The summer is pretty much here and the fresh smells out the outdoors are back with the reopening of New York after a tough while due to COVID-19. And with the fresh smells comes Triangle Fragrance, a luxury collection by a person who grew up in New York, Magda Khalifa, who is also a US Army special operations combat veteran and bestselling author of “American DREAM: Discipline, Resilience, Endurance, Adaptability, and Mentorship to Succeed and Win in Life“, which she wrote right here in NYC.

From September 11th to serving our country, to creating scents now that not only New Yorkers are loving but those across the country, Magda spoke to The Levity Ball about it all!

When did you know that you wanted to serve this country and not just stay put?

Witnessing the September 11, 2001 attacks and aftermath in New York City was the catalyst to serve. I initially tried to help in whatever way I could but had no useful skills to offer. Being helpless was a terrible feeling so I joined the Army Reserve and volunteered for two deployments to Iraq.

From serving in the military, to partnering with nonprofits, to writing a bestselling book, to now running a luxury fragrance company, what has been the hardest thing to do?

The hardest thing for sure was transitioning back to being a civilian after serving at war. At the time there was no guidebook or mentors to help so it was a long, arduous journey to navigate. Initially there were no answers for health issues I was experiencing, and I found myself alone and reclusive. Thankfully, though it took several years, I have managed to turn my life around completely for the better.

Growing up in New York, how has the city inspired you to be who you are today?

There is no city in the world like New York City! The diversity and worldliness in that epicenter broadened my mind and raised my belief that everything was attainable. In a few blocks you would see both seediness and success. The message I understood was you could achieve whatever path you chose. I believe the ways it impacted me most were instilling that fast-moving hustle and drive, and an appreciation for a broad spectrum of cultures among Americans.

Your “Freedom Triangle” mindset was birthed here in New York also. Explain that to us?

While I wrote my memoir, American DREAM, I was living on the Hudson River on the Jersey side enjoying the billion dollar NYC skyline view. In the book I documented the success path I realized I had taken to overcome my darkest days in life. The model for this is what I introduced as “Freedom Triangle” – something applicable to everyone. It is based on Time Freedom, Health Freedom, and Mind Freedom. As I was writing about this the new 30 Hudson Yards building opened on the west side and its giant lighted triangle atop the building came to life. It can be seen for miles on a clear night. Staring in awe at it night after night as I wrote led me to name the giant triangle “Freedom Triangle”. Powerful!

COVID-19 has hit us New Yorkers hard since the start. What advice would you give to those struggling during these times to run their own businesses?

I remember when the city first shut down early on and that sinking feeling when I realized I would not be able to walk in to shops to introduce my new fragrance line in person. This forced me to pivot, to survive. I encourage business owners who struggle to surround themselves with business mentors who have gone through difficult times and persevered. They have relevant wisdom and experience that people who are not in business cannot offer.

What makes Triangle Fragrance a must-wear for men and women?

The six Triangle Fragrance scents are each unique and luxurious, with beautiful accords that bring the story of each one to life! They are long-lasting and pleasurable, and along with the elegant self-help card in each box, will serve to guide you throughout your day.
Lastly, it bears mention that Triangle Fragrances are made in the USA, vegan friendly and cruelty free.

What’s next for the fragrance heading into the rest of 2021?

Distribution! As the country reopens the priority is to get Triangle Fragrance on shelves of brick and mortars and retailers. This will allow other business owners to grow and earn as the brand and business grows, and to introduce the luxurious fragrances and the power of Freedom Triangle to as many people as possible. A portion of proceeds from benefits Magda Khalifa Foundation charity so am eager to help more recipients lead better lives as well!

Besides work, what are some of your favorite places here in town to hang out at, eat at, etc.?

Definitely excited for the reopening and magic of Broadway! One of my favorite things to do is attend live rock concerts at small venues and experience a new restaurant I haven’t tried before, which is not hard to do! I have a mad crush on all the new skyscrapers and on a beautiful day enjoy spending a couple hours taking photos of their splendor and majesty. In the wintertime, it’s all about those hot chestnuts from the street vendors and in the fall its strolling through Central Park with a hot coconut milk latte.

And final question: What do you want to be remembered for overall when people look back at you and your impact on this world?

I believe the power and value of Freedom Triangle will continue to serve people long after I am gone! Despite having already published my memoir, I am still building more of my American Dream, and believe it will serve as an example of someone who made the most of the blessing of being born in what my late father, an immigrant, called: the land of opportunity.