Just who is Camila Alves McConaughey? While everyone is familiar with her famous husband, Hollywood actor and tabloid fixture Matthew McConaughey, not as much is known about the beauty he married. The model and entrepreneur has been by her movie star spouse’s side through thick and thin, and they have three children together: sons Levi and Livingston and daughter Vida.
Camila Alves McConaughey’s life has been quite the journey. The Brazilian celeb was raised by a fashion designer and a farmer before moving to the United States and embarking on a successful modeling career. But modeling is far from her only skill. She’s also an entrepreneur and a philanthropist. Together with her husband, she runs the Just Keep Livin Foundation, which focuses on "empowering high school students" by promoting healthy living. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this multi-faceted woman. As it turns out, there’s a lot more to Camila Alves McConaughey than meets the eye. Read on to learn more about the gorgeous woman who walks red carpets with Matthew McConaughey.
She didn’t speak English before moving to the U.S.
It’s hard to believe that, when Camila Alves McConaughey first moved to the United States from her native Brazil, she didn’t speak the English language at all. Just 15 years old at the time, she worked as a maid and a restaurant server to make ends meet, and, over the course of a few years, she managed to learn English. Her new day-to-day was presumably a sharp contrast from her life in Brazil "where you’re raised with someone working in your house that is coming in six days a week and is cooking, cleaning the house," as she told Ocean Drive in an interview published in October 2017. She explained to the magazine, "It’s just part of the culture."
Fortunately, her dad instilled an excellent work ethic in her, and McConaughey was determined to make it in the United States on her own. "Growing up, I had to make my own way," she said of her early years in America. "It was not like I’m going to call Dad to pay the bills. That wasn’t part of the equation. I had to figure it out." She continued, "I know how to take care of a house, so I started cleaning houses."
She initially rejected her now-husband
When she was 19 years old, Camila Alves McConaughey headed to New York to pursue a modeling career. A few years later, she met her future husband, actor Matthew McConaughey, at a Los Angeles nightclub, but the model was not initially swept away by the successful movie star. Matthew, however, was smitten at first sight. "I remember [saying] to myself, ‘What is that?’" he shared in an interview on Howard Stern’s Sirius XM radio show in January 2017 (via Us Weekly). "I didn’t say, ‘Who is that,’ I said, ‘What is that?’ She sits down, and I can’t get my eyes off her, and I’m waving, trying to get her [attention]."
The How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days star invited his future wife to sit with him and, after a while, invited her home with him. Matthew said that the woman who would one day become his bride spent the night — in a guest bedroom, that is. She didn’t even give him a goodnight kiss, and it took him three tries to get her to even agree to a future date. "That’s a woman who knows herself," said Matthew of the night they met. "There [was] no walk of shame. She stayed over, and she knows who she is."
Issuing a marriage ultimatum
After having two kids and being together for six years, Matthew McConaughey and his lady love tied the knot in 2012 in a "private ceremony in Texas," as reported by People. So, what made Matthew finally pop the question? Well, a couple of things. "I had to get to the point where I saw [marriage] as more than just the thing to do," he told GQ. "I wanted to really want to. You know, I didn’t want it to be a destination; the fun is that we’re on the adventure together." Noting that he and his now-wife had discussed the prospect of marriage for some time and had spoken with people who had gone through a divorce, he shared, "We talked to our pastor. In the end, our understanding was, Let’s go make a covenant, with you, me, and God."
That’s not to say that Camila wasn’t pushing for them to marry. There’d actually been quite a bit of nudging going on, as Matthew admitted to GQ. According to the actor, Camila had to convince him to lock her down. As he put it, "It took her going, ‘C’mon, Big Boy, Mr. Easygoing-We’ll-Get-to-It-When-We-Get-to-It,’" adding that she’d essentially told him, "Either s*** or get off the pot." Well, that’s certainly one way to put it.
She may appear calm but she’s still "feisty"
Camila Alves McConaughey may be a United States citizen now, but she’s still Brazilian at heart. The model has never lost touch with her roots, and the fire and dedication that drove her to become so successful in her career is still very much a part of her. While she may now be living a life of domestic bliss, don’t make the mistake of thinking she has mellowed out. "Don’t let my calm spirit fool you," she told Ocean Drive in 2017. "I still have my Brazilian feisty side of me. It’s the Latin in me."
She added that, with all the excitement in her life, she’s learned how to deal with stress in a calm way, but that doesn’t necessarily mean she’s a calm person. "What I learned in being in so many different cultures is understanding that nothing is really a big deal until it’s a really big deal," she said. "Real drama will come. That’s inevitable. It’s going to happen. … Problems are going to happen; they’re out of our control, and that will be real drama. But the things that you do have control over, don’t make them a big deal. I don’t see myself as being a Zen person. I see myself as being adaptable."
Brazil still has her heart, but Texas is home
Speaking of Brazil, while the country still has her heart, Camila Aves McConaughey definitely considers herself to be an American. More specifically, she thinks of herself as a Texan through and through, naming the Lone Star State as the place where she and her husband live and raise their family. "The opportunities that this country has, and the people who are here in this country, have allowed me to become the person I am today," McConaughey told Ocean Drive.
She added that she is proud of her dual Brazilian and American citizenships and that, though she makes charitable contributions to Brazil, she chooses to focus most of her charity work in the United States. "Even though I was born and raised in Brazil, my family is still there, and that’s my home country — if you ask me, ‘Where is your home?’ I would say it’s here," she said. "It’s Texas, and I take pride in that."
New Year’s in the McConaughey household
Camila Alves McConaughey and her famous husband, Matthew McConaughey, are making sure that their kids — Levi, Livingston, and Vida — grow up in touch with their Brazilian heritage, and they’re always trying to teach them about their roots. As such, New Year’s Day in their house incorporates a special tradition from Camila’s home country. "My wife’s tradition in her country is to wear all white and go to the ocean and get little white flowers and put them in the sea," Matthew told Hello! magazine in late 2015. "We’ve done it the last few years."
Camila doesn’t just keep her heritage alive at the holidays, though. She also makes sure to incorporate Brazilian culture into her family’s daily routine in a variety of ways. "I try to keep my South American heritage part of my kids’ everyday lives through music, religion, soccer, language and food," she shared with A Bullseye View on Target‘s website in November 2014. She added, "I sing Brazilian lullabies for them before they fall asleep!"
Connecting with her kids through food
Food is a big deal in the McConaughey household. Not only is it a way for the McConaughey kids to learn about leading a healthy lifestyle, but it’s also a way to help them connect with their mom. Camila Alves McConaughey told NY Metro Parents that she and her husband enjoy cooking together and that one of her favorite things to make is slow-cooked beans. "I always have a pot on the stove or a cooked batch in the freezer as a backup," she said. "It’s a simple dish filled with fiber and protein; it takes me back to Brazil. I love sharing delicious and nutritious dishes that I grew up with as a kid with my own children. The kids absolute favorite is the honey chicken I make—but that’s a whole different story!"
She also loves to cook with her kids. "It is very important I believe to start involving them with ‘real foods’ instead of just doing the cooking with them when it is cookies or cupcakes," she explained. "Get the kids involved and show them that cooking can be fun and creative."
Revolutionizing the baby food industry
As partner and chief brand director of organic baby food company Yummy Spoonfuls, Camila Alves McConaughey is trying to change the way kids eat. "When I became a mother for the first time, it became even more clear that changes needed to be made in the baby food industry — especially for the most important beings in the world," she said in an interview with Yitzi Weiner (via Medium). "That’s where my journey started — trying to find a solution."
These days, McConaughey is rocking it with her "solution," and her goal is to completely "change the industry." Yummy Spoonfuls’ products are preservative-free with no additives which doesn’t just provide kids with healthier food but also reflects the healthy eating that McConaughey encourages in her own home. "I don’t think growing bodies should be exposed to toxic pesticides, added hormones, and antibiotics," she told NY Metro Parents in December 2017. "There are so many unknowns when raising our kids, and if we can take steps to protect them then I think we should each do what we can."
Her ultra-healthy diet
There’s no doubt that Camila Alves McConaughey looks amazing, but is it all genetics? While the model certainly has some pretty incredible DNA, she also eats a very healthy diet which enables her to maintain her stunning physique. She shared an example of the diet she follows when she feels bloated with Delish. To avoid inflammation, she kicks off her day with yerba mate tea, followed by a detox shake. She snacks on fruit and almonds throughout the morning, has some preservative-free organic puree pouches from Yummy Spoonfuls for lunch and for an afternoon snack, and finishes off her day with lots of protein, veggies, and black beans.
McConaughey is a big believer in tailoring your diet to what your body needs, which means that her diet won’t work for everyone. "I think the big thing, really, is listening to what your body tells you," she said. "If you spend three or four days eating clean, then gradually start putting different foods back into your diet, you can get an idea — ‘when I eat this, I don’t feel good’ — and know what works for you."
She started a business with her mom
Yummy Spoonfuls isn’t McConaughey’s only business endeavor. "My mom and I were looking for something to do together," she told Livingly. "I was traveling all over the world doing the modeling stuff, and every single handbag I had with me would fall apart at the airport. I was stuck at airports with stuff falling all over the floor, and I couldn’t find a handbag that was strong enough but different from the ones everybody else had."
Enter Muxo, a handbag line for QVC that McConaughey runs with her mom. The bags she and her mom make are designed to be both functional and stylish. "I’m a mom too, so people always ask me, ‘Can they be a diaper bag?’" she told Today’s Parent. "And I say, ‘Well, they’re not diaper bags, but I use them as diaper bags because it’s hard to find one that’s beautiful and stylish.’"
Embracing her naturally curly hair
McConaughey has had a love/hate relationship with her hair for a long time. For years, she struggled with her naturally curly locks and kept them straight, but these days she is committed to having a healthier mane. "My whole time growing up, I was like ‘I gotta straighten my hair, I gotta straighten my hair,’" she told Livingly in 2011. "And I always did with the relaxers, and the heat-straighteners, and the Brazilian blowout — all of it. And finally my hair was getting finer and it wasn’t healthy, and I was like, ‘Yeah, I’ve got to stop doing everything and let my hair grow.’" She noted that her hair didn’t look the best for some time, but she eventually figured out how to work with her mane, stating, "I just learned little tricks on how to style."
While McConaughey looks gorgeous with both curly and straight hair, we’ve got to give her props for learning to celebrate her natural beauty!
Her personal style is totally laid-back
While we’re used to seeing Camila Alves McConaughey all glammed up for the press, her personal style is all about comfort and practicality. The celeb is far from high maintenance when it comes to her wardrobe. "I like to be practical and to mix and match," she told Livingly. "I like going to antique stores and picking out little pieces that I can mix with something very expensive that I may have in my closet."
The model also admitted that she doesn’t like shopping very much and, when it comes to pieces she loves, she can be a bit of a hoarder. "I have to say, I’m not a big shopper," she said. "I love shopping when I go, but I’m not the kind of girl who loves shopping all the time. I have things in my closet that I’ve had since I was probably 15 years old. And then when I do put those things on people ask me ‘Where’d you get that?’"
Balancing work and motherhood forced her to change
Motherhood is never easy, but it’s made even more complicated when you balance it with a career and just so happen to be a celebrity on top of it. How does Camila Alves McConaughey juggle all of her commitments? Does she have some sort of super power? Nope, it turns out that her secret is just good, old-fashioned organization — not that the skill came easily to her.
"It’s very challenging," she told Today’s Parent. "It’s just me and my mother with the kids. I don’t have a bunch of different nannies that circle around. … We make their lunches, get them ready for school, drive them and pick them up from school every day. So it gets tricky with timing." Admitting that she’s not naturally a super organized person, she shared, "I’m learning to be very organized, and I think that’s the key for any mother that works: You must be organized; there’s no way around it."