Southern Lady of the Year: Lori Allen

Photography by Andy Baxter Photography

“Sometimes you take a leap of faith. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.” —Lori Allen, Owner of Bridals by Lori 

“Mollie said, ‘Mom, you have this huge platform to share this story,’” says Lori, who has been cancer-free nearly eight years and spends October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, sharing her story and urging women to get mammograms. Her show, Say Yes to the Cure: Lori’s Fight, won a Realscreen award, a top honor for reality television.

Mollie says her mom’s positive, can-do attitude played a major role in her life growing up. “My brother and I agree that she always has been and always will be our biggest cheerleader. She managed to be a working mom before it was commonplace, growing a successful business and never missing a baseball game or dance recital.”

It is this optimistic confidence and tenacity Lori hopes to convey in her new book as a means to inspire others. “I don’t want to ever come across like everything is perfect in my life because it has been far from it. I just feel like I am a person who sticks with things, keeps forging ahead,” she says.

She draws strength from life’s difficulties, reflecting that both the cancer diagnosis and her terrible fall came in the month of April. “We all have Aprils in our life,” she says. “What are you going to do with that April? How are you going to get to May?”

When she turned 60, people asked if she planned to retire. “I said, ‘Why are you asking me that?’ I have no intention of retiring,” she says. “So many of us have worked, and I feel like we have so much to offer.”

Energizing and motivating women is a goal of her book. It’s after 50, Lori says, that women have saved some money, the kids are gone so you have time, and you still have energy. If you do retire, she urges that you make a plan for the future. “You have a wealth of experience,” she says. “It’s about looking at life as the next chapter, not the last chapter.”

Discover inspiring style ideas, seasonal recipes, and more by ordering your Southern Lady subscription today!