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Camila McConaughey Shares the Secret Sauce to a Lifelong Marriage

“Do better for you, do better for your family, do better for your community.”

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Camila Alves McConaughey can now add author to her long list of accomplishments. Her new children’s book, “Just Try One Bite”, is all about flipping the script with parents and kids. Camila has been a longtime advocate of family meals and cooking together through her community, Women of Today. Aside from her work as a model, philanthropist, and entrepreneur, Camila spends time with her 3 kids and husband, Matthew McConaughey. In her candid conversation with Chatbooks co-founder Vanessa Quigley, she talks about what dating Matthew was really like and how they have made their successful relationship work for the past 12 years. 

Here are a few of our favorite moments from the interview…

You are out of the baby stage with your kids and dealing with tweens and teens. How do you parent at this stage of life? 

I talk to my kids a lot about the fact that at the end of the day, there is an understanding that family is family, blood is blood. In Brazil, that relationship is so rooted in our culture. In the summer, you go on vacation to see family. You don’t go to summer camp. That is not in our culture. I tell them: Things are going to happen, but our family unit is never going away. No matter what happens, even if you’re mad at each other, it’s not going away. 

It looks like you have a great relationship with Matthew’s mom, “MaMac” as you call her. How have you made it work over the years?

In a weird way, I actually have a better relationship with Matthew’s mom than with my mom. Brazil has a very guilt-ridden culture and I was raised Catholic. Leaving home young and experiencing so many parts of the world, I have tried to break out of that. My mother-in-law does not have any of that. She does not hold onto things. Now she is not easy — she has a very, very strong personality. It just takes time. In the beginning, it was tough. 

Why was it tough?

She used to mess with me so bad to the point where she would call me all of Matthew’s ex-girlfriend’s names… on purpose! She would say things like, “You look so much like Penelope”, and I would say, “No, we don’t — the only similarity is that we have dark hair. And I don’t look like Sandra Bullock or Jennifer!” I had to have my rite of passage with her of me being strong enough where she knew she couldn’t push me around. 

What is the “secret sauce” to your marriage? 

It is really about having respect for your partner and keeping your curiosity alive. People say “keep the fire alive” — I say keep the curiosity alive in how you both can still evolve and love each other in that evolution.

Explain what a “throw up vegetable” is and if you have one. 

Your throw-up vegetable is the one you don't have to have. So anytime we cook it, you don't have to have it on your plate. But besides that, anything that's on your plate, you have to at least try a little bit of it. And when it comes to my “throw up vegetable”, I supposedly cook an amazing salmon, but I have never tasted it in my life. And I never ever eat mushrooms. 

What is next for you?

I am trying to create a bit more of a balance for myself on what I can and cannot do. The kids are going through different stages of their lives and it's requiring more of me than it ever has before. I have to take time to focus on my health right now. You know, it was a little bittersweet at the beginning of the year because we had all of these projects and I had to make the call and say we are not doing any of them. Right now I'm going to focus on the book, Just Try One Bite. We're going to focus on Women of Today and my family, and the foundation. Everything else, we're going to do it, but we're going to do it with a light touch when it's okay for my health and my family.

Check out Camila’s online community Women of Today and follow her on Instagram. Listen to her episode here

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