When it comes to living your best life, Robin McGraw is front and center, creating a legacy for her family all while doing it with grace and style. A woman who holds an array of titles — wife, mother, grandmother, philanthropist, entrepreneur, two-time #1 New York Times best-selling author, and TV personality — McGraw is warm, caring, and has chosen a path working to help those in need, as well as serve as a role model for women all over the world. McGraw holds her relationship with God and her family at the forefront of her life, and has found that strength and a revelation from childhood have enabled her to become the woman she was always meant to be.
“When I hear the words ‘role model’ I think ‘Oh no,’” she says. “I cannot believe anyone would call me that.” Feeling fortunate to be where she is right now, the humble McGraw sees herself more as someone who has a lot of people watching what she does, and believes it’s important to show her true, authentic self at all times.
Here, McGraw shares with BELLA what drives and inspires her…
Not Perfect, But Perfect Together
Married for 40 years, McGraw has always believed she was put on Earth to be a wife and mother. Together with her husband, Phillip (better known to most as “Dr. Phil”), the couple raised two sons, Jay, 36, and Jordan, 29, and are also proud grandparents to Avery Elizabeth, 6, and London Phillip, 4½.
While the couple made it a priority to create memories that would last a lifetime for their children, they have also set forth the best example of a happy marriage. “It’s kind of crazy that it’s going on 40 years,” she says. “Sometimes it feels like yesterday – we have a lot to be proud of.”
In order to achieve a happy and healthy marriage, McGraw credits the fact the couple did their homework first. “Early on, we spoke about what we could and could not live with,” she says. She grew up in a home with an alcoholic father, so she knew that was not an environment she wanted for herself or her future family. “I would not live with, nor would I raise children, in a home with an alcoholic,” she says.
Welcoming the Spotlight of Scrutiny
Through her experiences have come life lessons that have guided McGraw both personally and professionally. “I have learned that if I don’t step up and defend what I know to be true and right to protect my family, no one else will,” she says.
It’s a lesson that has proved helpful ever since her husband began his popular daytime show in 2002. While going from a normal home life to being thrust into the spotlight may seem like a tough transition, McGraw looked at it as a huge, positive change. A daily presence on “The Dr. Phil” show, McGraw knows there are people who will want to judge, criticize, and say hurtful things despite not knowing who she really is. But that’s okay, she says.
“Everyone has a right to their opinion and to say whatever they want, but you also have a right not to react,” she says. “I think to myself, say whatever you want, I know the truth,” says McGraw. She credits her husband for teaching her this lesson very early on in their marriage. And while McGraw says he never “Dr. Phil’s” her, it has been the best advice she’s ever received.
Following in Her Mother’s Footsteps — Almost
McGraw, who encourages others to follow their passion, leads by example for the millions of women who look up to her. Her own inspiration comes from her mother, who unexpectedly passed away from a massive heart attack at the young age of 58. McGraw recalls her as an amazing woman who always put her family’s needs above her own, including her health. “I truly believe that if she had gone to the doctor just one time, she might still be here.”
Her mother’s passing was a wake-up call to ensure she, too, didn’t perpetuate a legacy of self-neglect. From that day on, McGraw made it her mission to take care of herself so she could, in turn, take care of the ones she loves. “I want to be just like her in every way but that one thing,” she says.
From Uncertainty to Smiles
In the 14 seasons of the “Dr. Phil Show,” McGraw says the guests that move her the most are the victims of domestic violence. “The stories we’ve heard are heart-wrenching,” she says. “You can’t listen to a woman or a man talk about this and not be so moved that you don’t want to do something.”
The desire to help those in need led to the creation of a foundation she named after her mother, Georgia, who she credits with shaping her life. In October 2013 (Domestic Violence Awareness Month), McGraw launched “When Georgia Smiled, The Robin McGraw Revelation Foundation.” Shortly after, Robin introduced the “AveryLasting Love” lip gloss collection, named after her granddaughter, and the “Light of My Life” candle collection, named for her husband, Phillip, sons Jay and Jordan, and grandson, London. One hundred percent of the net proceeds from the sale of the lip gloss and candle collections go to benefit and support the foundation.
“Growing up with an alcoholic father, I lived a life of uncertainty,” she says. “But the one constant thing I knew I could count on was my mother, and that smile she would have on her face. It didn’t matter how scared or uncertain I was, if she was smiling, it couldn’t be that bad.”
It’s that same sense of safety and calm that McGraw wants to uphold. “That same sense of peace I remember from the smile on my mother’s face is what I want to bring to those who are suffering,” she says.
With the launch of When Georgia Smiled, Robin introduced two powerful tools to assist: first, the “Aspire Initiative,” a free, interactive domestic violence curriculum to educate tweens, young adults, and adults about abusive relationships. The program is available in English and Spanish and is being used in schools across the country. The second tool, the “Aspire News” app, is a free, potentially life-saving smartphone app that allows the user to create pre-written text or voice messages to be sent to designated numbers. The app has been downloaded more than 300,000 times around the world.
“Phillip and I came up with the concept for the app while sitting around the kitchen table talking one morning,” says McGraw. “I told him I wish I could create a way for a victim to alert family and friends.”
Launched in 2013, the app was recognized on Capitol Hill by the National Health Collaborative as one of the top two apps of 2014 most beneficial in the fight to end domestic violence. “I was so proud for it to be considered such a valuable tool in this fight against this silent epidemic,” says McGraw.
Ensuring Advocacy for Those in Need
As part of giving back, both McGraw and her husband are national spokespersons for the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association (CASA). Together, they are responsible for bringing in more than 76,000 volunteers and donating 7 million+ hours to advocate for abused and neglected children. They’ve also raised over $90 million dollars in donations for CASA.
“Without the CASA volunteers, most of these children go into the courtroom without anyone to stand beside them and help give them a voice,” says McGraw. “We’ve done a lot of shows on foster children who are abused, starved, tied up, or beaten, and it breaks your heart. They need someone they can talk to, someone they can tell the trauma they are experiencing and also share what’s going on in their daily lives.”
Aspiration and Faith
In addition to her philanthropic work, McGraw is also a best-selling author; both of her books have reached the New York Times bestseller list. “Both times I was told, I was surprised and extremely proud … it’s a feeling I will never forget.” As for writing a third, it’s something McGraw is seriously considering. “At this point in my life, at 62, I feel like I have more life experience to write about.”
With a full schedule that only keeps getting busier, she makes it a point to take time for herself, something she says is important for women. “Whether it’s taking a bubble bath (my personal favorite), writing in a journal, or time spent in prayer, women need their own time,” McGraw emphasizes.
With strong religious beliefs, McGraw says she trusts in the plan God has for her. Each morning and every evening, she reads a Bible verse she keeps framed in her bathroom, Luke 1:45. “What I love about the verse is that it’s about belief and trust and knowing He has made a promise to me. I just have to believe and I do.”
McGraw, whose huge heart knows no limits, says she feels most beautiful when doing the things she was put here to do.
“If I can reach out and help to change someone’s life by being who I am and helping in whatever way I can, knowing that I’ve done my best, that is when I feel beautiful.”
Sidebar: McGraw’s Beauty “Revelation”
As a firm believer that it’s never too late to start something new, McGraw launched her purpose-driven lifestyle brand, “Robin McGraw Revelation” in April 2014 to record-breaking success. Her mission: To empower women to embrace their beauty, health, and happiness without guilt. The first product collection launched under the brand was skincare.
“When I started, I knew I wanted something that would be easy to use and that worked,” she says. “I’ve had many people over the years ask what I do to take care of my skin so I wanted to create the same regime that works for me and that I believed in.” New luxury skincare products will be added to the Revelation collection this fall.
Her newest line, Me O’ My, consists of nine fun and useful products McGraw says will make life a bit easier and glamorous for moms. With whimsical names like “Chickee Chew” (inspired by her love of bubble gum), “Handy Candy” antibacterial wipes, “Lippy Lovey” lip balm, “Dog-Gone-It” and “Owie Meowie” bandages, “Nosey Cosey” tissues, “Flossy Glossy” floss picks, “Kissy Permissy,” breath mints, and “Sticky Stackers” sticky note and pen sets, McGraw is gearing up to introduce even more items to this collection soon.
Cover Dress – Dolce & Gabbana dress & Christian Louboutin shoes
White on the Couch – Dress by Self Portrait shoe by Christian Louboutin
Peace Sign Shot – Dress by J. Mendel shoe by Christian Louboutin
Last Page – Dress By Dior & she Dior