After overcoming a grueling leg injury earlier this year that involved multiple surgeries and a lengthy rehabilitation, actress Brooke Shields is ready to unveil her newest, and arguably most personal project to date: a digital community and brand called Beginning Is Now. The emphasis of the brand’s platform is on accessible content, which looks to inspire women of every age to live their fullest lives, to overcome challenges and adversity, and find the courage to begin again.

“Every moment is a chance to begin again,” said Brooke Shields, the actress, author and model.

The message is Brooke’s life-affirming mantra and the essence of her new venture, Beginning Is Now, a digital community and brand rooted in the idea that every second, every minute, and every day is a chance to start something, whether life-changing, small-scale, or anything in between.

“Beginning Is Now is about challenging yourself to live outside your comfort zone. It’s about living open-heartedly and taking opportunities. Not letting fear stop you,” said Brooke. “This is one of the most frightening and exhilarating things that I’ve ever done. Acting and comedy are my favorite things, but there is a whole other element of my life that I want to move into, much more as an entrepreneur, bringing together my 56 years of experience in health, wellness and beauty, and sharing it. And also learning.”

The site, which launched September 15, features a mix of content and commerce created to foster peak happiness and wellbeing. Or, as Brooke put it, “to be all-encompassing about how to begin and be in your life.” Topics include how to embrace change in life, fitness (mental, physical, financial), nutrition, and self-care, as well as inspiring shared stories, and curated product selections – all delivered from a range of experts, influencers, and women of the world. The emphasis is on accessible content. Exercise videos, for example, suit all tastes and moods, and some are a mere five to 10 minutes long.

Brooke first conceived the idea for Beginning Is Now during a wintry beach walk in early 2019. “I was thinking about how wonderful women are as they grow, how they get better with age, and also wondering why women become less and less represented as they evolve. We are not told that we can do anything. Instead, we have all these milestones that we’re supposed to reach. All the women I know are embarking on new chapters of their lives. What I want to do is inspire that type of resilience, inspire women to choose courage, embrace change, and begin new chapters in their lives, whatever that means to them. It’s rooted in community,” said Brooke.

This community-centric vision is intergenerational. “It’s the same message I delivered to my daughter when I dropped her off at college. Living big. Relying on other people, supporting each other, taking risks. I’m stronger now than I was in my younger years. I’m less complicated. I don’t stress the same way. I feel like I have more to give. I feel like I am just beginning.”

Little did Brooke know, 18 months ago, that she would be sorely tested. A freak accident in a gym – falling off a balance board – led to a broken femur, multiple surgeries, and a staph infection, “an insanity that kept building,” she said. “I had to learn how to walk again, but the emotional piece of it was really challenging because there was so much fear surrounding it. I looked at the whole experience as indicative of a bigger picture, what it means to fight for your own happiness, fight through your life, not let it destroy you.”

So how did Brooke make it through the lowest points during her recovery? “You have to find your stubbornness, your fierceness, and think about the alternative. This sucked, but when I came out of it, I realized, ‘Wow, I am really a fighter.’ I’m not saying it’s easy.”

Emerging from physical therapy, Brooked experienced newfound appreciation for the healing powers of her body. “For the first time, I have this attitude that I never had before. This body made babies. It kept me alive. It healed from the worst injury I’ve ever had in my life. And it’s pretty amazing. And I want to take care of it. I also want to be with people I care about. I want to try new things, learn new skills. It’s about taking movement, and understanding all the different ways we can regard that.”

While Brooke has ambitions to build a lifestyle brand that resonates with women around the world, she is focused on laying the foundations, one brick at a time. “I want to create a global community. But it’s like saying, ‘I want to take iconic pictures.’ You have to build from something, you can’t set out to make a masterpiece. So I had to stay small to begin with.”

Brooke is fully involved in the nitty-gritty of building her brand. For the launch, she is calling on all her friends far and wide, and even people she doesn’t know, to send 10-second videos about what beginning means to them. Brooke’s own definition: “Starting now, I get to begin again, no matter what I’m doing. Every minute, every day when I wake up, every time I start going down a rabbit hole, I say, Nope, stop! I’m going to begin now. I’m going forward. Beginning means not being afraid to fall because you can get right back up again.”

The venture is self-funded. “This is all me. I’ve invested my own money. I hope one day to have employees, and that it’s a bigger thing, but I will never just slap my name on it and walk away,” said Brooke. Almost overnight, she was forced to learn to read spreadsheets and draft budgets. “They are not the most thrilling things, but there is order to them. I’m in a world I’ve never been in. I’ve never been a CEO.”

For the time being, the e-commerce arm of Beginning Is Now comprises active apparel, including graphic t-shirts and sweatshirts. Brooke’s own beauty line beckons, but not before doing her own due diligence (which includes speaking to biochemists for a defined viewpoint on skin care).

Brooke has long held on to a definition of beauty that is more than just skin deep. “I remember once there was a woman who was sort of nasty, not kind, but she was physically, structurally, what you would call beautiful. And my mom and I were saying to each other, “It’s amazing how less beautiful she became the nastier she revealed herself to be.” I thought from a very young age that beauty really has to resonate from inside.”

Beyond Beginning Is Now, Brooke can also be seen on the small screen. She is starring in an upcoming Netflix rom-com, A Castle For Christmas, alongside Cary Elwes.

Brooke’s ultimate vision for Beginning Is Now? “I picture forums where women from all over the world are engaging in real conversation. Talking with experts on all the things you want to talk about, things that happen as you mature, that I also want to share with my daughters. I would love to have big forums and retreats where we have brilliant women come and share their knowledge. I want to see the experience of women engaging with Beginning Is Now as feeling more confident about themselves, and excited to continue living.”

“A launch is terrifying and you never feel totally ready, but everything that I say about my fear, trepidation, and excitement is exactly the message of Beginning Is Now. This idea that every moment is a chance to begin again.”