Celebrating Local Women Nominated for This Month’s Lovely Ladies Cover

American actress, comedian, screenwriter and singer Rosalind Russell proclaimed that “taking joy in living is a woman’s best cosmetic.” That concept was more than verified through a group of 10 women nominated to adorn this month’s cover of Chesterfield Lifestyle for the edition annually devoted to ladies. In fact, Rosalind’s claim was actually amplified through the energy, ideas, zest and wisdom shared among these electrifying women. 

Read onward to meet these interesting and diverse women. They are the inaugural group for an initiative launched by the publication’s co-publishers, Kelley Lamm and Gordon Montgomery. Kelley hopes to build a campaign through which women see their true beauty radiating from individual traits, day-to-day contributions and dreams, rather than dwelling on physical attributes, challenges or fears. “Embrace Your Beauty” also is about helping other women in need and pausing busy lives to hear everyone who desires to be heard. 

Remember that falling down is part of life; getting back up is living!

AMY BAUE says she will be 50 years old in June but loves that age so much, she’s been saying she’s 50 for the past three years. The St. Charles resident admits laughing is the secret to making her feel beautiful.

“Laughing brings out the inner child and feels so natural,” she adds.

As a transformational speaker and heart/mindset trainer, Amy confides that she’s straightforward in life.

“I love to share my expertise because I deeply care about others and how I might be able to help them take steps toward what they desire,” she says. 

Her advice to younger women, which she says took her five decades to learn: “Ask yourself what you truly desire in life, then be confident and realize you don’t need anyone else’s permission to pursue that.”

ANITA SHANKS CROSS swears getting a good night’s sleep is one key to beauty.

“Being comfortable in my own skin, being with my children and not doubting my instincts gives me joy,” says the 50-year-old lawyer and networking leader with Edward Jones, who admits doughnuts also make her happy!

Cooking is Anita’s passion, along with empowering others.

“I like helping people see the good things in themselves they can’t see on their own,” she adds.

Anita, who serves on the board of the Biome Steam School, says she was impressed with the diversity among the women with whom she’s sharing this magazine cover. 

JAMI BALLENTINE DOLBY, 39, learned to embrace her flaws and changes as she grew through maturing. She is the director of development at Maryville University. 

“Confidence makes me feel beautiful. Knowing that no matter what I’m going through, I still walk into every situation holding my head high and getting the job done,” Jami says. “That, and a good red lip!”

She says one of her biggest life challenges was to overcome the “impostor syndrome” so she could stand tall in her success. 

This Chesterfield resident enjoys admiring other women’s smiles because she affirms that makes them glow in any room. She also says it’s wonderful seeing women encouraging and believing in other women. She loves living in Chesterfield, which she says attracts others for shopping and entertainment, and is a blessing with a melting pot of women among its citizens.

KAREN DRULEY, a 40-year-old-plus animal lover from Arnold, is a library clerk by day and a vintage pinup girl after-hours! Her stage name is Kitty Bouvier, and she models complete with a 1960s go-go wig and white knee-high boots, among other costumes from the 1940s onward. As a member of the charitable St. Louis Decade Dames, she says she loves representing women who are older than 40, showing that they are still sexy, talented and beautiful. 

Karen says she feels she’s breaking down barriers in local acting and modeling communities, and she has had film roles.

“Our best years are ahead of us. I love helping others find confidence in themselves by seeing all my adventures.

“We should be united, not competitive,” says the Bug Juice Productions publicist, who confides she had to learn to accept her curves and be thankful for them.

ALEXA JOHANNINGMEIR is a 21-year-old full-time college student from Florissant who proclaims that dancing makes her feel beautiful.

“I had to get over body-shaming. Now I really like seeing other people be themselves, embracing their weirdness, breaking norms,” she adds.

“We tend to overlook our own selves when we think of people we talk to regularly. But the fact is, self-talk is so crucial to how we perceive ourselves. It shapes our well-being. And, we spend more time with ourselves than we do anyone else,” Alexa says. 

“Once I stopped conflating time alone with loneliness, I really started to ‘get’ independence and self-love,” she says. 

Regarding other females, Alexa says it’s exciting to see women laugh at their own jokes. 

HARSHA PAUL moved from Chicago nearly six years ago and says it was a bit challenging to find her unique place in St. Louis. As a self-professed “elder Millennial,” she says she worries about women putting too much stock into online images, selfies and social media perceptions. 

This 28-year-old says she’s benefited from wonderful mentors, although she’s still adjusting to various dynamics women face in the business world, such as in her role at the St. Louis Partnership. She’s especially enthused about contributing to the new #STLMade grassroots campaign that spotlights positive stories about the St. Louis region.

She says she’s grateful to have a great group of uplifting girlfriends with whom to share their own version of beauty. 

JO ROSSI, as a people-oriented founder and CEO of Dragonfly Development, anchors from Shrewsbury and says beauty blossoms when seeing others take on life.

“I stay very grounded when I don’t let the gremlins in my head take over,” she adds.

The 48-year-old believes all human beings are works in progress.

“Staying true to ourselves is wonderful, and beauty comes from finding people who support and build each other up,” she says, while encouraging all to not buy into the naysayers on social media. 

“Stop judging yourself, change the parts of you that you wish to change, then accept and love yourself for exactly who you are,” she suggests. 

Jo volunteers with several agencies, such as Family Haven, YouthiIn Need and St. Louis Crisis Nursery. 

BECKY SCHOENIG loves authenticity and imperfections. As co-owner of the Sym•Bowl eatery at 137 Chesterfield Town Center, she also believes empowering people for the sake of humanity is a wonderful thing.

“Overcoming life’s challenges and frustrations and learning from them is part of the journey. Loving who I am today is beauty, along with taking risks,” she says. 

Because one of Becky’s life goals was to be on the cover of some publication, she jumped in and nominated herself for this beauty campaign. 

“Live the best life ever,” is one of the mottos of this St. Louis intuitive thought leader.

“I am not a number. I am not my social security number. I’m not my age. I’m not my weight. I am an abundantly strong, powerful woman,” Becky says.

TRENNA TRAVIS notices the little things in life as a St. Louis-based commercial photographer, stylist and designer. She says her husband makes her feel beautiful, even while mopping floors in her pajamas.

“Beauty, true beauty, comes from within and knowing our divine worth. I notice beauty when I’m doing something for somebody else, too,” she relays.

She also realizes her heart is the fullest when her smile is the biggest. 

Seeing beauty in other women to Trenna means deeply looking into someone else’s eyes and seeing the flecks while feeling who they really are.

“When I see women in action, such as kissing and hugging their children who are getting on buses, that’s beauty,” she says. 

Trenna adds that beauty also is defined by children watching their industrious mothers building their businesses and following their passions. 

She likes to live by the mantra: Fall down. Stand up. Adjust your crown. Carry on.

BRITTANY LUKASEK WYATT is a 31-year-old new mother and an admissions recruiter for Logan University.

“We women can be hard on ourselves with pregnancy and physical appearances, but beauty comes from enjoying each of life’s amazing phases and milestones,” she reminds.

“My husband, my son, my mother, my family all make me feel beautiful every day. The way they look at me, support me and love me unconditionally makes me feel so wonderfully cherished,” Brittany says. 

This Ballwin resident tries to embrace her personal growth while applying patience and accepting “God’s timing, not mine.”

It’s been expressed that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but we all believe beauty is inside each and every one of us, just waiting to come out!