When I got the opportunity to interview Cara Santana, I will admit that I did not know much about the Hollywood beauty.
I knew she had impeccable style, even when she was just running errands in gym clothes, and I knew she was dating Jesse Metcalfe, but there were a lot of empty spaces. Even her publicist described her as solely a “fashionista.” However, I knew there had to be more to the famous face who commanded the attention of the paparazzi every time she stepped out her house.
And I was not disappointed.
The 31-year-old is not your typical fashionista. She is a “proverbial slash,” as she put it, with a television show, beauty app and fashion blog all on her resume. When I asked Santana how she would describe what she does, fashionista was no where on her list.
“I say first and foremost that I am an actress because that’s my career and what I’ve been driven to do since I was a young, young girl,” she said. “Obviously, now I have this company, so I guess categorically I’m an entrepreneur but I don’t really see myself as that. I just had an idea, and I thought I had a solution to a problem so I created the app. And then I have the blog, so I guess I am also a blogger. I’m a proverbial slash, slash, slash.”
From her burgeoning beauty app, Glam App, which is expanding to two cities a month over the next six months, to her blog Cara Disclothed, Santana has turned her passion for fashion into a business, and her empire is only just getting started. The Glam App is designed to bring hairstylists, makeup artists and nail artists to your home for a complete beauty experience. Modeled after Uber, the on demand beauty app divides up the stylists by years of experience, and allows artists to build their brands and clienteles while simultaneously providing luxury beauty to every day women at an affordable cost.
Speaking with the “Salem” star, she opened up about wanting all women to experience the red carpet treatment, her personal style and today’s ever evolving beauty standards.
Keep on reading for more on our exclusive chat with Cara Santana:
On her role in “Salem”: “I am having so much fun. It has just been such a dream job. As an actress, roles aren’t really made for women like they are for men. We are usually auxiliary characters and on Salem, there are just so may components that make it such a juicy role for me. One being the fact that she is 16th century Native American shaman. I don’t been speak English on the show, so I had to learn Algonquian. It’s hard, it’s daunting but I love it. You never want to stereotype or play into the idea of a culture. You get into trouble that way. I think its super important to honor the history of the Native American Indian and have a genuine respect for it. I had a sense, conscience concept of really portraying this character in the most honest and genuine way.”
On her Glam App: “As an actress, when you are promoting a project or promoting yourself for lack of better word, you go onto these red carpets, and the event or studio sends you a glam team, and it costs a thousand dollars. And I think luxury beauty in general is reserved for the elite, and I just remember having a moment where I was like, ‘God, beauty is intrinsic for a woman because when we look good, we feel good and when we feel good, we are empowered. And why shouldn’t every woman have the ability to have an affordable luxury beauty experience?’ And then I started thinking about the concept of Uber and OnDemand and OnDemand beauty, and what that looks like. And I was like, ‘There’s got to be freelance hair and makeup and nail artists out there that are trying to build their brand and surely there are women who want to have this beauty experience that is affordable and convenient. I started playing with the idea and then I called my now partner, who is a good friend of mine Joey Maalouf, who is a hair and makeup artist to the stars, and I was like ‘How do we create this concept and make it equally advantageous for the consumer and the stylist?’ and through that conversation the Glam App was really born.”
On her blog Cara Disclothed: “As an actress the first point of transformation and getting invested into a character is your physical appearance. I have always really been drawn creatively to fashion, and that vein of self expression. It’s the first way you can communicate to the world around you how you are feeling is by what you are wearing and how you look. I wanted to have a conversation about fashion, and I wasn’t trying to compete with Chiara Ferragnis and the Aimee Songs of the world, I just wanted to talk about clothes, I wanted to shoot my own content and I wanted people to know who I was wearing because they were always asking and it was a way to have a manageable conversation about fashion. Again, there is somewhat of an elitist, maybe superficial connotation about clothing, about the way we look. The fact of the matter is we all get dressed, so I really wanted to be able to break that elitist wall down and be able to talk about what I am wearing, whether it’s Keds with a [7 For All Mankind] jean or Steve Madden shoes with a Prada dress. It doesn’t really matter what you’re wearing, but how you’re wearing it and what you are trying to communicate in what you are wearing.”
On her personal style: “I would say I am probably a mix between a feminine classic style with a slight edge. But I am definitely ever evolving. It depends on the day what I’m feeling defines my style. My go-to is Alexander Wang. His clothes are so easy to wear. I love Public School as well. And I love Isabel Marant, because it is so cozy and easy to wear.”
On her style influences: “I am always influenced by people, whether it’s a random person off the street. I was just in Berlin and they have such a specific style, it’s very edgy and punk and I was very inspired by that. As far as celebrities are concerned I feel like I have the best dressed friends in Hollywood and everyone is so unique. Jamie Chung has such amazing style, Nicole Richie is definitely unencumbered by trends. She really marches to the beat of her own drum which I think is so super cool. Olivia Palermo can put together patterns like no one else can. I think Kate Bosworth always looks really chic. Ashley Madekwe has such a sophistication about her style. I am definitely always influenced by all those women, but I think the key to fashion and looking good is wearing what works for you. You can’t gravitate to what someone is wearing because everybody’s different, whether its their height or their weight or their body shape or their skin coloring or hair color. It is best to go with what looks best on you, but I definitely think its nice to draw inspiration from others.”
On her boyfriend Jesse Metcalfe: “I’m not a big thrift store type of gal but my boyfriend loves it. We have a whole side of the closet reserved for his thrift store t-shirts and Levis. Jesse has far better taste than I do. Whether it’s interior design or architecture or fashion, he has such great taste. Maybe every once in a while, but usually I’m taking advice from him.”
On dealing with the pressure of paparazzi: “I don’t and I think those photographs prove that. I can walk around in gym clothes all day. I try to not let that pressure get to me. I think of paparazzi and media as fake life. There are the things that are real, and then there these weird things that come into your life as a result of your career. I just say to myself, ‘That’s not what really matters.’ And if I start to let that dictate how I leave the house, I would never leave the house. Sometimes, I don’t have time to pick out a cute outfit, I grab what’s in the closet and go. I just can’t let that stuff get to me and I try hard not to let it.”
On her go-to vacation style basics: “I always take a leather jacket and a khaki trench coat because they go with everything and you never know when you are going to need them. A good pair of jeans, I love J brand and [7 For All Mankind]. And the black Pigalle Louboutins, because when all else fails you just throw on Pigalles and you are good to go.”
On her beauty rules and beauty staples: “Never sleep with your makeup on. I don’t care how tired you are, how late it is, how drunk you are ( I don’t drink but for the women out there that do). You have to wash your face at the end of day. I wear a night cream mask when I fly because I just get so dehydrated and your skin is the first thing that goes. Right now I’m so super into First Aid Beauty, and I just started using it in the last four months. My skin is so refreshed and so vibrant, I can literally be their spokesperson I tell everyone about it. I also love Makeup Forever.”
On Hollywood’s evolving beauty standards: “I would say that society in general is changing in terms of our beauty standards. If you look at the women in the world right now that command the most attention is such a diverse group. I think we are really opening up to the idea of diversity. Growing up as an Italian Russian Jew in El Paso, Texas I really didn’t look like the average girl. I was always so insecure at the fact that I was different, and it’s those things now that I really learned to embrace. My advice would be that the thing that the makes you the most unique and different, is the thing you should really gravitate to and hold on to and use to your advantage.”