Blake Lively is one of those people whom the gods gave without stinting. The insanely talented former Gossip Girl is a phenomenally beautiful woman, one of the best dressed women on planet earth (and yes, like you I’m in awe of the fact that she doesn’t use a stylist), and bagged Hollywood hunk Ryan Reynolds (Sorry ladies).  Now in addition to her duties as a L’Oreal ambassador, face of Gucci and Anna Wintour’s muse she is helping people with ideas but lack the funds or platforms to kick start and promote their businesses.

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Appropriately named Preserve, Lively taps into her generation’s obsession with all things small-batch: the perfectly imperfect handcrafted, the exquisitely bespoke, the deliciously artisanal. She is, in essence, using all the modern-day digital tricks of the trade to shine a light on—to preserve—all those finer, simpler things in American life that are in danger of getting touch-screened into extinction, trampled on by the medium itself.

The driven ingénue within one year managed to shoot a new movie, have a baby and take Preserve from a boardroom idea to a multi-million dollar company with thousands of products made by hundreds of creative people in the comfort of their homes around America.

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While she grew up in a middle class family in California, her mother “who came from nothing” impressed upon her all the hard work that goes into making their lives simpler.

“Her dad [Lively’s Grandfather] built their home out of timber that he cut down on their land. No heat, no air-conditioning—no foolishness, as he would call it. She worked in the fields from sunup to sundown, from the time she could walk. She’s strong as an ox. She learned how to break a chicken’s neck and pluck the feathers when she was a little girl.”

She maintains that Preserve is not a website that is pretentious and trying to show you how to live a perfect life, which most took as a dig at Goop actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s website.  “It’s real life. It’s the thing that blindsides you on an idle Tuesday that’s tragic but that also makes you who you are. It’s not about me. And it’s not about watching my journey of learning how-to; it’s about me sharing that with you so we all sort of learn together.”

Her dedication and humility embody everything that is right with our generation and hopefully more people especially young women around the world will learn from and emulate the things she does.

By Bradford Kamuntu

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