Create & Cultivate 100: Beauty: Cara Santana

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Cara Santana is keeping it real. 

Though she lives her life under a microscope, she's never shied away from speaking her mind, telling her truth, or posting a make-up free shot on her Instagram, which boasts over 820k followers. 

To point: After the most recent Golden Globes weekend, Cara posted a photo showing half of her face "done," and the other half completely make-up free. "It’s a glamorous weekend..but don’t forget, when the make up comes off, we are all the same and every single one of us, just as beautiful. #nofilter #noretouching #truebeauty#beautyexpectations," she captioned the photo

Though the beauty influencer and actress recently bid farewell to The Glam App, an on-demand beauty service she co-founded in 2015, she told her IG followers, "Thank you all for your amazing support and contributions to this incredible journey I have taken. A special debt of gratitude to the amazing team, the fantastic stylists, to all of you who supported the company and the amazing partners." 

 She's a woman who took a risk and launched a very successful biz. Not every actress and influencer has the ability to say that. Nor does every actress and influencer have the ability to say they shaved their head. Yep, Cara's done that too and it helped shaped her relationship to beauty. 

Read more from the bold Cara below. 

Name: Cara Santana

Instagram Handle: @CaraASantana

Being surrounded by an industry that puts such an emphasis on "beauty." What has that word come to mean to you?

Beauty to me is the ability to exude confidence and empowerment.

Do you remember a moment when you first felt beautiful?

When I was 18 years old I shaved my head 5 days before my brother's Bar Mitzvah, much to my mother's chagrin. It was for a project I was doing. It was scary. So much of my femininity and beauty was wrapped up in my appearance and the superficial aspects of my aesthetic. I remember vividly having a moment after I had done it, standing in the mirror at 18 years old and saying to myself this is you - no hair, no make-up, - nothing. Love yourself now or you never will. And I was suddenly empowered and felt beautiful. That doesn't mean I don't appreciate hair or make up - obviously, but I am not hostage to it. My beauty comes from being me.

"Love yourself now or you never will." 

Tweet this. 

How has your relationship to beauty changed as you've gotten older?

It's love/hate. Kidding. Listen, honestly, it's a battle. Your face changes. Some of those changes, I love. For instance, the loss of my baby fat. My cheek bones are in full view. Some of those changes I hate, like fine lines. I just remember that 18-year-old girl in the mirror and tell myself to embrace who I naturally am. And now there is a larger budget on skincare and make up.

Where do your drive and passion come from?

My mom. She taught me the value of hard work, of being a strong, independent woman. She is 60 and still works 80 hours a week. And she never compromised, she has it all - a 38-year-old marriage, 2 awesome kids (lol), a successful career and the respect and admiration of her colleagues. She is perseverant, doesn't conform, and has paved her own way. She would work a full week, be at every family dinner, have date night with my dad, run the Junior League and show up at every extracurricular activity we had. She basically never slept and still doesn't, but I suspect she likes it that way. And I am glad I had that example.

IYO-- How can we stay original when we are so saturated by other people's work?

Knowing who you are and what separates you from everyone else and focusing on that. There is only one you, so be you.

What about your career makes you feel the most complete?

Candidly, I don't really feel that complete at this moment, which I am okay with. I am 32 and I think it's probably premature to feel complete. I enjoy the struggle, the grind and putting in the work and I feel like I have a lot more of that to do before I feel complete professionally.

I enjoy the struggle, the grind and putting in the work and I feel like I have a lot more of that to do before I feel complete professionally.

If you had to trade jobs with anyone else in the world, who would it be and why?

I don't think I could choose a person, but I can say if I wasn't an actress, an influencer and business owner, I'd probably do something in social justice or law.

At what point in your career did you find the confidence to really take charge and become the woman you are today?

You know it's funny, for me the biggest challenge is finding the balance of being a strong assertive woman who is likable and effective. Taking charge isn't important to me, you can lead in a variety of ways, my confidence is built for sure - but the issue for me is really identifying the woman I want to be and how to navigate THIS world in a way I am proud of. It's really been hard for me, I am still figuring it out.

What's the best advice you've ever been given? Or your favorite piece of #realtalk?

Take your criticism seriously, but not personally.

When you hit a big bump in the road, how do you find a new road or a detour?

I couldn't answer this question so I asked all the people in my office from my Executive Assistant to my COO and they all said, I just go over the bump, hit the bump, swerve the bump or go straight through it. Apparently, I am not very malleable.

What song do you sing in the shower when you’ve had a bad day?

Eric Clapton's "Pretty Girl". It's my fiancé and I's song and he proposed to me while it was playing. It always makes me smile.

Photo Credit: @davisfactor

Hair & Makeup: @SmashboxCosmetics @TheGlamApp @TheOuai