BY JENNY SHERMAN | July 19, 2010 | People
Flame dress, Yigal Azrouël ($770). Edit Summer, 28 Jobs Lane, Southampton; editnewyork.com. Earrings, Erica’s own
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“TODAY, WHEN I WAS PRAYING and meditating, it came to me that my work really hasn’t fully begun,” says Erica Reid, a fulltime mother, wife and volunteer for a bevy of charitable causes.
That Erica feels her previous efforts are a mere starting point speaks volumes to her seemingly unending capacity to help others. Besides mentoring six girls at a charter school in Harlem, she also sits on several nonprofit boards, including that of Baby Buggy, an organization that collects and redistributes gently used baby gear for families in need. She supports The Studio Museum in Harlem and Journey for Change, as well as international charities and the fine arts. This spring she was an honoree at the ARTrageous Gala Dinner + Art Auction to benefit foster children. “The responsibility we have as human beings is to give back,” she says of the tribute. “I felt like I was doing my duty as a human being.” Erica’s altruistic endeavors also include anything having to do with children. “Children are my mission,” she says. “My heart’s desire is to make a major impact and a difference in their lives.”
Without hesitation, Erica says what little free time she has left over is spent nurturing herself: “I work on the mind, the spirit, the soul, the things money cannot buy. Taking care of myself is very important, and I don’t mean just making sure I look good to walk a red-carpet event. Taking care of myself is reading books that nurture my spirit and my soul, praying, meditating, doing what I need to do to connect, finding that thing that makes me spark inside.”
Born in Ohio, raised in Denver and married in Italy, Erica landed in New York City to raise her children, daughter Ariana Manuelle and son Addison Kennedy. The family has had a vacation home in Sagaponack for almost five years. The Hamptons, she says, is “an absolutely beautiful place.” But while her husband—Island Def Jam Music Group chairman and Hitco Music Publishing chairman/CEO Antonio “L.A.” Reid—can get away from his workaday duties while in the Hamptons, Erica cannot. “For me, I’m still on,” she says. “It’s still play dates. It’s still getting one child to another activity.”
Perhaps that’s why she prefers to stay at home as much as possible when she’s out East. “We’ll go out sometimes to a restaurant, we’ll go out sometimes to someone’s gathering in a home, but pretty much we’re Hamptons homebodies,” she says.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: A self-described fl ea-market fiend, Erica hits the market stalls wherever she travels (most recently, she found an old doorknocker at a bazaar in Argentina). A magnifying glass and stand create an artful statement atop a trove of books in her Hamptons home; Erica, in the Reids’ Hamptons home (Island floral one-piece, Derek Lam ($2,290). Edit Summer, 28 Jobs Lane, Southampton; editnewyork.com. Premiere bracelet, Chanel ($10,200). 733 Madison Ave., NYC; chanel.com. Three-stone ring, Fantasia for Jennifer Miller ($1,695). 55 Main St., East Hampton; jennifermiller. com. Transparent pumps, Prada ($790). Americana Manhasset, 2060 Northern Blvd.; prada.com) the couple collects silver tea sets, a tradition started by Antonio. This one he found more than a decade ago at an estate sale in Beverly Hills. The framed drawing behind it was a gift.
It’s no surprise: The home is an elegant, but inviting, refuge. Eye-catching art sets off comfortable, stylish furnishings. Though she describes her husband as having impeccable taste, Erica has an eye for detail herself; she selected most of the home’s artworks. Her taste veers from pieces found in typical UES homes—the Basquiats and Picassos, the Harings and Lichtensteins. “I don’t want things in my home that are in my next-door neighbors’ houses,” she explains.
Her husband has a drum studio in the basement, and a constant and eclectic soundtrack of music—selected by Antonio, of course—fills the space. “Every room in this home gets occupied, it gets visited, it gets sat in, it gets talked in,” she says. “It really is that type of home where you can exhale.”
Her favorite space is her meditation room. The colors there are pure, light and uplifting. Having that quietude is important for her to be still, listen, connect with the universe and ensure that the spark that gives her the energy to carry out her calling continues to burn. “I want to be able to do this as long as I can,” Reid says of her volunteer work. “This isn’t just for a month, this isn’t a publicity thing; it’s none of that. I’m doing it for my heart.”
FROM LEFT: In the sitting room are sofas designed by Christian Liaigre and a smaller sofa by Saladino, as well as a “Chinese opium” daybed; in the dining room, a layered piece softens the light above a table set with chairs by furniture designer Vladimir Kagan. The wall art, by Spanish artist Lita Cabellut, is titled Big John.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY ERIC CAHAN
Styling by Amanda Weiner
Hair by Kanako Watanabe for Edris Salon
Makeup by Mylah Morales for Dior Beauty at opusbeauty.com
Digital Artistry by Lloyd Mabuto