How Catt Sadler Helps Empower Women
See how the 'E! News' host gives back in style.
All too often, we don’t give much thought to the fashions we consume or the trends we chase. Catt Sadler, however, hopes we reconsider our spending habits. Fresh from a trip to Kenya, the E! News host joined Raven + Lily—an e-tailer we’ve long-admired for its philanthropic initiatives—to visit one of the villages where its chic, socially-conscious pieces are hand-crafted. For her recent voyage, the stylish star showed off not only her charitable side but sustainable ensembles created by the women of the tribe that are also included in the brand’s Fall 2014 collection. See what Sadler had to say about her ethical excursion and how it impacts her evolving style.
What made you want to get involved with the Women Like Us Foundation? "That’s an easy one to answer. My mom actually started the foundation a good five or six years ago back in our home state of Indiana. I’ve been watching my mother work for some time, and the entire mission of her charity is to lift up other women who are making change in the world. Now, I’m the international spokesperson for the charity, but it was a no-brainer for me. My mom has always been one of my best friends in the world, and I watched her do a lot of philanthropic work over the years, so it was time to get involved, and I’ve been so fully rewarded ever since because it’s cool work that we do."
Was this your first trip to Kenya? "Yes, this was my first time to Africa, and it was life-changing. I had always heard that from people that had actually been, but it was everything I had imagined it would be and more. To get to go with my mom for that entire trip—she arranged the whole thing—it was amazing."
Can you describe the experience? "All of the stars kind of aligned. I was already doing a little work with Raven + Lily, and my mom and I already had this trip planned, so it just all made sense that we have these experiences together. We all basically believe in the same thing, and that’s that you can lift up other women who maybe are not as empowered as we are here in our country with our socio-economic positions. To go do that outreach with Raven + Lily was amazing because they took us directly to the [Maasai] village that they hand-picked. [Raven + Lily founder] Kirsten Dickerson found these women; she knew their stories and hand-selected them because she knew if she taught them these skills and employed them, that there would be a real impact and benefit to their communities.
We sat down with these women, wearing so proudly the necklaces that they had made, and then we talked with them all about how it was impacting their lives, how they were now able to send their kids to school and afford healthcare—even more than that, just the pride in these women because they now had this contribution to their community and were more respected. It was so rewarding to watch them tell their stories.
It was literally a trifecta of my mom’s foundation, Kristen and myself sharing time with these mothers [and their children at the Esiteti Primary School], and it’s really emotional. To be honest, you see the pictures and hear the stories of these people’s struggles, but to see the hope? They were all just so touched by our visit, and then to just see it firsthand, I mean, it’s something that will stick with me forever. Not to be overly dramatic, but I find myself missing them, their smiles and just the genuine pureness of these people—they were just amazing."
Do you plan on returning anytime soon? "Returning, yes. Soon, probably not. I have two kids of my own, and I keep very, very busy here at E!; it was a miracle that I got to leave for two weeks, to be honest. But I will go back. As a matter of fact, my husband and I had always planned to have a really big five-year anniversary because he’s British and his family is in the UK. Once I got to Kenya, I was like, ‘Okay, we’ll come back to this experience because I want to show my kids what life there is like, and I think it could be a really cool learning tool for my family—for anyone, I would encourage anybody to go because it’s a real eye-opener. It was such a gift because I got so much strength from those women—to see what they're up against, their hardships and what they endure every single day. I actually purchased a Maasai warrior sculpture to bring home with me, and I literally walk past it, look at her and think about how strong they are; it really does give me strength."
How would you describe your personal style? "I think I’m kind of a blend of edgy and chic. I like a little edge, I have a little rock 'n' roll in me, but I also keep it pretty simple. I’m not overly expressive with tons of accessories or color. I like to keep a real streamlined look. Less is more for me. It’s funny, it’s kind of like there’s the two faces of Catt; on TV, I wear a lot of color and more patterns because I think that’s aesthetically pleasing to the viewers. TV is one thing, but in real life, I am a lot more monochromatic. I wear a lot of muted tones—black, charcoal, white and nude—and keep it a lot more easy, I guess, and maybe that’s because I’m a working mom too, so everything’s just a little more low-key."
How does an experience like this impact your wardrobe? "It makes me more conscientious about what I purchase, and I wasn’t entirely familiar with these socio-aware fashion companies. I mean, I’ve worn eco-friendly things in the past, but I’ve never been that schooled on a company that was actually employing other people in other parts of the world, specifically to make change a part of their philosophy for the company. I’ve got Raven + Lily right here, proudly displayed in my dressing room as a reminder to me to know that you have a real power with your dollars when you do buy. If you can educate yourself a little bit and be aware that what you’re buying really can make an impact, why not spend your money supporting companies that are doing great things in this way? I think it just makes me more aware, and I certainly don’t dress head-to-toe in eco-friendly, socio-aware companies by any stretch, but I think I’ll be more aware when I buy in the future."
For more of Sadler's breezy style, browse her lookbook here.