Interviews

Entrepreneur Hope Smith on the Difference Between Being a Mother and a MUTHA

Entrepreneur Hope Smith on the Difference Between Being a Mother and a MUTHA

In this series, Top 11TM;, influential people share 11 ways they take care of themselves including beauty, skincare, and aesthetics. Knowledge is power!

Stop me if this sounds familiar: you’re on Instagram®, blindly scrolling and tapping and following until you “come to” from your social media-induced blackout, only to find that you’ve stumbled upon an amazing account. This was how I first discovered entrepreneur, philanthropist, and model Hope Smith (née Dworaczyk). 

I’ll admit, Smith’s feed first lured me in with her passion for glamorous, over-the-top couture. (She and I seem to have a love of bright colors, metallics, and sequins in common). I closely followed her travels around the world with then-boyfriend, now-husband Robert Smith (the CEO of a private equity firm who recently made headlines for paying off all of the loan debt of the 2019 graduating class of Morehouse College®). During the week leading up to their 2015 wedding on Italy’s Amalfi Coast, I refreshed Smith’s page constantly in hopes of updates regarding her custom gowns and the live performances.

But, in my opinion, only showing off the fun and fabulous parts of your life doesn’t make for a compelling Instagram account. And Smith knows it: she reveals the struggles, too. The 34-year-old mom of two boys (Hendrix, 4, and Legend, 3) has been open about her experiences with in-vitro fertilization, and has even done a Q&A with her followers on the topic. “If you’re going to go through IVF, know that it is as invasive of a cycle as it gets,” warns Smith, who underwent one round of IVF. “Multiple injections, multiple hormones, multiple exams. I recommend doing it when you’re really ready and don’t have much else going on, so your stress levels are as low as possible.”

She also is very open about how susceptible she is to stretch marks, and spent years looking for a solution to reduce them — and then she got pregnant with Hendrix. “I was really scared about a pregnancy taking over my body and afraid of getting more stretch marks,” she confesses. She already knew she was prone to getting them, as she had them from puberty. She called upon friend and celebrity makeup artist Joyce Bonelli for advice. “She told me the secret was La Mer® Crème de la Mer®, and to wrap myself in it with plastic wrap every day and night,” she shares. “I bought this huge tub of La Mer, tried wrapping myself, and in the middle of the night, I tore it right off. It was hot, uncomfortable and I was sweating.”

Realizing she wanted a more comfortable experience than a self-induced sauna every evening, Smith embarked on a DIY journey the very next morning. “I researched raw ingredients which were known to be high in vitamins A, C, E, K, and D, fatty acids, omegas, and antioxidants,” she says, all characteristics of skin-smoothing skincare formulations. “I started ordering these raw ingredients, and my kitchen became a science lab.” I watched her on Instagram as she used her KitchenAid® to mix up creams, one of which would become her first skincare product, MUTHATM; Body Butter ($95). She would use it two to three times daily — and so would her husband. “To me, that was the ultimate compliment, since Robert is such a product snob,” she quips.

At the end of her first pregnancy, Smith had no stretch marks whatsoever. When she was pregnant with Legend, though, she was worried about her skin again, and started developing an oil. “I wanted the oil to help with stretch marks, but also be able to assist with tightening my skin after being stretched so big for two years in a row,” she says. (This would eventually be the MUTHA Body Oil, $105.) She started sending her two DIY products to her friends, saying, “From one MUTHA to another.” Soon, they started asking for more, and then asked for products to send to their friends, which is when Smith knew she had something promising on her hands.

After years of work, Smith launched MUTHA on September 16 (2019), and the Body Butter immediately sold out. I personally believe this isn’t just because of Smith’s relatability and authenticity (though she is both of those things). I also believe it’s due to the charitable component of the brand: A portion of all proceeds from MUTHA go to charity. “I personally had two home births with a midwife,” Smith explains. “When I learned of the risks associated with becoming a mother, I decided to focus on women’s health.” Smith chose to partner with International Medical Corps®, a non-profit organization helping to educate nurses and midwives in third-world countries, where infant and maternal mortality is the highest. 

Clearly, the cheeky name of her brand is another part of the products’ appeal. To Smith, being a mother and a MUTHA are not necessarily the same. “To me, being a mother means being a protector, being selfless in my time and energy, and giving unconditional love, even on the days I need love too,” she says. “It means having a responsibility to make sure they grow into smart, capable, independent, and kind boys, while giving them the security to do great things.” 

Being a MUTHA, however, is more about being unapologetic, empathetic, and brave, all while keeping a sense of humor. “I saw a woman at the grocery store frustrated and embarrassed as her toddler laid on the floor kicking and crying,” she recalls. “I came in close and told her, ‘You’re a great MUTHA — he probably got that from his dad,’ and walked away. MUTHAhood is a community of women who have each other’s back,” she says, adding, “There are no judgements and no mom shaming.”

That includes a woman’s choices when it comes to medical aesthetics. “I am all about no judgement,” reiterates Smith. “When I was 25, I tried a lot of fillers,” she says, though explains that she hasn’t gotten any injectables since her first pregnancy. “I’ve tried injectable wrinkle reducers and fillers with Jodi Emery at Dr. Garth Fisher's office in the past, and will think about visiting her [again soon] to see what she would recommend.”


[Editor’s note: Injectable wrinkle reducers temporarily smooth the look of moderate to severe wrinkles in certain areas of the face, including the forehead, frown lines, and crow’s feet; they should not be used more frequently than every three months. Injectable filler is a temporary treatment that adds volume to areas of the face such as the lips, cheeks, and laugh lines. Like any medical treatment, both injectable wrinkle reducers and injectable fillers have potential risks and side effects. Talk to a licensed provider to see if they’re right for you. And learn more now by chatting with a trained aesthetic specialist.]

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Beyond that, Smith focuses a great deal of her beauty regimen on skincare (naturally!), with much of it coming from her own kitchen. She gets a facial approximately once a year, and hasn’t tried any advanced technology, like lasers. “I feel like my skin has only improved with age,” she says. “My 22-year-old self would’ve never believed this, but sometimes, less really is more.” We’d agree! Here, Smith shares 11 of her favorite beauty and skin treatments that she relies on for glowing skin.

MUTHA Body Oil ($105): “I have stretch marks from puberty, and this oil really helped to smooth the texture and wrinkles in them. I love the smell and texture. It’s considered a dry oil. The rosehip, which is extracted from rosehip seeds, is known to help fade pigmentation as well. I used this to tone the loose skin post-pregnancy, and it worked great for me. I still use this daily!”

PatykaTM; Repair Night Serum ($90): “This is a simple oil-serum — I love the texture. It’s great for winter.”

Biologique Recherche® P50TM; ($67): “There’s something about the way you glow after using this product. A must in every house.” [Read our director’s review of Biologique Recherche P50 1970 here.] 

Summer Fridays® Jet Lag Mask® ($48): “I travel with this product and keep it on every vanity. It’s just one of those products you can use for everything.” 

La Mer The Cleansing GelTM; ($95): “If I’m wearing a full face of makeup, I love cleansing with this gel. It removes all my makeup in one wash.”

MUTHA Body Butter ($95): “The ultimate in stretch mark prevention. No filler, all stretch mark killer. I also use this on my feet, cuticles, and as a daily moisturizer for my kids after their baths. This is the one my husband has been using since the very first batch five years ago.”

Pat McGrath Labs® MatteTranceTM; Lipstick in Full PanicTM; ($40): “My go to. It’s perfect. Just buy it and let me know how much you love it.”

Hair Extensions: “Andre Davis at Julien Farel® does my hair extensions. I used to get bonds, and I’ve tried tape-ins, but now I get a sewn-in track and I love it. It doesn’t damage my hair and is good for adding length, but not a lot of volume. Abby Haliti colors my hair. I’ve been everywhere from dark to platinum blonde!”

Nail Art: “I love my nail artist @lit_n_lavish. She’s great and does house calls for me in NYC or LA. The best thing she’s done is full Swarovski® crystals on every nail!”

Maison Francis KurkdjianTM; Baccarat Rouge 540 ($575): “A combination of jasmine and cedarwood. My absolute favorite right now.”

Westman® Atelier Lit UpTM; Highlight Stick ($48) “I use this in the corners of my eyes, above my top lip, on my cheekbones, and on my collarbones. I love it.”

Product prices may vary from the time this article was written.

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