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There’s a reason tabloids and media follow mega-successful women around like hawks- the general public is dying to know what their “secrets” are. From who they’re dating, to what they’re eating, we all want the inside scoop on what makes successful women, successful.

But what the gossip mags don’t let you in on, is that most success stories begin bright and early in the am- sans paparazzi. Below, we curated a list of 9 brilliant women and their personal morning routines, in their owns words.

  1. Arianna Huffington, Founder Huffingtonpost + Thrive Global

Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post, and now, Thrive Global, has been championing the power of good sleep for years. In fact, she believes that America is so over-exhausted, that she launched an entire company dedicated to healthier sleep patterns.

"A big part of my morning ritual is about what I don’t do: when I wake up, I don’t start the day by looking at my smartphone. Instead, once I’m awake, I take a minute to breathe deeply, be grateful, and set my intention for the day."  


  1. Julie Houts, J.crew Designer +  Illustrator

If there is anyone to ask about morning routines, it’s J.crew designer + brilliant Instagram illustrator, Julie Houts. Known for her whip-smart and dry-humored Instagram art, we knew her morning routine was going to be 100% real and down to earth.

“I get up around 7 or 8. If I’m really ‘Going For It’ I’ll sometimes take a morning Pilates class.  I make a pot of coffee, I put on WQXR, get ready.  I take a car to work most days because I’m a ridiculous, obnoxious person, but also because it gives me time to read or catch up on emails or call my family or pay bills.”


  1. Michelle Obama, Former First Lady

If we’re rounding up advice from mega-successful women and don’t include Michelle Obama, does our list even count? Queen of the girlbosses, Michelle loves getting up early to start her own personal care routine. Her advice for overbooked girls is stellar:

“Well, I just started thinking, if I had to get up and go to work, I’d get up and go to work. If I had to get up to take care of my kids, I’d get up and do that. But when it comes to yourself, then suddenly, ‘Oh, I can’t get up at 4:30.’ So I had to change that.”


  1. Gloria Steinem, Feminist Activist, Author

Gloria Steinem wakes up like many women do - completely frazzled and overwhelmed by deadlines. When asked by the Sunday Times what she does on a typical morning, the feminist activist got real (and even shared her favorite NYC breakfast spot).

“I wake up in a panic and it’s because my life is organised by deadlines and events. I have a television in the bathroom, so when I go do my ablutions I’ll listen to the news. I’ll then head downstairs and make scrambled eggs. I live in New York on the Upper East Side, in a converted townhouse over two floors. Around the corner, on Lexington Avenue, is Alex’s deli, where I go after breakfast and get a chai.”


  1. Bobbi Brown, Founder, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics

Bobbi Brown, makeup artist and founder of global beauty company Bobbi Brown Cosmetics is all about starting her morning off on the right foot. From her breakfast to her exercises, she has her morning success down to an art form:

"The first thing I do when I wake up is have an espresso and read the news on my ipad (and check Instagram). Then I like to get my heart rate up so I’ll go to the gym or sometimes just take a brisk walk. After that, I have a breakfast that is high in protein which keeps me fuller, longer and gives me the energy I need to sustain me throughout the day. After I’ve had some time in the morning to myself, I’m off to the office, or to a shoot, or a meeting."


  1. Rebecca Minkoff, Designer + Founder, Rebecca Minkoff

Knowing that her schedule gets jammed-packed, Rebecca Minkoff always makes time for family by dedicating her mornings to her two little ones- Luca and Bowie.

"I start my morning off with a healthy breakfast with my family. My mornings are the time that I get to spend with my two children, Luca and Bowie, so it’s a bit of a sacred time for me. Even on our busiest mornings, I make sure to at least have a smoothie on the go with them."


  1. Shonda Rhymes, TV Writer

Shonda Rhymes, creator of our favorite TGIT shows, centers her (very, very early) morning routine around alone time and inner peace.

“Unless I’m totally exhausted, I wake up at around 5:30 so that I can have an hour and a half to myself before my children get up. It’s important to have a little time to just exist before anyone else is awake. Sometimes I use this time to write in my journal, but sometimes I just sit and stare out the window.”


  1. Chrissy Teigen, Model

The Twitter queen, celeb chef, and model, Chrissy Teigen, opts for a relaxed morning with her husband John Legend before her day starts.

"I can't sleep without the TV on, so we leave it on during the night and that's what wakes me up—Joe Scarborough and Morning Joe at 7:30 or 8. I love Mika. I'm not sure I'd watch it without her. The first thing John and I do is pull our laptops out and check emails. Then I fall back asleep at one point and end up waking up around 9 and then I answer back those emails I sent."


  1. Padma Lakshmi, TV host, Author

Padma Lakshmi, the host of Top Chef, centers her morning routine around her passion- cooking. While most of us are used to eating something on the go, Padma likes to make time for a full meal to fuel her day.  

“My morning routine during weekdays is getting up at 7am and get out of bed at 7:20. We go downstairs and have milk and tea. We eat breakfast, which might be eggs with toast or a tortilla, oatmeal, cereal, or French toast. I prefer French toast to pancakes or waffles because it has more eggs, which is good for protein. Then, we go upstairs and get dressed and get out the door by 8:20.”


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