by Jenna Kutcher
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Admit it, does social distancing and quarantine have you going back into the deep reality TV show archives?
One of my favorite shows of all time has to be Laguna Beach and I still watch all of the spinoffs that continue to grace our television screens to this day. So when the name Lo Bosworth rolled through my inbox I did a double take. THE Lo Bosworth wants to come on MY show, when I’ve been watching hers for years?
It’s so fun to see how Lo Bosworth leveraged that platform and created something of her own. But it wasn’t a straight line from a TV career to running her women’s wellness company. Her career is rich with learning curves and pivots, and honestly, I’m not sure you’ve heard this part of Lo’s storyline before. She’s the reality star we adored, now innovating for women’s wellness in ways you’re going to LOVE.
Why She Started Her Company
Lo joined me from her home quarantine, as she’s been working from home like all of us during the COVID-19 outbreak. She launched her company Love Wellness four years ago, and now manages a team of 15 people to create natural, body positive wellness products.
“The message that we put out into the world is one of kindness, and our motto is to love yourself well,” Lo began to explain.
The catalyst for creation of Love Wellness was Lo’s own health crisis. She was depressed and anxious, she was making frequent appointments at her OBGYN, and she spent a lot of time at drug stores buying up womens products from old school brands.
Lo was disappointed with the products — how they worked or didn’t work with her body, their formulations, and even the messaging that felt fairly anti-feminist in her perspective.
When she and her doctors finally uncovered a vitamin deficiency among other causes for her health challenges, she took what she learned and decided to create a solution for the problems she knew other women were likely facing, too.
What the Public Eye Taught Her
What I love about Lo’s branding and messaging is that she doesn’t shout or speak at women, like many of the legacy womens brands do. Instead, her messaging is about hearing women and understanding what they need. She credits her mastery of messaging to more than half her life spent in the public eye.
“After spending so much time in the entertainment industry, it can leave a bad taste in your mouth… It’s a struggle in so many ways,” she continued.
“I have been in the public eye in some way since I was 16-years old, and I’m 33 now, and so I am a master of messaging. I know from a tone perspective what will resonate and what will not. In a category that is so special, it’s really important to be straightforward and honest with your consumer and not try to sensationalize what we’re doing. That’s when it starts to feel like it’s not real.”
When Lo sees the messaging from legacy brands trying to evolve and mirror the more feminist and body positive language and newcomers to the space are doing well, she feels it’s coming across as a mockery. She recalled seeing a bathroom sponsorship at an event by a legacy brand, with all the women’s bathroom mirrors decorated with phrases like “Big Ovary Energy”.
“Why are you using humor to try to story tell around this category? You use humor to hide embarrassment and shame. They’re not connecting those dots,” she reflected.
Between the Show and the Brand
Before Love Wellness became her focus, Lo leaned into the content creator path after the show ended in 2010. She was comfortable telling her story, and she was finding ways to monetize what she did. That was her career path for many years.
“In fact it felt good to do it because I was able to be my own narrator, to a certain degree, because when you’re on reality TV you have no control over how you’re presented or portrayed,” Lo explained. “Everyone knows that now, but back then…”
It’s true. Laguna Beach and all the shows that followed felt so real. That was before we knew that reality TV was carefully crafted and produced for our entertainment.
Lo laughed, “I still get DMs asking why I was so mean to Audrina and I’m like… You’re dumb! You have no idea what was really happening, which was nothing! More often than not when we were filming those shows, nothing was happening, and then in the editing rooms they would put a little magic on it and make something happen. So sorry to burst anyone’s remaining bubble about reality TV.”
She got really honest about what it felt like to live under the reputation of being a reality TV star. She told me, “Quite frankly, I’m highly educated, I’ve been working full time for years, and so to still be associated with that feels a bit uncomfortable for me,” she continued, “I’m a pretty normal person, and I know what normal people think about reality TV so it makes me feel sort of cringeworthy.
Expert Through Necessity
Lo and I got on the topic of life as a teacher, because although it may sound cliche, it’s true. Lo faced health challenges and wellness struggles that lead her to dig in and find a solution for herself. She wasn’t necessarily an educated expert in the field before she started to do self-education alongside her doctors to solve the issues she was facing.
It’s important to remember that — You’ve likely become a student in an area out of necessity, and now, you’re an expert. What could you create with that knowledge?
“Whenever I can’t find an answer, I think to myself, white space! How can I solve this problem? What can I do about it?” Lo explained.
Advice on Pivoting
As someone who has successfully pivoted her identity from reality star to CEO of a company doing powerful things in the world, I wanted to know if Lo had any advice for others ready to transition and find their identity again.
She put it simply, “Don’t live in fear and never give up.”
Lo talks about this with her publicist a lot, because there are still people that don’t know that she goes to work every day. In some minds, Lo is that “reality star” version of herself. She told Lo this: “If you continue to tell your story, eventually, the narrative will change, but you can never give up on it.”
“I was so focused on building the brand that I had a blindspot for telling the story about myself. I just kind of hoped that people would recognize it,” Lo shared.
“Who are you? It’s up to you to decide. And once you can hone in on who you are, just lean into and continue to tell that message.”
More from this Episode
Press play to hear about Lo’s exploration into her passion for cooking and attending culinary school in NYC, and what she learned about food that informed her wellness journey later on. And Lo shares how she’s navigating this season as a leader, with advice for continuing to cheer on your people while gracefully pivoting through unknown waters. Get this episode with Lo Bosworth wherever you listen to podcasts.