Preparing for this interview I spent some time scrolling through Women of Today, Camilla Alves McConaughey’s lifestyle website dedicated to creating community. Since people universally come together around food, it has recipes from post-workout smoothies to Brazilian rice and her favorite, no-mayo coleslaw. It has group workouts, beauty tips, health advice and giveaways - from meals to mattresses. After reading an interview on the site with Melissa Wood Tepperberg on lymphatic drainage and dry brushing I bought a dry brush before writing my first question for Camila.
We caught up on a call the morning after she and husband Matthew McConaughey hosted “We’re Texas,” a virtual concert that was packed with an impressive roster of talent from Renee Zellweger to Post Malone. At press time it had raised nearly $8 million dollars for their just keep livin’ Foundation’s Texas Relief Fund, helping Texans impacted by the February freeze. “We only had three weeks to put the whole thing together, kind of cuckoo when people usually take a year putting shows like this together,“ Camila shared. “I’m really proud of it and the work we put into it.”
Oprah once said, To whom much is given, much is expected. When I look into the future, it's so bright it burns my eyes. It's not just about being able to write a check. It's being able to touch somebody's life.
Even prior to the storm the McConaughey’s have been living to that creed. Since the beginning of the pandemic they’ve handed out PPE and kept up the mission of their j.k. livin’ Foundation “to empower high school students by providing them with the tools to lead active lives and make healthy choices for a better future.”
Keeping it up without in-person events came with obvious challenges. Camilla says, “We went all virtual and the challenge was a lot of the kids didn’t have computers or wifi, so we made sure the kids in the program had computers and wifi. We made sure they had the tools to do school and the j.k. livin program. And we had to get creative. We got into doing a lot of emotional support for the kids and had a lot of guest speakers come in and DJ parties for them. We really had to pivot, we would do fitness classes all virtually, but it was beautiful to see how the students got into that.”
Camila also put extra effort into Women of Today, which she baby launched in 2015 and has been slowly growing over the years. The vision was originally born out of wanting to create a sense of community.
“I grew up with a big sense of community in Brazil and living in the United States I noticed when traveling I would find a big sense of community and then I’d come back to just to a handful of friends and the conversations were smaller. So the idea behind Women of Today is to continue to build a community of people with a mission of doing better for themselves and better for the community around them. It’s all about learning from each other,” she says, adding, “I remember when I first started people said, ‘You have to make it CamilaMcConaughey.com’ and I didn’t want to do that because it’s not about me telling people what to do, what I think is right for them to do, it’s all about a community where we all learn from each other. Maybe what’s good for me might not be good for you and maybe what’s good for you may be good for someone else in the community. I think the biggest difference with what we’re doing is that we’re talking with you, we’re not talking at you.”
Community, being together while apart, became even more important in 2020. “Especially during the pandemic the community really got involved and it really came to life,” Camila says. “We were doing exercises six days a week the beginning of lockdown. We were teaching people how to cook basic things, meditate and really got into what people were asking for and needed. It was really beautiful to see the response from people, seeing them find their journeys to being healthier, happier and more compassionate. That’s the thing that’s most rewarding and what Women of Today is about. It’s not about the numbers, it’s about the quality we’re bringing to people and what people are experiencing.”
She says a big takeaway from Women of Today is people making small changes that become habits and lead to real results. “I have this big passion of showing ways people can do better for their health in their daily routine that aren’t that hard to do, just small changes,” she says. “There are so many people in the community who have verbalized that they have learned so many small changes that have helped them be healthier and that brings so much joy to my heart, because we all know, if we have our health, we can do so much. If we don’t have our health, we can’t. So that really brings a smile to my heart.”
One change Camila has been vocal about is cutting back on sugar. But, that doesn’t mean she eliminates it completely. “I don’t preach being pure, don’t get me wrong, I’m in no way, shape or form pure. I know people who are and I think it’s a beautiful thing, but I still have my treats here and there. And, when I do, I have the real stuff. If I’m going to have dessert, I’m not going to have a candy bar, I’m going to have a real dessert and I’m going to really enjoy it.” Her four favorites are crème brulee, brigadeiros, tiramisu and dulce du leche ice cream.
And while she’s creating community on Women of Today, the Brazil-born model has also found it in Austin, the place she, Matthew and their children Vida, Levi and Livingston have called home for more than a decade. “The thing that I love the most about Austin is the people here,” she says. “It’s what I really fell in love with. We moved here a long time ago, and when I moved here I felt the people really cared, they genuinely cared, and when someone said they were going to do something, they really did. When someone says they’re going to help out, they did, even if they were busy. I also really love the beauty. Before I came here I’d thought of it as a dry place and when you start learning about Texas and seeing all the beauty that’s in the state, it’s pretty exceptional.”
What do you love about being a woman?
Our intuition is something so beautiful. I’m not saying men don’t have it, but I feel like we’re more in touch with it. If we’re in touch with our intuition, our gut feeling, our hearts, I feel like we can almost see the future sometimes. And the ability of giving birth to children, it’s just a beautiful thing.
The inspiration for your office?
I teamed up with RH Interior Design to put the office together and the concept was to bring my love for world travel and different cultures into the office. If you look closely you see all these memories and art from all different parts of the world that I’ve been to. I wanted to create a space that felt cozy, that felt very comfortable to be in.
What are some self-care rituals?
Look, I have three kids, I work, we’re in the middle of dealing with a pandemic. I think that for me it’s creating self-care habits that are attainable and you can do no matter how crazy your day goes, so that at least every day you can feel like you did a little something for you. Then the days that you have more time and more flexibility you can do the extra stuff. So, it’s little things I know I can do every day. One is I have my tea station with all the things I know are good for me and are going to make me feel energized to start my day the right way. When I go to my tea station and I make my little mixture of things and I sit down to have my tea I feel like, ‘Ah, I’m taking care of myself, I feel good.’ In the morning, when I’m doing my face oil, if I have the time I’ll do a whole lymphatic drainage massage on my face, but it’s rare that I can have time to do that during the week, but I do take a few seconds to do a few movements. I can immediately see my skin looks better, and brighter, it looks more alive and I look like I got rest. And then at the end of the day or whenever I’m taking a shower I try to dry brush. I see a big difference when I’m able to do it consistently.
What advice would you in 30 years would give you now?
To keep focusing on the journey, don’t worry about the result.
When are you the happiest?
At home with my family
Favorite Take Out in Austin? Schmidt Family BBQ and Fresas Chicken
Favorite Food in Austin? Uchi
Favorite place to see live music? ACL Moody Theater
Favorite way to spend a Sunday? Going on a trail hike with my family.
Favorite place for a spa day? I don’t really do spas much believe it or not, but a favorite place when I want to recharge and reconnect is Hotel St. Cecilia.
Favorite quote? I love the mural by Hotel St Jose that says I love you so much. It’s such a simple thing but when you look at it, you’re like, ‘I love you too,’ and you’re saying it to yourself, but I like it.