Former model Catherine McCord knows a thing or two about healthy eating. Weelicious was founded on the principles that healthy eating should be accessible and affordable to everyone. Emily Sandberg and I spoke to Catherine about her endeavor to educate children from the cradle to the table so they make more informed choices about their diet.

How did you make the transition from modeling to creating Weelicious?

I first started Weelicious after the birth of my son Kenya. I continued modeling for a while, but as Weelicious’ audience grew I had to make a choice. I took a step back from modeling and traveling for a few years to focus full-time on my son and business.

There is certainly a lot of travel involved in modeling. 

Yes there is. I didn’t want to miss out of raising my son the first few years of his life and I loved what was being created with the site. It felt right.

As a model, did you experience any of the pressures the Model Alliance is addressing and how did you handle them?

There’s no doubt that the business puts pressure on young girls but there is an internal pressure there as well. There were challenges at every stage of my career, some of them difficult due to my age. Often times it felt as if I was on a roller coaster.  But with every hill, twist and turn I feel stronger and thankful for the growth on the other side.

How old were you when you started? 

I started modeling when I was 13 and experienced right away some challenges that needed to be overcome to model successfully.

What were those challenges for you?

Well, the biggest hurdle at first was being alone so much. I adored traveling and used the opportunity to be in incredible places and experience different cultures around the world. But I have to tell you the pace of being in a different city every few days was tough.

You ended up doing quite well. The traveling certainly paid off. I’m curious about the honest conversations you’ve opened up regarding Weelicious and healthy eating. How do you broach the topic with children?

I felt it was important for my children to know that food is energy and helps make your body and mind strong and powerful. We do our best to eat all foods in balance and also to learn what each different food does for our bodies. That’s really the idea of Weelicious. So many parents want to instill healthy eating habits and it can be overwhelming because, and I used to think this too, preparing healthy meals takes time and time is a very precious commodity when raising children. I wanted to make it easier for all of us. You know all of us parents are in it together.

What are some of the foods you enjoy making for your children?

One of our favorite things to do is shopping at our local farmers market every Sunday. We stay until our basket is full with an array of fresh foods and then go home and make a big meal together. We usually make a big thing of roast vegetables, a roast chicken or fish, mussels, omelets and more. I like to have my children a part of the entire process from planning to shopping to executing meals, and of course eating it.

What’s a balanced meal that’s easy to whip up? 

In a time crunch my go-to staple to make for my family is stir fry. It’s my weekday 1 2 3 meal. Shrimp or chicken, broccoli, sugar snaps, mushrooms, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, toasted sesame oil or any other combination you enjoy.

What are some of your favorite farmers markets and what vendors/products should we know about?

We shop at the Hollywood Farmers’ Market for most of the food we eat. My best advice is to find a market you love, frequent it as often as possible and get to know the vendors. Look for organic and pesticide free.

You’re a model, host, actress, entrepreneur and you’ve released a cookbook. That’s an impressive resume of roles. Do you have a blue print you follow and what advice do you have for anyone wanting to embark on a new journey?

I feel like every choice I’ve made in my life has led me to where I am today. I’ve learned much through different and often times challenging experiences. I believe that everything we do helps to build upon the path we can create for ourselves. I do my best to make strong choices and to take risks towards growth.

For models looking to you for guidance in transitioning to a different focus, what advice can you offer and what support did you have to facilitate that happening?

I think it’s important to have friends and mentors to lean on. Those were my support resources. You would be surprised at how gracious and generous people are when you want to learn from them. I looked for people who were already doing what I wanted to do and I asked them to teach me. Some of my dearest friends now are people I’ve met in the cooking and blogging world. I’ve never met such a giving group.

Did your agents support your career change?

My agents were incredibly supportive. I’ve only been with two agencies in my career, Elite since I was 14 switching to Next years later. Even when I moved from New York to Los Angeles they continued to support my career. My career went through a lot of change and growth. It’s nice to know that the support is there.

What are some of the challenges you’ve encountered taking charge of running your own brand?

The learning curve. Whenever you start a company you’re constantly learning new ways and strategies to take it to the next level of growth. When I started Weelicious I didn’t know anything about the internet. There was a lot to learn and of course still is. That’s what makes it so much fun.

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