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Behind The Seams Chairwoman Debra Hall

Woman standing making an announcement in a pink floral dress

Debra is our Chairwoman and is passionate about changing women’s lives, one bra at a time. We had a beautiful conversation with Debra about self-love, motherhood, and her #happybra…

What is your name, bra size, and secret power? 

I'm Debra - my bra size is 16E (though after lockdown I should probably get Sue to check my fitting)! And yes, I do have a secret power - though I try not to keep it a secret. I'm really, really good at connecting people. Mostly I use my not so secret power to find people who can help entrepreneurs starting new businesses. 

What makes you the happiest in life? 

Ah, that's an easy one - whanau (and I count good friends amongst my whanau too)! Especially when we're all together, debating loudly at my very large dinner table over piles of home-cooked food (that I've cooked, of course). 

Who inspires you the most and why?

My husband Peter, who is about as different from me as you possibly could be, yet supports and encourages me to be my best self every single day. We've been married over 40 years, and I am still in awe of his calmness, his wisdom and his ability to deal with whatever life (and I) fling his way. 

What makes you so passionate about Rose & Thorne?

The relentless focus on affordable comfort - I love the product, but more than that, I love that being part of Rose & Thorne gives me a small part in being able to transform women's lives. The day I discovered Rose & Thorne - and that was before I became involved in the business - I literally tossed out all my bras and started again. 

Having bras that don't hurt seems like such a small thing - why would women wear something that hurts? But we do, and it seems we're trained from an early age to believe that pain is part of being a woman - how bad is that! Rose & Thorne is passionate about changing that - and that's what makes me passionate about Rose & Thorne. 

What is your favourite part of the job?

Hearing Sue's stories of the women whose lives have been transformed by our product - the lady who recently gave her an angel, the husband who thanked for making his wife feel beautiful again...the generosity of our customer community who add small amounts to their purchases to enable us to gift new knickers to Women's Refuge. Read more the knicker donation to Women's Refuge here.

"Women tell us that a great bra gives them the confidence to take on their day - and I love being part of that"

What's something most people wouldn't know about you? 

I didn't ever have a 21st birthday party because I was already married!

What is your favourite thing about yourself?

My brain - yes I know that's on the inside, and you were probably thinking of a physical feature - but I am truly thankful for my mind, and my brain's ability to find solutions to complex problems. I think sometimes we are too reticent about loving something about ourselves - but if you are fabulously smart, or particularly gorgeous, or have flawless skin, or a wonderful singing voice, why wouldn't you celebrate that? And once you've acknowledged it, make sure you use your favourite thing about yourself, for good, every single day. 

What is your favourite way to get your body moving and grooving? 

I am not a sporty person, but I discovered Reformer Pilates about 10 years ago, and absolutely love what it's done for my flexibility and strength. At 61, I'm fitter today than when I was 45 (although a couple of months of lockdown has taken its toll). I also walk my dog every day and occasionally ride my e-bike. 

What do you do for yourself?

Not enough! I enjoy learning new things and hearing others' perspectives, so I've been spending a lot of time recently on webinars and reading opinions about the new world we're heading into. 

Most of all, I cook. I obviously don't eat it all myself, but my friends and family have come to understand that when I'm being productive in the kitchen, that's actually more about feeding my soul than it is about feeding them! My best friend says "Debra cooks to show she loves us".

What has been your biggest body struggle? 

After decades of wishing that I was thinner, and trying all sorts of fad diets and believing that I could be [thinner] if I had more willpower, I came to the beautiful conclusion that I simply am as I am - and my job now is to keep fit and healthy, rather than struggling trying to change my size and shape. 

I do struggle (just a little) with hearing - I have hearing aids, but I don't like the feel of them in my ears, so probably don't use them enough. Note to self - where the hell did I store my hearing aids during lockdown?

What do you do to boost your body confidence on days when you're feeling down about your body? 

Bright pink underwear - Rose & Thorne, of course!

I have a full-length mirror in my wardrobe, that I get dressed in front of every day, and some days I just stand in front of it and think, today I need my #happybra! I may be wearing boring black on the outside, but there's a riot of colour going on underneath, making me feel fabulous. 

What's the best thing about being a woman?

Oh, that's a hard question. Being a mother, I think - but probably I'd say that the best thing about being a man is being a father. 

For those of us who are lucky enough to have children, they are indeed life's great blessings (although we don't always think so, I know!) Mine are now all grown up, and make me so very proud every day - definitely my best work (but I couldn't have done it alone).

What is beauty to you?

Beauty is seeing something or someone that just makes you stop in your tracks, and say WOW! I've been fortunate to travel the world, and I've seen so many beautiful things and people and places. Beautiful people have something about them that just shines through - I don't think there are words that describe it. 

What is the best piece of advice you've heard or received about body confidence

You be you! Celebrate what your body can DO, for you and for others. 

What's your favourite go-to Rose & Thorne Bra, and why?

Definitely the Oh Naturale shape (yes, Sue, I know En Forme makes me look fabulous), but I love the "weekend bra" feel of Oh Naturale. My current favourite if the Enhanced Support Dahlia Lace Bra Sea Foam - you can tell I'm a bright colour girl!


Find your favourite like Debra, from subtle nudes, to bold brights. There's a #happybra waiting for you!

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