Ava Kaufman has been through a lot in her life. A former professional dancer working alongside iconic superstar Gloria Gaynor, to being a single mother while undergoing life-saving heart transplant surgery, Ava is beyond extraordinary.
Now fully recovered from her surgery, Ava has created and turned her non-profit charity organization Ava’s Heart into one of the top ones in the country for organ donors.
While still raising her daughter, working out daily, and running her charity, Ava continues to look and feel glamorous! We caught up with Ava at her Hollywood home to find out more…
Nick Northstar: How would you describe your own personal fashion style – both while at home and while working?
Ava Kaufman: My style at home is, for sure, very casual. I usually wear workout clothes, leggings, a t-shirt and sneakers. I am really into sneakers these days! I even love wearing them with a little dress or jeans. They come in so many styles and colors. I love the brand APL; so comfy. As for work, it depends on what the day holds. I might be in jeans and either high or low boots and an elegant top. If I have to dress it up, I usually go with an elegant, classy little dress and short boots, or fabulous slacks, or Elaine Kim leggings with a silky top and jacket. This past season I have been into coats as well.
NN: The word Glamorous can mean many different things… what is your definition of it?
AK: In the dictionary ‘glamorous’ means “an appearance of enchanted attractiveness”. I think that glamour first has to come from within. It’s the way you feel about you and how you carry yourself, how comfortable you are in your body, not really what you wear. I think it’s also knowing what looks good on your body and not overdoing it. ‘Glamorous’ to me is simple and sophisticated, elegant even in sneakers. Dress for yourself, no one else!
NN: How do you stay so glamorous & fabulous while running around as a busy mother and founder of a charity organization?
AK: It’s all about knowing what looks good on you, the way it hangs on your body, what colors work for you, and being comfortable. I must interject here that my daughter Jade is 19 and pretty much takes care of herself. However, there are days that I am on the go from am to pm. I like clothing where all I have to do is change my shoes and put on a different color lipstick and I can go all day knowing that I am wearing something that makes me feel good and that shows off my best parts. That’s why I love Elaine Kim. And then I breathe! You have to breathe.
NN: Do you feel more glamorous now after your transplant and finally healthy again, or more so before in your professional dancing days?
AK: This might shock you but I feel more glamorous now. That is because I have never been so confident and clear about my purpose. I don’t sweat the small stuff and I truly come from gratitude every day, no matter what is going on. I am not so caught up in what other people think and I’m not trying to be what I think people want me to be. ‘Easy does it’ and ‘one day at a time’ gives one a certain elegance that comes with knowing who you are.
NN: What is your advice to anyone wanting to pursue their dreams, whether early on in life or later in life?
AK: I say if you are fortunate to truly have a dream, go for it. Age doesn’t matter at all. Be aware that nothing is easy and it takes courage and patience. Don’t listen to anyone’s doubts, they have nothing to do with you. Have faith and don’t push too hard. Work hard, do your homework, and believe in miracles. Make a plan and follow it. Stay on track and have such confidence in yourself that all the no’s that may come your way are just small road blocks. I have made many of my dreams come true. None of them were easy. The one I am pursuing now is the most challenging of them all. This time around I have more faith and total determination. Sometimes pursuing a dream can lead to another dream. Go out and make your dreams come true!
NN: What advice would you give other transplant patients who are not feeling so great and fabulous as they await their name to be called upon on a transplant recipient waiting list?
AK: One of the things that most transplant patients deal with awaiting transplant is knowing that in order for them to live, someone else is going to die. I think that knowing that ‘souls go to heaven, organs don’t’ is a simple way to think about that. I thank my donor family many times during every day.
NN: What has been the biggest life lesson you have learned over the past several years?
AK: To enjoy each day and never take anything for granted, stop and appreciate the day, and love from the depth of your soul. Be grateful, as life is such a precious gift!