Exclusive: Kristin Cavallari on Finding Balance in Her Diet (and Her Life)

Kristin Cavallari skincare routine

@kristincavallari/Camden Dechert for Byrdie

Kristin Cavallari is no stranger to media interviews, which became quite obvious as soon as we began our conversation. She was game to answer each and every question—thoroughly, thoughtfully, and without hesitation. I could assume it's symptomatic of her past, Cavallari has been on television since she was 17 years-old (first MTV's Laguna Beach and then The Hills), but it's something more than that. She's comfortable and open, character traits that are as undeniable now as they were on the first 30-minute episode of Laguna Beach. The only difference is here, on the phone, there's no editing. Cavallari is quite clear on the role she played all those years ago, the villain, but she doesn't sweat it. I didn't think it would. Now, as a 32-year-old business-owner and mother of three, she's in the driver's seat. "Having complete creative freedom to do whatever I want is a dream come true," Cavallari muses. "Everything else I've done has been a collaboration. I'm the boss for the first time in my life and I'm absolutely loving it." 

Tina Turnbow

Her choice to film another reality show, this time about her business and marriage to retired Chicago Bears' quarterback Jay Cutler, did not come easily. "We've had so many offers over the years," Cavallari says. “But nothing felt right until this opportunity came along.” As an executive producer on Very Cavallari, she holds the reins, and nothing ends up in an episode she hasn’t already approved. “We don’t cut very much,” Cavallari assures me, “but it’s nice to know I’m in charge if ever I wanted to.” The original premise for the show was to follow the lives of her employees at Uncommon James, her jewelry, home, and now kids clothing lifestyle brand based out of Nashville. The first season had a Vanderpump Rules feel in that way. But, for the second season, they brought the show to focus groups and the scenes with her and Jay tested better every time. “I never intended for this to be a show about my relationship,” she says. “But that’s kind of what it has become.”

"It's a lot," I told her, imagining what it must feel like to have the entire country tune in while you parse through issues in your marriage, career, and just about everything else. The highs and lows must be endless. But, through it all, Cavallari has learned to quiet the noise. "I stick to a routine," she explains. "I don't work on the weekends and I don't answer emails after a certain time in the evenings. I've had to become really regimented about that in the last few months." Her three kids, who don't make appearances on the show, command a lot of attention. And, at her core, Cavallari considers herself a homebody.

Tina Turnbow

During a typical night in (Cutler says Cavallari goes to bed by 8 p.m.), she loves to cook with her family and keep up with her skincare routine. Her facialist, Karee Hays, is based in Nashville and recommends a sheer peptide gel that has quickly become one of her favorite products. The formula works to deeply moisturize, as well as reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and signs of photoaging. Currently, Cavallari hasn't turned to Botox or other injectables and really stands by good, effective skincare. Herbivore's Pink Cloud Rosewater Moisture Crème ($48) is another favorite for it's plumping, hydrating abilities (plus she sells it at the Uncommon James store). When it comes to food, Cavallari explains she's an extremely healthy eater. She chooses to omit sugar, white flour, and salt and primarily cooks gluten-free. That said, she laments that it's all about balance. "I think of my diet as 80/20," she tells me. "I eat really clean and don't eat anything processed. But, when I go out, I really go for it. I'm Italian and pasta is one of my favorite foods. That balance, having nothing ever be totally off-limits, allows you to stop worrying about food so much."

I eat really clean and don't eat anything processed. But, when I go out, I really go for it. I'm Italian and pasta is one of my favorite foods. That balance, having nothing ever be totally off-limits, allows you to stop worrying about food so much.

Tina Turnbow

I asked how reality television has affected her relationship with beauty, if she'd define it differently now than she did all those years ago. She responded that it has less to do with being on television as much as it has to do with growing up in general. "Now, as an adult, I've learned who I am and what it means to love yourself," she says. "That's beauty." Cavallari cites a bronzy smoky eye and nude lip as the makeup look that feels the most like her. "Add a soft beach wave and that's me. It always has been," she says with a laugh. "It's such a California vibe," I tell her, asking if she ever pictured leaving the West Coast. "I didn't really picture where I was going to live," she told me. "But the first time I went away for the weekend with Jay, he took me to Nashville. I really fell in love with it. As our relationship progressed, we planned to settle down there when he retired from football." She adds, "I have this balance—the ability to live and raise my kids in a peaceful environment on a farm, while still dipping my toe into the fantasy entertainment world in New York and L.A. It's really great." With that, our time was up and I thanked her for being so open. She laughed and said, "That's me!" and wished me a good day. Now I'm wondering if we should all move to a farm out in Tennessee.

Photographer: Tina Turnbow
Hairstylist: Owen Gould
Makeup artist: Robert Sesnek
Clothes: Zac Posen

FYI: This luxurious facial gave me the brightest skin of my life.

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