It’s Camila Coelho’s world- we are all just living in it. I spoke with the entrepreneur and beauty maven about the launch of her clean beauty brand Elaluz, how we can use our setbacks to lead us forward, including her work with a cause close to my heart, The Epilepsy Foundation. Influence is all about guiding the world to the change you want to see. Get to know this powerhouse and what makes her tick, below…
BY ERIN WALSH
JACKET, TOP, AND BOW Chanel BATHING SUIT Camila Coelho Collection JEWELRY Bulgari SUNGLASSES The Frankie Shop
Erin Walsh I would love to start at the beginning. Tell us about where you grew up and what brought you eventually to the states and then LA?
Camila Coelho I grew up in Virginópolis, Minas Gerais, which is a small town in Brazil. My family decided to move to the US in 2002 and I lived on the East Coast for most of my life until very recently. I moved to Los Angeles in order to make it easier to run my brands, as I was having to travel and take meetings in LA. LA does remind me of Brazil and it’s just more practical for my job of running two brands.
EW I understand you worked for awhile at the Dior makeup counter, which is where you started developing a YouTube following. It seems so insanely wonderful and serendipitous to me. Can you describe to us that process? Did you have any idea what kind of audience you might be tapping into in the beginning? And what were you seeing that was missing that you wanted to address?
CC I started making YouTube videos in 2010 to share with my family and close friends and I honestly never expected anyone other than them to be watching my videos. I was so grateful and surprised with each view because I completely had no expectations. My following consisted of beauty lovers and people who wanted to learn beauty tricks, wanted to know how to do makeup themselves, and people that enjoyed fashion. It was actually their requests that got me to create my blog and post everyday on subjects other than beauty.
At the time, there were very few people posting tutorials and the people weren’t posting specific how-tos of how to contour, how to get the perfectly curl your hair, how to properly put on eyeliner. Those were missing and those videos allowed me to grow far in the beginning.
EW Anything from the experience working in retail and sales that you found to be particularly valuable? It is a specific energy you need in those situations…
CC The connection with people, especially women, was so valuable. That experience got me to want to be a makeup artist. The smallest little tricks you can teach someone will change their day. Once I found out I had an audience on YouTube, I wanted people to learn as if I was teaching mini classes, which was definitely a mentality I picked up from my time working at the counter.
I actually became one of the top sellers at the Dior counter because people would come in for dark circles, I would teach them what to do and then they would end up buying more products.
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EW These days it seems you wear many, many hats, from designer to CEO to Creative Director and more. What are you most enjoying right now? It seems during covid you are busier than ever…
CC I am most enjoying seeing my products and my brands come to life. I recently launched Elaluz and it has been amazing to see how people react to the products I have created. I really enjoyed the process of developing, approving the products, and testing everything. I love being so involved in all of my brands and the creative side keeps me going.
EW Let’s talk Elaluz. I am so impressed you were able to develop a clean beauty and lifestyle brand ( I know it is not an easy process to make clean feel as luxurious). What inspired you to start your own beauty brand? And what are you looking to tap into/achieve?In terms of long term, how do you see Elaluz evolving over the next 5 years?
CC Having my own beauty brand has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. I became interested in beauty at a young age after seeing my Grandmother always done, even if she was just staying inside the house. She even gave me red lipstick to wear for my passport photo when i was 6 years old! After high school I started working at the Dior makeup counter and I loved seeing how beauty empowered people and I knew that I would have to create my own beauty brand.
Elaluz is all about light and it actually means “She is light” in my native language, Portuguese. It is a lifestyle brand that starts with essential beauty products and will cover different categories of hair, makeup, body and skincare. I am proud to say Elaluz is clean, sustainable, cruelty-free, gluten-free and vegan.
My main goal with creating Elaluz was to have a mindfully, luxurious and clean brand including everything from the packaging to the formulas. I wanted to focus on releasing my must-have items because beauty consumers shop from multiple brands. Elaluz is an on-the-go lifestyle brand that is driven by the key products I carry with me as a global entrepreneur. Each product is designed to make life a little easier for everyone!
I would love for us to be physically available all over the world! We ship worldwide but the dream id for people all round the world to have easy access to these products.
She is light
EW When you began the process of assembling Elaluz, was anybody instrumental in terms of advice? And what have you found to me most helpful while launching a brand in the middle of a pandemic?
CC My husband is for sure the number one person I take advice from. He helps me and we work together.
Diane Von Furstenberg gave me great advice as well when I told her about Elaluz and she was so excited for me. Hearing her feedback made me even more confident in the decision I was making.
There are always going to be bumps in the road and something is always going to go wrong. Having that mindset before helped me out to strategize what we needed to do. Rather than having physical, in-person events, we just made everything a bit smaller and virtual.
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EW Anything you would do differently?
EW What product(s) are you most excited about?
CC I am really excited about our skincare products, especially our recent launch of the Beauty Oil and Beauty Water. They are two essential products that I am always wearing because they help my skin so much! I apply the Beauty Oil before my makeup and I keep my Beauty Water with me throughout the day.
EW Do you feel a certain social obligation or responsibility with the amount of influence that you have?
CC Yes, the more I grow the more responsible I feel. Especially when it comes to creating content that will be inspirational, to say things that will inspire my followers in a positive way. Having a big voice is a responsibility and I think about it everyday. I think twice about all the content I put out there and all the captions I write.
EW Let’s talk social media- how much time do you have to be ON? I imagine with a following like yours, you must be quite aware of needing to produce more and more and more content? How and when do you turn off and unwind, and is there anything that you find to helpful in chasing the balance? I find that in these days of WFH, you really have to make your own boundaries of when you are working and when you aren’t…
CC It all depends on my agenda, which I control. I have to say no to certain things so I don’t become overwhelmed but some days I am on a lot because I am creating content and doing interviews but each day is different. It’s not healthy for me to always be on my phone so much, especially on the days I am not feeling my best.
Mental health and wellness is so important to me. I also always take 10-15 minutes each day to step outside, take in the sun and be in nature. I started doing a 20 second hug with my husband every day and it’s helped me relieve stress.
EW Anything in terms of physical activity or meditation that you find to be helpful these days? What keeps you sane?
CC I love being active and have the most energy in the afternoon so that is when I workout. I usually follow one of my virtual workouts that I do with my trainer Danny on my IGTV but I also love to play volleyball or go on bike rides with my husband.
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she reminded me that people are fighting for their lives every single day and don’t know if they will be alive tomorrow
EW You have spoken at length about your epilepsy and you are on the Epilepsy Foundation board. You described to me how as a young girl, your mother reminded you that your disease could actually be a gift. Can you talk to me a bit about your journey in coming to terms and managing your disease, and how you use it everyday in your life?
CC I was diagnosed with epilepsy when I was 9 years old. When the doctor was explaining my type of epilepsy, I was so relieved because as a child, all I was really concerned with was whether or not I could still play with my friends. Luckily due to the type of epilepsy I have, I lived a fairly normal childhood. It wasn’t until my teenage years that I started struggling with feeling different, insecure, and like I didn’t belong. I started to think, “Why me? Why do I have this? Why do I have to take medicine?” It was a dark time in my life — so much so that I actually stopped taking my medication on my own without telling anyone. I went through it alone and that was a big problem. I ended up having a seizure in front of my friends at school and it was the worst moment of my life. Then I realized that I was going to have to go back to school and everyone would know what had happened to me. After the incident, my mom really put things into perspective for me when she reminded me that people are fighting for their lives every single day and don’t know if they will be alive tomorrow; I have epilepsy but people have it worse than I do with seizures every day. I take one pill every day and I know I will be okay, so I had to remind myself that I’m very lucky. From that moment on, I started to look at everything very differently and became more positive in the process. Once I started to accept myself fully, my inner light started shining through again. I shared my story earlier this year and so many people reached out to me and I realized that I was able to help people by just talking about my own journey.
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EW Since you have a platform, I love that you are bringing a greater awareness to a cause that most don’t know much about. Anything in terms of awareness you would like more people to know? What has been most rewarding to you about being an ambassador in this way?
CC There are so many people with epilepsy fighting for their lives everyday. I have epilepsy and have been able to live a normal life but there are people who have 30-40 seizures a day while on medication. I want people to know how this foundation is saving lives with their work. There is a lot of us that are fighting every single day. There is also still a significant amount of stigma surrounding epilepsy. My hope is that by sharing my story, I can help break that stigma.
EW Talk to me about your causes. Any charities in addition to EF that you would like us to look into?
CC LA Family Housing helps the homeless of LA. I got in touch with them in the beginning of the pandemic because my husband and I saw so many homeless people and we wanted to help in any way we could.
EW Go to meal?
CC Pao de Queijo
EW Go to cocktail- I know you don’t drink alcohol, so what’s the party cocktail for you?
CC I don’t drink but I like to have something fun without alcohol so I still have something. Sometimes I go for something fruity but I love a mojito without alcohol.
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EW Fave spot in the world?
CC My favorite spot is easily my hometown in Brazil! I am usually connected with nature when I am there and riding horses. It brings me back to my childhood. It is the only place in the world that I feel completely disconnected with no FOMO. I am just in the moment.
Fernando de Noronha is another spot that I enjoy.
EW What you miss most about traveling?
CC I miss the experiences. A lot of it is for work but I love getting to have different experiences, exploring different cultures and learning something new.
EW What you love about not traveling?
CC The not travel situation – not having to pack and go through the airport and be on a plane.
EW Camila, what’s your SBJCT? What really moves and drives you every day?
CC It’s great to be successful and achieve your dreams but I also always want to be happy and have time to be with family while also being happy that I am achieving what I have always wanted. Happiness is a priority. My subject is to be happy before anything else.
I will give up something if that something is not making me happy.