From Barbie to Business Boardroom: Jess Weiner

Jess Wiener

Jess Weiner needs a standing ovation.

She can easily be considered a game-changing leader who has spent the last 26 years working to understand and educate others about cultural trends that help people feel more seen, heard, and understood.

Having always been a speaker, performer, and communicator from a young age, Jess grew up in Miami, left at 18, and never looked back. With stops in between, Jess became a true Californian, having now spent the last 21 years in Los Angeles. Jess shares that living in a place known for its appearance-driven aesthetic is exactly what draws her in.

I like that tension point because I never lose sight that we value a very particular aesthetic and that being in the epicenter of exporting media content, I can impact the message that is being sent out. 

Jess is known as a cultural expert. She sits at the intersections of studying, researching, and teaching about cultural trends.

I look at what’s happening regarding beauty, body image, self-confidence, creativity, identity, and I use those insights to help contextualize what people are experiencing. I track and look at historical and future trends. I’m an Educator and Communicator, helping companies stay on the leading edge of diversity and inclusive content.

Jess works primarily with Fortune 100 and 500 companies with the largest market shares, which can make the biggest impact for positive change. She started this path over two decades ago when she was contacted by Dove, leading to a strategic partnership on their Campaign for Real Beauty.  

Another recognized partnership that was culturally changing was the strategic partnership with Mattel and the Barbie team, introducing more realistic body types, skin tones, eye colors, and hairstyles to the doll.

We went on a journey to more variety and inclusivity. The biggest conversation on the table was, ‘what does Barbie look like?’ And that shift did not happen overnight.

Jess shares that brands need to focus on intersectionality. People have multiple identifiers- race, gender, abilities, education, so much that makes us up. She stated that the census report from 2020 reflected that 50% of kids under the age of 18 are multiracial.

“This age group has a very different relationship when it comes to appearance. Trust that the next generation will show up to play and that will be an aspiration. We are living in a beautiful, blended world, and Barbie needed to reflect that diversity!” 

Jess says that when it comes to body image, there is a body bias. From Baby Boomers to Millennials, generations have grown up with beliefs that a larger body isn’t beautiful or healthy.

These beliefs are so subconscious, which is why we had to change Barbie’s aspiration to be traits other than a physical.

Jess has authored two books and is working on her third. Her first book, A Very Hungry Girl, was penned at the young age of 27 and shaped her interests in studying cultural issues. Her second book, Life Doesn’t Begin 5lbs from Now, focuses on helping women change their thoughts and actions to appreciate their bodies. 

Besides being an author, consultant, and motivational speaker, Jess has a podcast from Shondaland and iHeartRadio. Her podcast series is called Dominant Stories with Jess Weiner, a principle that has been part of her teachings for years. Jess says the show stemmed from her personal and professional mission to help challenge the external and internal voices that hold someone back from living the life they deserve.

We have a dominant story that runs in our head. Stories that, not intentional, can be passed down generationally. The stories we tell ourselves about ourselves that can stop us from pursuing our passion, block us in our careers, and even sabotage relationships…if we let them.

The good news, Jess says, is that those dominant stories can be rewritten.

They don’t disappear. What we can do is identify, investigate, and interrupt those stories.

Jess brings her smart and witty personality to each conversation with her guests, where you can reclaim and rewrite those stories.  

From Barbie to business boardroom, Jess Weiner is a cultural changemaker. As a lifelong learner, truth-seeker, and teacher on a mission, Jess continues to open the conversation and get to the humanity that connects us all with the stories inside of us. She has taken all her experience and continues to use her voice as an advocate and champion for change. 

You can find Jess at:

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