An audit of Elizabeth Chambers Hammer’s lexicon would likely show “perspective” as one of her highest-ranking words—over and over again, she cites the importance of perspective to success in all of life’s arenas, from parenthood to philanthropy to entrepreneurship.
“It’s so easy to lose perspective and forget that every single day we’re blessed to do what we want because we live in a country that’s free,” says the Texas native. “There are so many people that don’t have those freedoms.”
The wife of actor Armie Hammer (currently on everyone’s radar for his role in the Academy-award winning film Call Me by Your Name), Chambers Hammer would never be content as a Beverly Hills housewife. She’s a force in her own right.
The 35-year-old mom of two studied journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, where she fell in love with storytelling. A gig on Access Hollywood catapulted her career, landing her spots on E! News, the Today show and reality shows such as Cupcake Wars and Sugar Showdown.
Perhaps best known for her baking prowess, Chambers Hammer launched Bird Bakery in San Antonio in 2012. The Highland Park Village location came four years later. She splits her time between San Antonio, Dallas and Los Angeles, overseeing bakery operations while maintaining a robust TV career.
Meanwhile, she serves as chief correspondent for the Human Rights Foundation. She recently supported her husband through a 15-month press tour leading up to the Oscars. And she’s a hands-on mom to Harper, 3, and Ford, 1.
Her recipe for doing it all involves little sleep and lots of—you guessed it—perspective. Being a woman helps too.
“Women just get it done,” she says. “I’m amazed by so many of the women in my life.”
You have a lot going on. When do you sleep?
I don’t. I’m checking emails at 3:00 and 4:00 in the morning. It’s not something I’m proud of, but I probably sleep four hours a night.
Does all of the travel get exhausting? How do you do it?
We live on airplanes but have always just taken the children along with us. Harper had been on 158 flights before turning 3. You just kind of do it. It’s all a balancing act, for sure.
How do you and Armie stay connected?
We have a rule not to be apart for more than five days. And we try to take a trip in the summer and in the winter. I think the most important thing you can do for your family is have a strong marriage. Like anything, you get out what you put in.
What do you do to keep yourself happy?
My “me time” is my maintenance. I do a blowout once a week. I try to get a facial once a month. I get my nails done every two weeks … we’re no use to others if we’re not our best selves.
You were pregnant with Ford when the Dallas bakery opened. What was that like?
The timing was difficult because it took over a year and a half to negotiate, and by the time we signed, we had eight weeks to do my build-out. I was eight months pregnant and working 20-hour days on my feet. You do what you have to do.
You’re driven. If you had to pick a few other words to describe yourself, what would they be?
Ambitious, thoughtful—I enjoy thinking about other people—and over-scheduled.
And philanthropic. Tell me about your work with the Human Rights Foundation.
My first job out of school was working at Al Gore’s network, Current TV. I did everything from cross the border with illegal immigrants to go down into an oil well. When the network closed, I really missed the more meaningful journalism. I was losing perspective a bit. The president of the Human Rights Foundation asked me to come on as a correspondent, and it was a chance for me to tell meaningful stories again, which was exactly what I was missing.
Do you think your work makes you a better mom?
[It’s] taught me to compartmentalize. I learned early on that if I’m on a conference call pushing my daughter on a swing, I may feel like I’m multitasking, but no one is actually getting my full attention.
Is there a motto or golden rule you live by?
I believe you should live every single day like it’s your last because tomorrow isn’t promised. It’s easy to get caught up in the small things and lose perspective.
Any advice for aspiring female entrepreneurs?
Do your homework and try to learn from as many people’s mistakes as you can. You can Google anything, but draw on experience from people who have done it. And don’t give up.
What do you want your legacy to be?
An amazing mother, the best wife I could be and bakery mogul. And somebody who told stories that people resonated with. I think telling others’ stories is the best way to keep perspective.