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About the Project

About the Project

Thinking Outside The Book

Rochelle called me about four years ago and said, I have an idea I’d like to talk to you about. Do you have time?” I answered, Yes.” For her, I always say yes. Her idea: to write a book about her life as a serial dieter, gaining and losing, gaining and losing weight. I was in. We sat down at her dining room table and started talking and listening and recording and taking notes. It didn’t take long for us to figure out we were writing a book about a lot more than dieting. We were writing a book about all the questions all of us ask ourselves throughout our lives.

Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? Did I do the right thing? Did my parents know I loved them? Am I a good friend, mother, wife? Why am I always hungry? Did I have to work so hard? Did any of it matter? And on and on and on. 

Then we asked another question: Are we writing a book at all? We looked to the web and gave birth to The Adventures of the Baker’s Daughter. Like every other website, it lets you enter and exit wherever you like, and it will grow and change to let these stories work their magic — to liberate, celebrate, connect, forgive and remind all of us what it means to be human. 

Rochelle’s co-conspirator in thinking outside the book, Barbara Worton 

Collaborators and co-conspirators. A great team.

I love to work, but I never work alone. The Adventures Of The Baker’s Daughter web-memoir came together because of the insights and talents of an old friend and a couple of new ones. Barbara Worton, a writer, has collaborated with me, both in editorial and advertising for over thirty years. We’ve had mostly successes, and a couple of projects we learned lessons from. On this web-memoir project, we worked with Jenny Volvovski, a graphic designer, who allows great design to disappear so that the content comes through and Brett Burwell, a web developer, who keeps it all easy to use.

There have been so many people who have who have contributed to this web-memoir and my ideas and work over the years. Thank you, all of you — and a special thanks goes out to Sofia Juarez, Lena Nicholson and Mark Sarazen for the still life visuals. As I’ve always said, I never do anything alone. We all hope you enjoy reading through this web-memoir as much as we enjoyed creating it.

Barbara’s, Jenny’s and Brett’s co-conspirator in thinking outside the book, Rochelle Udell

Rochelle Udell

I AM THE BAKER’S DAUGHTER.

I am not so clever to think that my professional success or even finding the love of my husband, children, family and friends was all my own doing. A lot of it has been luck — being in the right place, meeting the right people, having mentors and extraordinary shrinks and friends, coming of age in New York City when it was ripe for change, allowing for things out of my control to happen and walking through that next opening. I have worked hard. I did it for love; I love to work. I’ve been a designer at New York magazine, founding Art Director of Ms. magazine, Editor-in-Chief of SELF, Art Director and Creative Director of Vogue, GQ, House & Garden, Esquire and Harper’s Bazaar, Senior Vice President and Creative Director of Chico’s, Advertising Creative Director of CRK Advertising, Senior Vice President of The Limited, Inc., Executive Vice President and Chief Creative Officer of Revlon, designer for over 100 books. Right-hand woman and Mother-in-Chief to Milton Glaser, S.I. Newhouse, Calvin Klein and Lee Eisenberg. And later, painter and community activist.

Writing The Adventures of the Baker’s Daughter has made my life better. It’s taken me back to my beginnings and raised the questions of whether I am more than my history — and if I am, where do I fit? This web-memoir is a guided tour of my career in fashion, beauty and advertising; the opportunities I have worked toward and stumbled upon; and the amazing people I have met and who have nurtured me along the way. I have had some great moments at the table.” 

Reading these stories, I am hoping you will understand how and why I’ve finally decided to share them. And with any luck, that will get you telling your own stories too. So, here we go. 

Barbara Worton

Can we talk? Rochelle Udell

Many talented and smart people walked into my offices over the course of my career; writers, photographers, illustrators, stylists, designers, film makers, hair and makeup artists — creative guns for hire. We met because their portfolios were a good match for whatever project I was working on. People would come and go, and that was pretty much the norm in publishing and advertising. There were those rare moments of serendipity when, someone walks in whose work I couldn’t ignore.

In 1991, a film director, Murray Bruce, was working with me on a project, Portrait of Photographers,” and at the same time was producing a performance piece Barbara Worton had co-written with a friend. He showed me the script, titled If I’m Talking, Why Aren’t You Listening? The writing was fresh and spoke truthfully, capturing words that needed to be said out loud. Coincidently, I had a presentation coming up for the Ad Club in Detroit. I asked Murray and Barbara to create a video whose task was to explain to a roomful of mostly male auto industry executives that women and their values, lifestyle preferences and purchasing patterns had changed, and automakers would be wise and profitable to rethink their approach to the women’s market. From the first draft of the script, I knew it was important and powerful. 

Titling the video Barbara and Murray did Can we talk?” was a harbinger of things to come. A few months after the success at the Ad Club, I called Barbara in for another project and, a few months later, another. It went like that for years — with both of us always willing to ask what if and never give up until a piece landed just right. 

Working together with Barbara is fun. Conversations are our collaboration. We have invited each other in and become part of each other’s creative process, and our client and freelancer titles dropped off. We are partners — Siegfried and Roy, Leiber and Stoller, Lucy and Ethel — comfortable together working through ideas to communicate something bigger and more important than we would have on our own.

What I Did for Love and Money. Barbara Worton

I have been telling stories — written, spoken, sung, videoed, staged — since I was about eight years old. I was a regular contributor to my high school and college literary magazines and newspapers, and I wrote and produced my first musical in college. Then I went professional and — dreams did come true — got paid for writing and editing on staff at Pyramid Publications (now Jove) and as a freelancer at Pinnacle Books and Berkeley/Putnam. After that, I moved to London and freelanced on the editorial side for Sphere Books, New English Library, PAN and Futura. A couple of months on Seventh Avenue after I was married and back in New York convinced me some form of writing was what I had to do. That led to copywriting jobs at Ogilvy & Mather, Young & Rubicam and Griffin Bacal, and that led me to strike out on my own. I found happiness as a freelance writer working with some household name clients, writing and staging more performance pieces, acting in a small theater group, starting Great Little Books, LLC, publishing two books, as well as articles and some short stories, trying to launch one and acquire another company and traveling as much as I could afford. In 2020, after twenty-five years with Deloitte as both a freelancer and staff writer, I left corporate life and had a lot more time for creative projects I love like The Adventures of the Baker’s Daughter.