How I’m Skirting the Rules

I Believe You Can Get the Life You Want With the Time and Money You Have

Latina Magazine Executive Editor Robyn Moreno on who you need on your dream team, why love is worth the risk, and how to keep life from knocking you down

Robyn Moreno thinks life is too short to wait to be happy until you have the perfect job, partner, body, fill-in-the-blank. The executive editor of Latina magazine, Today Show contributor, Emmy-nominated host, certified yoga instructor, and book author shares her wisdom on how to add more joy to your day and go after your dreams both big and small.

I’m Skirting the Rules by not waiting for perfection, but starting from where I am. For example, I’m self-publishing my latest book rather than waiting to be chosen by a publisher. It’s called Hecho By You: Make a Life You Love From The Inside Out. “Hecho” in Spanish means ‘made by.’ It’s the idea that you have the power to create your own life.

The book that’s coming out isn’t the original book that I wrote. The original book was more of a lifestyle book with recipes and decorating ideas because I’m a lifestyle expert, so I wrote what I thought I should write rather than what I really wanted to write.

Then, I didn’t have the balls to release it. I decided to trust myself and write something that was more true to who I was even though I didn’t have the life coaching ‘credentials.’ I told myself that I didn’t have to have all the answers. Clarity comes from doing.

I believe the most powerful feminine strength that helps women get ahead is our ability to build communities. To succeed, you need to find your tribe: a group of women or a board of advisors. Right now, there are five people who can help you go after your dream.

Your dream team might include a mentor to help you navigate your way; a friend who acts as your sounding board; an idol who is doing what you yourself want to be doing; a connector who can get you in touch with the people who can help make your dream happen; and a caretaker who loves you and helps you do stuff like watch your kids so you have the energy to go after what you want.

The biggest risk I have ever taken is making the first move with my now-husband. Before I met Sven, I was a serial monogamist. I hated dating. If I liked you, you’d become my boyfriend for seven years. But I was already in my mid- to late-30s and none of my relationships had worked. I knew I wanted a family, but I was dating people that clearly didn’t want the same, so my actions weren’t aligning with my desires.

Then one night I saw my future husband at a bar. He was wearing a plaid shirt just like me, and I walked up to him and asked, “Hey, did you get the plaid shirt memo too?” This was a big move for me but I’d already been practicing getting out of my comfort zone. I’m a traditional Latina whose mom taught me that that women are supposed to be courted and chased.

Sven and I just hit it off. He was in town from Sweden on business, and we hung out the entire week. I took him to the airport and before he left he said “I think I love you.” And I said, “I think I love you too.” I didn’t even know him—he could have been a serial killer! But he wasn’t. Now we’re married with two kids and live in Cold Springs, New York.

An example of how listening to my intuition has helped me was being in touch with my body and waiting to give birth naturally rather than have a C-section for my second daughter. I tried to hire a midwife but she wouldn’t take me on as a client. She said it was too risky since I had delivered my first daughter by C-section and that I was too old at 40. But I found a doctor who was open to the possibility, saying we could see how it goes.   

Then the day came when I was 40 weeks along and scheduled to have the C-section. The baby was healthy and kicking and the doctor said, “You have to trust your momma intuition. What do you want to do?” I said I wanted to wait, and so he gave me one more week.

A week later, I went back to the doctor. He said, “You’re already five centimeters dilated. You’re having this baby!” I delivered Feja naturally the next day. The experience was such a powerful reminder to trust in myself. When you learn to listen to yourself, you give birth to all kinds of things, not only babies but careers and art and relationships.  You have to be your own guide.

My secret talent is being able to apply all of my makeup without a mirror. I mastered the skill from years of getting ready on trains and in subways. I can literally put on foundation, blush, mascara, eyeliner, and lipstick without needing to see my reflection.

A woman is most powerful when she trusts herself. I remember reading a quote that said something like ‘power is the ability to think for yourself,’ and it’s so true—whether it’s the kind of shoes you want to buy or business you want to have.

The female disruptor who most inspires me right now is Hillary Clinton. She’s empowering women to use their voices. She supports a woman’s right to govern her own body and her right to equal pay, and she’s encouraging women to talk. Hillary is going through all of this intense criticism. There are studies that show that women who go after power are not likeable and the same isn’t true for men, but Hillary is really embodying leadership versus others who are being mean spirited. It’s hard, but she sticks to the issues.

My advice to my younger self would be to go for it. When I was younger, I cared about what other people thought of me. That fear of being judged limited my life choices from who I dated to what I wore. Now that I’m older I don’t give a shit about what other people think. I can tell the haters to step aside. You may hate my idea or think it’s crap, but I feel better creating it than not putting it out there at all. If you’re not fully expressing yourself, you’re not going to be doing what you really want to do or creating what you really want to create.

My biggest rebel move was forging a career in TV. The voice in my head said I wasn’t qualified because I didn’t have a broadcast journalism degree and wasn’t media trained. But I just knew it was something I wanted to do and that I would be good at. Still, I was embarrassed to tell people I wanted to be on TV because I thought it sounded egotistical.

I eventually found a way around. I had a friend who was an anchor at a local TV station. So I reached out to him to say that I could speak as an expert about my stories as a then-editor at Woman’s Day and he invited me on air. I went into his studios at like 5 a.m. with my hair all blown out and zero media training and just did it. I was nervous, but afterwards was like, ‘Yeah, I did that!’ You get confidence by doing.

After I had a reel, I gave it to Woman’s Day’s publicist and it just so happened that the Today Show had called looking for an editor to be a guest. That’s how I went from never being on air to going on a national TV show. Now I’m a regular Today Show contributor.

There is a quote that says, “What you seek is seeking you.” The Today Show was looking for new talent and people to come on the show as experts. I met them halfway and threw my hat in the ring. I realized that it’s not about being egotistical. There was a need for me and I could offer people advice; but I couldn’t if I had stayed scared and hid in my closet. You have to step up and put yourself out there.

My favorite ‘mini-skirt’ is trying to wake up early to get a little quiet time before the kids get up. Even just five minutes of meditation or breath work makes a big difference in how I feel for the rest of the day. If I can center myself, I’m less likely to get knocked down.