We sit down with the former reality TV star to talk about her book, her family and how to find balance amidst the chaos
Written By: Elizabeth Nutt Kristin Cavallari Dishes on Her New Reality and Life in Chicago
Photographed By: Jonathan Clay Harris
Styled By: Nicole Pollard
Hair By: Scott Cunha
Makeup By: Karan Mitchell
In 2004, Kristin Cavallari was like any other seventeen-year-old girl: she was preoccupied with navigating the intricacies of high school and thinking about college. Then, MTV came along and set up an audition booth in her high school’s quad for the upcoming show Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County. Kristin, an aspiring broadcast journalist who was interested in going to college in Colorado, was cast for the breakout series.
She transitioned into her twenties while filming and her every joy, sorrow and misstep was magnified for all of America to see. Looking back, Kristin says she could never have predicted what would unravel on the show where an ambiguous line separated what was “real” from what was real. “I was upset about how I was portrayed and that was a really tough when I was so young, ” says Kristin. “But it made me look inward and figure out who I was.”
When asked what advice she’d give her teenage self, knowing now what she didn’t know then, she smiles and says, “Just that everything always ends up working out. It just does.” Her insight is spoken with the sincerity and confidence of a woman who, today, knows exactly who she is. And she’s as unapologetically real now as she has ever been.
When filming of The Hills, a spinoff of Laguna Beach, wrapped in 2010, Kristin wanted out of Los Angeles. Around that time, she visited Chicago—where some of her family resides—and went on a date from Chicago Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler. At the time, she knew vaguely who Jay was—only because he had reached out to her publicist the year before. Kristin met up with Jay after one of his games and she was immediately smitten with the athlete, whom she describes as “such a gentleman.”
It hasn’t always been easy for the couple, however. Jay proposed eight months after they met, and a few months later they broke off the engagement. “It was the best thing for our relationship, because even though I’d ended things, I knew it wasn’t really over, ” explains Kristin. “He just needed to see how serious I was about some things that needed to change. I had to do what I had to do.” Ultimately, the two reconciled and were wed in 2013.
Following the birth of their first son Camden, which was timed not-so-perfectly with the start of the NFL season, Kristin assumed the role of doting mom without hesitation. “By the time I was 24 and got pregnant, I felt like I had lived so many lives already. I had gotten everything out of my system, so it was very natural for me. Becoming a mom has been the most natural thing that I’ve ever done, ” says Kristin. The couple welcomed their second son, Jaxon, in 2014, and daughter Saylor in 2015.
For Kristin, becoming a mom meant settling into a new life and an unconventional routine that brought its own set of challenges: Jay is away for six months during football season, and when he returns, he’s home full-time for six months. The two relish the time that they are able to carve out together, scheduling regular date nights and leading what Kristin refers to as a very normal life—cooking dinner, playing with the kids and watching TV together before an early bedtime.
“We’re kind of boring! When I’m in Chicago, I’m just a stay-at-home mom. It’s like fantasyland when I’m in New York or Los Angeles for a photo shoot. I’m like, ‘This is really not me!’” she jokes. And, in fact, when pressed about the topics of style and beauty, she says she loves simple basics from Rag and Bone and her makeup routine is about as complicated as a coat or two of mascara.
Boring or not, Kristin and Jay have cultivated what is clearly a happy home life. And the secret to a happy marriage with kids? Communication. “We go to therapy regularly, which is great for communication, and I think it’s been extremely beneficial for our relationship. I’m not ashamed to admit it whatsoever, ” she says.
Becoming a stay-at-home mom and living her life away from the spotlight with Jay also afforded Kristin the opportunity to explore some passion projects. Take her shoe collection with Chinese Laundry, for example, which is four years in the making and enables Kristin to explore her creative side. It’s been an experience wrought with lessons—a vital one being the importance of following your gut.
“The first couple collections, there were a few shoes that I listened to other people about but that I wasn’t crazy about, and they ended up not doing well, ” she says. “But today, everything I’m adamant about, and that I stick to my guns about, ends up being a bestseller.” She’s taken that know-how into another business venture: Emerald Duv, a jewelry and accessories collection that she designs and runs with a close friend.
In 2015, Kristin also launched a lifestyle app, through which she shares anecdotes about motherhood, fashion and beauty. But her favorite full-disclosure pearls of wisdom pertain to health and wellness; a self-described health nut, Kristin loves using her app to share her knowledge of what it takes to maintain a truly healthy lifestyle.
During her first pregnancy, Kristin made some significant lifestyle changes that today she credits for her health and happiness. “I used to put Splenda on everything and all I ate were the diet foods and the processed, chemical crap, ” she says. “Now, I don’t even glance at calories. I go straight to the ingredients. I try to eat real, whole foods, nothing processed. I eat bacon, butter … all of it. As long as it’s real.”
She credits her toned and slim post-baby figure to regular weight lifting sessions and twice-a-week workouts with a trainer. And she’s a self-taught cook who enjoys preparing healthy fare for her family. In addition to posting workout and nutrition tips on her app, she regularly shares her own favorite, tried-and-true recipes.
For Kristin, creating her own schedule and working from home is a welcome change of pace. “My career looks different than it did 10 years ago, and I guess part of me would say that it’s suffering a little. But at the same time, I also think that my career is better because I only do the things that I love.”
And one of those things, as it turns out, is opening up to fans through writing. In the wake of her app’s success, Kristin made the decision to write Balancing in Heels: My Journey to Health, Happiness, and Making It All Work, which was released in March 2016. Much of the book is written as a memoir, and fans will be surprised by its real, raw content.
“People definitely think that they know me from being on reality TV, but they really don’t. I’m just excited for people to see who I really am. I mean, this book is me. If you don’t like me from this book then you just don’t like me. It is what it is.” She’ll admit that sitting down to write was initially a daunting task that entailed locking herself in her office for days to form an outline and setting strict deadlines for herself. But, ultimately, the words flowed. “I was writing about everything that I love, so it wasn’t too difficult, ” Kristin says.
In her book Kristin reflects on her past and offers fans an intimate glimpse into everything from her marriage, pregnancies and life as a mom to her workouts, career and kitchen.
And how does she balance it all? With a very refreshing outlook on life, for starters. “The first thing you have to accept is that you can’t do everything perfectly, that’s really what it is. Once I could accept that, I found so much peace in it, ” says Kristin with the blithe smile of a wife, mother, and businesswoman who truly has figured out how to make it all work—and in heels, no less.
5 Things Kristin Can’t Live Without
1. “A great pair of black jeans by Frame Denim. Right now I’m into the ones with the cutouts on the knees.”
2. “A great pair of booties. I have one from my line called the Liam Bootie, which I absolutely love. It’s an open-toe black distressed leather bootie.”
3. “A good hat—I like Hat Attack hats.”
4. “A great blazer goes a long way…”
5. “…As does a great pair of leather pants.”
Kristin’s Top 5 Beauty Products:
1. Armani Lashes to Kill Mascara
2. A Chanel brow pencil
3. Essie nail polish in Ballet Slippers
4. SK-II eye mask
5. Acure facial scrub
G E T T I N G /// Real with Kristin Cavallari About Work, Family and Balance.