Women Who Make a Difference: Meet The Moms
At Maggy London, we understand and value the power of women—the strength, perseverance and passion of women. Introducing Women Who Make a Difference: a series dedicated to the trailblazing, world-changing, ceiling-shattering women of our communities. Innovators. Entrepreneurs. Warriors. Mothers. Sisters. Daughters. Real women. Stay tuned throughout the month of October as we shine a light on five amazing women fighting to change the world.
Introducing The Moms
MEET DENISE & MELISSA
Meet Denise Albert and Melissa Gerstein. Denise and Melissa are co-founders of The Moms: a multi-platform lifestyle company reaching millions of parents each month with engaging conversations around topics important to parents.
- Talking it out: Denise and Melissa host The MOMS Podcast,where they lead conversations with other moms (and dads) about life, parenthood, work, and finding balance between it all.
- Getting together: Denise and Melissa are the creators of Mamarazzi events: unique events that bring together celebrity moms with moms across the country for conversations about motherhood. Guests include Sarah Jessica Parker, Will & Jada Pinkett Smith, Jennifer Garner, Kevin James, Tina Fey, Hugh Jackman and Pitbull.
- Running the show: Denise and Melissa lend their hosting talents to events on People EW Network, as well as nonprofit events (including an event with Jada Pinkett Smith to raise awareness for human trafficking).
- Sharing their faves: Denise and Melissa are "Spokesmoms" for many national household brands, including Netflix, Target, Serta, Pepsi, Good Housekeeping and Norwegian Cruiseline.
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An Interview with Denise and Melissa
Maggy London: Today we are so excited to have Denise Albert and Melissa Gerstein from The Moms and Momarazzi events. Today is our next installment of Women Who Make a Difference. Thank you so much, ladies, for coming in and spending some time with us.
Moms: Thank you.
Maggy London: We’re so excited to have you share your world with us and how you got started and some of the things I know you are doing out there to make a difference. So just to kick it off a bit, you are co-founders of The Moms and the Momarazzi events, which are celebrity moms and moms from across the country coming together to have a conversation about motherhood. Give us a little about your background individually and basically how you came together and really kicked off The Moms.
Denise: Sure. Melissa and I both worked in television as journalists in breaking news for many years, and we found a conversation missing in the parenting space. We met through the business, through friends.
Melissa: On the heels of that, both being mothers, we could not go to Iraq and deal with breaking news how we used to.
Denise: Well, I didn’t go to Iraq
Melissa: I know.
Denise: You did.
Melissa: I was really on the front lines. I got murders...things like that in our country. But this is a lot nicer for our family life, don’t you think?
Denise: Yes, very much so.
Maggy London: So Melissa, you’re a mother of three.
Melissa: Yes. I have a 15-year-old, so I taught my son how to drive this summer. I have a teenager in the house, a tween in the house, and my little one who’s not so little, but yes little — eight.
Maggy London: And Denise, you have two boys?
Denise: Yes, I have two boys: 12 and 9. Oh boy, we have a lot of fun together. And then we’re also a work family. We call ourselves "work wives," and so together we are a family.
Melissa: I can just text her.
Denise: Her son babysat for my two boys the other night so I could go to a concert with my boyfriend.
Melissa: And she took my daughters the other day for something when we were in a pickle. It’s very nice when you have that, especially when you don't have family in New York City — my family’s in Canada and St. Louis, so being able to lean on Denise as my village is crucial.
Denise: Thank you!
Melissa: You’re welcome. Thank you!
Maggy London: Indeed. So how did you first come together? You share commonalities as far as your background, both being journalists, serious journalists. And then at some point, you realized there was a void and there wasn't the right support and there was just a blank space. At what point did you come together and decide to forge forward as The Moms?
Melissa: Well like Denise said there was a conversation we both found missing in the parenting space, so we launched a column called “Moms In The City” (playing off Sex and the City) in Everyone, and Metro and US newspapers. Denise and I both realized we know all these people in the media business, so we started an email blast to let people know what we’re doing. We did that and started the website. Then we started getting booked on local television shows. What we didn't realize at the time was that we had very different opinions about parenting, so we’d get on TV together and I’d be like "What are you talking about?" and she would be like “Shut up, I would never do that!” and so the personalities of our opinions really pushed us forward. Then we got a TV show called Moms In The City and a Dad Named David.
Denise: And we had a segment called Momarazzi, which was us interviewing celebrities about parenting. Melissa and I had a vision about not just being a TV show, but really wanting to launch a business. We wanted to include other moms and women from across the country in the conversation that we were starting — writing about, talking about on television — and so we launched Momarazzi as its own brand where we could host live town hall events with celebrities and invite other moms, bloggers, influencers...anybody who really wants to join the conversation. We also started including other brands in the event, so that brands who were also trying to reach the audience of moms that were attending our events, and via social media, could now take part as well. We really took Momarazzi and turned it into a business, but also being really inclusive to women across the country.
Melissa: Our first Momarazzi event was with Sarah Jessica Parker and it was great because it was a film called I Don’t Know How She Does It based on the working moms’ lives. It had tremendous synergy with us — it spoke to us and our audience, so from there, the film studios started calling us.
Denise: Well, it wasn’t that easy.
Melissa: I think it was.
Denise: Okay, it sounds good like that. We created the opportunities, so we then started going to everybody and saying “Hey, this is what we’re doing. Would you like to take part? Can we do this with your studio? Can we do this with your brand?”
Melissa: And our second one was with Hugh Jackman. So now to date, that was about four years ago. We’ve hosted over 250 successful Momarazzi events on both coasts and across the country. What happens is when a celebrity is promoting a film or a book, they’re usually on a promotional tour in New York and LA. That is where the bulk of our events take place, but we’ve been fortunate enough to also do events in the top ten markets. Sometimes they have a celebrity, and sometimes they’re moms-only events, which is great. We’ve had this community build across the country.
Denise: In addition to that, we also have had a radio show for the last few years. We were with Sirius for a few years and now our own podcast that also you can get to from TheMoms.com. But what we’ve done — we’re on television a lot and we bring other moms on with us — but what’s really important to us is sharing other people’s stories because that’s what this is about. The Moms is about community. We like to share other people’s stories because there are so many incredible women out there who are starting their own businesses or their own philanthropies or launching their own products, and so what we do is share by sharing their story or sharing on Instagram or bringing them on television with us. If there’s a mom out there who needs help with something, we share their story. That’s really what is so important to us...bringing an incredible community of people together. We have a platform to share, and if we can help others launch their dreams and continue their businesses or get them help...that’s what we’re really passionate about.
Maggy London: That’s really awesome. It sounds like you ladies are doing a bang-up job at shining a light on women in the same space as you are. You are moms. You find that are a lot of opportunities out there, and some things that may not be addressed or haven't been important for other people — you're really shining a light on that and making it so women who don't have that opportunity also get a chance to have people hear about their story or have people hear about something they’ve invented or getting in touch with a like-minded moms and creating a village. What does the future of The Moms look like?
Melissa: So we can’t tell you. You’d have to sign an NDA. No, I’m kidding.
Denise: You have to keep following The Moms and you will find out!
Melissa: Yes, we do have some exciting expansion plans in the works and it’s taken a long time to get to where we are.
Denise: Not really. This is how the world works.
Melissa: A long time, meaning five years to build this company and figure out how to amplify everything that we’re doing. So stay tuned. We’re really excited about it, but it does take many of the different sectors and vehicles and different areas of all of the things we’ve done. It brings it home.
Denise: Well basically what we’re doing is just continuing to build upon what we’ve done. The goal is to continue to help other moms.
Melissa: High five!
Maggy London: So one last question:. We all know that when you’re out there and you’re speaking to other moms or you're recruiting someone — a celebrity — or you're pitching an idea to an organization, you want to present your best foot forward. Tell us a little bit about how you’re dressed or what you decide to wear and how it influences or fuels you for the day or that event.
Denise: Fashion is everything. I yell at Melissa all the time.
Melissa: We have very different styles. She is very rock and roll and I’m like elegant chic.
Denise: Pretty. It has to be pretty.
Melissa: I do like a pretty look! I also think my Midwest Missouri roots come out sometimes. I love florals and ruffles and twirls and she's like “Give me a good stud” on any day. She goes through metal detectors and blinks off.
Denise: But the truth is, it’s good to be you. Sometimes you need a little help, but it’s good to be you. You have to feel comfortable.
Melissa: I’m learning to wear my clothing a little tighter.
Denise: She wears everything too big.
Melissa: She’s like, “That’s so baggy! You look like a farmer!”
Denise: And by the way, she thanks me afterward because she’s like, “How’d you let me wear that?” — So also know what you don't know, and take advice from somebody who loves you.
Melissa: I think just to end on a note of fashion, for moms who are in the trenches every day and fixing food for everyone (and diapers, and laundry, and dishes) it is so important to put on some lipgloss and a little heel and go out your door because it just makes you feel better.
Denise: And just wear clothes that fit.
Melissa: Leave me alone! Peace out.
Maggy London: Ladies, thank you so much. I know your schedules are tremendously busy and you have a lot going on and you are doing a lot which is really exciting and it trickles down to everyone in society. When you have the benefit to be in the company of great moms, it affects everybody positively. So thank you again for being a part of Women Who Make a Difference. Clearly you ladies together, separately...are making a great difference. So kudos to you. Thank you again for being a part of our series here at MaggyLondon.com.
Melissa: Thank you.
Denise: Thank you so much.