Woman of Substance : Lauren Bush

She’s had modeling contracts with the biggest names in fashion: Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, Lilly Pulitzer. She’s a Princeton University graduate, has traveled to eight countries on behalf of the United Nations World Food Programme and her uncle happens to be former President George W. Bush.

This native Texan is not your typical 26 year-old woman. Southern belle Lauren Bush has never been a stranger to the spotlight. Her family’s name is one of the most well-known in the world and many of its members have had successful political careers.

 Beauty is not only about nourishing your skin, but your soul,” Bush said. “How you feel is as important as how you look.”

But Bush chose to forge her own path to notoriety. For many years, Bush was a fashion model, appearing on the covers of such publications as W, Vogue Australia, Glamour, Town & Country and Tatler. Her involvement in the fashion industry led to her interest in photography and fashion design, which she studied at Parsons in New York and Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design in London. Bush then graduated from Princeton University in 2006 with a BA in Anthropology and a Certificate in Photography.

At only 19 years-old, Bush was invited to Guatemala as a Princeton Student Ambassador with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). Her reaction upon arrival left her in awe.

“It was shocking that just a quick four-hour flight from New York City [exposed] such a level of poverty and hunger,” she said. On that trip, she visited a Therapeutic Feeding Center where severely malnourished children were being given nutrient-packed supplements.

In 2007, PETA named Bush one of the world’s sexiest vegetarians, which is commendable for someone in an industry surrounded by leather and fur, but that wasn’t the start to her heartfelt involvement in charitable organizations. In 2004, Bush became an Honorary Spokesperson for the United Nations World Food Programme. As an honorary spokesperson, she has traveled to eight countries around the world visiting WFP operations, and helped start the Universities Fighting Hunger Campaign in the United States.

“It was a very hard thing to see innocent children suffering because of lack of essential food and nutrition,” she said. “That was probably the moment that I truly committed myself to helping organizations like the UN World Food Programme and others who are giving food and nutrients and saving lives around the world.”

Soon after her trip to Guatemala, she came up with the idea for FEED.

“We started the company in 2007 with the FEED 1 Bag,” she said. “Each would feed one child for one year. It took off in a way that inspired everyone around us.”

Today, Bush is the CEO, creative director and co-founder of FEED Projects LLC. She also serves as the chairman of the board for the FEED Foundation with the mission of creating products that help feed the world. The company sells FEED bags, bears,T-shirts and other accessories with a set donation built into the cost of each piece. The impact of each product, signified by a stenciled number is both meaningful and tangible. What’s more, each FEED product is made with environmentally-friendly and artisan-made materials, along with fair-labor production.

Bush is proud of her extensive involvement with the charity.

“FEED allows me the very best of both worlds – being a creative designer and providing meals to children around the world,” she said.

Partnering with brands on collaborative projects has increased exposure for the cause. Recently, FEED partnered with Clarins, an international beauty company founded on the philosophy of respect for women, children and nature. With a rich history of giving back, Christian Courtin-Clarins, whose father founded the company, is “doing a wonderful job of upholding that tradition as he explores modern ways of philanthropy in areas of the world that need it most,” Bush said.

Clarins has committed to provide one million meals through their partnership with FEED and are well on their way to exceed the goal. In October, Bloomingdales will offer a FEED bag with four full size Clarins products, which will provide twenty-five meals.

The collaboration is an appropriate fit as both Clarins and Bush share a philosophy of offering high quality products with meaning and have a similar fan base of intelligent, stylish and compassionate women and men.

“Beauty is not only about nourishing your skin, but your soul,” Bush said. “How you feel is as important as how you look.”

Although she no longer models, other than for her FEED campaigns, Bush continues to juggle her many roles. Most recently, she has added a new title onto her growing list, as wife of David Lauren, the son of designer, Ralph Lauren. Despite the many demands of her time, Bush happily does it all.

“I am very blessed,” she said. “And I love all the various hats I wear.”