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Exclusive Q&A with Actress, Producer, Writer, Global Fashion Tastemaker, and Activist, Cara Santana

Dynamic Powerhouse, Cara Santana’s evolution from El Paso hostess to global fashion tastemaker is a testament to her resilience, ambition, and multifaceted talents. Here, she lets us in on her take on fashion, approach to activism, and journey to becoming...

Glamour: Can you share with us your journey from being an actress to becoming a global fashion tastemaker and activist?

Cara Santana: Not entirely sure how to respond to that question, except to say that for me being an actress is about self-expression which lends itself very much to fashion and that form of self expression and utilizing your voice as well. Part of why I love being an actor is because you get to tell stories and hopefully in doing so you’re creating opportunities for other people to think about alternative ways of being, another type of existence, the experience of someone else. So using your voice is just intuitive to that.

Glamour: You attended the Cannes Film Festival with KILLIAN Paris. Tell us about your experience!

Cara: It was an incredible experience. I was so fortunate to be able to attend this year. Killian really creates such an elegant experience. We really honed in on a very natural effortless makeup look using Kilian makeup. I wanted to feel like myself but just elevated. Old Hollywood simple glam was the inspiration for the hair and make up and obviously the styling. I loved my dress which felt very Grace Kelly meets Audrey Hepburn.

Image: Jeremy Jakubowicz

Glamour: Tell us about your personal fashion at Cannes, and what was your favorite red carpet trend?

Cara: I love quiet luxury. You see a lot of sequence and glitz on the red carpet, but I think for me, I love when a woman can stand in her power so effortlessly. I love the statement Cate Blanchett made on the carpet. It was a critical moment of solidarity that she displayed. So refined, so simple and elegant, but powerful. Another great example of using your voice through fashion and self expression.

Glamour: Could you share any upcoming projects or initiatives you're particularly excited about, whether in fashion, film, or activism?

Cara: My first film that I’ll be directing was just announced. The Shuffle, which tackles the corruption of the rehabilitation industry for substance use disorder patients in the United States is starting pre-production. I am really excited about this project and it’s been a story. I’ve been developing for the last two years. I have an upcoming business and I’m not able to share with you at the moment that I’ll be launching soon! And TV project in development that tackle feminism in an irreverent and modern way.

Image: Jeremy Jakubowicz

Glamour: You've been actively involved in philanthropy, with 10% of the profits from your collection going to Step Up. What motivated you to support this cause, and how do you see fashion intersecting with social change?

Cara: That was back in 2020… And I think it’s just important for brands to have a message. There’s so much waste that goes into the fashion industry which is very exclusive generally, and so being able to give back to communities that need them is really important. From overcoming addiction to speaking out against societal injustices, you've demonstrated remarkable resilience and courage.

Glamour: How have these experiences shaped your perspective on life and influenced your advocacy work?

Cara: It’s interesting, because when you’re going through an experience, you’re not really thinking about how it’s going to shape you. So I think in me is this inherent spirit of wanting to be of service. Because so many people were of service to me when I needed it and also being able to bring awareness or create conversation around issues that maybe people don’t want to talk about or are not clear on is the only way to create changes. So I can’t not do it. It’s part of the responsibility of having the experience.

Glamour: As someone who uses their platform to amplify marginalized voices, what steps do you take to ensure that your work promotes inclusivity and diversity?

Cara: I really consider who I am bringing on to support me. And making sure that I’m creating space, roles, and positions for a diverse group of people. And obviously when you’re telling stories, you want to make sure that there is accurate representation of the world we live in.

Glamour: Your journey from El Paso to becoming a global figure is inspiring. How do you stay connected to your roots while navigating the world of fashion and entertainment?

Cara: My brother would never let me forget. And I have great friendships from when I was growing up in El Paso that continue to guide me and connect me to that time in my life. I’m really close with my family. I think all of those things truly help you stay connected to the most authentic version of yourself.

Cara: Lastly, how do you envision the future of fashion, and what role do you see yourself playing in shaping it?

I think we’re going to continue to see shifts and changes - at least I hope so- in representation and diversity. I hope we find a path towards more sustainability in fashion. I continue to be a fan of the art form and use it as another form of self expression.


Talent: Cara Santana

Photography: Jeremy Jakubowicz

Dress: Houghton

Makeup: Soukaina Tanhirt

Hair: Taan Doan

Agency: Packbackage Concept Agency

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