The Inspiring Harper's Bazaar Campaign That Will Put A Smile On Your Face

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As one of our favorite glossies around, it's no surprise that Harper's Bazaar's annual Estée Lauder Fabulous At Every Age contest continually serves up inspiring, beautiful, talented women. We were lucky enough to attend this year's awards ceremony luncheon with our friends at Harper's and the Estée Lauder team. Throughout the course of the event, we alternately suppressed tears and broke into spontaneous applause for the five honorees whose abilities and personalities are as unique as their age groups.

Indeed, the mag's beauty director Alexandra Parnass calls the competition her favorite franchise. The women are chosen not just for their achievements, but for their attitudes. "They’re humans, you know? None of them are absolutely perfect head-to-toe, as none of us are. It really strikes you when talking to any of these women that they are truly not bothered by the little things in life," Parnass explains.

That's the key to staying young, according to EIC Glenda Bailey. That, and laughter: "That good spirit and energy and excitement — the curiosity of life." But that doesn't mean you won't run into some frowny-faced moments along the way, either, and those difficulties synonymous with modern womanhood have been a source of particular controversy in the media lately, from Princeton prof Anne-Marie Slaughter to Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg, it seems like the feminist discussion is at a unique historical point. Says Bailey, "It’s all about trying to get the balance. I think, by nature, women put so much pressure on themselves when everyone is just trying to do the best they can. I’m all for people realizing their potential and having the opportunity to fulfill that potential, and also, at the same time, trying to be realistic about the importance of being able to work hard and play hard."

And Bailey, an icon herself, knows full well that work and play are only half the battle. Between friendship, marriage, dating, motherhood, career advancement, and staying healthy, "there are so many heads that come with the job of just being a woman today. At the same time, it’s just about trying to get through it with a sense of humor, a sense of style, and a sense of fun." That's a message that remains in the minds of the magazine's masthead-mavens with every choice they make, whether the current cover girl is Selena Gomez or Tina Fey. And frankly, it's an effort that rings true with any succesful media company, if you ask us. It's not about how many years you have under your belt, it's about what you've done with them!

Click through to Harper's Bazaar to meet the five amazing women who made the cut among thousands of applicants — and we dare you not to end up with a big, optimistic smile on your face!

Photo: Courtesy of Harper's Bazaar.