Thursday, September 13, 2007

Portrait of a lady (and a Dame)

Most Americans probably never noticed the obituary this week of Anita Roddick, or if they did, didn't recognize the name. Too bad. Dame Anita (who was given an O.B.E. and the title by the Queen in 2003), was a visionary who did more to change the world than many of her contemporaries.

She started a small natural cosmetics shop in Brighton, England, in 1976 and built it up into a huge global business, The Body Shop.

She worked with only natural ingredients, recycled packaging, and ended up devoting herself to ending animal testing of cosmetics and apartheid in South Africa, helping small business owners in Nicaragua, campaigning to save the rain forests and stop violence against women, among many, many other causes.

She died this week at 64. Said Dame Anita, four years ago: 'I am 60 years old, and I'm not quite done yet with the business of being a woman'. More wisdom: 'If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito.'

Here are just two of many reminiscences about this excellent life: How Anita changed the world, in The Independent; and There Was Nothing Like This Dame, from Rory O'Connor at Media is a Plural.


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