resale at local consignment shops (The RealReal) or outlets. I love a good deal on a high-quality piece I’ll own for a lifetime.
Who’s your favorite style icon? Diana Vreeland for her vision. Kate Moss for her street style. Brigitte Bardot for embodying the ‘50s and ‘60s.
If you could pick anyone to star as you in a movie based on your life, who would it be? I’ve been told I look like Reese Witherspoon and Kate Mara. But I’d be so thrilled to have a movie based on my life, I really wouldn’t care who plays me!
What’s your best style advice? It’s who’s wearing the clothes that makes your look unique and iconic. And self-care is the best way to nurture you and your style.
What article of clothing/accessory would you not want to live without? Oversized sunglasses (RayBan), Burberry trench coat, skinny jeans (AG), Hermes scarf, Nancy Gonzalez top handle bag, and Le Labo perfume (Iris 39).
What fashion/style did you love at the time, but now cringe when you see old photos? I embraced the fast fashion of the ‘90s and unfortunately dyed my hair too many times, wore dark make-up, and showed too much skin!
What’s your best style secret? Taking the time to have clean, moisturized skin and putting on a great BB cream, lipstick, mascara, perfume, and special jewelry. Those moments of self-care will dress up any outfit. I love Embryolisse for skincare and Chantecaille for minimal make-up.
Stilettos or flats? Both :) And booties. I’m currently searching for brogue flats that lace-up.
What’s your favorite way to spend time with your family? We love mealtime - whether at home on a weeknight or out at a restaurant. There’s nothing better than great food with the people you love. My daughter’s only two years old, but already she seems to be a foodie like her mother :)
What’s your go-to family dinner? I’m big on food diversity, so I try to serve something a little different every night. My all-time favorite recipes are from the book Bride & Groom: First and Forever Cookbook. This has been my recipe Bible for over 15 years of marriage… Now that I’m eight months pregnant with our second child, my husband has started cooking dinner (along with his usual weekend brunch), and it has been a real treat to be served food at home.
What’s your favorite family restaurant? We are surrounded by fantastic French bistros and restaurants that are child-welcoming. For brunch and treats, we love Laduree, Sant Ambroeus, and MarieBelle. For dinners out, we love La Mercerie, Little Prince, Bistro Leo, Cocotte, and many more.
In Soho, even the nicest restaurants have highchairs, booster seats, crayons, and coloring books. It’s wonderful to have all family members feel welcomed when eating at your favorite neighborhood restaurant.
Best parenting advice: Intervene as little as possible and set an example of good manners with your own behavior. In other words, let them be who they are - not who you are.
For me, mealtime is the best time to instill my values and listen to my daughter - even before she could speak. I’ve tried to make mealtime about pleasure, not pressure or nutrition. That seems to have really helped with our family having enjoyable mealtimes with a diverse menu and engaged little eater!
Parenting true confession: I’m a work-from-home mom who has a babysitter or nursery school care in the mornings. For me, self-care and breaks throughout the day and week are the best way I can be a refreshed and engaged mom (and wife!). I’ve tried to take time for myself from the very beginning. When I have a babysitter or my daughter’s in school - I don’t do the laundry, clean the house, or go to the grocery store. I take time for self-care; and for me, working on my business can be a fulfilling form of self-care.
What’s been your best family vacation? We LOVE to travel. We took our daughter to the island of St. Barth’s when she was seven months old and it was the perfect time to travel because she wasn’t walking yet. We also made a family trip to Paris and Provence when she was 10 months old and had a great time. We hope to repeat that trip this summer after the birth of our second baby! The French are incredibly welcoming of children. From restaurants to trains to shops, we always felt welcomed and our daughter felt special receiving little treats or gifts.
What’s at the top of your travel bucket list? Being 8 months pregnant, I’m really itching to go to so many places that will all have to wait. I hope this year to go back to Santa Barbara in winter and Provence in summer. For new places, I’d love to spend a week in Wyoming or Montana, as well as take my children to England, Vienna, Zurich, and Milan to visit international friends!
What’s your favorite show to binge-watch? As an amateur stand-up comedian and mother, I loved watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. But most nights I’m reading on my iPhone Kindle app while my husband is binge-watching a series on his iPad. Modern love, I guess!
What’s your favorite beach read? I’m a pretty aggressive Kindle reader with business-leadership books, child-rearing books, and books about spirituality and nourishing the soul.
The Nordic Theory of Everything by Anu Partanen was really eye-opening for me as to the future of a more secure and supported world for women, men, and children. The Nordic countries have done a great job creating policies to include men with early and ongoing childcare as well as domestic responsibilities; these policies seem to benefit the whole family and most importantly, the children.
What’s the best song to dance to when nobody’s watching? When I’m the only one in my apartment, I love to blast music by great female artists from over the last 40 years such as Cindy Lauper and Stevie Nicks.
If you could go shopping with anyone from history, living or deceased, who would it be? DIANA VREELAND. Hopefully, we would have her Vogue budget to spend, as well. :) If you want to learn more about her and her indelible impact on fashion, watch the documentary Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel.
What’s your favorite way to unwind at the end of a long day? A glass of wine chatting with my husband, Joe, when I’m not pregnant. But these days, I’ve been practicing meditation with the Calm Birth app. It’s been transformational for sleeping well at night and feeling peaceful during the day - even though my 38-year-old body is aching with my second pregnancy!
We love Meagan's timeless approach to style and life. She's redefining workspaces for women, and the table for her family, in strong, beautiful, mindful ways. Be sure to follow @Meagan Hooper and @bSmartGuide on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram (@meaganhooper14).
And for more classy and fabulous moms, be sure to check out FamilyApp’s Mom on the Street page.