If you run into her on the Hollywood scene, she’ll tell you she’s a renaissance woman. A writer, artist, director and fashion savant, Liz Goldwyn always likes to leave room for growth. And growing is something that she’s done quite a lot of in her lifetime. Born into Hollywood royalty, Liz’s grandfather is film pioneer Samuel Goldwyn. Also in the industry? Her father, mother, brothers, and now even her nieces pen it as a family business. But Liz has been able to step out from the shadow of her family to create her own spotlight. When we first met Liz last year, we knew we just had to share her story with you! Liz sat down with Dress for Success this month to talk about how she has created a legacy all of her own.
She could have easily become a pop culture princess who collects royalties through tabloid pics and partying, but Liz has always been just as financially independent as she is creatively adventurous. She attributes this sense of adventure to her late grandfather, whom she never had a chance to meet herself. A Polish immigrant who came from modest beginnings, Samuel Goldwyn, Sr., was a glove maker turned self-made film mogul, who contributed to the founding of several studios in Hollywood. But her personality embodies anything but the privilege that surrounds her.
Rejecting today’s traditional Hollywood scene, Liz’s professional and personal influences do not reflect the culture or name she inherited. Though her father and grandfather are a part of her inspiration, she has always sought advice from those who are older. “I’m surrounded by so many incredible, strong and successful women my own age—that I seek out older women and surprisingly a lot of men’s advice,” Liz explains.
Always exploring the space outside of her comfort zone, Liz has built on the wisdom of others, giving her a living resume of incredible depth and versatility to keep in her back pocket. Complimenting this innate desire to learn and grow in her own right, Liz has a fearlessness, which spearheads her persona and provides her with a platform to approach almost anyone. She once persuaded the CEO of an international fashion company to hire her on the spot, explaining, “I’ve found in my career that a lot of people who are very successful don’t get approached for jobs as often as you might think.”
Liz’s calm and open tone shows her confidence to be vulnerable, but is backed by a quick wit to prevent any proverbial missteps. When she heard that the CEO of her favorite company was in town, she did her research, looked up his photo, found out what event he was attending and boldly introduced herself. “I really think a lot of times, people don’t realize that everyone is human and if you are heartfelt in your message and express that you have the knowledge of this person or company, it can really pay off,” Liz told us. Her candor has a humbling effect that makes you feel like you’ve been childhood friends—and it’s this same quality that leaves no question as to how she landed the job.
Definitely not a novice when it comes to courting a new career, Liz has been this motivated since she was 12 years old, holding various jobs throughout her teen years, including a position at Plan Parenthood, as well as working on the sets of several movies—and she will be the first to tell you that none were her family’s.
By the time Liz got to college, she had already carved out a full-time career, working as a consultant and curator for Sotheby’s, a contemporary global art company. She also worked as a contributor for French Vogue while finishing her degree in photography and art history. Now in her mid-thirties with a lifetime’s worth of experience under her belt, Liz tells us, “I think it’s a lot about trial and error and not being afraid to take risks in your career to try something new.”
Liz radiates independence—intertwining both her art and image. Though she has always charted her own course, she says it was her father who set the precedence, instilling values that built a solid platform from which she could branch out. Growing up, Liz was taught that income must be earned, so for an allowance she would recycle with her siblings. They would collect soda cans and newspapers and go to the dump every weekend to rifle for items to recycle. Their work was made even more complicated by the fact that they were not even allowed to actually drink soda themselves. “We would have to go to other people’s houses and go through their trash cans, so the neighbors were like, ‘the Goldwyn kids are really weird, they’re always coming over and stealing our trash!” she laughs.
The most elegant dumpster diver we know, Liz’s mentality that true wealth cannot be inherited, allows her to see her privilege as a responsibility to give back. With a valuable vintage collection in her corner, she could easily turn her closet into a steady source of income, but a firm believer in karma, Liz prefers to keep her work going full circle. In January, she collaborated with British model, musician and fashion mogul, Karen Elson, to create “Vintage Vanguard,” an initiative that teamed up with a handful of high-end fashion designers to reimagine their old vintage wardrobes and create totally new pieces to sell to benefit Dress for Success. From someone who knows how to leverage her resources, Liz tells us giving back is a necessary part of success. “If you want to change the world in any way, you’ve got to put your money and your time where your mouth is.”
Whether it’s her art, fashion, film, or philanthropy, Liz has already left quite an imprint, but she admits she’s nowhere near fulfilled. Always somewhat of an academic junkie, success by her standards will come when she earns her PhD. Of course, we have no doubts about the inevitable three letter addition to her name, but in the meantime, we can expect dozens of other side projects. Always careful not to confine herself to just two or three roles, she is deep in planning her next moves at the moment—a new book that compiles eight years of research, which will officially be released next year.
“I don’t think you have to stay in one role your entire life. You have the ability to transcend,” Liz remarks. Mastering this philosophy, she has effortlessly blended filmmaking, fashion, and writing to create her own sphere in the art world.
Though it would be easy to dismiss Liz’s accomplishments as a product of the Goldwyn legacy, she proved from a young age that she is willing to embrace the unknown and take the necessary risks to forge her own path. It is this daring to dream outside of the box that has allowed her to ascend her Hollywood name, making Liz Goldwyn self-made royalty in her own right.