TODAY   |  April 07, 2014

Marlo Thomas: Women in my new book ‘went for it’

The award-winning actress and best-selling author joins TODAY to talk about her new book, called, “It Ain’t Over…Till It’s Over,” which is about inspiring women who have reinvented themselves and realized their dreams at any age.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> with award-winning actress and best-selling author marlo thomas . she's hoping to inspire women across the country with her latest book called "it ain't over till it's over." malo talks to people who have have realized their dreams.

>> i quit my job, cashed in my i.r.a., put my money where my heart was, and opened the most unique dance exercise studio. ten years later, 23,000 registered students. the cat is out of the bag.

>> we're the founders of brads reconstruction bras. as two sisters who both carry the brc breast cancer gene, we have created a patented bra solution for women who have undergone a mastectomy with breast reconstruction , like us.

>> our eureka moment came when we realized we were going to live through breast cancer .

>> i'm jamie james , and i created the cellfolia. like most women , i carry a handbag and threw all my essentials into it. never able to find anything when i needed it. i knew i needed to create a product that would help women have all of their essentials in the palm of their hand. my eureka moment came when i brought my prototype to my tailor and he handed me back something that once fit in my head and now was a product.

>> i'm carrie o'brien, the designer and creator of commando underwear. i was in a corporate job doing public relations . one thing i did love to do was give advice about underwear. our eureka moment was when we decided to banish visible panty lines forever.

>> that's a good mission to have.

>> i know. she made millions from it.

>> it's incredible. i think this book is so inspiring. you've got people who really reinvented themselves. why was that topic fascinating to you?

>> i travel around the country raising money for st. jude. everywhere i went, women would talk to me about their lives. a lot of them said they just felt stuck. you know, they were 42 years old, their kids had grown and their dream kind of ran out on them. or they got a divorce or they got a layoff, they lost their job, somebody died in the family, or maybe they just had this nagging thing in the back of their mind, like there's something i always wanted to do. why didn't i do it? maybe i can go for it now. and the exciting thing is, if you're in your 40s or 50s, you've got 30, 40, 50 years left. you might as well go for it. like this wonderful woman who's photographed right there, the doctor. she was 42 years old and she was a graphic artist and she did a medical journal for a company, and she said yeah, i really wish i had gone into medicine, it's what i wanted to do. a friend of hers said why don't you do it now? she said well, i'm 42 years old. i'll be 50 by the time i get to be a doctor. she said you're going to be 50 anyway. so she did and she's a practicing physician. i just think it's so exciting to just go for it. i have this saying in my own life, which is never face the facts or you'll never get up in the morning. that's what these women did. they just never faced the facts and they went for it. when you read them all together, you think, i could do that.

>> that's what i was going to say. it's not just a matter of admiring other women or thinking that was nice. when you read these all together, you start thinking, what's my big dream? what could i do? is that the point to kind of inspire?

>> yes, and also how to. how do i get started? i think that's the most interesting part about reading these stories. is that these women see themselves as their own resources. you know, they know that, okay, i've got to make a phone call to try to find somebody to help me. maybe i have to get a new skill set. maybe i have to go back to class and learn something. maybe i should go into partnership with my sister or my mother or my husband or my daughter. a girlfriend. it's a way of starting to see that there are many, many ways to get to where you want to go. and i think that's an important part of this. is every day, do one thing rather than -- because it's not in the head. this one woman just said, something that i had in my head, i saw it in my hand now that i have it. that's just it. you've got to get it out of your head and each day do one more thing. i think that will get you to your goal.

>> yeah, and i think one thing you learn from the book is what are smart risks or calculated risks versus a dangerous risk.

>> a lot of women , some of them took a mortgage out on their house. they borrowed on their retirement. they went back to school. they did all kinds of things. one woman sold all of her designer clothes on e-bay, made about $70,000 and started her business. i think there's a million ways to do it. it's just you've got to have the guts to do it.

>> well, this book will give you the guts. it's called it ain't over till it's over." marlo thomas , thank you