Personal Brand Photoshoot for Alison von Rosenvinge

What did you want to be when you were a child?...

I am so lucky to work with smart, beautiful, and such inspiring women!

One of these women is Alison von Rosenvinge, who I met in the spring of 2023.


During our personal brand photoshoot, we created pictures for her website and blog. We had 3 locations, the places of special importance for Alison. 


The first one was her apartment in the Upper East Side. This is a space where Alison works and creates. Home, where she meditates,  practices yoga, writes the book and the blog, spends time with family and friends. 


The second location was, of course, Central Park. She is a nature lover, and walking in the park is a part of her daily routine. 


The third location was the MET. Alison is an art lover and she usually visits art galleries in New York every week. All these locations tell her story and reveal her personality. 


I’m glad to have a chance to share with you her story and musings. I hope they will motivate you to make changes in your life, to live it now and to live it gently. You can reach her on her personal website and Instagram.


Alison von Rosenvinge is a critically acclaimed suspense novelist, attorney, and international relations scholar. She’s also a lifelong self-help junkie. Before becoming a writer, Alison married her college sweetheart, got a Ph.D. in political science and a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania, gave birth to two remarkable human beings (now making their own way in the world), worked for an international law firm, freelanced in white collar criminal defense, and spent a year as a legal scholar in residence. Alison is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and is past president of the New York Chapter of Sisters in Crime. 

Before living gently, Alison’s approach to life was anything but gentle. She believed that the only way to become a better version of herself was to set ambitious goals, follow punishing daily routines, and then berate herself for the shortcomings that inevitably followed. Ice-cold showers, days of intermittent fasting, lying on a bed of nails? Yes! Okay, she’s only tried the first two, but you get the idea. 


Then, after a face plant epiphany (literally: chin on floor), she decided to spend a year centering gentleness in every aspect of her life which led her to write The Art of Living Gently: 28 Simple and Effective Practices for Reconnecting with Your Kinder Wiser Self.

What did you want to be when you were a child?

A ballerina/archaeologist. The plan was to dig during the day and dance at night.

What does a successful woman mean to you?

Success is such an interesting word. We so often associate it with accumulating financial wealth, but by definition, it means to achieve an aim. I like to stay true to the original definition because it centers the goal. A successful woman, for me, is a person who is aiming for something wholesome, helpful, and harm-free. When the aim is good, any effort towards it helps create a better and more compassionate world for all. That’s success.


What characteristics do you most admire in other creative businesswomen?

Courage, ingenuity, and kindness. I love seeing women create businesses that show us a new way to think and be. Your business, Nata, is exactly that: there’s the business of taking fabulous photos *and* this incredible supportive energy that is consciously nurtured. That energy is contagious – it makes all of us a little braver, more compassionate, more open.

Why did you decide one day to make changes in your career life and to focus on writing books?


Working as an attorney at a corporate law firm in Manhattan was wonderful in many ways. It was intellectually challenging, and I was lucky to work with remarkable people, but my heart wanted something different. I didn’t set out to write books at all. My first book was written during the last tough years of my mom’s Alzheimer’s. Writing helped me get through that time. And I caught the writing bug.


The Art of Living Gently, my newest project, is absolutely a passion. Connecting with gentleness has transformed every aspect of my life. I want to share how living gently can help anyone connect with their wiser and kinder self. When you’re a gentle friend to yourself, it’s second nature to be a gentle friend to others, our fellow creatures, and our planet. 

What kind of everyday routine helps you to achieve your goals gently?


Such a great question! I’m a creature of routines because they help me come back to being present.


My inner worrier is loudest in the morning, so I move my body first thing to give that energy some place to go. Then I spend some time, usually 20 or 30 minutes, on my cushion. My meditation practice varies depending on what’s happening in my life, but I always start with some breathing exercises and loving-kindness. 


After that, I spend the first half of the day writing and creating. After an afternoon walk in Central Park, I spend the second half of the day on all the day-to-day things that need my attention. If it’s a quiet night, I’ll do some gentle yoga and then get started on dinner prep. I’m an enthusiastic (amateur!) cook. For several years, my goal has been to try one new NYT cooking recipe a week. Right now, I’m obsessed with Korean cooking -- Eric Kim’s Gochugaru Salmon with Crispy Rice was a revelation -- and I love every one of Melissa Clark’s recipes.  


Unless I’m heading out for the evening, I like to be in pajamas by 9:00 pm and in bed with lights out between 10:00 and 10:30. And, yes, my family teases me for my early-bird tendencies. I’m okay with that. 

Name of a woman or women (past or present) whom you admire or look up to.


Sharon Salzberg. Of all the amazing women I could name, she stands out as a pioneer. If you know what “metta” or “loving kindness” is, you probably have Salzberg to thank. As a nineteen-year-old in 1971, she travelled to Bodh Gaya in India to learn how to meditate. A few years later she co-founded the Insight Meditation Society with Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield. She’s been teaching and writing ever since, focusing on loving kindness. 


She’s accumulated the list of accolades and success stories we’re all familiar with, including a New York Open Center commendation for her “Outstanding Contribution to the Mindfulness of the West,” and appointment as Contributing Editor to Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine. All of which is wonderful, but I think what makes her so remarkable is that regardless of what is happening on this planet, she shares her open heart and wise teachings. And she’s done that generously for nearly 50 years.

What quotation or saying, inspires and motivates you to be yourself and to do what you love?


Love this question! I’m a writer and I have entire journals devoted to quotes, so it’s hard to choose just one, but here’s my current favorite:  

What book can you recommend to read to other women who start a business?


Hmm, this is a hard one for me. I’m going to stray a bit off the beaten path and suggest Martha Beck’s The Way of Integrity: Finding the Path to Your True Self. I think that any woman starting her own business is courageous, and this book helps you connect with the source of that courage in a powerful way. If you don’t have time to actually sit down and read the entire book cover to cover, I highly recommend listening to it. After I listened on audio, I went back and bought the book so I could reference it. It’s that good.

What does the world need more of, less of?


More gentle, less harsh.