A conversation with Cara Mcilroy, model & entrepreneur15 March 2018 - interviews
Cover photo by SweetEscape
If you live in Hong Kong, Cara Mcilroy is likely no stranger to you. A popular model and TV presenter, Cara has appeared on the covers of the biggest fashion magazines, starred in many commercials and was a judge on Asia’s Next Top Model. But her passions don’t just lie in the entertainment industry. She’s also a certified health coach, co-founder of a cold-pressed juice company, Genie Juicery and a lifestyle blogger. Self-described as a free-spirited gypsy, this busy and talented multi-hyphenate is also a mom to two young girls. But what stands out about Cara is her radiant positivity and empathy, which seep through all that she does.
Born in a small country town in Victoria, Australia, Cara grew up on a dairy farm and describes spending her childhood days “chasing lizards and playing in mud”. At 17, she started her modelling career when she was scouted in Singapore. She later moved to Hong Kong and has been based there for more than a decade.
While modelling helped shaped her active lifestyle, she struggled to maintain her health and wellness because of her busy schedule. “That’s why I started Genie Juicery,” she says. “To make it easier for myself and others to access healthy options and cleanses.” Started with a focus on juice cleansers, Genie is now a one-stop shop for all things healthy.
Like anyone else, her successful career endeavours come with their fair share of challenges, but Cara chooses to find meaning in difficulty. “There are obstacles every day, not just one big one,” she says. “It’s not always easy but I just try to remind myself of how far I have come, what I have already learnt and gained.”
We chat with Cara about the biggest lesson she’s learned, what makes a meaningful life and the advice she has for budding entrepreneurs.
The Mindful Company (TMC): What did you want to be when you were a child?
Cara Mcilroy (CM): I wanted to be a vet or an actress.
TMC: What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
CM: Look at my daughter. She usually wakes me up. Then we go down and have a tea together.
TMC: If you came with a label, what would it say?
CM: Always be kind and humble.
TMC: What are 3 things that impress you?
CM: Kindness, strength and empathy. People who portray these qualities impress me.
TMC: What trait do you value most in others?
CM: People who love and accept you exactly the way you are and don’t expect anything from you.
TMC: What trait of yours are you most proud of?
CM: My ability to feel empathy towards everyone. It’s something that has been passed from my parents for sure.
TMC: How do you overcome self-doubt?
CM: I’m not sure you ever really do. I doubt myself all the time but I also get over it, but I’m not sure what gets me to that point. I guess I realise that [my doubts] are unimportant.
Cara wears Breathe Reminder Cuff in Classic Gold. Photo credit: Cara Mcilroy.
TMC: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
CM: Being a mother and a business owner, I feel I fail at certain things on a daily basis, but the lessons I have learnt are far greater than my failures.
TMC: How do you practise self-care?
CM: Right now I’m in Bali on a retreat, my first act of proper self-care since having children.
TMC: Name a fear that keeps you up at night.
CM: What I’m going to do next! And how not to be in the same financial state as my parents when I’m at their age.
TMC: What does success mean to you?
CM: Walking away from a situation with knowledge gained.
TMC: What’s a piece of advice you’re glad you ignored when you started Genie Juicery?
CM: “Never go into business with your best friend.”
TMC: What’s the biggest sacrifice you’ve made in your career?
CM: I stopped pursuing acting years ago because of something that happened and I wish I hadn’t. I think I could have been really good at it and now I feel that ship has kind of sailed. I just got casted in my first feature film though, so who knows?
TMC: What’s the biggest overall lesson you’ve learned?
CM: Do what makes you happy, and surround yourself with people that give you positive energy rather than drain you.
TMC: In your opinion, what are the top 3 things someone should consider if they’re thinking of pursuing a similar path?
CM: Make sure it’s something you're really passionate about and that it's not just about making money. Find a good partner and learn to not sweat the small stuff. And always treat your staff as you would like to be treated.
TMC: What are 3 things you do to lead a meaningful life?
CM: - Love with all my heart and soul
- I take the time to understand people from all walks of life.
- Always be kind