Listen to this episode with Caila:
#7: In this episode, we interview Caila Quinn. You might recognize Caila from Season 20 of The Bachelor where she made it to the final three girls with Bachelor Ben Higgins. Caila is a content creator and blogger based in New York City. Grab a glass of wine and cozy up to this super fun girl talk interview with Caila where we chat about:
– Bachelor gossip, behind-the-scenes, and juicy deets.
– Her fiance Nick, how they met, and how they set boundaries for their relationship, especially in terms of what she shares on social media and in her public life.
– Her business as a content creator, and how she’s built and maintained her engaged community years after being on The Bachelor.
– Difficult lessons learned this past summer during the BLM protests, and how she’s taking action now.
– Wedding planning during the pandemic, and more!
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Quick Links from the Episode:
Design Your Life (Caila’s book recommendation in this episode)
E: Hello, and welcome back to the What The Fab podcast. Thank you for joining us today, we’ve got a fun interview that I think you’re going to love!
Today I am so excited to be welcoming Caila Quinn to the What The Fab podcast, we are serving up a superfun girl talk interview today with her. She is a content creator and blogger based in New York City and you might recognize her from Season 20 of The Bachelor where she made it to the final three girls with bachelor Ben Higgins.
In this episode, Caila and I chat about juicy bachelor gossip, her business as a content creator, wedding planning during the pandemic and more so grab your coffee or a glass of wine, and at cozy up for this episode, I really think it’s going to feel like a girls wine night and you’re just going to love it. So with that, let’s welcome Caila to the show. Hi Caila! How are you?
C: Great. Thank you, Elise. How are you?
E: I am doing great. Thank you so much for joining me on the podcast today. I am so excited to chat with you.
C: Well, I appreciate you having me because I know I’m one of the first guests, so I’m honored to be invited.
E: You are! I am so pumped. So a little background on how you and I met how we know each other. So we met just about a year ago, last February, it was right before shit hit the fan with the pandemic. It’s crazy to think that was a year ago. It also kind of feels like a lifetime ago because things are so different now, but we were on a brand trip for CALIA because we were both ambassadors last year. It’s Carrie Underwood’s athletic wear line. And we met there. We chatted, we bonded over being hapa. We talked about wedding planning and that was a year ago.
C: I know, and it’s so funny because back then, I don’t think I had even heard of COVID and so we were just so innocent. Times are so different. So I’m glad to see a familiar face though. And an old friend.
E: Yeah. It’s so fun. It’s so good to see you too. So, okay. So when we met, I had actually never watched the bachelor before. So I was completely ignorant to that world. And girls kept coming up to you and asking you about it on the trip. And I was like, wait, what am I missing here?
Like, what’s going on? Were you on the bachelor? And you were like, yeah. And you tell me a little bit about it. And even though I had never watched the show, I was like, fascinated by some of the behind the scenes things that you shared. So I thought it would be fun for us to start by talking about some of those bachelor behind the scenes, juicy details. And then we can also talk about your business as a content creator, wedding planning, and just kind of see where the conversation takes us.
C: I love that idea. I love going back in time because the bachelor was four years ago for me. I was on season 20 Ben Higgins season and it was such a great memory. So bring any questions cause I love turning back time.
E: I love that. Okay. So yeah, one of the first questions I was going to ask you is how long ago was it? So it was four years ago. Although it’s very fresh in my mind because I literally just watched your season. So one of the questions that I heard, a lot of girls on the brand trip asking you, and that I’m sure a lot of listeners want to know is the feelings on the show, like, are the feelings real?
C: Aw, I mean, yeah, they are real a hundred percent. Everybody asks like all the time, like, is it scripted? Like, do you have to like to play out any scenes? Is the drama fabricated? And no, the answer is no, nothing is fake. Everything is genuine and the feelings are real. I mean, when I went on four years ago, I was looking for love and I had a crush on this guy and I thought, you know, the greatest rewards in life come from the greatest risks. So I put myself out there and I waited in line with 400 other women to audition at a casino, a hard rock casino in Cleveland. And I remember putting on my little white dress and heels waiting in line to audition and all the other girls’ minds were wearing jeans. And I remember them saying, Oh, I want the producers to cast me and see my personality other than, you know, just surface level. And I was thinking, honey, you could dress up like, doesn’t mean you don’t have a personality and you can’t wear a dress and look, pretty girl.
E: Absolutely. Like, look and feel your best.
C: Right? Yeah. Let’s put our best self forward. And so anyway, I remember just from the first audition, them giving me a packet and saying like, you might have a connection. And I think they saw my authenticity and those feelings were real.
E: Oh, I love that. Thank you for sharing that little insight with us, cause I’m sure a lot of people were wondering, okay. So when you and I met, I had never watched the bachelor before, but when I knew that you were going to be coming on the podcast, I was like, okay, I’m going to prep. I’m going to do my research. I’m going to watch Caila’s. Entire season because I’m taking this seriously. And if I have a guest on the show that has written a book, I’m going to read their book. If I have a guest on the show that has been on the bachelor, I’m going to watch the entire season of the bachelor. So I’m watching your season. And I was watching it on my tablet, on the couch and my husband, Omied, fully starts making fun of me. He’s like, you’re watching the bachelor. Like I can’t even believe that like completely just giving me shit for it. And I was like, okay, excuse you. Like it’s for research, like Caila’s coming on the podcast. And also I’m enjoying myself, like we’re in a panny and I’m enjoying this light entertainment. So like just, it’s fine. A few minutes later, he’s like, well, you know, if you wanted to put it up on the TV and just like, have it on in the background while I’m cooking in the kitchen, that would be fine. So I’m like, okay, so do that. Next thing. I know, 15 minutes later, he is on the couch next to me, like, okay, what’s her story? Who is she? Do we like her? So into it, he ended up watching the entire season with me. And then at the end of it, he was like, well, your girl, Caila is on bachelor in paradise.
C: Ohh.. no..
E: So we have to watch bachelor. Oh yes, girl. We watched all of the bachelor in paradise. And then afterwards, he was like, well, I want to see what happens with JoJo. We watched her season now we’re watching Matt’s currencies and like we are, so it has become our choice form of entertainment during the pandemic.
C: Wait, Elise, I love this so much. And I’m also going to apologize, because once you watch one episode, I feel like you get hooked and it’s just like a big commitment, two hours.
E: 100%. So addicting, but also like we’re in a panny, like, what else am I going to do? And we’ve really been enjoying it. Okay. So my number one question for you after watching your season. Did you, or did you not see Kevin Hart’s penis? Like did, was he wearing a Speedo underneath and they blocked it out or did you actually full on see his ball sack?
C: Okay. That one, he was wearing a Speedo. He wasn’t really naked. We carried it up a bit for a little humor, but it was like overall really fun.
E: Okay. That’s kind of what I thought. But I was like, I need to know, like, if Caila has actually seen his junk or not, um, but either way, it’s so funny and I mean, he’s a comedian, so he’s got a ham it up a bit. Um, so one thing that you told me on our trip that really surprised me is that as someone on the show, you have to buy all of your own evening gowns for cocktail ceremonies, um, or for cocktail parties and Rose ceremonies.
C: Yeah. It’s a big investment. And at the time I was only 23, 24 years old. And so I didn’t have a lot of savings and it is really expensive because I think there’s 12 gowns or 12 Rose ceremonies you have to plan for. And I made it to the final three. And so packing all those dresses into check on suitcases is literally like folding origami and you don’t know the weather, and so it’s really expensive and it’s sad for a lot of girls, but hopefully they keep the tags on because, most of the girls out of the 30 women go home in the first few episodes. So they can return a lot of the dresses, if they don’t wear.
E: Okay. That was one of my logistical questions. Like what do you do? You’re buying all of these dresses. What do you do if you don’t make it past the first night? So, okay. You do save the receipts in case you don’t end up wearing them.
E: So the season takes, if you make it from start to finish, it takes three months to film. So what do people do about their jobs? Like paying rent for their apartments? Like how, how do people manage or how did you manage that?
C: A lot of the girls had to quit their jobs because a couple of them were newscasters and, you know, required being on the job. Luckily, I worked in software sales and I went to my boss and told him the situation and it was a very unique one. And so in the, like, backend basically they just put in the system that I was on pregnancy leave cause usually maternity leave is three months.
E: That’s amazing!
C: So I kinda stuck around it, but I still had to pay my rent, um, and borrow some money from my parents and pay them back. And so I think for a lot of people, you don’t get paid on the show and you lose a lot financially in the beginning.
E: Wow. Another burning question that I have. So how long do cocktail parties actually last? Because, and like, does it get shorter as the group gets smaller? Because it feels like there’s never enough time. Like sometimes not even all the girls get one-on-one time with the bachelor. And then when you do get that one-on-one time, how long does that last? Like how long is that chat for?
C: So the key with filming the bachelor is they need pitch black, when they’re filming at night, if that makes sense, like they don’t want like the sunset, they don’t want any glimmer of light. They want it to actually be night for the scene. And so usually for cocktail hours, we don’t start filming till 9:00 PM or 10:00 PM. So it’s pretty late. So you’ve already eaten dinner. And so you have to imagine people are just running on adrenaline and alcohol. And so usually the cocktail hours, like an hour and a half or two hours. And in between that, you know, the lead is being pulled out for interviews. And so they kind of make sure that your one-on-one time during that cocktail hour is only two minutes to three minutes, max.
So it’s really short. And for most girls, that’s the only time you see him for an entire week, those three minutes.
E: Oh my god.
C: And so you, you have to impress him, girl, you have to have, you know, these are my five facts that you’re going to learn about me today, and I want you to remember them and I hope it’s romantic and here’s a kiss. And I’ll see you next week.
E: Wow. That is wild, so funny enough, that was actually the question that Omied was like, be sure to ask Caila this cause I want to know. So there you have it Omied, now, you know, just two or three minutes, he’s going to be so shocked because his guess was 15 minutes.
C: I mean, yeah. If he was on the bachelorette, I mean, he, that, that’s why it’s so important to have quality time and people focus up and build up those minutes before it happens and if you’re fully present. And I do think the process works and I do think you can fall in love. And it’s just about being your most vulnerable self in the time you have.
E: Yeah. So while you are filming, you’re pretty locked down because the producers want to make sure there aren’t any spoilers you aren’t seeing in public. So do you have access to the outside world? Like, do you have your phone or your laptop?
C: No, at least you really have nothing. You don’t have your cell phone wifi. Clock or internet, you are really in a bachelor bubble and they make sure that all you focus on is your feelings. And I have to tell you, it is the, it was the most freeing time of my life, because I feel like as humans, we’re so distracted with our cell phone and like checking emails and, and constantly wondering, Oh, I’m missing something or in this digital world, which is, which is all fabricated. So we’re never really, like our mind is never free. Like we were children again. And so it was the best three months of my life for solely that fact.
E: Right. Wow. I like getting anxiety in my stomach, just thinking about not having my phone or my laptop, like, but it’s also kind of like the detox that we all need, like whether you do it every Sunday and just like put your phone away. Closed on your laptop. Um, the wild that’s wild to not have access to the outside world like that for three months. So I read one of your blog posts about being on the bachelor. And you said that you aren’t allowed a lot of activities, like you’re not allowed books or TV. Is that just to kind of force all the girls to interact and they’re just always filming. And if something interesting happens that happens and they catch it on camera or like, what’s the purpose of that. And then also, what did you do to fill your time? Like, were you super bored during that time?
C: You’re so sweet to read my blog, first of all. And then secondly, uh, yeah, it, we didn’t have TVs. They actually would unscrew or drill off the TVs from the hotel rooms, or they would put like a wooden box that looked like artwork on top of the TV. So it didn’t look like a TV.
C: Isn’t that’s crazy?
E: Yeah, like, I would never think like take the TV down from the wall, so…
C: They really didn’t want to have access to the outside world. And you were allowed books and journals, but I knew that it was not, I knew it was kind of a social experiment being in a house of 30 other women that I didn’t want to seem like the weird girl who was always reading alone. Like if you think about sororities or sleepovers, like if you’re having a sleep over with your girlfriend, you’re not going to like read in the corner and take a break. That would just be the weird girl.
E: Yeah. Were you in a sorority?
C: No, I went to BC and we didn’t have fraternities or Greek life.
E: Yeah. I wasn’t in a sorority either, but I was just thinking that seems like it would be good practice for living in a big house full of girls.
C: Yeah. I wish I had the practice before, but I was kinda thrown in.
E: So when you are traveling, you’re not allowed to leave the hotel room at all. Like you’re pretty locked down. Is that right?
C: Yeah. No, you’re right.
E: Wow, so I read in your blog post that in Vegas, you didn’t have a date that week. So you were in your hotel room for the entire week and weren’t able to leave. How did you not go crazy?
C: Well, it’s funny. We stayed at the Aria hotel and all of the windows of ours, it was like, uh, the penthouse. And so all, you know, whatever, what 12 girls of us were staying in the same suite and everything was glass windows. So I could watch the girls from below on their dates. And it was like torture, like seeing your boyfriend in front of you fly off in a helicopter with somebody else is literally the worst feeling, but, um, how we kept each other entertained. I think we painted our nails like three times a day just because we were bored and he was like, paint it white, wipe it, remove it, paint it pink, maybe with some artwork and yeah, you weren’t allowed to leave the house. And, and it was tortured too, because it was like, Vegas has the best weather and the prettiest pools. So everyone diving in, I was like, wait, you take me with you.
E: You basically were practicing quarantining before COVID.
C: You are. So, I didn’t even think of that, but we really were the first quarantiners. Originals. Yeah.
E: Okay. So you get to towards the end, you’re in Jamaica, your final three and you go and surprise Ben to see him. And he ends things and, you know, watching that my heart was just breaking for you and then you’re in the car and you ask them to stop. So you can ask him, did you know? And I was just wondering what was the, what was that closure that you were looking for? Because watching it from an audience perspective, I’m wondering, were you looking to understand, like, did Ben go through with the fantasy suite with you and like, like bring your relationship to that next level? Because I imagine, you know, it’s an overnight date. You’re not just lying side by side, holding hands. Were you looking to see if he did that, even though he knew that you weren’t the one that he was going to end up with or not like what was going through your mind and what was the impetus for you jumping out of that car?
C: I think, you know, it’s such a unique situation because he’s dating two other girls at the same time. And I think I jumped out of the car because you’re right. I needed some sort of closure and I knew in my heart that I would never see him again. And I would never be able to call him, text him or ask. It’s not like normal. And so I wanted to know, you know, where were his feelings genuine for me? Like my feelings were genuine for him because then it would make moving on easier if he never really liked me the way I liked him. And I, Yeah. I was so far in, you know, three months in and had shown him. He met my family and, and, you know, I had been to his hometown. And so it felt very real to me. And, and I didn’t want to be naive and think right off the bat that, of course he liked me. I don’t. I don’t know if that makes sense, but I think,
E: Yeah, it definitely does.
C: I think at that point I was just was like, where did this come from, blindsided. And I needed to grasp at some sort of clue of like, when did you feel this way? Or have you never really liked me at all?
E: Well, good for you. I admire, and I’m proud of you for having the presence of mind and that situation to stop the car and get out and ask the question that you needed, knowing that this might be your only opportunity for closure because I imagine there’s like a million different things running through your head. So many. Thoughts and emotions. And I can actually kind of hear the emotion in your voice right now. Ask him about it years later, because nobody likes talking about a breakup. Um, so I, I just appreciate you being so open and willing to go there with me and talk about that.
C: No, I appreciate you even watching the season back because you know, it you know, it felt like a dream the whole entire three months filming on the bachelor felt like a dream because, you know, I grew up in the Midwest. I’m a small town girl and I wasn’t used to like this glitz and glamor of being flown places and staying in suites and being with friends all the time and being taken care of. And the producers were my best friends too. And then as soon as he let me go. It was like, I, I was shaken from the dream and it all disappeared and all my friends were gone and the producers stopped calling. And I honestly went into a depression after, because it felt like, it felt like I was almost crazy, like this never really happened. And like, we weren’t really in a relationship and it was hard to get back to earth, um, and back to normal. And I felt like no one could relate to me. And so I was really alone for, um, a couple months, like up to six to eight months after and going into paradise. I wasn’t really in the right mindset.
E: That sounds really hard. One of my questions actually was going to be, how was that transition for you after, you know, leaving the show and then kind of moving back into real life? Um, because it sounds really difficult and it’s also like you’re in a very like public eye kind of, um, position. So that, that does sound really hard.
C: I’m really lucky though. I had family that, you know, if you have loved ones that ground you, that’s all you need in life. No matter what you’re going through.
E: Yeah. I love that. I was going to ask you what helped you get through that season of your life and it sounds like your family.
C: Yeah, definitely. My family. I stayed with them and I think just to remind you what really matters in life and what’s real real.
E: Yeah. Well, speaking of real, real, tell us about your fiance, Nick, and how you guys met and all that fun stuff.
C: You’re so sweet. Um, yeah, Nick and I have been together for three years and we were set up on a date and it was in New York city, in the fall. And we met at a bar downtown and I always think to myself, I’m the luckiest girl in the world that my friend picked me to be set up with him because he’s such a catch that any girl would fall in love with him. Literally, if you met him, you’d fall. I mean, I know you’re like you’re taken care of, but, and you’re called for, but I mean, I, I just think he’s so dreamy and you should be in love with your fiance and, uh, anyway,
C: Yeah. We met at a bar called The Wren and it’s still there. And I just remember he was such a Midwest gentleman because it was a group of 10 girls. We all were out before and he introduced himself to every other girl at the table and saved me for last. And I knew it’s because he wanted to talk to me after. And I could just see, you know, that, that gentlemen quality and, and then we went out after went dancing and we made it out on the dance floor, very New York, had cocktails. And so it was very sex in the city date. And I’ve loved him ever since.
E: Oh, I love that so much.
E: So with Nick, how does he feel about not, not you being on the bachelor, but I mean, not everyone has exes, but not everyone can look back at their partner with their ex making out on TV with like literal fireworks going off in the background. Like, I imagine that would be hard. So how does he manage that?
C: You know, I’ll be honest. He’s very like manly macho man. And he really doesn’t love whenever the topic is brought up. And so I try and shield it from him as much as possible, but we don’t really talk about the bachelor or like my time on it ever, you know, when we’re together and the way he handles it, I think is he just thinks of it as like college, like an extension of college and you know, we just happen to see my college friends in air quotes. You know, every Monday night or, you know, whenever there is an event. And so he does a really good job and luckily I have a really supportive partner.
E: Yeah, that’s amazing. And obviously you guys are so in love and I can hear that in your voice too. And, um, you know, focusing on each other and your relationship is what makes sense. Um, I actually read that Ben’s girlfriend or fiance. I’m not sure. Um, that she has not watched his season of the bachelor. And I am like props to you girl. Like that is the smart thing to do. I know myself and I know if it was me, I would be like, I have, I don’t have the willpower or the restraint. Like I have to see it. I have to know.
C: I had no idea. That is like a really fun fact. And seriously, I give her a lot of credit too. And it just shows how mature she is that she doesn’t need to, you know, Insta stalk or whatever people do.
E: Yeah. Yeah, no, that’s like a whole other level.
E: Yeah, so good for her. That is a self-confident woman right there. We love to see it. So when, when you went to paradise, what does that timeframe like in terms of when you end the season and then you’re off and you leave for Paradise?
C: So the filming of the bachelor, as you know, is three months and it always ends like two days before Thanksgiving. So it’s like in the fall and then it airs that January. And then they start filming for paradise in June. So you have probably eight months in between filming and a lot happened in between. Um, you know, they considered, I interviewed to be the bachelorette. They flew me out to LA, which was really crazy. And for three months I was in that in-between paradise. And then they announced JoJo and she was stunning and literally a flawless angel in the entire, in her entire season. And I loved watching her fall in love and they’re still very happy. And so it made it really fun to want to do paradise and see what would happen next. And so, yeah, it was that summer.
E: Okay. I imagine that felt super disappointing that you didn’t end up being the bachelorette, like you’re going through the interviews and like filming and that must’ve been so exciting. Obviously everything worked out exactly how it was meant to but in that, at during that time, did it feel really crushing that you weren’t going to be the next bachelorette or were you just kind of like, it is what it is?
C: I was, I was kind of the latter, like it is what it is. And, you know, I believe in fate and I was like, you know what? It wasn’t meant to be at that time. I realize now that I was so young, I was 24 and seeing every bachelorette that’s 27 or 28. And it has those extra years, like I didn’t realize at the time how much more I had to learn about myself.
E: Yeah. I mean, you were super young, but you still, you come across your, your maturity really shows like you did such a good job of staying out of the drama, like that props to you, because that looks difficult, like Lord knows, I couldn’t think. And you were obviously just very focused on getting to know him and yourself and you were very genuine. And I think that really comes across really, obviously when you watch the season.
C: Oh, thank you.
E: I don’t have too many paradise questions because that’s like a whole other can of worms, but in general, like what is that experience like? Because I mean, it looks wild.
C: It is really wild. My favorite analogy is that, you know, the bachelor is like going to college. You know, that feeling when you go to college where you don’t know anybody and you’re on your best behavior and you dress up and you, you feel very put together, everyone’s in suits. Meanwhile, um, yeah, suits and gowns and, and then there’s paradise, in paradise is like high school because everybody knows each other and it’s really cliquey and it’s a lot less clothing. So I always like to relate to people. If you enjoyed college, you would enjoy the bachelor. And if you enjoyed high school, you’d enjoy paradise. And I hated high school. And so I also hated paradise.
E: I mean, that makes total sense because like you said, there are certain people that already know each other and it there’s already these preformed cliques. So yeah, that doesn’t sound, that doesn’t sound super great, but is it really hard to watch back when people say shitty things about you? Cause like, I, I can’t tell the twins apart, so I don’t know which one said this, but one of them was like, Oh Caila, like, she’s so perfect. She’s like a robot and I’m sitting on the couch, like, um, excuse me. She is a really nice person. Like, first of all, second of all, how dare you?
C: Thank you. Yeah, it’s I I’ve never had, I actually laughed. I remember watching it back and laughing being like, I cannot believe those people have the audacity to say that about me after we’ve known each other for almost a year, like for so long.
C: And also I think that has to do with a lot of self-confidence. Like, I just have comments myself and I just know that I’m not that person like someone, I mean, you can bleep this out later, but someone called me a horse. I wouldn’t call me a tramp. And like behind my back on that show. And I know in my heart, I’m not either of those things. So it’s just hilarious to me that they, you know, that’s all they could think of to describe me. And like when people throw names at you, it’s just to hurt you. And if you don’t allow it to hurt you, then they can’t, you know, they can’t get under your skin. And so I think for anyone who’s feeling like bullied in any way, you just have to know your self worth and know who you are and not let those people get to you. Cause they’re trying to hurt you and only by letting them in, are you giving them that?
E: A hundred percent. I admire your perspective on that and your confidence and just how you carry yourself and you’re able to laugh at it. Um, I think we can all, you know, use a little bit more of that self-assuredness and self-confidence in our lives because not everyone is gonna like you and you know, you’re in the unique situation where you sometimes, see what they say about you behind your back, but then it’s on TV, but everyone has been that situation where, you know, someone tells them like, Oh, so-and-so said this about you.
C: I know.
E: And you’re like, ugh.. you know, and it’s, it’s up to you, how you react and, and process and deal with that. So, um, are you still friends with any of the girls from the show?
C: From my season, Olivia Creedy, she’ll be at my wedding. I DM with a lot of the girls from my season, Amanda Stanton. Um, we like each other’s photos, Lauren Bushnell, Jo Jo, like, they’re all like the sweetest girls in the world. And so I feel really lucky because we had a really great group. And then, um, from the season before me, you probably haven’t watched yet, but one Pablo season, there was a girl named Sharleen Joynt, and when I watched her season, she was half Asian. And I always looked up to her like an older sister and she happened to live in New York. And so we met three years ago when I moved here and she took me under her wing. And now she’s one of my bridesmaids.
E: Oh, I love that.
C: Yeah. So we are really like a bachelor family.
E: That is very sweet. Okay. I want to pivot, and I want to talk about you being a lifestyle creator now, because a major thing that I’ve noticed about you is that you have done a really excellent job of being an actual content creator and building a personal brand. So, you know, you’re, you’re, it’s not just like here’s a bachelor person, posting hot girl pics with like ads sprinkled in there. You are a true content creator and you share posts on your feed and your blog that provide value, whether it’s through recipes, hairstyle, how tos or sharing life lessons. So tell me more about that and how you’ve gone about building your business and your personal brand.
C: Well, I appreciate you saying that Elise, because I really do want to differentiate myself as not just a bachelor girl. I graduated from BC and in 2014 with a marketing degree and have always been focused on branding. And it was really important when I came off the show that I created a blog that represented to me girls who wanted to be like authentic and vulnerable, because it was something I saw that was missing on Instagram. And, you know, to make it a more vulnerable place, you need to kind of set that example. And I, and I really wanted to share stories in the beginning of dating and, and taking risks and moving to New York and starting over and picking yourself up. And that’s how my blog kind of started. And it’s evolved into a lifestyle. Like website, where I talk about like living healthy and yeah, mental health and wellness and balance. And the best part is I get to connect with girls all around the world who, um, are kind of going through the same thing and trying to just figure it out and find, you know, their own inner peace. So, yeah, I, I think it’s been really fun and it’s been almost five years of doing it. Yeah. I’m just really grateful. I feel like one of the luckiest girls in the world.
E: That’s amazing. So before our interview, I did a stories question sticker and I asked people, do you have any questions for Caila? And one of the questions that came through was about this topic and like, how have you built such a strong community and, um, been able to maintain that engaged community years after your bachelor season because so many others kind of fall off or fall out. And I think that, uh, it goes back to what you’re saying about making like those real connections, like through your, your blog and your conversations and your DMS, and then you sharing those kind of vulnerable moments. Um, and that, that genuineness and authenticity really shines through and people find a lot of value in it.
C: Oh, thank you. I feel the same with what you share all the time.
E: Oh, thank you. That’s really sweet. I appreciate that. Are you kind of like, uh, a one-woman show like me, or do you have a team or support? I know that you are with one of the largest influencer management agencies in the country, but do you have any other like photographers or virtual assistant or editors that you work with that kind of help make your website run?
C: So I’m really lucky because I live in one of the cities that has the most talent in the world, um, New York city. And so I have a photographer I work with every other week and we shoot and plan out content. I have, I do most of it myself, though. Everything creative, um, is really strategized. Just solo one man bands. But I do, I am really grateful because I work with DBA, my management company, and I can bounce ideas off of them and just make sure I’m going in the right direction because, um, they have a roster of some 70 of them. Some of the biggest influencers in the world and so really getting their insight helps me kind of make sure that I’m giving my audience really good rich content that they find valuable. But yes, usually I plan my content count lender quarterly. So every four months I just try and plan out. What’s going to come out on the blog and then once I do the big picture, I kind of divide it out in bi-weekly to make sure, those, that content is made.
E: Well, it’s a lot, as I know, firsthand, it’s a lot of work and you produce a ton of content and, um, you just do a really, really nice job of like making it polished and beautiful, but still approachable and useful as well. So props to you.
C: Well, I appreciate it. Thank you.
E: Yeah. So as a content creator, 2020, I feel like was a particularly challenging year. I mean, it was for everyone, but from a content creator perspective, there was just so much happening with COVID, black lives matter, the election. And I watched, and I saw on your feed that you had to learn a really public lesson when your followers called you out for not posting about the protests that were happening after George Floyd’s murder and to your credit, you responded to those comments and said, you’re right. There is no excuse for my silence or my lateness in posting about this. And then you proceeded to post and show your support for black lives matter and started to amplify black voices on your stories. Um, so I wanted to ask you what that experience was like for you, obviously on a very public platform. And how has that changed the way that you view yourself and your responsibilities as an influencer?
C: Wow. I appreciate for you for even, you know, being a part of that journey, because that was definitely a big learning experience for me, but the whole period of time humbled me and just taught me it’s not enough to have the same old routine and not want to educate yourself and be involved and, um, also help inform your community. And so it was really hard because I do. And I have to admit, and I was wrong that I didn’t speak up sooner, but in the moment I was taking my time to really process what was happening and watch the news. And I think I was two or three days late to sharing with my community, but I learned a lot and I’m grateful that everyone who followed was really patient with me and they helped me divulge the correct information. I just don’t want to reshare and repost things that are just whimsically thrown out there because I need to do my own research and make sure it’s correct. And now I work really hard to watch the news and, and share what is important to other people and show them what I care for and what I stand for because social media now is evolving and you need to you have a voice and it’s important that you use it to lift up communities and things that matter to you. And one of the things that matter to me that I’ve been trying to voice all through the holidays and this entire year has been shopping small and supporting and diversifying where we shop. I think shopping, you know, black owned businesses, very important. I’m half Filipino, and I’ve been making an effort to spend 20% of everything I buy from not only Black-owned businesses, but Filipino-owned businesses, because otherwise we will only shop at where we’re exposed to and it’s our job to make an effort to expand those horizons and support communities and entrepreneurs of all backgrounds.
E: Absolutely. That’s wonderful. Thank you for sharing that example and, for sharing about your experience, because I know it’s not a comfortable topic to discuss. It’s definitely difficult, but it’s important. And one thing that you were saying about, you know, having to evaluate what you are posting and not just like throwing things out there that really resonated with me and a lesson that I learned this year, for sure. Um, I think that when there’s so much going on, I feel the need to like contribute and like post on stories and, and show like, I’m not okay with this, or this is where I stand on it. Or, you know, resharing pieces of information, but I kind of need to take a step back because I’m not a news source, like nor should I pretend to be, or try to be, um, you know, it’s important to take a stand and make it known what I do and do not stand for, but I’m not a news source. And I think that influencing anybody, whether you have a large followers or not, right? Like this is part of the larger conversation of what is wrong with social media and, uh, why these crazy conspiracy theories are spreading. Like think about what you are resharing on Facebook and what you’re posting, because those things matter. Um, and so one example that comes to mind for me was, do you remember earlier this year there was that like, challenge accepted trend that was going on. And it was like, you post a black and white photo of yourself and you nominate other women. So I got a bunch of messages and, you know, people nominating me and I was like, Oh, this is so flattering. Like, this is so nice. I have to find a black and white photo and post and like, you know, hop on this trend.
E: And then I was like, wait, what is this? Coming from like, what, what does this mean? And I started doing a little bit more research and from what I read, it actually originated in Turkey as a way to spread awareness of female genocide that was happening there. And it’s somehow snowballed into this like trendy thing in the United States and like, that’s not something that I want to be a part of, unless there is an actionable step at the end that I can share with my audience, like, you know, donate to this organization that is working towards ending female genocide in Turkey. Like just a hopping, if you just, something comes your way. And you’re like, Oh, I have to share, I have to post, I have to do it. And you don’t take a step back to actually, you know, critically think about what is this and what am I sharing? Like it’s, um, it’s just, it’s a responsibility that we all have, and we all need to kind of process and think about. And it’s tough because so much of being a content creator has to do with sharing things in the moment and being timely and quick and hopping on trends. Um, but you do have to balance it, like you say, with taking a step back and processing and really thinking about what it is that you’re sharing. So it can be a difficult position to be in, but I appreciate you sharing that with us, that experience with us and also sharing some of the actions that you are taking.
C: Well, you said it so eloquently. I could never say it as good as you just said it, but you’re right. I think what people don’t realize is when you’re a content creator, you don’t just throw things out there. You’re I mean, personally, I’m always intentional. Does it educate, does it entertain or does it inform? And if it doesn’t do either of those three things, I don’t post it.
E: Yeah. And I think that has contributed to how your platform is able to provide so much value, because it’s obvious that you are thinking through those things when you’re creating your content.
C: Well, I appreciate that. Elise you’re so sweet. Oh my gosh. I cannot believe you watch those stories. That was a really tough time for everyone in America. And I hope that, you know, society as a whole changes for good and makes an effort to educate themselves and, and lift up all communities for sure.
E: Yeah, absolutely. I hope for that too. So in terms of the content that you share on your feed and your blog, when you first started your blog, it was about finding love and you shared a lot of really vulnerable posts about your journey and like break up open, open breakup letter and things like that. And so now that you’re kind of in a different stage of your life and you and Nick are engaged, how do you go about setting boundaries? And you actually just recently did a post on your feed, kind of talking about boundaries a bit, but how do you go about deciding what you do and don’t share about Nick, your partner and about your relationship in general.
C: You hit it right on the head. I think the best way to have a healthy relationship is communication. And one of those forms of communication is setting boundaries for things that you are uncomfortable with because there are two equal partners in every relationship and you both deserve an equal voice. And so I think as women not to generalize, but I always like think in my head for every 10 thoughts or 10 complaints I have, I only voice one. We have this immense filter and this immense guilt of like, Oh my gosh, am I really gonna say that? And, um, when you pick those battles of what really matters to you, um, one of our biggest battles is privacy and social media, how much I share. And so we have been very specific and talk to many, many times about what the boundaries are and, and for him and I, the best thing we’ve done is created concrete boundaries that make us both feel heard and supported. So for social media, for example, one of our concrete boundaries was Nick hated when I whenever he came home from work in the, when we first started dating and moved in together, I would always have my iPhone out and my cell phone being like Nick’s home and I’d be recording him, coming in the door and I’d be like, I’m so excited. He’s so cute, look at him in a suit. And he would always get so flustered being like, why are you in my face? Why are you sharing? Who nobody cares that I’m coming home. I come home every day, Caila and I was like, no, but it’s exciting for me. I’ve been single for so long to have someone come home to me, it’s just like really, really, you know, fun. And he always jokes that I’m like a little puppy dog or whatever, you know, um, that I just get so excited about the little things, but one of our boundaries that has really helped our relationship is I don’t take my phone out the first hour when he comes home from work, because that’s when he’s decompressing and he, you know, had just traveled and commuted for 45 minutes. He doesn’t want that in his face. And I totally understand that. And if we didn’t communicate that, then we wouldn’t have the healthy relationship we have now. And then to equally balance that out. He agrees to take, you know, do photos with me once every four months. Um, and I get to choose when I get to use my little golden ticket, but that’s how I feel supported. And so we really give and take and both support each other’s needs.
E: Okay, well, I am going to take notes on both of those with Omied, it’s it’s really funny. He is so handsome, but he can be really camera shy. And I think it’s because when he was a kid, he was chubby and, um, got teased a lot for it. And then, you know, he grew up in blossom guts, super hot, but like, he doesn’t necessarily see himself as super hot. So sometimes I’ll like, want to post a photo or a story or something. And he’s like, no, don’t post that. Like, I look super goofy there. Like I don’t want to be on your feet today or whatever. Um, And so anytime there’s, I’ve had something that in my mind is like a little bit questionable. Like I asked him, like, is this okay to post? But, um, the way that you go about it and having these like concrete boundaries, I think is more of a proactive approach for it, that makes it more clear for both parties versus the way I’ve been doing it as a little bit reactive. Like if I’m not sure, like, you know, putting my phone in his face would be like, is this okay to post or not? Like, so that’s a great tip. And then also. I love that you guys do photos like once a quarter or so, because with Omied, sometimes he’s like, I just don’t feel like being in front of him camera and he’s not often, but you know, sometimes they want to post like a couples of us are like, I have a campaign where it makes sense. So I love that you do that.
C: Yeah. And I think for them, they, like, they just need to be prepared. They need mental time to prepare at least a week or at least a day. And so I think men just don’t really want to be surprised.
E: Totally. I think you actually like, literally took the words out of Omied’s mouth because I definitely have had that experience and it happens a lot when I need his help for shooting something since he’s usually my photographer. And so he hates it and he gets it so mad at me, which is totally understandable. If I forget to tell him something and I like spring something on him during his lunch break. And he’s like, could you please just give me, like, at least 24 hours advance notice. I’m like, okay. That is fair.
C: Yes. I know. And the thing is I still forget sometimes none of us are perfect. And it’s okay.
E: Yeah, totally. Sometimes I forget too. And also like in our business and our industry, sometimes things just like pop up and it’s like, Oh, this one’s like a quick turnaround or I need to do this. And like, things can shift really quickly. So, yeah. But, but that is something that I’m going to work on. I’m going to take your tips to heart.
C: Cool. Thanks. What it sounds like you guys are really good communicators and that’s like the main thing in a relationship is you just need to feel comfortable enough to say, you know? Yeah. So set your boundaries and if he’s feeling uncomfortable, like he needs to be able to say it. So..
E: Yeah, totally.
C: I can tell you guys love each other so much. You’re so sweet.
E: Ohh.. Thank you. We’ve been together a very long time. So we have had a while to work on our communication skills.
E: Well, one of the things that we chatted about when we were in Pittsburgh was your wedding. And I just loved hearing about it and like seeing photos of your dress, and you were telling me about how you were going to get married in Italy and like Como. And I had just been to Lake Como the summer before. So we talked a lot about that. Um, but obviously things have shifted because of the pandemic. So what is the plan now?
C: So since we can’t do international travel, we didn’t really, we didn’t want our family and friends and guests to take the risk of buying tickets and, and, you know, waiting to the last minute to either go or cancel because it’s a lot of money on the line. So we canceled eight months in advance and are now doing a wedding in Sarasota, Florida, which is still a destination to us. We’re doing it this Memorial day weekend. So a lot of our family luckily can have that Monday off and it’s at the Ringling museum, which, um, the Ringling brothers were the circus founders and, um, John Ringling and his wife Mabel built a mansion down there on the water inspired, um, by Venice. So they brought Venetia and artisans in, in the 18 hundreds and built this beautiful home on the water. And one of the things that Nick and I love the most is supporting the arts and John Ringling. He, his wife loved. Um, art as well, and she collected it. So he would buy her art to show his love. And over the years they collected millions of dollars. And so it’s an art museum. And so I love that all of the art will be that we will be married around, represents love, and, and for us, when we walk those halls, after we say our I do’s, I feel like it’ll just be almost as if love is being enveloping us and like was passed down from that couple to us. And so I love the history and he and I are really excited because it’s almost here four months away.
E: That’s so exciting. Oh my gosh. It sounds so beautiful. And I love that the design of the venue was kind of inspired by Venice and the canals, because it’s kind of like you’re bringing Italy to you. That’s amazing. I love it. I cannot wait to see photos. It’s going to be beautiful. Um, are you still planning on wearing the dress that you found on say yes to the dress?
C: I am. Um, I’m really excited cause I’m getting my first dress fitting next week and that was my dream dress. And I, I knew it as soon as I put it on. So I’m really lucky that I found it before the pandemic and had the whole shopping experience that I did with my family.
E: Well to wrap things up. I have a few just like quick audience questions from the story that I did earlier. So first one, and I want to know this too. So what is the deal? What is the secret with your hair? Like, do you use some special volumizing shampoo? Like tell us everything the world wants to know.
C: You are so sweet. Um, one of my favorite secrets is I use this deep conditioner called Aussie’s three-minute miracle. And I put it in my hair like every two or three days in the shower and leave it in for longer than three minutes, but it makes my hair so smooth and just like a lot stronger. And then for my curls, when I want them to last longer, I always clip up my curls on my head when I curl them. And so it cools, um, In a curl and it actually makes them even bigger.
E: Great tip. Do you have like a favorite curling iron that you use to get those curls?
C: I use hot tools, but I, my curling iron is actually an extra long one, so it’s three inches longer. So when you have long hair, instead of just curling the second half the end, having the extra long barrel helps and it’s a one and a quarter inch thickness.
E: Got it. Thank you for sharing your hair secrets. Um, another question that came through, do you plan on continuing your book club?
C: Oh, that’s really sweet. I have a lot of internal guilts about my book club because after BLM, I just felt a lot of, you know, just a lot of negativity and, um, I wanted the book club to be an escape and a lighthearted place. And so I still hold a lot of guilt about its purpose and, and. Um, I do, I want to, in my heart I started back up and I think I will this year, but it’s just really tough. I want, I want to feel like it’s, it’s a place where we can all enjoy and escape in a book.
E: Well, obviously you’ve got a lot going on. You’ve got your wedding that you’re planning that’s happening in four months.
E: So, but maybe, you know, after the wedding, if you do start up your book club again, I don’t know. I mean, I think it could be really cool to incorporate in some other educational and anti-racism books. I mean, it doesn’t have to be all lighthearted books or all anti-racism books because…
E: You know, I, I get it like that’s not what I want to read every single month, but it’s still important to make sure that I’m holding myself accountable and, and educating myself and reading those books. And so it might be like the encouragement that your community needs like, Hey, this week I am reading, or this month I’m reading White Fragility, like, or whatever anti-racism book it is that you choose and like would love for you to join me. Like, I think that could be really cool. And like I said, it doesn’t have to be like all lighthearted or all anti-racism. And people can choose which ones they want to participate in or not. But I think that that encouragement and starting that conversation says a lot.
C: I think you’re right. And I think that’s where I feel this guilt, because I think I promise to read or write fragility and I read the first five chapters myself to do research. And it just was so dense that it was really hard to create a conversation around it for me. Um, since I didn’t feel fully educated. And so, you’re right. I think I just need to find that balance and really, and I do want to start it again because I loved doing it last year.
E: Yeah. I mean, I get it, like I’ve read white fragility too, and it is very dense and stuff. Probably not a lighthearted escape. But obviously that wouldn’t be the intent if you were to do that and have a month that was focused on a book like that. But I think it could be really cool. And I also want to say that I don’t think that you need to hold any guilt over, like not starting up the book club again, like being super, you know, busy or taking time to process and feeling unsure about what your next book selection should be. Um, like I just don’t think that you need to be like holding guilt over that.
C: Thank you. I appreciate that.
E: Well, to wrap things up, any books or resources you want to recommend to people maybe like, especially as we head into the new year. Uh, whether it’s productivity or just like getting your mind, right. Any favorites that you have that you can recommend.
C: One of my favorite books of all time is called Designing Your Life. And I forget who the author is. Have you heard of it?
E: I have, I haven’t read it, but now that you’ve recommended, I definitely will.
C: It’s by two professors who run this course and I read it when I was single and lost and, um, kind of in a, in a place where I needed to find myself and it kick-started my life. And now I reread a couple of the chapters whenever I need to refocus my business. And so anyway, I recommend it to everybody. If you need to find yourself, redesign your life.
E: Awesome. I’m adding that to my Kindle list right now.
E: Well, Caila, where can everyone find you if they are not following you already?
C: You are so sweet. I love to share and would love to get to know all of your listeners on my Instagram and @CailaQuinn. And I also have a blog called withlovecaila.com.
E: Awesome. Caila, thank you so much for coming on the podcast with me, it just felt like a fun, like girls’ night over a glass of wine chat. It was just, I loved it. Thank you so much for all of your openness.
C: Elise, me too. And thank you for doing all of your research. Seriously, you put so much work into this podcast and I know it’s going to pay off and I can’t wait to share, and you are the sweetest soul, and I can’t wait to follow along on your Insta and keep cheering for you.
E: Thank you. That is so kind. Thank you so much.
C: Of course. Bye
E: Bye Caila. Okay, how much do we love Caila? I just want to take a second to say another huge thank you to her for just taking the time to chat with me and also for being willing to be so open and vulnerable in this, this conversation. I mean, we talked about everything from juicy bachelor gossip to painful breakups, um, her business difficult lessons that she learned last year, and I just so appreciated the openness that she brought to this conversation, and I hope that you guys enjoyed listening in as well.
Elise Armitage is an entrepreneur and founder of What The Fab, a travel + lifestyle blog based in California. At the beginning of 2019, Elise left her corporate job at Google to chase her dreams: being an entrepreneur and helping women find fabulous in the everyday. Since then, she’s launched her SEO course Six-Figure SEO, where she teaches bloggers how to create a passive revenue stream from their website using SEO. Featured in publications like Forbes, Elle, HerMoney, and Real Simple, Elise is a firm believer that you can be of both substance and style.