If the name Katherine Schwarzenegger sounds familiar, it may be because of this 24-year-old’s best-selling book “Rock What You’ve Got” which she wrote as an undergrad at USC. Or because of her involvement with Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty.” Or for her interview with First Lady Michelle Obama at the “Let’s Move” event in Florida. Or for any of her numerous accomplishments that set her apart from her well-known father Arnold Shwarzenegger and mother Maria Shriver.
Despite her upbringing as the Terminator-turned-governor’s daughter, Katherine Schwarzenegger is driven to establish herself on her own merits. She began working in retail at age 14, co-hosted the Anderson Cooper show and was appointed the youngest member of the Girl Scouts’ Blue Ribbon Commission on Healthy Media for Youth.
We caught up with Schwarzenegger to talk about vegetarian dining, her favorite LA clothing shop and her newest book, “I Just Graduated… Now What?”.
Tell me about where the idea for “I Just Graduated…Now What?” came from.
The idea came from me graduating college two years ago and having no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Everyone was asking me what I planned to do next and I kept telling people I don’t know. I feel like a book like this would have been really helpful at the time.
What makes it different from other advice books?
I have interviews in the book with more than 30 successful people who have different stories and backgrounds. It turned out to be a book that had a huge amount of life advice no matter what stage of life you’re in. I was anxious about my future and felt like I didn’t have a plan, but after hearing everyone’s stories, it made me excited about my future.
Among the people I interviewed were Andy Cohen, Adam Braun from Pencils of Promise, Neil King, Candace Nelson of Sprinkles Cupcakes and Drybar’s Alli Webb. These were all people I found to be relevant to our generation. They’re relatable to everyone and interesting to women and men equally. Not knowing what you want out of college is an issue that is experienced by everyone.
Which piece of advice from “I Just Graduated… Now What?” do you use most in your daily life?
The importance of failing. You don’t have much riding on your career and life right out of college so take advantage of being young and make mistakes. For me, hearing that changed my view of how I looked at failure. It didn’t matter if I failed at it, I would learn from it. I wouldn’t put so much pressure on things not working out.
In her USC commencement speech, Maria Shriver talked about “pausing.” In that regard, what are a few things people can do if they’re going through a “between jobs” transition period?
What my mom was focusing on was that people are pushing the fast forward button on their lives and don’t take the time to pause to congratulate themselves. We are always rushing through life and never take a minute to realize our accomplishments. Pausing is taking the time to figure out what your passions are, what your purpose is and what makes you tick.
Being proactive is the most important thing you can do. Some people move back home, get into that comfortable lifestyle and don’t feel motivated. Keep doing things to help you get where you want to go. Make and send resumes, get an internship, feel out different professions, or practice for job interviews. Take jobs you never thought you would have before, like a retail job if you haven’t worked in a store.
Where do you go to be inspired and write?
I tend to get inspired when I’m in a crazy workout class or on a walk observing people. I’m obsessed with people watching. I go to church every Sunday with my family. Even if you’re not religious, it’s inspiring to see people getting together like that.
Being out in nature is what inspires me most. You get so caught up with work that you don’t have the space to breathe. I like to be around people and don’t need to sit in solitude to work.
What do you love most about LA?
I’m born and raised in LA so I love everything about LA. You can do so many things in one day: the city atmosphere, the beach, hiking at a mountain. You can do so much so easily. I feel like I can breathe here.
Tell me the best shop for affordable, yet stylish fashion.
The clothing store I used to work at when I was 14 or 15 called Planet Blue.
What’s this season’s must-have trend?
Jumpsuits. I’ve been traveling so much that when I bring a jumpsuit, it’s so easy. I would live in a jumpsuit because I can wear them with sandals or heels.
Which restaurant do you frequent and what are your favorite dishes?
My favorite restaurant in LA is Café Vida in Pacific Palisades. It’s a health food restaurant, but it’s so insanely good. I love breakfast food and they serve breakfast 24/7. I get their breakfast wrap with egg whites and beans or tofu bowl.
Where’s your favorite place to grab a drink in LA?
Caffé Luxxe, a little café in Santa Monica has the best coffee; Juice Crafters for their smoothies. I’m not a cocktail connoisseur, so I’ll drink anything you give me. A lot of us go to the Bungalow and Laurel Hardware in West Hollywood.
Name something that everyone in LA should experience at least once:
An LA beach sunset or sunrise. I love sunrises and sunsets, but in LA they’re especially beautiful because we have an amazing view of everything.
Where is a cool place to take an out-of-towner?
All of my cousins tell me to take them to the beach, but they don’t realize that no one swims in the ocean here. Disneyland is an amazing trip to take someone on, and Beverly Hills or Santa Monica.
Describe a perfect Saturday.
I just adopted a rescue dog that looks like a marble cake. His name is Maverick. I’d probably take my dog on a walk on Ocean Avenue, work out and go to brunch with friends. Then I’d hang out with family and friends and have a barbecue at home.
Finish this sentence: Los Angeles is… my home and the best place on earth.
Christina Herman is a Los Angeles-based writer, photographer and marketing maven.