Diane Butts, creative director for the Voice of America and winner of four ACE Awards, is one of those women that knows exactly what she wants and is not going to apologize for it. Her deep voice, charisma and life experience make her the best conversation partner; time is passing by so quickly and you can do that all day. As VOA’s creative director, she is responsible for branding oversight, marketing and promotion activities for the government-funded broadcaster’s television, radio, online and mobile products reaching global audiences. Busy, successful and a frequent traveler, she never neglects her style.
**What are you passionate about?**
I am passionate about mentoring. I currently mentor four women who are working hard toward career and personal advancement. It’s gratifying to hear that they appreciate my insight as I share my experiences and offer advice. I’m also learning a lot from them; I am energized by the interaction, and it’s rewarding for me to watch them grow and flourish as they work toward their goals.
**What does style mean to you?**
For me, having style means always looking my best, so that I feel good about myself whenever I step out of the house. I want my attire to be nice looking, especially well fitting and comfortable. Remembering my mom’s advice — she was very stylish in her day — I pay special attention to my hair and my shoes.
**Are there any style rules you follow? Any style challenges?**
I’m not a rule follower in general. I have fun with bright colors, especially red — that’s my favorite. I love to mix and match colors and patterns, and I’m not hung up on always sticking to “age-appropriate” pairings. As a petite woman with curves, I find that dresses are the most flattering, and I love to wear them with boots. They help to create a nice line. I stay away from large jewelry and bags as they tend to dwarf me.
**Why it is important for women to invest in their look?**
The first impression we make on the people we meet face-to-face is a visual one. If women present themselves stylishly, and not in a distracting way, that first impression is the best it can be. Why not try to be your very best every day?
*Styling and Outfits* (Ifat Pridan, LiLi The First, Georgetown): Diane is a petite woman with tones of confidence. She looks strong and fearless with clothes that hug her body and show her beautiful curves. We stayed away from long skirts and gowns and busy patterns that will take over her personality, staying with shorter and knee-length skirts and dresses and paying attention to interesting fabrication — leather and velvet — that will express luxury and glamour.
*Hair* (Ciera Beckman, Illusions Salon of Georgetown): Diane came in with beautiful short salt-and-pepper, natural-texture hair. Our stylist Ciera Beckman wanted to give Diane a unique and vibrant salon experience while still maintaining her personal hairstyle and giving her a playful yet classy look. Ciera gave Diane a clear gloss treatment for a beautiful shine, keeping her hair looking and feeling healthy. We blow-dried her hair with a thermal round brush and then flat-ironed with a curled pattern to style and finish.
*Makeup* (Christin Michelle, Conceptual Beauty): Diane is full of life and energy. She told me she has had her makeup done many times, so I wanted to make this time different. I added medium-sized false eyelashes to complement her deep-set eyes. The pop of color in her shoes inspired me to play up her lips. Diane is used to wearing camera-ready makeup, so choosing a foundation and powder that she would be comfortable in was easy. We went with a hydrating base, mineral powder and blush to enhance her natural skin tone. Diane was a delight to work with as we chatted the entire time.
*Photos* (Elizabeth Dranitzke, PHOTOPIA): I fell in love with Diane’s spirit from the get-go. Her contagious smile and background in acting and modeling made her so easy to photograph. When we discussed some location options, Diane told us how she “loves shopping and fashion,” so it made sense to mostly shoot at LiLi The First boutique and Appalachian Spring. Diane was certainly in her element among the chic fashions and items.