Kristin Cavallari’s career in Hollywood could have easily ended after high school. A key figure in the early part of the meteoric rise of the reality show–star, the 34-year-old first made a name for herself on MTV’s Laguna Beach in 2004 as a teenager, carving out her place in the collective pop culture as a self-pegged “girl that people don’t always like, but always want to know about.”
“The sooner you learn that no matter what you do, you can’t please everyone, the happier you’ll be,” the mom-of-three and recent divorcee (she split with husband of seven years, Jay Cutler, last summer) says with an element of assurance that’s not rehearsed. “So much of our lives are spent living for other people—instead of living the way we ultimately want to live. Not being hung up on what everyone else thinks is really the secret to living a much more fulfilled life. Of course, realizing all of that, and figuring out who we are and what we actually want out of life, all comes with age.”
It’s early morning in Los Angeles when we speak over the phone, and Cavallari is in the car on the way to a full-day photo shoot for her lifestyle brand, Uncommon James, a portfolio of jewelry, clothing, home and now, beauty, that’s rumored to bring in upward of $20 million–plus a year in revenue. It’s recently been announced that she’s getting in on the skin-care game (she also shares that this is the last stop for the expansion of the line and, as of now, these four pillars are her “bread and butter,” one that she sees as more important to “add to than expand”)—a choice she says was a long-time coming, made possible only by having the right business team, the right coworkers and the right lab in place.
“For years, what I used in my skin-care routine was always the number-one question that people ask me. About a year ago, I hired a leadership team, which freed up a lot of my time to be able to do a new product line. I brought in the beauty products that I was currently using, which, at the time, I thought were really high-end, really clean products…turns out, they are not. The thought was, ‘There’s a real need to do an actual clean skin-care line that is still effective. Let’s do it.’”
Unlike some other celebs in the space, she credits actual chemistry for getting her to next steps to launch the five-product line. “We started going down a rabbit hole, so we partnered with a lab that we worked closely with—they helped with the formulations and with all the ingredients. My big request was that I wanted everything to actually work, which sounds simple, but isn’t always the case when buying beauty products.”
“Skin care that works is really important to me…I think it’s probably because, in high school, I was always trying to hide the fact that I was breaking out, so I became kind of obsessed with it. Even now, when I put on a lot of makeup for red carpets and photo shoots, I get breakouts. I’m 34 and I still get breakouts—it drives me crazy! It’s fair to say I have developed a bit of an obsession with making sure I do everything I can to stop the acne. I’m also really minimalistic and I don’t like spending a lot of time getting ready in the morning. I want to be able to put on a great moisturizer, keep my skin fresh, and be able to go out into the world feeling confident.”
It’s that buzzword of confidence that Cavallari is also not about to shy away from—and the theme carries over to her business life, her personal life and how she’s decided to raise her children.
When pressed on the fact that it’s fair to say no one questions her own level of confidence, she doesn’t sway: “I’m not going to apologize for being confident. For me, beauty starts from within…you can take care of yourself with good food, you can drink a lot of water and stay hydrated, and then your skin-care routine is really more the icing on the cake. But the biggest part of beauty is confidence, and confidence always comes from within—there is absolutely no denying that. We have everything we need within ourselves.”
“If I’ve learned anything this past year, it’s that we can all realize that we’re whole, instead of looking for any outside source for that validation. That’s when you really come into your own. I think, as a mom, it’s important to me to raise my kids to be confident, and to love themselves without being cocky. I want them to be real, I want them to be confident and I want them to be comfortable in their own skin. All of that is really important—especially in today’s world.”
Also vital in today’s world to the star: Having some semblance of a private life. “I know this sounds strange, but even though I’m on reality T.V., and even though I’m out there on social media, I can honestly say I’ve always kept everyone at arm’s length,” she says.
“I’ve never chosen to show my kids—yes, there are blogs and there are pictures out there, but I have zero control over that—and I’m really proud that we have made the decision to keep our kids out of it. If, one day, they want to be on social media, that’s one thing, but they’re so young right now and they don’t know what they want, and for all those reasons, Jay and I have decided to keep them private. A lot of people don’t understand that, but I don’t care, those are my babies and I want to protect them. I’m really happy that I’ve made that decision and it’s not something I ever second-guess.”
“But I don’t second-guess much. This past year was obviously different for everyone and, in a lot of ways, I’m thankful for the time at home. It really forced me to slow down and figure out what was important in life, and I needed that.”
“For the few years leading up to the pandemic, I was just going too much. I was trying to do too much, and I got to a point where I decided to let go. Instead of always planning the future and saying, ‘I want to do X, Y and Z in 2022, and then the next year I want do this and that,’ I’ve just let it all go. I’m going to make myself slow down a little bit more and I’m going to enjoy the journey. I’ve gotten to a place of just wanting to enjoy every moment, the good, the bad, the ugly, because it’s all part of the process. I like to think that I’ve created a nice place to do that.”
What Works, According to Kristin:
Eye Spy: “I would argue that a good eye cream is the most important beauty product we can own as we get older. I love an eye cream that’s really thick and luxurious, and I want it to really feel like it’s seeping under those fine lines.”
Doc Orders: “I love, love, love microneedling. I just started doing it in the past year and I really see a difference. I also try to get facials every other month to get my skin clean.”
Home Work: “I own every home contraption on the planet. My favorite is this electric current machine called the Pico Toner. Your face is a muscle, so I’m pretty sure we have to work it out like we would any other muscle…at least, that’s what makes the most sense in my head! I don’t ever want to bash Botox or fillers, because most people I know get them and they look great, but, for me, personally, I would rather work out my muscles right now.”
Hydration Code: “The best beauty advice that my mom ever gave me was that you’re never too young to start moisturizing. She told me that when I was probably in junior high, and it was so very true.”
Glam Go: “I actually really enjoy doing my own makeup and, if I take my time, I can do it fairly well. My hair is the one thing that, no matter what, I can only ever make one side look good. I definitely need to call in the pros there.”
Whole Foods: “I think it’s fair to say I never really diet, but, rather, look at what I eat as a lifestyle. It’s more an 80-20 thing—80 percent of the time I eat really organic and clean with real, whole foods, a ton of protein, a ton of vegetables, carbs that are gluten-free and a little bit of fruit. Then, the other 20 percent of the time, I eat whatever I want where I’m going out to eat, going on vacation, traveling or whatever. Yes, I love doing that and having fun, but then I’m always excited to also get back on track.”
Fit Club: “I work out four or five times a week and I primarily lift weights, but, sometimes, I do circuit training so that my heart rate is up. I’m not crazy about cardio, unless I do some little bursts, like a minute or two, in between lifting weights. Honestly, it’s really just about consistency.”
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