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Amanda Brooks Inspired to Leave Barneys by Pioneer Woman

Amanda Brooks on What Inspired Her to Leave Barneys

Amanda Brooks says one woman's blog about country living is what inspired her take a break from working in fashion — but her friends in the industry say they have no doubt she'll be back in the game soon.

Brooks recently told The New York Times that Ree Drummond's blog The Pioneer Woman — which details Drummond's life on a cattle ranch in Oklahoma — gave her the idea to give up her job as fashion director at Barneys last March to take a yearlong sabbatical from life in New York City. "It's the idea of having a career on your own terms, anywhere," said Brooks, who's moving with her family to England for a year. While she's there she'll blog and work on a new book.

Perhaps Brooks's quest for life on her own terms started two years ago, when Diane von Furstenberg wrote the foreward for Brooks's book I Love Your Style, the designer told her, "It's time for you to figure out who is Amanda Brooks. Not Amanda Brooks who works for so-and-so. It’s time to define yourself as a woman." Below, some of Brooks's friends comment on how she's defined herself so far.

Diane von Furstenberg: "When I met her, she was very kind of WASPy and I didn't even think she was that pretty. But I loved watching her grow. She learns, she absorbs, she’s very entrepreneurial and she’s very nice."

Mark Dowley, Brooks's former boss at William Morris Endeavor: "Amanda is a complete person. Because she's so pulled together, she's incredibly disarming, but that can also be very intimidating."

Amy Astley, editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue: "She's a jock. She's the girl who is swimming in the sound in April. She's not a prissy fashion girl at all."

Artist Rachel Feinstein: "Amanda is fearless. If she decides to do something, she isn't worried about what people might think. . . She's incredibly genuine. It's hard for people to realize that someone like her is actually how she is. People want to dislike her because they can’t believe she’s had all this."

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