How did I get to where I am today:
Oh, there were so many different paths that added to my journey. First, I wanted a change. I wanted my finances to change, and I wanted to live an interesting life – though I didn’t know what that looked like yet. I wanted some freedom, and I was fortunate enough to get into the modeling profession and to move into a whole new world. Modeling included world travel, new people daily and loads of life lessons. My modeling career created a whole new experience from where I had been previously. It has always been an education.
Have you ever been fired?
Of course, I have experienced being fired. I have been fired from a few jobs. The first time I was sacked, I was in California cleaning up places in an elderly complex. I would clean up their houses, wash the dishes, and run small errands for the residents. I was able to do this because I had a little car. I would head out and get these ladies whatever they liked. They would ask for things like Taco Bell and The National Enquirer, or cigarettes. I would buy these for them even though I was not old enough to buy cigarettes! That got me fired. It was very embarrassing and disappointing, as it was a fun job and the people were really, really sweet to me. I loved it, but I am glad I’m not doing it now, but I did like it a lot back then. I also got fired from a few modeling jobs because they just did not feel like I looked like the right fit for the shoot. A few jobs that I showed up for, I have sat out and not done anything. I remember there was one gig where they assumed I was a professional dancer, then they fired me when I arrived as I was not the "ballerina" they had imagined. It is embarrassing to get fired and can be very humiliating, however, I learned so much each time it happened. That is the lesson here; you learn from the pain and the process.
What are your real passions?
My real passion is my family. I adore - and tolerate - all my siblings. I enjoy my children; my nieces and nephews, my cousins, and God. My kids and husband really are my favorite people. My husband and I raised two great sons. I am a reader and love to learn things. If someone wanted me to try something new, I would be reluctant to try new things because I would be embarrassed if I did not already know everything. I believe in conversations, and I believe in seeing people in real life. I learn from everyone and every experience. I love to keep moving, to keep trying, to keep crying, and to keep loving and laughing. My favorite thing to do is to swim in the sea.
If you won the lottery, what would you do?
Although they would not like it, if I won the lottery I would either modernize my parents' house, or else move them into a more modern home. I would help any close family that is having financial heartache, which is quite common as of late, so I would help my family out. I would invest in things for myself for the long term, and I would buy myself something amazing as a special gift. I would travel and I would give money to important charities. To make a difference, I would just pick the charities that I love – the ones that help others and make a difference in the world. In sharing my personal winnings, the blessings would spread to others. It would all depend on how much money I win.
What do you do to help others be their best?
I try not to be critical of people. The only time I will speak up is if it is in a person's best interest. By compartmentalizing my emotions, I can tell people things that I feel are good and positive for them. I also can be very pushy. You know, I can push my kids to do homework, so they excel, and I can also push people to better their personal situation. I do it quietly, with support unless they need a stronger bit of advice. My behavior is likely super annoying to some people, and I nag to. I always want the absolute best for them. I also show up and I just love people where they are at by reminding them about their best parts, the parts that I can already easily see.
How do I help myself be the best I can be?
I am not the best I can be "yet." I always strive to be better. I continue to want to have more knowledge. Keeping my mind moving and keeping my body physically active will help me achieve my best self. I believe in body, brain and beauty combined. Looking as good as you can, and feeling great about who you are as you grow and change, is a healthy thing for everybody to experience. This is so important, especially for women.
What do I like to do in my personal life?
I love to be with my large extended family. When I go to California, which is often, I visit my parents, sisters, brother, nieces and nephews, great-nieces and nephews, and friends. I go once every few months and hang out with my mates from school. We have such a blast I usually need a vacation from my vacation! I love all four of my pooches. There are times that I may love one more than the other - not gonna pretend it is all equal. I always try to balance my fleeting feelings towards my two black labs, Luther and April; along with my Jack Russell Terrier Ginger, and my King Charles Spaniel Daisy. Long walks at my country house with the dogs help keep me in shape and keep my endurance up. We see bear and deer, and I must always be one step ahead of Ginger the Jack Russell Terrier, because she thinks she is much bigger than she is when she happens upon an adversary! In addition, I like to take long walks in New York City as well as my house upstate. I can binge watch a great TV series in one sitting. (With the random guilty pleasure of potato chips) I also love to cook and entertain. My boys love it when I am home, and they can invite friends over and I cook – I’m usually a “poultry or fish with a veggie" type of cook. My table is always open to anyone who is in the immediate area. I like an eclectic gathering of different people and personalities at these meals. These are special, memorable times together. When home in NY, I love to go out for a quick "rehash" with friends after I have been away on a long trip. A catch-up, if you will. I love quick lunches and dinners with my kids and mates. I love to read. I do not like talking on the phone that much unless I am driving. When I drive, I can make my long-distance calls and catch up with business and friends. I love to laugh. I love to love.
What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
What I hope to accomplish in the future is to continue to maintain being a positive, realistic person. I want to continue to be a major influence in the lives of my friends, family, and children. I want to be more knowledgeable, to be wiser, and to just be "more." I believe in constantly growing. You have heard people speak about making changes in their life, right? It is difficult to change. I think it’s truly tough to change, however, every time I’ve made a substantial change in my life it has been an incredibly positive experience. It is about the work as much as about the play. Change has been a truly eye opening and enlightening experience for me.
What is a book or two that you recommend?
I like so many books. I love mysteries, and I love funny books. You all should read Rules of Civility, Meaning of Night, Stones Fall, Historian. I recently read The Candy House, as well as The Glass Monkey, which I do not even think was ever published. It was a beautiful and amazingly detailed book. I love it when a writer can describe things, places, smells, and people so exquisitely that you feel like you are right there. I love that I can feel truly transported. My choices have a broad range. I obviously love the classics, like The Color Purple. I have read everything by John Steinbeck. When I was younger, I read a lot of Stephen King. I also like Nelson DeMille. I loved Where the Crawdads Sing, Giver of Stars, Foundling, At Play in the Fields of the Lord, Sheltering Sky. I love books that transport you to another place and time.
Please give us one or two shameless plugs.
If you want me to share shameless plugs, OK then, here I go! I work with a surgeon - Dr. Gerald Imber. We have this skin care line together that really makes your skin look beautiful, young, and refreshed. It helps with fine lines and wrinkles. There are five products in the line called “Youth Corridor.” The webpage for more information is youthcorridor.com(Readers can use code Kara20 for 20% off). There is a great vitamin C serum, lovely night cream, Retin-A cream, a cleanser, and a great sunblock. The products are all exceptional. I’ve been using them, myself, for a long time and combined they have vastly improved the little evil lines and dry places on my skin. They have also removed the small dark spots that can make me crazy when they show up. Honestly my skin has never looked or felt better.
My first personal "mom shameless plug" is my own super talented son Nick D’Orazio (Instagram @nickdorazio) He shot the cover and the photos for this magazine! It is fortunate to be able to look through the camera lens directly into my son's heart. It is a moving feeling for a mom. Nick is an amazing, young, and yet experienced photographer. There is nobody better out there! Nick can photograph women from ages 18 to 80. He shoots men beautifully, with a sensitivity that cannot be taught. Nick can bring out people's "Best Ever You" selves in all shapes and sizes. Nick grew up on photo shoots. He visited and worked on Victoria’s Secret with top supermodels, including his Godmother, the Iconic Naomi Campbell! He has been on shoots at top fashion magazines and even worked with Celebrity Fashion Stylist Wayne Scot Lukas when working with Janet Jackson. At 10 years old, Nick was a paid assistant on an InStyle magazine shoot for Julia Roberts in Florence, Italy. He learned from the absolute best and knows what true beauty looks like. He also knows beauty comes from the heart. These lessons are what make Nick's work heartfelt and unique.
My other "mom shameless plug" is my researching and finding healthy boarding schools for our highschool aged son. I never thought I would allow boarding school; however, it was the best thing I ever did. I like my boys near me, like a mother hen does. However, much to my chagrin, my son Constantine decided to board at school. I had to honor his decision. This choice has changed him. He is growing up quickly, away from home. He has more autonomy, more responsibility and more personal power. It was a “yes” from me when he chose this private high school after numerous visits. We are happy we agreed to allow him to go. He was the lead in the play Aladdin last year; he received accolades from teachers and students alike. He recently joined the school football team and is going to be on the swim team. His grades are outstanding, and his confidence in himself and his abilities grow every day. He is thriving at his school. I miss him beyond measure but it's the best thing for him. Now, he comes home to visit, and we travel to see him for football games. My husband or I can even slip away and sneak a private lunch or dinner with him at school.
My last plugs are that I have the best trainer in NY and LA - Kato (Instagram @katotrainmeplease) He keeps my body and my mind in tip-top shape with his in-person or zoom classes which include boxing, weights, stretching, and cardio. My favorite clothing items lately are the coolest hoodies and sweats by a company called Mink and Cookies (Instagram@minkandcookies).
Tell us personal things you love that we wouldn't know about you.
I love glassware and dishes; I love to create beautiful place settings and table settings. I love entertaining with a personally set table, by me, with fresh wildflowers and plates and napkins for dinner or lunch in my yard. Even though I don’t know much about flowers, I love them. All my sisters have green thumbs, and me? I have a slug thumb. I love candles and makeup – and I love doing someone else's makeup for a shoot or a night out - and I love learning while someone does my makeup for a shoot. I love hair embellishments and hair things, and I love doing my own hair. Upkeep is necessary. It is a true testament to self-care and self-respect to do these things for yourself and those around you.
Why do you do what you do?
I do what I do because I believe in being healthy. I believe in staying positive. I also have a slight "Do you know you are your own worst enemy?” kind of thing. During these times, I will stay up too late, have too many glasses of wine and then beat myself up for it! I then workout and walk for miles and miles with my dogs while in a pool of self-loathing, nursing a headache.
What are some of your favorite websites?
I love new websites and these new Duolingo apps. These language apps, that you can use to translate languages by computer or phone, are amazing! You speak into your phone, and it translates your words into any language you choose. Being a lover of traveling, I recently went to Brazil, and then Greece this year. I worked with Duolingo to really immerse myself into the culture. I wanted to be familiar with the words I used and be very respectful to the people at all the places I visited. This is what I mean when I discuss trying to be a better version of myself. I want people in different countries to speak their native language in front of me - to me. I want to hear it, and to feel their words. I want to not have them struggle with American words, trying to communicate to me. We can learn together. I can learn new things and honor my hosts in doing so. I loved it.
What do the words "Best Ever You" mean to you?
To keep moving. I never want to atrophy in my brain or my body, or in my emotions or my relationships. Things are interesting, places are interesting, people are interesting, life is interesting. I love people watching – it's also interesting! Show up, stay wide open, and take it all in and you will become the "Best Ever You" you ever imagined!
Additional credits: Wayne Scot Lucas, Liz Foley, Kara Young, Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino