At first glance, Cricket Burns’ life reads like a delicious fashionista fairytale you just can’t put down. Her wild and stylish rollercoaster ride through the rarified fashion magazine world, filled with the pixie dust of prime real estate seating at Paris Fashion Week, speed-dial access to influential designers and A-list celebrities, glamorous photo shoots with Scavullo et al and unlimited access to that hallowed of places—the editorial fashion closet—all led to a brilliant second act as the owner of a transformative home design company heralded by savvy interior aficionados around the country. In essence, a dream career to make Carrie Bradshaw, and the rest of us, swoon.  


But as the veteran magazine editor turned “Chief Executive Jusher” of Crickets Crush, LLC recounted in her hilarious and poignant keynote address at the SRQ Women in Business Hear Me Roar Leadership Luncheon, every good fairy tale has a dark side with monsters the heroine must overcome. While making a name for herself over three decades rising to the top of the masthead with positions at numerous publications, including Harper’s Bazaar, Seventeen, Avenue and Quest magazines, she gracefully navigated the competitive gauntlet of The Devil Wears Prada-esque bosses and wolves posing as colleagues in sheepskin Jimmy Choos to reach the pinnacle of publishing in launching her own luxury lifestyle magazine in New York City, SCENE.  

Soon after, the dream turned into a nightmare when she was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer and then a year later her husband was diagnosed with Stage 4 neck cancer. Fighting the battle against cancer twice, and winning in both cases, while raising two small daughters and running a magazine was a mountain of challenge, which she felt she had successfully overcome. And then, the publication she had poured all her experience and passion into suddenly shuttered and she found herself packing her office up into Birkin Boxes that once housed the bags her position afforded her. 

Exhausted from the series of mind-numbing events, Burns found refuge at her home and, to keep busy while looking for another magazine gig, decided to completely redesign the entire place. But a funny thing happened when as she reached out to the myriad colleagues and contacts who would meet her at home to brainstorm about potential job opportunities. Upon seeing her newly restyled abode, her friends forgot all about helping her find a new job and instead the meetings turned into requests for Burns to style their digs. In an “Aha!” moment that inspired Burns to pull herself up by her Chanel bootstraps and reimagine her life, a new career was born. 

Now she focuses her laser-chic styling and design expertise in her own business through the lens of home decor. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, Hamptons and Beach Magazine, The Southampton Press and The Greenwich Times. She was featured on NBC’s Open House With Sara Gore, has developed a continuing web series “The Jusher” with A&E, HGTV and Bravo and is currently working with the live shopping network, EVINE, to create and produce a line of affordable diamond jewelry called Crickets Crush Diamonds.

In her reinvention story of two steps forward, ten steps back and forward again Burns has become a master chef at making lemonade out life’s lemons and has restyled the challenges life has presented her into a life sparkling with passion and purpose and grace. Here she shares her secrets of success, perseverance, resilience and roaring with style, and why she believes cultivating the transformational power of beauty can make the world a better place. 

How do you define personal success?  CRICKET BURNS Family and friends are what true success is made of. At the end of your life, you won’t be thinking about the awards you won or the money you made or the toys you have accumulated, you will be remembering the love you shared.  

What are your top “jushing” tips for fashion/home/life?Keep things elegant, simple and beautiful, but then always add an element of surprise. Always have a “party in the back.” In every aspect of your life  highlight something you love and is a memory-maker. What is your signature? What brings you joy? What makes you happy when you think of it? Whether it’s a pair of glittering shoes, a signature hat, a fabulous sense of humor, talent for putting together a scrumptious meal or a crazy chandelier in your entryway—it’s the same principle across the board. What makes you “you” is what people will remember.  

What are the traits that you believe empower women the most to be leaders?  Confidence, intelligence, humility, resilience and empathy. Knowing when to take a risk and being open to taking a leap of faith are also invaluable tools.

Share one professional experience where you had to take a huge leap of faith/take a risk.  Early in my career I left Harpers Bazaar for Seventeen Magazine when the “powers that be” told me my decision would be a career-defining dead end. They were wrong!

How do you deal with competition? My battle with breast cancer. As the chemo and radiation broke my body down, my drive and creative spirit thrived, ultimately giving me the strength to throw caution to the wind and change careers completely from fashion to home decor. This experience gave me an uncanny ability to prioritize and realize my goals.

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to your younger self? Don’t sweat the small stuff and choose your battles wisely, which is easier said than done. You are not always going to be “right” (even if you are), particularly in a creative field like fashion or design. It’s so subjective, that you may not share the same vision as a team member or client, but you have to be able to take feedback and find a way to be creative and collaborative at the same time.  

What fields would you recommend to young women now? No matter how old you are or what industry you are in or interested in, technology is key.  Look for the opportunities to utilize technology to innovate in your field. For example, in fashion and design, there are so many exciting groundbreaking things happening right now like 3D-printing and new intuitive fabrications. And that spills out into non-fashion areas as well. I just read that the Swiss Guard at the Vatican is replacing their steel helmets with 3D-printed PVC plastic ones to reduce the heat and weight of the originals—and are half as expensive as the originals, but they look like the real deal. So cool! The possibilities are limitless. 

Why is cultivating beauty important?   Beauty to me is a spiritual concept rather than a physical thing. It’s about what inspires inner peace and joy. I truly believe that cultivating beauty in all aspects of your life reflects out from you to everyone you come in contact with. That sense of peace, kindness, love, positivity can be nurtured and supported by how you care for yourself and your surroundings. And when you bring that beauty out into the world with you, it is contagious. “Things” that you adorn yourself or your home with don’t inherently mean anything, but infused with the positive feelings they bring you, they reflect the expressions of your inner self. And when you share that happy vibration with others, it goes out into the world and brings joy and positivity to others. It’s not about the most expensive home or the latest handbag or designer shoes, it’s not about keeping up with the Joneses—it’s about what makes you happy. My home is not a glamorous castle. My place is a funky little co-op in Carnegie Hill, but when I go home and open up all the locks (I live in Manhattan - we have lots of locks) and I walk into my beautiful refuge, I feel happy and at peace and I want to share that feeling with others.

How do you turn challenges into strengths? Interpretation and positivity are key. When my eyes went bad due to chemo and I was unable to put contacts in, I embraced it and decided that, if I was going to have to wear glasses, I was going to own it and go all in. So I went out and got huge, crazy glasses with wild colors and shapes, and turned a negative into an empowering signature. They’ve become my trademark and people expect me to wear them. The things that make you memorable are fabulous tools. So that’s a great metaphor for life—take what’s given to you and, especially if it’s not something you are thrilled about, work it so it works for you.

What advice would you give to women of all ages in pursuing their dreams? Never give up! When one door closes, another one opens. Work hard, hone your craft and, once you are gaining steam, don’t let someone else slap a Dead End sign on your dreams. Never shortchange your growth to please someone else. They’ll never be satisfied and you’ll be miserable and stuck. And, most of all, make sure to celebrate yourself.

A quote captures the essence of Cricket Burns? A little over the top is where I like the view best!”

Your outlook on life in six words.  It gets better every single day.  

Fun Facts About Cricket Burns  

1. She has appeared in two movies as herself: Prêt-à-Porter, released in the U.S. as Ready to Wear by Robert Altman and Unzipped, a documentary about Isaac Mizrahi. 

2. She has long dreamed of being a rock star. (We think she already is.)

3. She’s a Karaoke master.

4.  She adores shopping, good pasta and a fine Chardonnay.

5. Her favorite de-stressing tools are hot yoga and watching reality TV with her daughters.