LP: Tell us about yourself!
C: My name is Cami (short for Cameron). I’m 26 years old and am beginning the adventure of a lifetime into entrepreneurship with my business, Graceful Rebel. I feel like over the last year or so I have finally come into my own—once I gave up all of the expectations of who I should be. I graduated college from the University of Central Florida in 2013 with a degree in Advertising/Public Relations and spent a few years doing the whole “being tied to an office from 9-5 thing” and realized that life behind a computer screen, punching someone else’s clock, just isn’t for me. I grew up in a beautiful, small (but growing) Florida beach town on highway 30-A, and after attempting to move away after college, I find myself back here for good-- planting my own roots. Isn’t it ironic that we move away to find ourselves and often end up right back where we started? Maybe it’s just me. Anyways, I’ve always been a dreamer-- envisioning sky scrapers when all that’s needed is a duplex. I’ve grown up living by the saying that “if you’re not weird... you’re weird” and my dreams and ideas are always too much for someone. I’ve learned to embrace it because that’s a big part of what makes me Cami. I’m very much in love with my boyfriend, Brandon, and our big-eared shepherd/lab/mystery puppy, Luna.
LP: Name three things you cannot live without
C: Music. Yoga pants. My parent’s restaurant, The Summer Kitchen (I would literally starve if it ever closed. I can’t grocery shop—or cook to save my life)
LP: If you could have dinner with any woman, past or present, who would it be?
C: Coco Chanel. She absolutely fascinates me.
LP: What is your passion right now?
C: Tony Robbins says you find your passion when you “find something you want to serve that is greater than yourself.” To me that’s helping women mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically by building a business that will serve its employees as much as it serves its customers. My passion is inspiring women to understand and love themselves for who they are. There’s so much pressure put on us to be perfect. To be perfect moms and perfect wives and perfect homemakers while having perfect careers and perfect bodies and perfect GPA’s and perfect appearances. I’ve grown up in a family of entrepreneurs and it’s shown me that as a business owner you have a chance to change people’s lives from the inside out—not only with your products but by serving the people who work for you. Graceful Rebel is a product of my Quarter-life crisis. Mine was more of an epic identity crisis that I for some reason hit a year or two earlier than my peers. It was created from a never-ending search for who I am and what do I want to do with my life which turns out to be the same questions so many women battle with on a daily basis. The more I searched for answers the more those questions turned into what’s wrong with me? Why doesn’t this feel right? Why don’t I fit into the molds that have been laid out for me set from someone else’s standards? or my friends and family? My passion right now is inspiring women to acknowledge and embrace our uniqueness and our depths. We’re highly emotional and complicated beings. And it’s beautiful—not detrimental. The clothes I design are created to be symbols of personal transformation. There are different stages you go through in your twenties... like the stage when you realize you don’t need other people’s approval to live your life, or the stage when you no longer seek permission to do the things you want to do, or, my personal favorite and probably the most powerful, the stage when you learn to love yourself and give yourself enough grace to show up each and every day just as you are—unfiltered.
LP: Tell us something you’ve done lately that was out of your comfort zone
C: Life lately has been totally out of my comfort zone. In this stage of my life I’m really embracing the whole “rebel” aspect of Graceful Rebel. The good kind of rebel—like going against the norm. Whether it’s diving into entrepreneurship or acknowledging the pull of your dreams and acting on them, when you decide to take the leap... it all requires faith. Faith in yourself when someone tells you it can’t be done—because that will happen over and over again. It also requires faith in a higher power. For me that’s God. You may call it something else. But whatever it is to you, don’t let it go. We have a human need to believe in something and for reasons I will never understand some people are determined to take it away from anyone who believes differently than they do. Faith is something I stumbled into recently, and it’s been a total game changer. When you decide to chart your own path, faith is your secret map.
LP: What is inspiring you right now?
C: Hillsong United’s new album. Go listen to it. Now.
LP: Give us a tip for getting through a tough day.
C: Remember these four words: This too shall pass.
There are going to be hard days. And that’s okay! I think the most important thing to remember on a tough day is that it’s okay. Set one big goal to accomplish that day, just one that you know will move you one step forward, and just do that. Give yourself a pat on the back for getting out of bed if it’s that kind of day. I’ve had SO many days like that. The thing is that a lot of people don’t have days like those. They don’t know what it’s like to wake up so full of despair that taking a shower is a HUGE accomplishment. It wasn’t until I accepted that my tough days are different than anyone else’s and started holding myself to my own standards -- allowing those days to be what they are-- that I really started working through them. When I stopped holding myself to other people’s standards and started accepting my own I started making real progress. I started showing up and creating the life I dreamed of on my own terms. We live in a time where it isn’t culturally acceptable to give yourself a break. Especially if it’s between 9 am-5pm during a work week. But if you’re having a tough day you need to be your biggest advocate and take care of yourself, first. On the other hand, holding yourself to your own standard also includes the days when your standard is so high you surprise yourself! Those are the best days. But they don’t happen every day, so don’t be mean to yourself when you don’t reach them. I’m definitely guilty of this. It’s a daily struggle for me to find the right balance between not getting out of bed until noon and being up at 6 am strung out on caffeine feverishly working on my laptop. If you’re reading this, odds are you set impossibly high standards for yourself, too. It’s a blessing and a curse that comes with the drive of entrepreneurship. Whatever you do, don’t give up. Listen to your heart when it says it needs a break, not your head when it’s all jacked up on mountain dew telling you to keep going.
LP: What does it mean to you personally to “Live Your Truth?”
C: Living Your Truth means being here by being you. All of you. We lose so much of ourselves while we’re growing up. To me personally, Living My Truth means believing that if there’s a will, there’s a way. And if your will is strong enough you will find a way. Living my truth means going all in or not at all, embracing my unique perspective and sharing my voice with confidence—because what I have to say matters. What you have to say matters. There’s no doubt in my mind that our generation is choosing another way. We’re all starting to wake up and ask ourselves... do we really want to keep living in a world that glamorizes perfection and productivity? No, we don’t. And it’s becoming more and more clear to me with every woman I meet who’s determined to find another way.
LP: If you could give other 20-somethings one piece of advice, what would it be?
C: It’s fine. Literally everything you’re feeling right now is normal. The struggle. The feeling like you’re going nowhere fast. That’s what it’s about. The more you embrace and dive into the uncomfortableness of your early twenties the more you discover and love about yourself in your later twenties. I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned in my 26 years on this planet is that you can’t love another person until you love yourself, first and foremost. The ultimate self-love is when you accept your imperfections like birth marks. Honestly, the things we’re ashamed of the most aren’t even on anyone else’s radar.
We do so many beautiful and terrifying things for the first time in our twenties. Remember that your failures are just experiences—not reflections of your worth.
Another important lesson I’ve learned is that there is no one definition of success. YOU are your own definition of success. So don’t be deterred when someone else’s “success” doesn’t resonate with you. There’s nothing wrong with wanting different things in life. To me, being able to arrange my schedule so I can take a nap to break up the day is a success. I can’t tell you how many people look at that as laziness... but to me it’s a well-deserved and necessary treat I give myself that motivates me to wake up early and get stuff done.
LP: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
C: You know, I have a book about envisioning where you see yourself in 5 years that you’re supposed to fill in for yourself and I’ve never been able to make myself start it. I’m one of those people who can get caught up in planning every detail that I get so overwhelmed and take a nap instead. (Can you tell I love naps?) That reminds me of another fun little life lesson I’ve learned the hard way that can be summed up in one quote: “Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction.” That one probably set me behind at least 3 years. It took a while for me to understand that having an overall vision of where you want to be is the key here, not what color car/house/husband’s hair you want to have. All of that kind of stuff falls into place along the way. That being said, in 5 years I see myself being a wife. A mommy-to-be. A boss. An employer of 50+ women. A creator. A mentor. I also want to write a book about life in your twenties.
I will close by sharing with you the one vision that really keeps me up at night. My 5-10 year vision for Graceful Rebel is for it to be a platform for investing in young female entrepreneurs, helping to bring their creative, world-changing ideas to life. There are so many brilliant, vivacious women in this world who just need someone to believe in their dreams, and even more importantly, in them. Investing in a woman's dream is an investment in her life, in her family, and in her community. By investing in the belief that she is worthy of being believed in, I hope she will grow to believe in it, too. My goal is for every creative project brought to life through Graceful Rebel to ripple out -- securing the future of female entrepreneurship in the United States for generations to come.