Mika Brzezinski, Nora Ephron, Delia Ephron and Lesley Jane Seymour.
The stunt was part of the lunchtime entertainment, which featured a Q&A with Nora Ephron, Delia Ephron and More editor-in-chief Lesley Jane Seymour, centered around the Ephron sisters’ recent play, “Love, Loss & What I Wore,” based on the book of the same name by Ilene Beckerman.
The play, in which actresses read monologues about their memories and the clothes they were wearing during significant events, includes a section on purses called “I Hate My Purse.” “Your purse is you and unless you are a very weird person, it’s a mess,” Nora said, prompting Brzezinski — the day’s emcee — to show just how messy her blue leather shoulder bag was. It’s contents included two sticks of deodorant, several Ziploc bags filled with makeup and tea bags she had swiped from the earlier in the day. Nora’s purse held a small bottle of Diet Coke, a Kindle charger (but no Kindle) and a possibly used tissue.
So what does this all have to do with reinvention? Well, the lunch was the comic relief of a day filled with panels on topics from health to technology that sought to inform and motivate the female attendees. Former First Lady Laura Bush spoke first over breakfast, and the myriad panels included a presentation by “Today” show financial contributor Jean Chatsky, an interview with New York real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran about personal reinvention and an instructive technology seminar led by The Wall Street Journal‘s Julia Angwin.
In between sessions, attendees mingled among tables set up by sponsors like Talbots and got tarot card readings. “This is awesome,” Seymour told us. “I feel like it’s my wedding reception. I know people as readers, I know people from More.com, I know people from Twitter, from places where I used to work.”
The event, which is in its third year and will now travel to Chicago and Washington, D.C., aligns perfectly with the challenges women over 40 face in the current economy, Seymour said. “We knew this was going to be the right moment to make a push for this to be bigger than ever,” she said. “Right now we’re in a time of crisis. Maybe you thought you were going to retire and now you can’t. Or your business is folding. Or you’re afraid you’re going to lose your job. Now is a very important moment to think about reinvention.”
Seymour also said the event, which included humor, learning and fun, embodied the More voice and point of view. “I think of us as Seventeen for adults,” she said. “I think it’s telling that the line for tarot card readings is as long as the one for makeovers.”
More pictures after the jump.