Redbook, Cosmopolitan, Elle: All, in their own way, strive to help women become more beautiful. 

And all fail abysmally at that task. 

The reason being? The editors of those magazines don’t know what real beauty is. Like much of the rest of the media, they equate beauty with sexiness and measure a woman’s attractiveness in numbers and inches. 

But not Verily. 

Founded by Kara Eschbach, Krizia Sapida, Mary Rose Somarriba and Ashley Crouch — four friends who were tired of women’s magazines that do more harm than good — Verily offers a different take on fashion, beauty, and, yes, truth, than what you’ll find in the supermarket checkout lane. Dedicated to showcasing the feminine genius and helping women understand their inherent dignity, the magazine, in both mission and content, counters the attitudes driving the sexualization of women and girls today. 

Recently, Our Sunday Visitor spoke with Verily’s four founders about how to tune out culture’s negative messages. Here’s what they had to say. 

Our Sunday Visitor: Who has been the single biggest influence on your understanding of femininity and why? 

Krizia Sapida (lifestyle editor): Ironically enough, my father. Raising three daughters is a daunting task, but my dad has done it with such grace. By his own selfless example, we learned how to behave with the dignity and love that he has always known we are capable of.

Mary Rose Somarriba (culture editor): My mother is easily the biggest influence on my understanding of femininity. She not only carries herself with poise and grace, but she also has the most generous peacemaker’s heart. She is a strong and brave hard worker as well, having volunteered to serve in the Vietnam War as an army nurse. 

Ashley Crouch (relationship editor): My beautiful friends are both strong and gentle, intelligent but willing to learn, and accomplished yet humble. Through their continual support and example, I learn more every day what it means to be authentic and feminine — it’s OK to just be me. I don’t have to be anyone else; I’m enough. 

OSV: What’s the best piece of advice someone has given you that has helped you reject the cultural pressure to dress or act in ways contrary to your own feminine dignity? 

Kara Eschbach (editor-in-chief): I think Mother Teresa’s famous line says it all: “God has not called me to be successful; He has called me to be faithful.” 

Crouch: For me, it’s been a gradual discovery that women have an incredible power to ennoble and inspire through the ways that we communicate our identity and beauty. I think Fulton Sheen says it the best: “To a great extent the level of any civilization is the level of its womanhood. When a man loves a woman, he has to become worthy of her. The higher her virtue, the more her character, the more devoted she is to truth, justice, goodness, the more a man has to aspire to be worthy of her. The history of civilization could actually be written in terms of the level of its women.”  


Somarriba: Once you start to play the game of following cultural pressures, you’re destined to lose. You can try to live up to the pressures to look a certain way and fit a certain mold, but there will always be someone thinner, taller, prettier than you, so compromising your uniqueness is a losing game. Better instead to start with respect for your inherent feminine dignity and know that you don’t need to change yourself despite what the media and people around you say. Respect that you come from a unique mold and have something unique to offer. 

OSV: How would you define feminine beauty? In other words, what do you think makes a woman truly beautiful? 

Eschbach: The most beautiful women I’ve met — the ones who truly captivate those around them — are the ones with that sparkle in their eyes, a certain peace with themselves and others that allows them to truly engage and be present. 

Sapida: True feminine beauty comes from within and is inherent in all women. She who recognizes true love of self and others is truly beautiful. There is joy in her heart. And whoever says smiling makes you ugly? 

Crouch: All women are called to bring beauty into the world. Truly feminine beauty bubbles over from a heart filled with love. We exhibit it most through our loving relationships with those in our lives — when we are genuine and real with one another and courageously help each other to become the best version of ourselves. We are being challenged to present a new model of beauty — one that goes beyond simply being “sexy” and integrates all the facets of the person. Being beautiful is about daily making the choice: “Today, I’m going to love.” 

Somarriba: A joyful heart. 

Emily Stimpson is an OSV contributing editor.