They’re smart and beautiful. They’re career women and young moms. (Summer has two sons, a 10-month-old and a 2 ½-year-old, and Brooke has a 15-month-old daughter.) They wear all the funky clothes you want to wear. And they’re the stars of their own show. They’re “The Girls With Glasses.”
Many of you readers will recognize Brooke White (that’s her on the right), a popular singer-songwriter and beloved contestant on season 7 of “American Idol.” And you’ve surely seen Summer Bellessa as a model in one of your favorite magazines or in “Eliza,” the online beauty and fashion magazine she founded and edits. With resumes like that, you’d think these powerhouses would be afraid to show their silly side. But think again.
In their new original series for ulive.com, “The Girls With Glasses: Kid-Proof Style,” Summer and Brooke give a clever, adorable, realistic and informative take on modern life and home design that is just plain enjoyable to experience. I dare you to watch one episode and deny that this duo has that special spark. Their obvious friendship and sense of mutual respect comes through on the show — in between the quirky antics and the good advice — and it came through in my brief chat with them as well. Interviewing Summer and Brooke was an honest pleasure. Now I just wish I could take them shopping with me.
Where did the glasses come from? Do you both really wear glasses?
Summer: Well, we met on Myspace a few years ago …
Brooke: Like seven years ago, when that was all the rage. We became friends.
Summer: And I put Brooke on the cover of “Eliza” after she was on “American Idol.” We always wanted to work together.
Brooke: Finally, we said “We have to do something!” So we met at IHOP one day, and we were both wearing our glasses. It was right there in front of our eyes. (But we wear contacts sometimes, too.)
Summer: For the show, it’s kind of fun to always wear our glasses. It brings out something special. It focuses your attention on what you’re seeing in the world. It does make you feel a little smarter, too.
Brooke: We started out as “The Smart Girl Talk Show.” We were trying to give information that’s uplifting — not just pop culture but something interesting. And we naturally winded up being silly. So there’s that juxtaposition of being smart but really goofy too. The show is really there because it’s in the moment and honest and we have a good time.
A lot of your show focuses on kid-proof style, like the hilarious segment “Family-Friendly Furniture,” which starts out with your adorable kids wreaking havoc.
How has having children changed your focus on your show? How do parents make time for DIY?
Summer: We started the show over three years ago, and we both knew we wanted to have jobs that were really family friendly.
Brooke: Kids have definitely changed our dynamic, and we’ve evolved to include parenthood in our show. The show was always built to evolve with us. And our audience is going through similar life transitions.
Summer: Before I had kids, I had friends who had hard times with the transition. I thought I’d never get to do anything creative again. When I had kids, it was a pleasant surprise, because I’m able to do a lot that’s inspired by them. I have to multitask more than I did before and balance is always a struggle.
Brooke: She has an ability to juggle more than I do. But I always joke that I will die if I’m not creative. So trying to find a way to do both has gotten trickier as my daughter gets older and more dangerous. She’s trying a lot of dangerous stunts lately. I’m not going to pretend like it’s an easy thing, but we just try to make it work the best we can. Sometimes I’m holding her when I’m painting, or she walks across a drawing … It makes things a little messier and longer and more interesting. That’s the truth of it. But I think that’s OK. My expectation isn’t that everything’s going to go perfectly. I now have the expectation that I’m gonna do the best I can. We have to walk to the beat of our own drum. Our kids inspire us creatively and give us so many things we can do and craft with kids in mind.
I love that you address the realities of kid-proof design, like in “Kid Stuff You Don’t Wanna Hide” and “Bookshelves and Babies.”
What do you say to moms who are completely overwhelmed with the images of parenthood perfection that they see online and basically everywhere?
Brooke: We’re such a performance-driven society. On Instagram and our blogs, we all leave out the in-between stuff. We’re trying to focus on the positive and create something that’s beautiful and can be aspired to. But I think we have to level with people so they don’t feel so crappy about themselves. In my last couple months, I’ve realized what I can portray to people, and what I want is something real. I want to let people in on those moments that are less than perfect. I think that’s our job as people with a platform.
Summer: Every week, I do a family picture to document our family growing. Sometimes I can’t get our boys to sit and smile. I feel like that’s OK. Last week, Phoenix [her youngest son] threw up all over his outfit, so he was naked in the picture. I’m a real mom with real bodily fluids being thrown at me.
I notice that you encourage people to support local artists, like in your “Artsy Smartsy” segment.
Summer: Brooke and I both love creative people and supporting them. It’s a natural thing to bring into your home.
Brooke: Also, because of Pinterest, we’re all doing the same stuff. So find local artists you can support and have something different. Create a sense of originality and freshness that you can’t always get from a big-box store. It takes a little longer but it’s worth it.
Summer: Yes. All of the above.