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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

To kick off '09...

For the second year in a row, I'll be starting my new year in Argentina on a Shoe Drop with family and friends. We will be headed to Misiones- the same region of the first Shoe Drop where we gave the first 10,000 pairs of shoes in 2006. Argentina is always such an energizing place for me: to be back in the same landscapes that surrounded me as I was developing the idea of TOMS; to eat the same incredible Argentine meals; to drive down the bumpy roads; to hang out with Alejo everyday; to see the smiles on the children's faces as they receive their shoes and I struggle to communicate with them in my broken Spanish. The Shoe Drop experience is the heart and soul of TOMS and we've made that experience accessible to not only our closet friends and family and our employees, but to everyone: Any TOMS fan who wants to personally give a pair of shoes to a child in need; any friend, mother, husband, sibling or colleague of a TOMS supporter who is seeking a life changing experience. I encourage you to look at taking part in a TOMS Shoe Drop.


We just released a few new dates for '09:

February 2 – 14, 2009

February 22 – 28, 2009

March 7 – 14, 2009

March 28 – April 4, 2009

April 18 – 25, 2009

You can learn more at FriendsofTOMS.org, and be sure to apply soon if you're interested in the February dates- these will for sure fill up quick!

Happy Holidays to all of you and your families,

Hasta luego

Thursday, December 4, 2008

spend less . give more

I just posted an article on The Huffington Post about how to give more and spend less for the Holidays in conjunction with our 30k in 30 days campaign.

DIGG the article, watch the video, share with your friends!!

Thanks, everyone!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Fashion 411

Recently, I did a really fun interview with Barbra Horowitz for Karma Sol Radio. Barbara is a stylist, an author, a fashion correspondent, a closet organizer, a t-shirt designer, and an all-around great person... she definitely knows how to wear many hats, just like we all do at TOMS! She, along with co-host Guy Blews, interviewed me for her weekly spot Fashion 411, which has a fresh new fashion story every Wednesday. You can listen to the interview here (doesn't work for Mac + flash and/or certain browser combinations).

Monday, November 17, 2008

Thanks, guys!




When Hanson first approached TOMS in early 2007, we knew we had something big on the horizon. Hanson has created incredible music for the past decade, never shy to be innovative or independent. What was even more intriguing was that these three young men were also concerned about some serious issues. Throughout the years, they have developed a dedicated following, and now use this outlet to educate people about the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa.

Last year the band began hosting one mile barefoot walks across the US and Canada to bring awareness to poverty and HIV/AIDS in Africa. After taking part in those symbolic walks, tons of Hanson fans joined the TOMS movement by purchasing TOMS Shoes, and some have thrown Style Your Sole parties- all to help us provide thousands of shoes to children in need. The guys even joined us on our Shoe Drop in South Africa in November 2007 to deliver 50,000 pairs of shoes!






This fall you can support Hanson's continued efforts by checking out the Great Divide shoe, inspired by Hanson's song of the same title. You can also take part in Hanson's Take The Walk campaign, which supports the TOMS One for One mission and provides other tangible tools to fight poverty and AIDS. For every walker who registers, Take The Walk gives one dollar to Friends of TOMS or one of four other key causes. Check out TakeTheWalk.net to learn more, purchase the Great Divide shoes (Hanson is even throwing in a special recording of "The Great Divide" with every purchase!), learn how you can join Hanson for a walk (or organize a walk of your own), or see their new book Take The Walk where you can view some beautiful photos of their trip with us to South Africa.

We're forever grateful to Hanson and their fans for supporting TOMS and our One for One movement!

Monday, November 3, 2008

I VOTED

video

Could TOMS Shoes sales predict the presidential race?








Yes, even TOMS Shoes has election fever. Two months ago we introduced our "election collection" and the the buyers (and voters) have caused many of the core sizes to sell out, but there seems to be a disproportionate amount of certain "styles" left. As of today, 43.95% of the shoes sold have been "Vote Democrat", while "Vote Republican" represents 26.91%, and the "Split Decision" has 26.91%. TOMS Shoes does not donate any money from these sales to the respective parties, but it does give a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair sold. This is one policy that does not waiver.
Get out and Vote!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Saving the world, one shoe at a time

I am going to assume that everyone has heard enough bad news the past few weeks. If it is not a financial conundrum, it is a moral one, and with increasing anxiety and division as we approach Election Day, I personally needed a break.

Lucky for me, my job as Chief Shoe Giver of TOMS Shoes regularly provides such departure, and yesterday, for the first time, it did so on U.S. soil.

Two and a half years ago I had an idea to start a shoe company where every pair we sold would be matched with a pair given to a child in need. What started as a "project" to give 250 kids in Argentina their first pair of new shoes has unexpectedly become one of the fastest growing shoe companies on the planet -- and in the process TOMS Shoes have given over 85,000 shoes to children in need around the world. Needless to say, it has also changed my life in a powerful way.

Unitl yesterday, our giving efforts have focused on countries like Ethiopia, South Africa, and Argentina. Without a doubt, the most frequently asked question I receive since I started TOMS has been, "What about kids in the U.S.?", which led me to conduct extensive research on the topic. What I found was that most kids, even those living in disaster recovery zones, have access to a pair of shoes. However, the disclaimer I found with that fact is that almost all their shoes are hand-me-downs that often fit improperly and sometimes, they are required to share shoes among several siblings. What stood out the most in my research was how difficult life could be for these kids -- many still living in FEMA trailers while their homes are rebuilt -- and that rarely a day comes when they can just have fun.

Our growth at TOMS Shoes has come in part through parties called Style Your Sole, where participants spend an evening -- from summer camps to college nights to 40th birthday parties -- designing their own TOMS Shoes and sharing the story of our One for One movement. Each attendee starts with a white pair of shoes and customizes them with art supplies, knowing that not only will they end up with a creation all their own but a child somewhere in the world will be receiving a pair of shoes on their behalf. These parties are tons of fun, and I thought they could be the perfect fit for the children I read about living in our country's disaster recovery zones. How perfect for the children to not only receive what might be the first pair of shoes that are truly theirs, but to be able to express themselves on those shoes. Their new shoes aren't just new, they belong to them in every aspect.

TOMS is visiting schools in four districts and we plan to reach 3,500 elementary students. The schools we are visiting are still recovering from Hurricane Katrina. We have visited two schools as of yesterday, and the feedback we are receiving has been inspiring and fulfilling. Katie Hodge, a student nurse at Gaston Point Elementary, wrote in and told us for the first time in a long time, kids at her school had something to be excited about.

We can't wait to finish the week strong. Our volunteers are amazing and they inspire me to keep doing what we do best: sell shoes so children everywhere, in every community, know that they are cared for. Even though the economy is in bad shape and the election is bitter, there are people taking the small step to change the world.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

CGI 2008

A few colleagues and I attended the annual Clinton Global Initiative conference in NYC earlier this month, and there are some really exciting things to share! At the closing Plenary Session, Former President Bill Clinton announced that TOMS Shoes will give 100,000 pairs of TOMS shoes to Haitians affected by Hurricane Ike as a key part of a larger giving commitment.

We are partnering with some really prestigious organizations and people on this initiative, who will be providing 20,000 families food every month; supplying 36,000 farmers with seeds, fertilizer, and training; providing five million liters of clean drinking water; rebuilding thousands of homes; improving education for more than 600,000 students; rebuilding two destroyed bridges; and rebuilding twelve schools.

I can't tell to you how keyed up I am to have TOMS be a part of this project. President Clinton mentioned that, "The losses were so great in Haiti, but the talent and yearning for a better future is also great," and this is what TOMS is about: building a better tomorrow, together.



Those who will be partnering with us include Rene Preval, President of Haiti; Dr. Paul Farmer; Greg Allgood, Director of Children's Safe Drinking Water/Proctor & Gamble; Ray Offenheiser, President of OXFAM America; Wyclef Jean, Founder of Yele Haiti Foundation; Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie; Frank McKenna, Chairman, and Matt Damon, Spokesman for ONEXONE; Richard Roe, President of Open Learning Exchange; Ad Melkert, Under Secretary General and Associate, UNDP; Ronaldo Gonzalez Bunster, Founder of Dominican Republic Energy; Steve Green, The Green Family Foundation; Richenda Van Leeuwen, Founding Board Member of Good Energies; Ted Widmer, Brown University/Director of the Carter Library; Ruth Messenger, Director of the American Jewish World Service; Bill Lowry, Haitian Education Leadership Program; Lisa Hamilton, President of the UPS Foundation; and Dennis O'Brian, Haiti's largest cellular phone provider.

Friday, September 26, 2008


Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to speak at a cool event in NYC called the Community Leadership Awards. This award ceremony was hosted by the Invest in Others Charitable Foundation, a non-profit that harnesses the volunteer efforts of members of the financial industry.

What amazed me about this group of financial planners is that each had their own initiative that personally reflects their passion, and each project was the result of seeing a problem that they wanted to help. The diversity and sustainability of these projects is really inspiring. To me, this is what life is all about… taking what you love to do and applying your skills and passion to helping others.

I would like to highlight a few of really great people that were honored at this event:

Elizabeth Vertarano helped to create a crisis hotline and emergency shelter in Lawrence County, PA for victims of domestic abuse. Since 1981, the shelter has provided women with housing, emotional counseling, and legal and medical advice.

Richard England, Jr has volunteered for the past 15 years with the Latin American Youth Center, a Washington DC organization that services over 4000 low-income families. With the help of friends and colleagues, Richard created a $5 million fund to ensure the organization’s financial stability.

Marc Turner uses his passion for basketball to help inner city kids get off the street. For the past 16 years, Marc has served as a part-time coach at the Church Farm School in Paoli, PA. In 2005, Marc mobilized 50 kids to support relief efforts for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Frank Martin has volunteered for the past ten years mentoring underprivileged kids. In 2001, Frank created DreamsWork Inc, an organization that offers one-on-one tutoring and college scholarships to promising students.

I also had a fantastic conversation with Rance Crain, the President of Crain Publications, about my vision for TOMS, and I think he became a believer. We joked about the fact that I was featured in Advertising Age’s top 30 under 30 several years back when I was running Reality Central Cable Network. Rance also invited me to speak at his IDEA Conference later this month which I am really excited about.

Bill Bisson, the group publisher and editorial director of Investment News was very supportive as well, and several people told me later in the night that Bill was talking about coming to work for TOMS. While he was obviously kidding, hopefully he will join us on a shoe drop sometime soon.

At the end of this event, participants were given an opportunity to help sponsor a volunteer on a future Shoe Drop. I would like to thank everyone that contributed… we are EXTREMELY excited to find out how much money was raised! Fingers crossed ☺

Last but not least, I would like to thank everyone at Invest in Others that that helped make this event possible. Thank you Kandis for your very kind words! Allison and Stephanie: You guys planned an INCREDIBLE evening. I would be honored to take part in future events!




Rance Crain (President and Editorial Director, Crain
Communications Inc), Me, Jim Pavia (Editor, InvestmentNews), Suzanne
Siracuse (Publisher, InvestmentNews), Kandis Bates, (President, Invest
in Others Charitable Foundation)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Making a Difference At Every Age

When I spoke at the Community Leadership Awards last week in NYC, I met a gentleman named Krisha Pendyala. Krisha told me about the AMAZING project his kids, Nyan and Lehka, have been working on.

I have been telling everyone I know about this project and I hope that you guys do to…

Nyan and Lehka, ages 9 and 7, are determined to fight the terrible problem of blindness in India. There are 320,000 blind children in India – more than any other country in the world. Nyan and Lehka’s goal is raise money to support the training of eye doctors. They hope to create 5 pediatric eye care centers to screen 5 million children and provide care to 725,000. To learn more, check out this You Tube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEGLsibDjRE

Nyan & Lekha have been working for over a year to raise money for their project “Kids for Sight”. So far, they have raised over $20,000… $1200 of which they have personally donated by sacrificing birthday presents. Talk about young people making a difference!

Kids for Sight’ has made it to the Top 25 out of 1,190 projects in a contest sponsored by American Express. Our goal is to help Nyan & Lekha make it into the finals. In early October, there will be another voting to determine how much each of the finalists wins ($100k to $1.5 million).

I just voted for Nyan & Lekha. It is really easy:

Step 1: Vote

To vote, go to the link below:

http://www.membersproject.com/project/view/8CEPG6

In order to vote, you must be an AMEX cardholder. If you are not, you can sign up very easily on this site.

Step 2: Tell your friends!

Encourage 4 of your friends to vote for Nyan & Lekha. Promote them on your Myspace, Facebook… use everything you got!

Step 3: Vote again in October when Nyan & Lekha make the finals.


Time is running out to vote… please do so ASAP.

Good luck Nyan & Lekha!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Charity Water

Recently I visited some of the Charity Water sites in Ethiopia and was blown away by the crisis. Tomorrow my very good friend Scott Harrison is drilling a new well inNorthern Ethiopia and you can watch it live on his website. If you don't already know what Charity Water is about, please check out their September campaign.

http://www.charitywater.org

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

TOMS Wrap Boot

video

Check out www.NoPoloWidow.com to purchase the Wrap Boot and watch the No Polo Widow film!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Back To School

I know I’ve mentioned how great our interns here at HQ are, but I also need to let you all know about our dedicated Campus Reps. TOMS Shoes has young people across the country volunteering their time to spread the word about our company. They are our High School reps and our College Reps, and they throw super Style Your Sole parties and educate their communities about One for One. The school year is about to rev up, and we already have some great Campus Reps on board for Fall. Now begins their hard work and planning to make a difference this semester. I have total faith in all of them to represent TOMS Shoes in the best way possible, and to help get more shoes on people’s feet around the world!

If you’re interested in representing TOMS on your campus, we are still accepting applications. Check out www.tomsshoes.com/jointheteam.

Monday, August 4, 2008

In a couple weeks I will be heading back to Argentina for a very special Shoe Drop. This past year, we held an internal contest for our sales reps across the country- set a goal on how many TOMS you will sell, and make it happen. A “Dash to the Drop,” we called it. Those who reached their goal have been invited on a shoe drop in Mendoza, Argentina- all expenses paid. But we even extended the offer to those who came close, because at the end of the day, the Shoe Drops are what make people truly passionate about TOMS.

Everyone who attends a Shoe Drop in Argentina has the great pleasure of befriending an incredible man whom many call my long lost brother in Argentina, but much funnier: Alejo Nitti. Alejo joined me when starting TOMS Shoes…..literally in his barn two and a half years ago, and although he was an accountant by trade and a professional polo player at the time, he soon became TOMS Shoes’ Chief Shoe Maker. While on a past-due visit to the States a couple weeks ago, Alejo resigned from this position and knighted Sean Scott (Head of Development) our new Chief Shoe Maker (yes, there was a sword present and a cape made of original TOMS fabric was worn). Alejo has taken on such a greater role to utilize his presence in Argentina. He now oversees all of the Shoe Drops there (we soon will have a Shoe Drop take place every 2 weeks, open to anyone who is passionate about TOMS!), and helps to coordinate the trips along with another fantastic gentleman, Pepe.

I can’t wait to be in Argentina with a group of incredible TOMS sales reps who are working so hard to promote our brand, and also to spend some great times with Alejo.


If you’re interested in going on a shoe drop, please click here to learn more
www.FriendsofTOMS.org

Friday, July 25, 2008

TOMS in Greece

A couple friends of mine, Carl Wescott and David Norrie, recently bought a pair of TOMS in Greece. While on vacation in Mykonos, they came across a store that carries our shoes!

Carl has been a great mentor of mine for many years now and is such an inspiring businessman. He started off as a used car salesman in Texas and became the first to offer extended warranties- people came from all over the country to buy cars from this guy! Since then he has started and sold many successful companies and has helped many entrepreneurs get off the ground. He and his wife Jimmy are like “second parents” to me, and have supported me through my ups and downs. Hopefully he is buying the purple pair for Jimmy here.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Muchas Gracias

I have to give some pretty big THANK YOU's to all the people who helped out with our event in DC last week:

Elliott Bisnow for helping with planning, his parents Margot and Mark for their incredible hospitality and opening their home to my assistant Jake, Katherine Kennedy for pulling together so many great guests, Leading Authorities: specifically Matt Jones for green-lighting the event and Don Neal for giving me such a great introduction before the screening of the film, Sharon at the City Tavern Club for providing the perfect venue and a smooth evening, Catherine Cooling for working so diligently with Jake to plan the details, and everyone who supported us by attending and enjoying the evening. This was really a stellar event and could not have been possible with a lot of great input and effort.

THANK YOU!!

TOMS in DC

In 2007, TOMS Shoes was the proud winner of the Cooper-Hewitt People’s Choice Design Award. I cannot tell you how moving it was to be recognized in such an amazing way. A couple weeks ago, I received an invitation to attend brunch at the White House with the First Lady, along with other honorees from the National Design Awards. After the Hotel Café event last week, I hopped on a red-eye to the east coast and met up with my Mom in DC Monday morning. After being shuffled from one room to the next, taking photographs and chatting with some incredible people, we sat for brunch in the State Dining Room at 11am. Check out my pics below…

The first lady and I at the White House

Me, the First Lady, and my Mom, Pam

The East Room, where the presentation was held


Although the White House brunch popped up in the schedule rather quickly, we had another event previously planned out that I was really looking forward to. The City Tavern Club is a landmark in DC that John Adams stayed at while the White House was being constructed in 1800. We gathered a crowd for a screening of our documentary For Tomorrow at this amazing venue and got a lot of people really excited about TOMS. Leading Authorities (my speaking agency) co-hosted the event, which was sponsored by Surreal Vodka, Casa Noble Tequila. We couldn’t have pulled it off with out the extraordinary help from our friends Elliott Bisnow (check out this website) and Katherine Kennedy. The evening was such a success that Leading Authorities is going to be sponsoring another event in DC and also a large gathering in NYC!
And just to add even more excitement to the trip, Katherine and Elliot took me to a Kastles Tennis match and introduced me to Ted Leonsis, one of the founders of AOL. He has started a new really cool company that you should all go check out: snagfilms.com.

Me with Katherine Kennedy and friends

Elliott Bisnow and his mother Margot with my mom Pam and I

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hotel Cafe

This week kicked off with a stellar night at Hotel Café on Sunday night in Hollywood. 15 incredible musicians, all of their fans, and our TOMS family gathered to support Friends of TOMS: our non-profit entity which gives essential necessities to the communities we serve and also connects those who want to get involved beyond the product. 100% of the $10 cover charge went straight to Friends of TOMS! Thanks so much to everyone who showed up and rocked out.

Special thanks to Heidi and Katie for setting everything up, and to Kelly Dalton, Tim Bader, Kai Brown, Michael Mazochi, Paul Dillon, James Webb, Chris Joyner, Terra Naomi, Holly, Buddy, Steve Reynolds, Meiko, Greg Laswell, Carey Brothers, and Butch Walker for taking time out of their busy schedules to play a set for Friends of TOMS!





Thursday, July 10, 2008

Aspen Ideas Festival

About a month and a half ago I was asked to be a part of the Aspen Ideas Festival. Every year, hundreds of influential people get together to discuss the issues that mold our lives, cultures, and communities. I headed out to Aspen on the 4th to engage in some great discussions and speak on a panel with Facebook co-founder Sean Parker. We also screened our documentary, “For Tomorrow,” which definitely brings the TOMS story to life.

The highlight of this past weekend was joining President Clinton and the trustees of his foundation for dinner both nights in Aspen. Not only did I get a little one on one time with the President, I met some of the most amazing people at the dinners. His trustees and good friends are very committed to the work of his foundation and to making the world a better place, and this inspired me greatly.

For those of you who might not know, TOMS committed to providing shoes for 50,000 children in South Africa and at least 25,000 in Ethiopia with in a 12 month period as part of the Clinton Global Initiative.

I spent the following days with my family in Colorado, and will return to my TOMS family in Santa Monica end of this week!


Aspen meadows resort, at the aspen institute campus, super cool, where I stayed

Facebook co-founder Sean Parker and I


President Clinton and I

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Join Us!


When TOMS first began in 2006, I put an ad on Craigslist for interns. Those first interns became some of TOMS’ greatest employees. Since then, our internship program has grown incredibly, and runs every Fall, Spring, and Summer semester. We invite the best students from around the country who are passionate about TOMS to come live in our intern house and work with us full-time in Santa Monica, CA. Our current intern class is well into the summer now, and working on some amazing projects. I just want to say THANK YOU, and also invite all the college students who want to make a difference at TOMS to apply for a future headquarters internship with us! The spirit of volunteerism has always been a huge aspect of TOMS Shoes, and I am continually impressed with the multitude of people who want to get their hands in and help out.

We are gearing up for our Fall recruitment of High School and College ambassadors, too. If you want to spread the word and create a positive buzz about TOMS in your own campus community, we would love to have you on board!

Click here to Join the Team!

Carpe Diem.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Ethiopia



I have had many incredible experiences since starting TOMS, but none have been more moving or humbling than the twelve days that I recently spent in Ethiopia.

It’s hard to believe, but thousands of children are dying every year in Ethiopia because they do not have proper footwear. Podoconiosis (or Podo, for short) is a terrible disease caused by a certain type of contaminated soil. Podo causes massive swelling, ulcers and deformities in the feet and lower legs – leaving young children with feet the size of elephants. Those suffering from Podo are treated like Lepors in their communities and have no chance to hold a job, get married or raise a family. At this very moment, between 500,000 and 1 million Ethiopians are suffering from Podo and 11 million total are at risk of contracting the disease. The statistics are mind-boggling.

The solution to this problem, however, is tragically simple: SHOES.

We want to completely wipe Podo off the face of the Earth by hand delivering a tough and durable shoe to kids at risk of contracting the disease. Show your support and visit our Causes page on Facebook!










Monday, May 12, 2008

Tribeca Film Festival

I would like to thank everyone that came and supported us at the Tribeca Film Festival. You guys ROCKED! I have so many unforgettable memories from this week… of theaters overflowing with TOMS clad fans, mad dashes to secure more tickets, and experiencing tears of joy seeing Alejo charm the silver screen. Few experiences have topped this.

Check out some of the videos I took while in NYC:

video

video


Pre-order your copy of For Tomorrow on TOMSshoes.com!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

TOMS Hits the Silver Screen!

For Tomorrow

I am really proud to announce that our documentary about TOMS has been accepted into the Tribeca Film Festival! The film is entitled ‘For Tomorrow’ and beautifully tells the story of TOMS first Shoe Drop in Argentina. The director is my good buddy Ken Kokin who, in a stroke of good luck, I met at a poker table in Ocean County just weeks before the Argentina trip. Ken co-produced the Academy Award Winning The Usual Suspects and worked with Ryan Phillippe a few years back on The Way of the Gun.

If you live anywhere near New York City, please come and support us at one of the screenings. It is going to be AMAZING. I am going to be doing QandA after each of the screenings. I hope to pack as many TOMS fans as possible into the theater…

Thursday, April 24, 4:00 pm, AV7-05
Saturday, April 26, 12:00 pm, AV7-04
Tuesday, April 29, 7:30 pm, A19-01
Thursday, May 1, 5:00 pm, VEC-06
Sunday, May 4, 1:00 pm, VEC-05


Locations
AMC Village VII (AV7)
66 Third Avenue (at 11th Street)
New York, NY 10003
AV7-5: Seats 160

AMC 19th Street East (A19)
890 Broadway (at 19th Street)
New York, NY 10003
A19-01: Seats 219

Village East Cinemas (VEC)
181 Second Avenue (at 12th Street)
New York, NY 10003
VEC-05: Seats 66
VEC-06: Seats 151

You can either buy tickets at the box office before each showing or buy them online at the Tribeca website.

See you guys there!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Sailing with Inc. Magazine...



Despite learning to sail from a DVD box set (think “Sailing for Dummies”), my skills have actually gotten pretty good. I like how slowly everything moves on a boat. My life moves so fast… I’m always on the go, multi-tasking, running to catch planes, and hammering away on my Blackberry, that it is nice to be on the water and just glide along.

When Inc. did this photo shoot it was super windy and one of the photographers almost fell overboard. It was too windy to get up the big sail that doubles as a TOMS flag.

You can read the article here.



O Yeah!


Check it out, Oprah picked TOMS as one of her favorite things!

See The O List in April's O, The Oprah Magazine.