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Fans of the beautiful and hardworking Kristin Cavallari know she’s a woman who has come a long way. From her days on reality TV to making a name for herself in the world of business and fashion, Cavallari is carving out a path that includes marriage (her husband is Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler), motherhood, and embracing all the exciting opportunities life brings her way.

A High School Success Story

Before she started down an entrepreneurial path, Cavallari was best known for her time spent on MTV’s “Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County” and “The Hills,” two wildly popular reality TV shows. Reality programming wasn’t as prevalent in 2004 as it is today, and as a high school junior, Cavallari found it exciting to enter unknown territory.

“At the time I didn’t have any reservations about joining the show,” she says. “You had to be 16 years old to audition and it became this competitive thing in school; everyone wanted it.”

While the group of students cast couldn’t have known just how successful the show would become, Cavallari envisioned “Laguna Beach” more along the lines of MTV’s hit show “True Life.”

“I don’t think any of us expected it to turn into what it did,” she says. “I didn’t expect to be portrayed the way I was.”

That’s why, when executives from MTV asked her to join the hit reality show “The Hills” a few years later, she was hesitant. She eventually signed on, but this time she viewed it strictly as a job.

“In order to enjoy it and have fun with it I was game for whatever they wanted me to do,” she says. “But at the end of the day I went home and had a normal life.”

From Reality TV to Real Life

Fast-forward 10 years, and it’s clear how far Cavallari has come.

“I feel like I’ve finally found happiness,” she says. “I’m in a good place and am ready to let people in.”

Fans may think they know the blonde beauty based on her celebrity status, but her new book, “Balancing in Heels,” makes it clear that the perception has been the media’s creation.

“I’m comfortable in my own skin and am no longer affected by what others think,” she says. “This is me; there’s no sugarcoating who I am.”

The book stemmed from Cavallari’s self-titled lifestyle app that garnered downloads, popularity, and media attention. In it, Cavallari talks openly about her relationships, something she hasn’t done in the past, and lets readers see what makes her tick. From motherhood to her relationship with beauty, fitness, and living a healthy lifestyle – something about which she is extremely passionate – the first-time author shares tips she hopes readers will take to heart.

“It was a really therapeutic process,” she says. “I poured my heart and soul into this book.”

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Rapid Fire 5

Favorite Accessory:

A good pair of booties

Favorite Shoe from Her Line:

Black fringe booty – “Fringe is so in right now.”

Classic Look:

“A great blazer and jeans will never go out of style.”

Hottest 2016 Trends:

“Lace-up sandals and lace-up heels are going to be popular. We saw them a bit last year, but they’ll be really big this spring and summer.”

Favorite Designer:

Balmain

Fashion Forward

With the title of author now on her resume, Cavallari has yet another accomplishment to add to her achievements in the fashion world. For the past four years, she has been working together with Chinese Laundry, a women’s footwear company, to create her own line of shoes. She was a fan of the brand growing up, which added to Cavallari’s excitement of partnering with them.

“I’ve always been a big shoe girl; I used to steal my mom’s shoes and wear them,” says Cavallari.

In fact, having her own shoe line has long been Cavallari’s dream – when she was 18, she created an inspiration book in the hope of one day designing her own line. After teaming up with Chinese Laundry to write an online fashion blog, the future designer accepted the opportunity, hoping it would lead to something more.

And indeed it did. Cavallari started off designing two shoe collections a year, and that number has almost doubled, with new designs coming out almost every 90 days. She’s involved in the complete design process, giving her

a strong sense of who her customers are and what they like. Plus, seeing her very own designs come to life and become number-one sellers has been extremely gratifying.

“It’s more fun now because I have so much confidence and I no longer second-guess myself like I did in the beginning,” she says. “I’m having a blast.”

In addition to her successful shoe line, Cavallari launched a jewelry line with one of her best friends. Emerald Duv, which debuted last year, features dainty, layering, and stackable pieces, and much more.

“We recently launched candles and hats and are turning the site into more of a lifestyle website, with the hope of one day including home goods as well,” she says.

Putting Family First

Amid all her projects, Cavallari says her most important role is being a mom. Of course, prioritizing her family sometimes means turning down career opportunities that would keep her away from her husband and children, something she’s not ready to do just yet.

“Maybe when the kids are in school full time and Jay’s done with football it might change, but right now they’re my priority,” she says.

Despite declining numerous hosting opportunities, Cavallari says her career is better in a lot of ways because she is doing what she loves and only saying yes to the things she absolutely wants to do.

“I can make my own hours and do all these great things while being a stay-at-home mom,” she says.

With three children under the age of 3, Cavallari finds support from both her husband and her mom, who lives nearby in Chicago. She values face time when they’re all home together, especially during family dinners.

“I love talking and connecting and I want my kids to be good, respectful children and have good hearts,” she says.

Still, she knows there will be ups and downs, and bumps along the way because it’s all a part of children growing up.

“I’d be lying if I said I had it all figured out – I don’t,” Cavallari says. “None of us have all the answers; we’re just trying to live our lives and do the best we can.”

PHOTOS: GILLES TOUCAS
STYLING: ADENA ROHATINER
HAIR: SCOTTY CHUNA, THE ONLY AGENCY

MAKEUP: KARAN MITCHELL, EXCLUSIVE ARTISTS

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