Quarantine If you say her name fast enough and several times, you will end up calling her Camila Cabello—the American-Cuban singer behind hit song ‘Senorita’, with whom Coelho shares her first name. So when I speak to her early in the morning (to make up for our vastly different time zones as she shelters safely in Los Angeles), I watch my words that aren’t quite linking my thoughts, waiting for the coffee to kick in.
She speaks with ease, switching between English, Portuguese and Spanish. “I want to learn French now. It’s such a beautiful language and I’m always in Paris!” she chimes in, upbeat, as if she hasn’t spent the past five hours Zoom-shooting the Vogue editorial you now see accompanying this story. Paris is a faraway dream for this influencer-turned-entrepreneur (with an enviable 8.8 million Instagram followers), who is spending her quarantine days in her beautiful home on the West Coast with husband Icaro Brenner. Last year this time, she was at the Met Gala, standing beside Diane von Furstenberg on carpeted steps, dressed as a younger version of the legendary designer.
“It is a completely different time now. We are living such different lives and it is scary to think about the day we all go back to normal. What is that day going to look like? It was hard enough accepting that we all needed to be locked in, but now we have adapted to this reality, with how we do meetings, work from home, connect with family and friends. How are we going to go back to normal? I think about that a lot,” she lets me in on her thoughts.
It’s a sentiment we can all echo, no matter where in the world. To find some shape in the shadows, we asked Coelho to give us her quarantine cues that help her stay strong, safe and sound during these extraordinary times.
#1. Family comes first
I’m taking this time to stay connected with my friends and family that I don’t get to see often because of all the hectic travel my job requires. It’s important to have as many real moments as possible with them—I call my siblings every week (I have four!). It’s usually a Zoom call with lots of laughs and everyone talking over each other. I call my mom every day. I’m lucky to be quarantining with my husband. We’re all over the place right now—mom is in Pennsylvania, dad and two siblings are in Brazil and another in Florida. Normally, we would travel and make sure to see each other as often as possible, but for now, we are keeping close through our phones and internet. My brother is about to have a son in June and we’re all so excited. I’m going to be an aunt again!
#2. Turn up the music
Rewinding a bit, my lifestyle was so insane. I was rarely ever home and the one thing I would wish for is more time at home. When the lockdown was announced and we all needed to be home, I decided to take advantage of it. I told myself I’ll rest more, sleep more, take care of myself and my mental health. I love music, I love dancing and that’s been my favourite way to destress. I crank up the volume on Brazillian and Spanish songs that take me back to my roots. It’s the kind of music that brings the party indoors.
#3. Work from home, but not too much
I always knew I wanted a brand of my own, but I always thought it would be a beauty brand. When I started my fashion label in June last year, it was a big surprise for everyone! I’ve had the privilege to work with some amazing brands like Lancôme, Dior, Boucheron, and to be able to launch my own brand that is successful with a loyal following and community, is a blessing. I’m 100 per cent involved in all of the design meetings and approvals on fabric and each piece, and that’s the reason we had to move to Los Angeles from Boston, to be closer to where everything was happening. We launch a new drop every month at the label and because that’s our system when the pandemic came, I had already approved collections for five months! So, for now, we’re just taking it easy, slowing things down. Also to respect the time we are in, I don’t feel comfortable promoting so much product right now. For the future, we would love to be involved in more meaningful collaborations and helping others, maybe associate with some foundations. I also want to launch a new category.
#4. Find your space
My husband and I have worked together for a few years now. We created the brand together, so he plays a huge part in everything we do. He’s also a photographer, so most of my pictures are by him! We are used to being together every day. Quarantining together has been easy for us because we’re used to being with each other. We have our own times in the day when he goes to work out and I do my own thing, but every day after 7pm we sit together on the couch, eat dinner and watch our favourite series. To mix things up a bit, we dress up every Friday night (me in my slip dress and him in a formal shirt), order take-out or cook at home and tune into our favourite Brazilian singers on YouTube who are doing gigs from their own homes. We dance and watch the concert and it’s just the perfect date night.
#5. Create the content you want to see
We’re now in the fourth week of lockdown and what worked early on in quarantine may not work so far down the line. People’s minds change, they may need something else. I like to tap into that by checking in with them through polls and interactive questions on my Instagram stories. But overall, everyone is loving makeup tutorials that they can practice at home, baking and cooking of course, but also styling tricks. It’s like bringing me back to my roots when I started eight years ago. I always say, the bigger you are, the more following you have, the more responsibility you have to inspire people positively. I’m trying to be mindful, so there’s a lot of things I’m holding back on—like sponsored posts that don’t make sense right now.
#6. Self-care is self-love
I’ve had epilepsy since I was nine. It’s controlled, but I have to manage it. I do get scared of having a seizure when I’m particularly tired or underslept. With my lifestyle and what I do, I take care of it by controlling my agenda, which sometimes means letting go of some opportunities. When I was 16, I started hating this part of me. Seeing my friends drink, and having them ask “Why don’t you drink, are you scared?”, I felt insecure like I wasn’t normal. But in my twenties, I learnt to accept myself. I realised there are people in the world with far bigger and dangerous illnesses that they had no control over. I was blessed that I could take medicine and control it. I finally opened up about it in February on World Epilepsy Day.