An audit of Elizabeth Chambers’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 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 launched BIRD Bakery in San Antonio in 2012. The Highland Park Village location came four years later. (Follow on Instagram @birdbakery and Facebook) 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. And she’s a hands-on mom to Harper, 3, and Ford, 1, whom she shares with ex-husband and actor Armie Hammer. 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.”
One-on-One with Elizabeth Chambers
DFWChild: You have a lot going on. When do you sleep?
Elizabeth Chambers: 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.
C: Does all of the travel get exhausting? How do you do it?
EC: 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.
C: What do you do to keep yourself happy?
EC: 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.
C: You were pregnant with Ford when the Dallas bakery opened. What was that like?
EC: 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.
C: You’re driven. If you had to pick a few other words to describe yourself, what would they be?
EC: Ambitious, thoughtful—I enjoy thinking about other people—and over-scheduled.
C: And philanthropic. Tell me about your work with the Human Rights Foundation.
EC: 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.
C: Do you think your work makes you a better mom?
EC: [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.
C: Is there a motto or golden rule you live by?
EC: 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.
C: Any advice for aspiring female entrepreneurs?
EC: 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.
C: What do you want your legacy to be?
EC: 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.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in April 2018.
Photo courtesy of Nick Prendergast