How Genevieve Padalecki Made the Transition From Television Star to Lifestyle Influencer

January 20, 2020
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Though you no doubt recognize actress Genevieve Padalecki from her roles on the hit TV shows “Wildfire” and “Supernatural,” the leading lady is also a digital darling. Not only has she garnered over 1.2 million followers on Instagram, but she’s also amassed a community of loyal readers who turn to her lifestyle site, Now and Gen, for everything from eco-friendly fashion picks to gluten-free recipes.

So how has she successfully made the transition from sought-after television star to taste-making lifestyle influencer? Read on to find out how Padalecki built her brand from the ground up, what keeps her motivated and inspired on her most challenging days, and why she never takes anything for granted.

CREATE & CULTIVATE: You began your career as an actor on the ABC show, “Wildfire,” and later you joined the cast of “Supernatural,” where you met your now-husband, Jared. What was that experience like? How has your life changed since then? Would you ever consider a return to acting one day?

GENEVIEVE PADALECKI: I love acting, and I always will. As a kid, it was my dream to be a working actor, which eventually led me to N.Y.C. and Tisch and an awesome acting career. I’ve loved every minute of it. The good and the bad. Never did I think that I would meet my husband, fall in love, and get married—let alone have three kiddos! It certainly helps that we come from the same industry and we understand the crazy schedules and the need to be creative. I need a creative outlet and I’ve always wanted to have a platform through my acting, so it was a natural progression to start blogging. Blogging has been a wonderful way for me to channel my creativity and use my voice and platform to effect change. It was scary at first to be vulnerable, but I’m so glad I did. And, yes, you bet I’d love to return to acting. Stay tuned!

Your website, Now and Gen, covers everything from parenting to style to wellness. Can you tell us about your approach to both your site and your YouTube channel? What is your strategy and what can people expect when they come to your site?

I started the site as a fun “let’s see what sticks” kinda thing. I just wanted to bring my life experiences and point of view to life, but the more I started doing it, the more refined my brand and my strategy became. The approach is really just being honest about what is going on in my life and what I am curious about. I find that the best topics to write about and document are the ones that I am the most excited about. 

It’s been a great avenue for me to document my journey in what I am passionate about and share that with my audience. What grew was a more eco-minded space. I went from having a “let’s try everything” mindset to more being more eco-conscious and environmentally minded. I really wanted to be more intentional with partnerships and the message that I was trying to convey.

With that being said, from a brand strategy, I try to check certain boxes every month and plan the Now and Gen calendar accordingly. It’s really important to keep a well-rounded content calendar so it’s authentic and so that I feel refreshed and excited about what I’m talking about and my audience feels excited to follow along.

When you hit a bump or hurdle in your career, how do you #FindNewRoads + switch gears to find success?

I try and take the good with the bad and use each as an opportunity. It’s really important to do gut-checks and listen to my intuition. If something isn’t working, then it’s not working. Take a break and try a new angle or a new point of view. And don’t ever compromise what you’re trying to say and deliver.

What is your content creation process like? How hands-on are you? How do you decide what to share and what not to share?

At first, it was just me, and I was throwing everything at the wall to see what stuck. Today, I do have a team helping me, but I am very hands-on. My best friend from college, who has an extensive editorial background, helps me a ton. Now, we throw out a ton of ideas and narrow them down. I filter everything through my team just to have a gut-check and make sure that everything falls into alignment and makes sense on the calendar.

You now run a very successful business built on a personal brand with over a million followers on Instagram. What unique social marketing tips do you have for other entrepreneurs who want to grow their companies online? How do you build a brand from the ground up?

The truth is, this grew more rapidly than I anticipated. The train left the station and I wasn’t quite prepared. I wish that I had been able to try things out more and fail in a not-so-public space. My advice would be to try everything and fail—and don’t apologize. Through failing, I think we find our voice and what is successful. It was a combination of what I was passionate about and going through a period of trial and error. If I think mainly in terms of what I want to say and what my audience is resonating with, then it’s a good recipe for success.

You’ve made a significant career pivot and that’s inspiring to a lot of people. What skill sets have transferred over from your previous career into this one? And what advice do you have for people who want to start a second life and pursue a new career path?

Acting requires having a thick skin. The amount of rejection and criticism is part of the process. Thankfully, I went through this schooling early on, so when I approached social media, the negativity that exists didn’t penetrate. It’s important to not let the criticism get in the way of your message. Be true to yourself.

Social media always shows us life’s highlight reel, but we all know that reality can very different. What are some mistakes you’ve made throughout your career and what did you learn from them? How did you turn them into opportunities?

I feel most successful when I’m making a living doing what I was passionate about. To be successful, you need to have perseverance and an unwillingness to give up. If you have something to say, then find your voice and have fun expressing yourself.

What is the #1 piece of advice you’d like women to know when starting out or building a business? Why?

Don’t doubt yourself or your values. Trust your intuition and don’t give up. We’ve been living in a man’s world, but that is changing. The more we support and build each other up, the more we change the landscape.

What advice do you have for women who haven’t found their path or their passion yet?

Don’t force it. My path has taken all kinds of turns. For instance, when I first started, I thought I needed to “keep up” with all the popular bloggers and talk about fashion, beauty, and self-care. I quickly realized this wouldn’t sustain me and wasn’t reflective of my passions, so I had to make some tough choices about who I wanted to be and what I wanted to convey in a relatable way. That realization led me to where I am now, and I am so grateful. Don’t follow the “likes.” Follow what you love and what excites you, the rest will fall into place.

What is your vision for Now and Gen 10 years from now? Do you have plans to scale? Any plans to develop a product line? Tell us everything!

Yes! A global take over (lol… kidding). I want to create things that are useful and beautiful while reducing our carbon footprint.

With success comes opportunity, but it also means you have your hands full. What keeps you inspired and motivated to keep going even on your most challenging days?

Reading every day. Going outside of my comfort zone and learning about things that I don’t understand. This is important to me so that I consistently feel engaged and challenged.

You’ve achieved phenomenal success, but that didn’t come without hard work and determination. What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned along the way and what have they taught you? What traits do you need to succeed today?

That good and bad are part of the journey. One of the darkest times of questioning what I was doing led me to where I am now. Everything is a lesson. Everything. Don’t take anything for granted.

What is the #1 book you always recommend? Why?

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. It’s simple advice that cuts to the core. Especially the “don’t take anything personally” message. I also love the Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv. It reinforces my drive to connect with nature.

Photographer: Jenna Peffley

Hair: Styled by OGXpert & Celebrity Hairstylist Jillian Halouska


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