The Real Housewives of New Jersey star Jacqueline Laurita wears many hats. In addition to being outspoken about her fertility issues, the reality star is also an advocate for autism, and is now sharing her 20 years of cosmetologist experience on her newly launched website, Altruistic Beauty.
Jacqueline opens up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about her three kids – Ashlee, 22, CJ, 11, and Nicholas, 4 – and her best advice for parents who have a child on the autism spectrum. She goes on to talk about her passion for beauty products, and invites readers to sign up for some free advice and fabulous swag.
CBS: Tell us about your role as presenter at HBA Global’s IPDA Awards Reception. Any special memories or moments you’d like to share?
JL: “It was such an honor to be asked to present the 2013 International Packaging and Design Awards (IPDA) at the HBA Global this year. The beauty industry has always been a passion of mine, even before I became a cosmetologist 20 years ago. I had so much fun walking the floor at HBA Global and seeing all the latest innovations in packaging, ingredients, and creative design.
Being able to talk to the brand creators and product development teams was so inspiring. I loved every minute of it. I met so many great people that day and I love hearing the stories behind the brands.”
CBS: We’d love to hear more about your newly launched website, AltruisticBeauty.com.
JL: “I have had this vision in my mind for a long time. I have spent several years educating people about cosmetics, skincare and I have literally tried it all. I became friends with a beauty publicist who used me as her ‘tester,’ before she took on a new client for her firm to test the products efficacy. We would go to trade shows together and our love affair for beauty became a business for us.
Fans of my show would tweet me beauty questions constantly so it made me want to give them a platform to get all of their beauty questions answered. I get questions from what plastic surgery procedures I recommend, to what products you can use right out of the fridge. Since I am a licensed cosmetologist with years of experience and she is a beauty publicist who also has tried it all, we thought it would be a great fit to bring our years of knowledge together.
We truly feel there is something for every woman on this site and our main goal is to educate and make women feel empowered and let their inner beauty shine. We started with partnering on a full service beauty/fashion/lifestyle PR firm, Sky Box Industries, and we are now in the midst of launching altruisticbeauty.com.”
CBS: What inspired you to get involved in the beauty industry?
JL” I have always loved everything beauty since as far back as I can remember. I was the girl cutting and styling my Barbie’s hair. I used to get those Barbie fashion heads when I was little and I remember getting so excited to play with their hair and applying make up to them. I used to get excited when my mom would buy me Tinkerbell cosmetics.
Just being around beauty products has always interested and excited me. I used to make my own homemade facial and hair masks to apply on myself at a very early age. My mom would get me books on beauty and I would make my own head-to-toe beauty guide to pamper myself. I later got my cosmetologist license.”
CBS: What makes your brand different from the others?
JL: “AltruisticBeauty.com will be different because we have industry professionals on down to the everyday girl (or guy) that has a wealth of knowledge to share. We have put together an amazing panel of experts that are pioneers in their respective fields.
Readers can email us questions at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will answer them and consult with our panel to truly find the best solutions. Our panel includes celebrity surgeons, dermatologists, top makeup artists who have worked with an A-list clientele, celebrity chefs, health and fitness experts and you’ll even get DIY treatment ideas from an all natural girl next door. So we have a place for everyone.
We will also launch a fashion section along with health & wellness and share behind the scenes celeb secrets. This blog is being positioned as a fun conversation between girlfriends, it will be raw, organic, real and we will share our daily life and our best kept secrets with readers.
Using my platform on TV and Suzanne Summers‘ contacts in media through our other joint venture, www.skyboxindustries.com, we put together an amazing concept to really bring attention to brands that may otherwise not have notoriety.
Suzanne (in a sense) became a pro through her many years in beauty PR and from her behind the scenes expertise — we are able to serve as your best friends in beauty. We all know, we get our best advice from our girlfriends by trading our beauty secrets with one another! The blog will offer product reviews and an education on beauty.”
CBS: Tell us a little about the dynamics on RHONJ.
JL: “There comes a point where we all just got tired of fighting all the time. We are all in a good place now with one another. We all have tried our best to let things go. Regardless of any lingering hard feelings, we’ve learned to coexist.
Some arguments on the show just seem so unimportant and petty compared to other things going on in our lives right now. It’s never good, or healthy, to hold on to anger for too long. Finding resolve is so much better for your peace of mind.”
CBS: How has the show changed your life?
JL: “The show has given me the opportunity to see myself as others see me. I’ve learned things from watching myself and the others. I have had interesting experiences being on the show. It has given me a huge platform to raise autism awareness. It has given me the opportunities to connect with other people that I may have never had the opportunity to meet, had I not been on the show.
Other than that, I try my best to remain as grounded as possible and always be true to myself.”
CBS: Tell us why you became an advocate for autism.
JL: “After my son was diagnosed with autism, we came out with it in a feature article and cover of PEOPLE magazine. Because we were on a reality TV show, we wanted to be able to control the way it was released to the public. Thousands of people reached out to our family to offer us support and share their journeys and resources with us. It helped us and our son tremendously. It is what gave us the strength, hope and encouragement to persevere in our quest to recover our child.
We are extremely grateful and want to give back in a big way. I know now that I was given this platform for a reason, and I have to do something good with it. I have to help others the way that they have helped our family. It has become my mission.”
CBS: How did your life change when you discovered your son had autism?
JL: “At first the diagnosis was devastating. It seemed so final at the time. I felt lost. I knew that early intervention was key to recovery and that I had to learn whatever I could about autism and do whatever I could do, as quickly as possible, to give my son the best outcome for his future.
His diet changed; our schedules changed; we learned patience; we learned what was really important in this life and what is not. Autism awareness and recovering our child has become our mission.”
CBS: Any advice for parents who have a child on the spectrum?
JL: “Don’t give up hope. Believe your child can recover. Educate yourself on all of the information and resources that are out there. Early intervention is key to a child’s recovery. Stick with the GF/CF diet! Find out what nutrients your child is lacking in their body and give them supplements.
Remember that: what works for one child may not necessarily work for another so don’t get discouraged. Get to know your child and pay attention to what’s working or not working. Find your child’s positive reinforcers because they will work hard for them.
Be your child’s best advocate; be patient; accept your child for who they are but at the same time, give them the tools to bring out the best child that your child can be while reducing their frustrations. You want to decrease negative behaviors while increasing the positive ones.
Love them no matter what; find a good support group; share your journey with others; defy expectations!”
CBS: How are your children doing? How old are they now and what are they into?
JL: “Ashlee is 22 and happy. She is living in California but comes home for long visits often. She blogs for Buzznet, does PR work and sometimes will host at events. She was interviewing celebrities at the MTV Awards. She also helped to host an autism benefit for Generation Rescue. She does some reporting for a well known magazine. She lost a lot of weight and looks incredible right now. Our relationship has changed for the better and we are closer than ever. We’ve really learned to appreciate each other. I enjoy her a lot.
CJ is 11. He loves golf. He is a brilliant kid and so loving and patient. He’s an excellent big brother to Nicholas. He is just so easy – he’s such a pleasure to be around. He brings me joy.
Nicholas is 4. He is making progress all the time with his early intervention. He continues to surprise us all the time with his achievements. He says so many new words now. We are working on putting those words into context and forming a sentence. He is learning sight words – it’s a joy and a challenge every single day. We believe in him.”
CBS: Do you have special mom and daughter outings with Ashlee? What do you like to do together?
JL: “We like to get our manicures and pedicures together and we enjoy watching movies together. We work out together with our fitness trainer Jolene Mathews. We were recently on a float together for NBC Comcast during NYC Pride week – we had a blast!”
CBS: You were very open on the show about your miscarriages and fertility issues. Do you have any advice for other women who are going through this?
JL: “Don’t give up hope! If you want it bad enough, it can happen! It’s all in the timing. Make sure you have your doctor check everything with you and your partner to make sure everything is OK and that there are no serious issues that need to be corrected first.
If everything checks out OK, give it time. I know how devastating it can be each month that goes by without getting pregnant or if you have miscarried, but if you don’t give up, eventually you will get what you want. Believe you will have that baby.
I took a baby aspirin everyday to help thin the lining in my uterus so the baby could attach itself easier. I had sex every other day starting from the 9th day after my period until the 17th day. I also was given a progesterone insert for the first 3 months after I conceived.
Don’t make it a chore for your husband – they can get turned off by that. It’s too much pressure for them and makes them feel like it’s not about them. Make them feel like you are just really turned on by them. Tell them how hot they are and you can’t get enough of them. Make it sexy instead of a just a chore for them to produce.”
CBS: What is your best advice for balancing a busy career with mommy duties and finding time for yourself?
JL: “Get up earlier than everyone else and go to bed later [laughs]! Get a babysitter once in a while to treat yourself to a full day of self pampering – it’s good for the soul. Keep a ‘to do’ list that you can visually see so that you can cross off what you’ve accomplished and see what you still need to do. I try to get done what I need to get done during the day while the kids are in school so that I can give them my time and attention after school. Once the kids are in bed, my husband and I have our time alone together. We also schedule regular date nights with each other and with other couples.”
CBS: What’s up next for you?
JL: “I have recently been approached for a few book deals. I’ve also been working on perfecting a skincare line for quite a while now – I’ll keep you updated.
For now, I am working on getting my beauty website www.altruisticbeauty.com launched and continuing to raise awareness for autism wherever I can and working with Suzanne on Skybox Industries. Suzanne and I are also hosting a radio show on www.momsthoughts.com where we will answers questions and dish on all things beauty every last Wednesday of the month.
If you sign up on our landing page now, on www.altruisticbeauty.com, you will get a chance to win some amazing beauty products that our team of experts recommend. We will be doing giveaways until the launch of our website. By signing up now, you will also receive a special invitation to our virtual launch party, as well as a chance to win an opportunity to come join us in person during our festivities in celebrating our launch.”