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Mane Ambition: Katherine Schwarzenegger On Beauty Lessons and Her New Book

Don’t let Katherine Schwarzenegger’s bombshell beauty fool you—the eldest daughter of former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and renowned journalist Maria Shriver, continues to make a name for herself, by herself, no celeb parents necessary. Last month, the best-selling author released her third book, Maverick and Me, a children’s picture book that she wrote to spread the importance of adoption. From image confidence to career inspiration and canine rescue, the topics Katherine has explored in her books answer questions often pondered by boomlets and millennials alike (like, how do I love my body?! or WTF should I do after college?!). And when she’s not penning a book, she’s running her lifestyle site. We visited the dimensional brunette babe at her home in Los Angeles, and with a set of classic glam waves from Eduardo Ponce, captured her mane ambition while also getting to know the brain behind the beauty. Keep reading for Katherine’s experience with body image, the beauty lesson she learned from mom Maria, and what it’s actually like to live an author’s life.

katherine schwarzenegger mane ambition eduardo ponce

On being beauty obsessed:

I’ve been into hair and beauty for as long as I can remember. I totally respect people who aren’t into it, but hair and beauty give me life. I used to watch my mom get ready in her bathroom at her vanity and she got me a little pink vanity with lights around it and I would sit and do my makeup next to her. I have always loved hair; I’ve loved that you can change it (I’ve been sandy blonde, black, dark brown, ombre and had many different lengths of hair); I love that you can style it (I mainly do waves with a wand); and do whatever you want with it to fit your mood or vibe. Everything under the umbrella of beauty, I’ve been obsessed with and continue to get more and more obsessed with as I get older. 

On her ever-changing hair color:

I was super blonde as a child and my hair would get blonder every summer just from spending time in the sun with my family. I would say my natural color is a dirty blonde or dishwater blonde and I loved it growing up, but when I got into high school I started feeling like it just wasn’t doing anything for me. Honestly, I think I wanted to find a way to rebel and do something different and I was too scared to do anything crazy, like disobey my parents or party hard, so instead I died my hair. A lot of girls I was in high school with were getting high lights and I felt like I wanted to do something different. I first died my hair with a vegetable die when I was 16 and it was very mild, just to see if I liked it or not. I loved it and I knew right away that I wanted to keep it up.

I would do the vegetable dye every couple of months and then when I was 17, I went to a different colorist to do the vegetable dye while my normal colorist was out of town, and that was a huge mistake. He accidentally put black permanent hair dye in my hair, which I had never done, and it took me YEARS to get that color out. I remember going on a family trip and my brother telling me I looked like I had blue hair because the black was so deep it had a colored hue to it. I remember sobbing like crazy when I got home and then my mom taking me to her salon to get it fixed, but as I’m sure most of you know, getting black out isn’t that easy. My hair then went from black to an orange brass color and from then it underwent a gross evolution until I was sent to Cassondra [Kaeding] who was a blessing for my hair! Still to this day, I will change up my hair color seasonally, which Cass loves I’m sure, but it pretty much goes dark in the fall and winter and then lighter in spring and summer with some highlights. I love mixing it up and just like I change my skincare and clothing seasonally, I do the same for my hair. 

Growing up in LA:

I think no matter where you grow up, you feel pressure to look and be a certain way. I think growing up in a place like LA makes it more prevalent but there are always pressures, especially in high school when you are changing and trying to figure out who you are or who you want to be. I have learned to be grateful and embrace all the phases of life. I look back on pictures of myself in high school and college and love seeing what crazy outfit I was wearing or how bad my makeup was or how crazy my hair was. My style has changed over the years, my body has changed and so has my hair and makeup and appearance; it’s all part of growing up and learning more about yourself and what works and what doesn’t work. I am one of those people who likes trying out new stuff when it comes to hair and beauty, so do I feel pressure to look cute when I go to dinner, sure, but I also enjoy getting dressed up and feeling like I put together a good outfit and did my hair and makeup well too. Most importantly, I have done a lot of work on the inside of myself, so I can be at a place where I can have fun mixing it up on the outside. The work you do on yourself inside is the most important, everything else doesn’t really matter. 

Katherine Schwarzenegger maverick and me mane Ambition mane addicts Eduardo ponce glam waves

On being an author of three books:

I honestly never thought I would be writing books, but all three of my books have come from issues I am passionate about. My first book really came from me feeling super passionate and fired up about the issue of body image. I had done a internship at Dove when they were coming out with their campaign for real beauty and I found all the information and reactions to the campaign, both good and bad, to be super fascinating. I started college right after that internship and took a class on the affects that the media has on the way we view ourselves and that made me even more passionate. Growing up in LA,  I felt pressure to be thinner, prettier, smarter, better and it was hard to just embrace who I was. I also saw my younger cousins feeling the same way and when I had my six-year-old cousin ask me if she should go on a diet because her legs were too big, that’s when I decided to write the proposal for my first book. I felt that it was such a hush-hush topic and no one was talking about the pressure to look and be a certain way so I wanted to write about it. I decided to make my first book an open diary of my whole journey being a young girl growing up in LA and feeling pressures when it came to body image, having your first boyfriend, friend drama in high school, body changes, etc. It was an incredible journey and experience, one I still do work on today.

My second book, I Just Graduated…Now What came from another real life experience of graduating college and not knowing what I was going to do once I entered the real world. I noticed a lot of my friends feeling the same way and feeling very underprepared for life after college so I wrote a proposal for another book to do a series of interviews with well-known, successful people about their advice for recent college graduates. 

My current book Maverick and Me came out of another issue I am super passionate about, which is animal rescue. I adopted my pup, Maverick, three and a half years ago and I have learned so much in the process. When I fostered puppies and then decided to adopt Maverick, my eyes were opened to a whole world of animals rescue that I instantly fell in love with. My goal with this book is that I want to teach kids about the option of animal rescue so when the time comes for them to get their first animal, they might choose to adopt one. When I got Maverick, he was two weeks old and was found under a freeway. I remember my little cousin seeing him for the first time and learning about his story and where he came from and seeing her face light up with excitement to run and tell her friends at school all about this tiger-looking puppy that her cousin got that was found under a  freeway and was magic because he lived. Seeing her little friends get excited about a dog with a story like that made me want to write this book for kids so they too might be able to find a dog with a story and spread the love and excitement they had when hearing about Maverick. 

Is the life of an author glamorous? 

Haha no! The nice part about being an author is that you can do it almost anywhere, but that’s also the tough part about it. You have to make a schedule for yourself so you can make sure to get things done and stay on track. When I am writing, whether it’s for my blog or for a book, I like to set a schedule for myself of when I am starting and stopping so I make sure to have all my focus on that project. It is a huge gift to be able to do my job from pretty much anywhere, but I for sure have had to create a structured schedule and boundaries when it comes to my job to make sure that I stay on track and do my work, which I love. 

What’s the best beauty advice you got from mom?

My mom is all about natural beauty and inner and outer beauty. My mom has always encouraged my sister and I to experiment with different beauty trends and styles, but to always embrace our natural beauty. There will be days that I have a full face of makeup on and then there will be days where I have nothing on my face except sunscreen. I think finding a balance is key and thats something my mom has always done really well and continues to do. Watching my mom age gracefully has also been so amazing because she is so insanely beautiful and while she loves to put on some mascara and lipstick to go to dinner, she spends most of the time without a stitch of makeup on and I think growing up around that has been such a huge gift because it has taught me that I can love and enjoy makeup, but also be free and comfortable to be natural too.

Crew: Photography by Vanessa Viola; Hair by Eduardo Ponce; Makeup by Liz Castellanos; Creative Production by Ashley Alanis.

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