For the 2012 graduates of the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), there was no more fitting commencement speaker than alumnus Leslie Blodgett. The charismatic and successful cosmetics leader delivered her address with a mix of relatable humor, professional poise, and genuine encouragement.
Full of stories from her time at FIT, her speech acknowledged the hard work required to make it in the business world of cosmetics. As the fashion and beauty industry faces increasing criticism for its perceived contributions to body image issues among American females, Leslie encouraged graduates to continue using fashion as a way to empower people. She also emphasized the importance of “saying yes” to opportunities which engage with the world outside of your field.
Always keeping a light tone, Leslie interspersed recollections of her past faux pas into more serious take away points. She stressed the multi-dimensional aspects of beauty – even for her cosmetics company, Bare Escentuals.
Her message to graduates centered on a preemptive “thank you” to this young generation for “figuring it out” and working hard. She articulated her vision of the future in which the graduates of FIT found a niche and platform from which to make a difference.
With a record of business savvy and cosmetic creativity, her authority in the field was an unspoken nudge that surely made graduates listen. By assuming she could go ahead and thank graduates for their future work, Leslie delivered her challenge in an accessible and encouraging manor.
To watch the speech, follow this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FxubMApTyk