#POWERMOM: Kara Medoff Barnett

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Ever since we launched our game-changing Power Play Foundation, we’ve been introducing you to #Powerplayers—beauty and lifestyle experts who also never fail to eclipse expectations. In honor of Mother’s Day, we’ve decided to make this week all about #PowerMoms—women who aren’t just killin’ out in the world, but also on the home front with their little ones.

Meet Kara Medoff Barnett, Executive Director of American Ballet Theatre and mom to Riley, 8, Audrey, 6, and Bridget, 2.


Mother’s Day plans?

Kara: I asked my daughters, and they said, “It’s a surprise, Mom.” I can’t wait to see what they are cooking up!


Mother’s Day traditions?

Kara: For many years, my mother and grandmother would travel to New Jersey from North Carolina, where they live, to visit my Uncle Philip on Mother’s Day. My husband and kids and I would meet up with Mom and Grandma at Uncle Philip’s school. He was severely mentally disabled, and he lived in a state institution for most of his life. We would sit outside under the cherry blossoms and sing his favorite songs and take him out for ice cream.  He passed away last year, so we will all miss this family tradition.


The best Mother’s Day “gift” you could receive?

Kara: A relaxed morning at home reading stories to my kids or sitting with the Sunday New York Times and a cappuccino. Or a mimosa. Or both. No flight or meeting or birthday party or basketball practice to run to. No rush to get everyone out the door.


Wisdom from your mother you would like to pass on to your children?


  1. “Bored” is not an option.  My mother never allowed us to say that we were “bored” and I don’t let my children use the word.  They have imaginations, siblings, books, and so much more. Be curious.
  2. Good posture is essential. Always.
  3. Kindness to others is more important than accomplishments and achievements.
  4. Sing your way through life.  There is a song for every occasion.


How has your beauty routine changed since you became a mom?

Kara: When I have a manicure, it’s at home late at night after the kids are asleep.  My only concentrated time with my kids is on the weekend, so I don’t want to give up an hour to go to the nail salon.


The last time your children made you laugh?

Kara: Daily. Right now, Bridget (my two-year-old) wears only leotards and bathing suits around the house. She shoulders a handbag and pushes her baby doll up and down the hallway in a stroller. She recently found a lipstick and put it on her eyes and cheeks. She thinks she is so glamorous!


Kara Medoff, Executive Director of American Ballet Theatre, dressed for Halloween as the Pink Ladies from Grease with her daughters Riley, Audrey, and Bridget.

The last time your children made you cringe?

Kara: The same cute two-year-old threw herself down on the ground and screamed endlessly this past weekend when I wouldn’t let her jump in the bouncy house with a dozen kids twice her size.


When you have an afternoon alone with your children in New York, what do you do?

Kara: Broadway matinees. Karma Kids Yoga. Visits to the Whitney Museum, where they love the Kids Activity Guides. Baking pumpkin bread.


If we snooped in your handbag, we’d know you were a mom because. . .

Kara: You would find Band-Aids, lollipops, and used Kleenex. Probably a few hair ties and hair bows, too.

The last book you read with your children was?

Kara: Curious George and Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb. Bridget wants to read “monkey” books every single night. Riley and Audrey love biographies. Audrey’s favorite is about Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Riley has been learning about Helen Keller.


How would your children describe what you “do”?

Kara: They would say that I run the business side of the ballet. That I’m a leader. And that I have an office with a bottomless candy jar for when they come to visit each Thursday before their ballet classes.


What do teach your children about what it means to be beautiful?

Kara: Being beautiful inside radiates out through your smile and the way you greet and treat others. Audrey, my six-year-old, often talks about the hotel in her heart and how big the rooms are for the various people she loves.  I tell her she has a big, beautiful heart.


What is one thing you do as a parent that you swore you’d never do? 

Kara: Just one??

Kara and her two daughters, Audrey and Riley.

Who (or what) is your “foundation"?

Kara: My husband.  We have been together for 18 years and married for almost 12 of those years. And my five younger siblings. We are spread across the country, so we have a weekly phone call to keep one another in line.


What does being a “power mom” mean to you? 

Kara: Last weekend, I asked Audrey if she had a nice time spending the afternoon with her mom.  She paused, then said, “No, Mom. It wasn’t nice. It was SUPER DUPER.”


Want more? Follow Kara on Instagram (@abtofficial)!

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