Growing up in the small town in Minas, Brazil, Camila Coelho moved to Scranton, Pennsylvania with her family at the age of 14. Her early days as a non-English speaking immigrant cut her teeth for the challenges that lay ahead, built up her indomitable determination, and set the stage for the powerhouse she was soon to become.
Working as a Dior makeup artist behind a Macy’s department store counter, Coelho quickly displayed an aptitude in the world of beauty, and for kicks started filming a series of YouTube makeup tutorials—way before that was actually a thing.
Unsurprisingly the young star showed prodigious skill and charisma and quickly garnered a worldwide following (over 15 million and counting across Instagram, YouTube and other platforms) as a beauty and fashion influencer, collaborating along the way with iconic brands like Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Valentino and Kerastase.
Her debut Camila Coelho Collection sold out online in minutes in 2019, and was followed up with her new beauty line Elaluz last year.
Recently the alluring entrepreneur revealed she has suffered with epilepsy since childhood. Initially ashamed of her affliction, only last year Camila decided to share with the world in order to destigmatize the neurological disorder, and assure people—especially young girls—who suffer similarly that they’re not alone. Her efforts have now made her into an official board member for the Epilepsy Foundation.
We caught up with the natural-born beauty as she celebrated twin accomplishments: raising nearly $40,000 for the foundation on her birthday, and launching the second season of her swimwear line.
One of my favorite things is talking to people who found success just by doing something they love. Everybody’s trained to chase money or celebrity, but it’s fulfilling to speak with someone who just followed their passion.
When I started doing videos it took a lot of time. I was working as a makeup artist and then I would have to take the weekend, when I would probably have gone out with my friends, to stay in and make these videos because I loved it. Then it got to a point that I was like, Wait, do I really want to keep doing this? It was completely a hobby, but in my heart I just loved how people reacted to it.
I knew that in a way I was helping people, not just by looking pretty, but also helping their self-esteem. I would receive so many amazing messages from women who just had a baby and were feeling self-conscious, and my talking to them on a tutorial made them feel better, and encouraged them to get out of the house.
I feel like when I followed my heart in things that I was passionate about, it was always successful. And having no idea that it could become my career, but still doing it because I loved it was very impactful… And my friends didn’t understand at the time, some actually became a bit distant because they didn’t get it, like, “Why are you not going out with us and just staying home to do silly videos?”
But I was really passionate about it, not knowing that it could become a business, but I just knew I was making other people happy— and that’s what made me keep going.
What were you trying to achieve with your beauty line Elaluz? What was the halo goal?
I actually thought my beauty line was going to come before my fashion line, before I found out how much more work goes into a beauty line. And I wanted it to be perfect.
I’ve been very passionate because I started with beauty. I thought it could be stronger putting my name on it because a lot of people already know me, but I wanted even the name to have a meaning to me. Elaluz means She is light, so believing in your inner light.
It can sound clichéd, but it’s something I truly believe: the moment you look in the mirror at yourself and you love it, anything that you wear, you’re going to feel beautiful. And if you’re not well with yourself, you can wear the most expensive outfit and you’re still going to feel dull, right?
I also decided I wanted a clean brand; my goal was to launch clean products that would excite people and that would bring innovative formulas to the market. Elaluz is my baby. I work every single day on this brand, strategizing and thinking and developing. I’m involved in every single angle of the brand, from marketing to developing to approving, and it has been a huge challenge.
Tell me about your new swimwear line.
I started with only clothing, and we launched the swimwear category last year. It was during a pandemic, but this year we just launched our new collection. I love making swimwear. I love being out in the sun at the beach and playing volleyball, and I’m always in swimwear, and it’s so much [a part] of my Brazilian blood.
Swimwear also brings out the sexiness side of me, which so many people see. A lot of bikinis in Brazil are homemade, and they sell them at the beach for so cheap. Crochet, for example, reminds me so much of Brazil. It’s something I’ve put a lot in my brand as well, and I love going home.
Brazil is such a cool country—I’ve never seen a place that is so ready to party.
Oh my god, yes. The launch party for my clothing brand was in Rio, and of course we hosted a bunch of Brazilian celebrities and people that I love there. And I was like, We need to have the best party that these people are going to experience! I had the carnival dancers come and perform, it was incredible. But yeah we love to party—it’s in our blood, so I’m a party girl for sure.