Brooks recently told The New York Times that Ree Drummond's blog The Pioneer Woman — which details Drummond's life on a cattle ranch in Oklahoma — gave her the idea to give up her job as fashion director at Barneys last March to take a yearlong sabbatical from life in New York City. "It's the idea of having a career on your own terms, anywhere," said Brooks, who's moving with her family to England for a year. While she's there she'll blog and work on a new book.
Perhaps Brooks's quest for life on her own terms started two years ago, when Diane von Furstenberg wrote the foreward for Brooks's book I Love Your Style, the designer told her, "It's time for you to figure out who is Amanda Brooks. Not Amanda Brooks who works for so-and-so. It’s time to define yourself as a woman." Below, some of Brooks's friends comment on how she's defined herself so far.
Diane von Furstenberg: "When I met her, she was very kind of WASPy and I didn't even think she was that pretty. But I loved watching her grow. She learns, she absorbs, she’s very entrepreneurial and she’s very nice."
Mark Dowley, Brooks's former boss at William Morris Endeavor: "Amanda is a complete person. Because she's so pulled together, she's incredibly disarming, but that can also be very intimidating."
Amy Astley, editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue: "She's a jock. She's the girl who is swimming in the sound in April. She's not a prissy fashion girl at all."
Artist Rachel Feinstein: "Amanda is fearless. If she decides to do something, she isn't worried about what people might think. . . She's incredibly genuine. It's hard for people to realize that someone like her is actually how she is. People want to dislike her because they can’t believe she’s had all this."