Interview from Goldyn Denver's Blog:
GOLDYN GIRL INTERVIEW: ANNA JENSEN
In anticipation of our upcoming event, Embodying the Feminine Divine, next Thursday, March 31st, we wanted to properly introduce you to our event partner – and one of our favorite Goldyn Girls – fashion stylist Anna Jensen. We can’t wait, not only because Anna is such a lovely, inspiring woman herself, but because this event really hits the nail on the head of what we try to do here at Goldyn… Let me explain: Anna is not your typical personal stylist. She approaches styling with a highly spiritual, mindful and individualistic point of view that until now has been pretty much unheard of in what can oftentimes be a superficial industry. Anna focuses on venerating beauty by turning one’s fashion, adornment and beauty routine into a ritual of self-expression, self-love and self-care. We think Anna’s approach of honoring each client’s individuality and in turn helping that person embark on a process of self discovery is a beautiful thing, which is why we thought partnering on this event would be the perfect way to kick off the Spring season of renewal and rebirth.
Attendees at the upcoming Goldyn event will be guided through a complimentary, shortened version of her consultation process, walking away with worksheets to dig deeper and find concrete ways to enjoy and be creative with your beauty routines, as well as other ways to honor yourself. This evening of connection and creativity will help you welcome Spring with renewed excitement in who you are, and who you can be.
Anna boasts an impressive background in TV newscasting and journalism, which makes her story all the more intriguing. Read on for our full interview, as we ask her to dig a little deeper into her life, inspirations and work.
Goldyn: Tell us a little about your background, both professionally and personally.
Anna Jensen: I grew up in Colorado, on my family’s horse farm, and always had a strong connection spiritually via the animals I was surrounded with. I moved to Dallas and attended SMU for my undergraduate studies. I wanted to be the next “Elsa Klensch” (a really dry, hoity-toity British journalist who covered the worlds of art and fashion for CNN!) I interned at Entertainment Tonight in LA and then moved to London to study fashion communications while working as an international fashion journalist. I then returned to the states to “get my feet wet” in TV as a hard news reporter/anchor, which I did for about 10 years (with a one-year hiatus to study in Italy). Finally a couple years ago, after a very “dark night of the soul” period, I returned to Colorado and decided to put all of my energy into something I loved and that felt like my “medicine” to offer to the world…and so my fashion styling career was born!
Goldyn: You started out as a journalist, what sparked the move into styling and how did you get started?
Anna Jensen: I love journalism, and am currently about to launch a weekly video series that will be on my website (www.annajensen.com) and YouTube, so I do plan to marry my two loves of journalism/TV and fashion in that way! I started styling people in high school… my friends will tell you I used to take all of them shopping for homecoming and prom. I would literally “book” them for hair and makeup appointments with me the day-of! I had experimented with so much in that realm, I had read Vogue since I was 13 and knew every designer and model. It was second nature. I guess I had an eye and a knack for it. I think that eye, and my skills, were certainly honed by being in pageants in college and then my time in front of the camera. I think often we don’t see what is right under our nose, and that’s how it was for me with styling. I wanted to make a change and feel more connected to women, to have a more direct impact and more fun. It took about 10 months of volunteering, pounding the pavement and being brave. Then, all of a sudden, I had my first glossy magazine cover and editorial shoot, I was at the helm of a fashion show for the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and styling at the biggest charity fashion show in Denver. That gave me the credibility, exposure and confidence I needed. Now I feel like I’m off to the races! I had to bring on an assistant to handle some social media and office work so I have time for all of my clients. The greatest thing is, I went out on a limb as far as really being “me”, being “different”. It is paying off because the universe brings me clients I just know I am supposed to meet, who are totally on the same wavelength. They appreciate all I have to offer and are ready for it!
Goldyn: How did living and working abroad affect your personal style and approach to work?
Anna Jensen: I think living in Italy definitely made me a different human being, and had a huge effect on how I look at work. I can’t imagine living life content to work in a job that bored me to death. Our birthright is to go for the passionate life, to work in a job where we feel our contributions are meaningful. That doesn’t mean we have to cure cancer, it means we shouldn’t slave away like so many Americans, working for “the machine” and sacrificing ourselves, our families, our happiness, our zest for life because “that’s what you do” and you want to keep up with the neighbors. Italians, and this is a broad generalization I realize, are much more about “working to live” not “living to work”. That’s how it should be. As far as personal style, I think living abroad made me more daring and made me more of a collector of fashion, both because I liked to buy things by young up-and-coming designers I was exposed to and because I liked having clothing as mementos of those special times. When I returned a lot of people made comments about my “European” sartorial flair…I’m not sure exactly what that means but I do know I didn’t own any jeans or shorts while living in either place!
Goldyn: You also worked as a news anchor and television host, what was that like?
Anna Jensen: I loved being in TV and definitely plan to return to that in a more concrete way once I really can take the time to do it right. I loved my first morning anchor job the most- my first day on air was mortifying and I have an AWESOME blooper reel from my time there- but I loved my coworkers. It really is true that in that career your coworkers are family and you become incredibly close because usually everyone is from somewhere else and has no family and support other than one another. It is a unique fraternity and I will always miss the adrenaline rush as well. I did a lot of big stories while working in Colorado Springs and loved my coworkers there as well, and then I was chosen for an NBC training program at Rockefeller Center so I moved to Manhattan. Unfortunately then the economy tanked and I had passed up a promotion in the Springs, but I started doing morning traffic for Channel 2 in Denver and working on the Everyday show on 31. Then I spent some time in LA and Oklahoma. It really is a career that gets in your blood. I’ll always miss it, but the gift I now have of living life in a rhythm that is conducive to my own wellbeing on every level, and allows me to be sovereign, is priceless
Goldyn: How did you develop your individual approach to working with people on such a personal and specific level?
Anna Jensen: I think my approach is the culmination of so much of my life. My travels, my experiences, my deep pondering and soul searching moments, my work with family, friends and clients, my hours of therapy and most of all my own journey from a place of darkness, where life seemed very grey, very constricted, depressing and excruciatingly painful, to where I am now. I healed myself. How I dressed and took care of myself was in direct correlation to how I felt about myself. People might say “of course when you feel happier you take better care of yourself, you exercise, you put more energy into what you wear” but I think that is wrong, at least for most women. Most women and teenage girls need to do the action first. We oftentimes deny ourselves the pleasure, the creativity, the fun and frivolity because of a lot of messed up stuff we internalize. I find that if people can really figure out what turns them on, what makes them feel happy, what they are drawn to, what certain styles inspire or provoke certain reactions, they can radically change their own lives. A lot of my process seems really random, extensive and off- topic to people at first, but I always say “there’s a method to my madness”. If I can understand what really makes you tick, and kind of become like your best friend in the matter of an hour or so, I can almost guarantee I know what you will like and how you want to look, and then I can help you create that in your own life. The way you present yourself to the world is important, but what is most important is how it makes YOU feel, and how the way you care for yourself in the private moments makes you feel. Figure out how you want to feel every day and then make that possible and you’re unstoppable!
Goldyn: How is your approach to styling different from others in the industry?
Anna Jensen: My approach is not about trends, it’s not about whether you’re a “summer” or a “winter”, and it certainly isn’t about rules. Many stylists don’t naturally have a knack for proportion, color, texture etc. or they don’t have the confidence to help clients break rules and be themselves. They don’t go beyond the surface to understand the human being they are talking to: the persons fears, desires, experiences- all of those are huge things when it comes to knowing how to help a person’s soul really shine through and helping that person feel free and vibrant and like a true expression of themselves. I also laugh when people tell me they have a stylist at a store they use. I’m not saying those people aren’t talented, but they work for the store, not for you. I am as happy to spend a day foraging through a discount store as I am to scout at boutiques or pull clothes at Neiman Marcus. I take into account your budget and your goals and then figure out how to make the two match up!
Goldyn: A large piece of your practice is about honoring oneself. Can you tell us more about this and what is means to you? Why is it important?
Anna Jensen: Honoring oneself is the most important thing we as women can do at this particular time on earth. It makes me sick to think of all the ways we dishonor ourselves- starving ourselves, using exercise as punishment, the disparaging thoughts we have when we glimpse our cellulite or rear end in the mirror, the group body-shaming done as a form of bonding, the teenage clothing that promotes objectification before a girl even knows what that is. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not immune to any of this, and I don’t mean to come across holier-than-thou, but we must consciously try to shift the tide. So much of my life was spent dishonoring my own wishes, desires, dreams, and most of all smothering and suffocating my gut instinct…that magical thing we women are gifted with. Once I started to honor my instincts and intuition everything changed, and it led me back home. It can be as small a step as buying a beautiful face cream and soaking in the aroma while you tell yourself you deserve it every night. Start small, the magic will happen.
Goldyn: You are an initiated Priestess in the Awakening Avalon lineage, can you please tell us more about that and what is means to you?
Anna Jensen: The Awakening Avalon lineage is a sisterhood of earth wisdom based on Western Mystery Tradition, and I started my apprenticeship with High Priestess Holly Hamilton about three years ago. It is a lineage that teaches and is based on shamanic practices of the Americas and Europe with strong ties to the traditions of the ancient Celts. I have a group of about 30 women throughout the United States, Great Britain and Canada that are my sisters on the path. To be an “initiated” priestess involves taking an oath to be of service to the Goddess or the great Lady, as we refer to the feminine face of God. It is a path that completely reorients your perception of life, the universe and what is possible…and most especially it has opened my eyes to how women are marginalized and pathologized, and what it truly is to be in our full womanhood. Most of the time we don’t even realize how insidious the disrespect and misunderstanding of our sex is because it is ingrained in our society. I am no man-hater, and in fact a lot of my path lately has been really understanding and healing the masculine divine, but I hope to help women celebrate and embrace the power we are born with as females in a graceful way. That is what is most meaningful to me, the fact I have chosen essentially to give my life to the Goddess and to serve her in whatever way she calls me to. I did it without any reservation and with great joy, as I felt it had always been destined.
Goldyn: What can attendees at your event at Goldyn expect?
Anna Jensen: The Goldyn event will be so much fun. I knew the minute I met Vanessa that I would love to be her friend and the past couple of years as I have gotten to know her I knew Goldyn was the perfect setting for this kind of event. I want the evening to be one of connection and relaxation so please dress comfortably! We will start with a welcome and brief meditation and then move into the bulk of what I would like to teach, what I want to plant in your mind and share about my philosophies. I will have a special worksheet version of my consultation for everyone to work on and we will walk through the different parts with time for questions and discussion. This means you’ll have concrete ideas of changes to make and ways to style yourself when you go home. At the conclusion, I will open it up to any general questions about what I’ve said and about me. Then we get to shop with the newfound perspective you’ll have on your own look. Mostly I want the women to feel inspired, connected, have fun with each other and grow our tribe of like-minded sisters!
Goldyn: What is your favorite part about your job?
Anna Jensen: When I get messages from clients about how I have changed their life, how I make them feel in my presence, how they’ve totally changed how they look at things, how they got hit on by a 25 year old (and they’re 50!). It’s awesome!
Goldyn: You have a deep connection with horses, how does that influence your life, both personally and professionally?
Anna Jensen: My horses, most specifically my horse Teddy, I consider my “familiar”! Teddy is my spiritual teacher. He is the ultimate litmus test of whether I am being true to myself because horses are great at calling you on your BS. Horses, being prey animals, can’t be fooled by words or superficial things…they read your body language, they feel your muscle tension and heartbeat, they smell your hormones, your fear…you just can’t lie. So, Teddy reminds me to just be honest because faking it and covering up pain and fear simply doesn’t work- figure it out instead of trying to cover it up! I also love to think of horses as great teachers of boundaries, something most women need to work on. They are generally not fighters or violent, but cross the line and they’ll react with a swift kick or bite to show you exactly what’s gonna fly and what’s not. Teddy has taught me about trust and facing fear most of all. I had a horrible accident on him and shattered my leg into eight pieces. I had the choice to quit or to return to competition. There was no point in saddling up again if I was going to ride scared or ride defensively. In jumping competition riding that way is simply dangerous, for you and the horse. I chose to ride, and had to consciously decide I would trust Teddy. It was hard, trauma can literally be paralyzing, and it took a lot of work and tear-filled training sessions with my coaches, but we were triumphant and had a great couple of show seasons. Now he is teaching me about letting go of dreams as he suddenly suffered a bad injury and can no longer jump. He’s teaching me how to move through heartbreak and disappointment with the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child, and how to embrace the unknown with just as much joy and enthusiasm as we’ve shared together.
Goldyn: Can you describe your own personal approach to style?
Anna Jensen: I would say I am kind of “European Boho/Gypset/Italian Bombshell” all rolled into one. I think flats are for sissies (but I just got a really cute pair of distressed Frye sneakers that I’m obsessed with), black is the only black, more is more, and leopard print is a neutral. I love black lace and diamonds during the day. I adore a Spanish fashion blogger named Madame De Rosa- total gypsy but she’s a Gucci-clad gypsy! I also adore Mara Hoffman’s colorful and unique dresses and swimsuits, I love Free People but I tend to go for the fancier more embellished and ethereal finds there. I would say a lot of my jewelry choices have to do with their meaning to me- I love Rachel Zoe’s quote, “I see bold accessories as a women’s armor”, but I’ll take it one step further and say that I see meaningful accessories as a women’s police badge, stopping negative energy in it’s tracks and calling a woman to live up to everything she desires to be.
Goldyn: What are the top 5 things that every woman needs in her closet?
Anna Jensen: An “amulet” or “talisman” jewelry piece (much more on that in my program!), great black pants, a dress that can morph from day to night with accessories (Apiece Aparts’ striped dress and the Puebla cream dress are perfect!), a great white T-shirt or tank that makes you feel sexy and can be dressed up with just the right jewelry, and the perfect pair of jeans- and if you’re good for bluejeans, choose white. I wish more people would find a good pair of white jeans for summer- they can go with almost anything and really add a fresh, chic dimension where you would otherwise wear a traditional jean. Those are the things I would make sure you have, and that I would actually invest in, for Spring/Summer and beyond. Those are things that warrant spending money, and then you can flesh out your wardrobe with more trendy and less expensive tops etc.
Goldyn: Any favorite trends or designers right now?
Anna Jensen: I am a perennial lover of anything Victorian so I love that that’s trending right now…the trick is to pair it with modern, more edgy/minimalistic pieces. The same goes for the Spanish feeling influencing some designers- ruffles, crocheted items, Spanish red. Those are great trends to have fun with especially juxtaposed with something very sleek- a perfect black pant or skinny jean, a pair of dagger earrings, a motorcycle jacket. I love that hats are sticking around for the spring and summer in a bigger way than usual…so many people think they aren’t “hat” people but hats are a lifesaver for bad hair/beach hair and add so much panache to any outfit!