In Amanda Benchley’s new co-authored book “Our Shoes, Our Selves,” she asks 40 accomplished women to recount the memories behind their most meaningful pair of shoes.

WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO?

Always try to show up for your friends.

WHAT WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU LEARNED IN HIGH SCHOOL?

High school was when I learned that I actually had to apply myself – things like academics and sports had come very easily to me before that.

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST PET PEEVE?

Poor grammar.

WHAT DO YOU WEAR THAT MAKES YOU FEEL STRONG?

My Gold Gucci loafers which I’ve dubbed my “Sisterhood Shoe.” I first saw them on Rachel Feinstein, a hugely talented sculptor who can also handle a chainsaw with aplomb.  She let me stomp around in hers and I felt instantly glamorous. So I bought my own pair the next day; and then three of my friends also bought them. Wearing them makes me feel connected to my friends, which is what really gives me strength.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE WITH A BROKEN HEART?

Get lots of touch — massages, acupuncture, pedicures, hugs.

WHAT IS ON YOUR NIGHTSTAND?

Too many New Yorkers.

WHAT IS YOUR BAD DAY BACKUP PLAN?

If it’s summer, then it’s a swim in the ocean.  But a good, long bath anytime of year is a total mood-changer.

HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS?

Following your inner voice.  Being able to do the things you love, professionally AND personally.

BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?

Life is long.  Meaning behave yourself because karma can catch up with you.

WHAT MAKES YOU FORGET TO EAT?

Nothing!

WHAT DID YOUR 8 YEAR-OLD SELF LOVE DOING?

Reading, playing tennis and following the Yankees.

WHAT 3 THINGS WOULD YOU GRAB IN A FIRE?

My kids and my 3 pets. That’s more than 3 things but the two kids and one of the dogs can walk out on their own.

FAVORITE WORD?

Right now, it’s two words. “Talking points” — it is such a great way to break things down.

FAVORITE WORK OF ART?

Too many but what first comes to mind is The Birth of Venus by Botticelli. When I first saw it, I was mesmerized by what looked like strands of gold woven through the canvas.  I also really love The Marriage of Arnolfini, because of its fun symbolism. I really would like to own a Matisse nude drawing, his line is so sparse yet elegant.

FAVORITE BOOK?

Again, too many. My favorite book last year was Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward. It’s a beautiful story of family love and unity at a specific, harrowing time (Louisiana, pre-Hurricane Katrina.) It’s written so well that you feel like you live next door to the family. And the dog plays a central role in the story, which I always like.

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE YOUR PARENTS ABOUT YOU?

How neat and organized I grew up to be.

WHAT FICTIONAL CHARACTER DO YOU HAVE A CRUSH ON?

I cannot tell a lie. Dylan McKay from 90210.

IF YOU WERE A SINGER, WHAT WOULD BE THE NAME OF YOUR FIRST ALBUM?

“Me”. Because putting out an album would make me feel so bare and exposed.

BEST GIFT YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?

A 50th birthday trip to Harbour Island.

Our Shoes, Our Selves by Bridget Moynahan and Amanda Benchley features 40 of today’s most inspiring and accomplished women sharing stories of growth, strength, change, and empowerment as symbolized through the shoes she has walked in. Participants include Misty Copeland, Senator Tammy Duckworth, Christiane Amanpour, Padma Lakshmi, and many others.

To learn more about Amanda, purchase her new book Our Shoes Our Selves, and follow her on:

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