Cambrie Schroder is no stranger to the camera. Growing up acting and modelling, she spent her most formative years in front of the lens. “I became self-conscious and body-aware from the age of 15,” Schroder reveals. “I realised that the more I focused on my physical body, the worse I felt about myself and I started to pick up more unhealthy habits. There came a point where I started to feel super low energy — I had acne, constant bloating, and I just felt uncomfortable in my own skin. It was a lifestyle that put my focus on how I looked, which only caused me to feel more insecure. So, I decided to make a change.”
And make a change she did. The now 26-year-old is the founder of Fit With Cambrie, a platform that brings together women from all walks of life to celebrate and support each other’s journey into wellness. “I started my career when I was 15 and started facing body issues at that age when maybe other women start facing those a little later, so I feel like I’ve lived through things to help give perspective and advice to other women,” Schroder shares.”I learnt to make choices based on how I felt instead of how I looked.” She smiles as she continues, “I love nothing more than talking to another girl and being like: I’ve been there, I know exactly how that feels and let’s figure out what we can do together to help you feel better.”
Now, Schroder returns in front of the camera — Luigi and Iango’s, no less. Under the lens of the iconic photography duo, the young girl boss poses up a storm, her inner glow shining through. Upon participating in the “Luigi and Iango Unveiled” exhibition, Schroder speaks to Vogue Hong Kong about the photoshoot experience that “really changed [her] life” and how the meaning of beauty has evolved for her after all these years.
You were photographed by Luigi & Iango and you are a part of the “Luigi & Iango Unveiled” exhibition. How did it feel to work with the renowned photography duo?
Luigi & Iango saw my unique attributes and highlighted them instead of trying to hide them. I couldn’t believe it because those were parts of myself I thought I should hide. I have never felt more beautiful or empowered or valued or seen by any photographer or director I have worked with before. The experience was amazing because Luigi & Iango made me feel the way I want to inspire other women to feel through my platform. In my photos, you can see that there is always a veil or some kind of fabric. To me, it implies that your true colours can shine through and you can be seen through the material. It was honestly such an emotional experience for me because I felt that I was good enough as the person that I am. When I started my modelling and acting career, I always did not feel worthy so I took a break from that world to focus on my wellness and learn to value myself. So now, to be able to re-enter this world with an experience that encapsulated everything I have been working towards over the past decade was so impactful for me.
Can you take us through the process of your photoshoot with Luigi & Iango? What was the most memorable moment? Any behind-the-scenes stories you can share?
When I walked in in the morning, I was really nervous because I knew Luigi & Iango work with the most iconic models of all time on the biggest campaigns. I felt like maybe I would not be good enough, but as soon as I met them, all of that changed in two seconds. They gave me a big hug and proceeded to show me 50 references of different beautiful, inspirational women that I reminded them of. They saw in me what they’ve seen in other women. They saw beyond me and saw depth in me, which is super interesting. Generally, in the fashion world, people make judgments about your face as soon as they meet you, which is very limiting. It was so nice that Luigi & Iango saw more to me.
When we started shooting, I was super stiff because I had not been in front of the camera for a while, but they didn’t make it a big deal. Instead, they were like: okay, let’s play some music. So they started blasting music and told me to just dance. The whole shoot was just me dancing — fully busting out my moves. They would splash water on me, put my hair up in different ways and play with different props. We ended up shooting for eight hours. It was like an eight-hour performance for me, dancing and crying and putting fabric and water on me. I felt so alive.
How do you define beauty? How has this definition changed over the years as you go through your wellness journey?
I think the most beautiful version of you is the healthiest you. Whatever you are, whatever features you have, you bring out the most beautiful you when you take care of yourself. When you are healthy, you feel really good because you know you are valuing and appreciating your body; and when you feel good, you radiate. And that’s beauty to me.
Every woman has their own idea of what their most beautiful self should look like, and for the longest time, I would diminish my unique qualities to fit into my idea of a perfect-looking self. For example, I have super strong arms, and I used to under-eat so that my muscles would shrink. Now, I’ve learnt to embrace my unique attributes because those are what actually make you beautiful, and Luigi & Iango also helped me see that.
How would you describe your fashion style?
My fashion is practical and classic with a little Cambrie twist. I’d say I take a more useful approach to quiet luxury. My style is all about daily basics like Levi’s jeans or the staple white tank top, but I invest in statement pieces that I can own for the rest of my life, such as blazers, leather jackets and boots. I just got this super cool Saint Laurent leather jacket, and I love to get my blazers tailor-made in super cool prints and different fabrics to add a “me” touch to my wardrobe. I also love to accessorise with glasses and jewellery.
Do you see wellness and fashion coexisting?
With myself and my audience in general, women who are typically interested in health or wellness also have an interest in fashion because we realise how we feel is important. Fashion merges with wellness in the sense that fashion is a means to showcase and highlight your best self, and wellness is the groundwork for building your best self. This is what I experienced with Luigi & Iango — my photoshoot with them captured moments of me feeling my best, and behind that is my wellness routine, which is what got me feeling good in my skin. This is why I am excited about taking a new step back into the fashion industry again. I want women to see that it is not a crime to want to dress up, that it is okay to want to care about how you look and want to feel good about yourself. But when you put on a good outfit and take a good photo in it, you also have to know that your worth does not lie only in that one outfit or that one photo. At the end of the day, it is vital to prioritise your health and see your value on its own.
What is the “Fit With Cambrie Lifestyle”? What sets Fit With Cambrie apart from other wellness platforms?
The “Fit With Cambrie Lifestyle” is a way of living in which you truly enjoy your wellness routine so that it allows you to place more focus on other areas of your life. We are all about balance. We want to let you know that deserts have a place in your life just as much as a nourishing salad and that wellness should help you flourish and feel free. We make fitness fit your life: whether you are in school or working a 9-to-5, whether you are a mum, a model, an actress or even an athlete, we give you tools that will help you feel good no matter what your life looks like. We understand that wellness is not one-size-fits-all, and we want to help you embrace your unique lifestyle and find out what works best for you.
What different solutions do you offer women who want to feel better in their skin?
We offer e-books and nutrition and workout programs that are tailored to every need and focus on different goals. Our new Hormone Balancing Plan is designed to support the natural cycles of the female body. We also have support group chats, a space where women can turn to each other when they are going through similar experiences. Lastly, we also have a line of supplements, including our Protein Plus, Glowing Greens and our best-selling Debloat Pills. The Protein Plus is more than just a protein powder — it contains ingredients such as oat fibre and coconut oil, which are easy on your digestive system. It’s not necessarily just for the gym or building muscle; it is an easy protein solution because sometimes the only option for protein in breakfast is eggs and not everyone loves to have eggs every single day, which makes the supplement a great alternative. Meanwhile, our Glowing Greens contain nutrients from 30 fruits and vegetables, which is convenient for travelling or just a busy day.
Do you have everyday fitness or wellness tips?
Focus on the basics. For example, start with having a high-protein breakfast. Keep a big water bottle and stay hydrated. Prioritise your sleep and get 7 to 9 hours in every night. I find that when you focus on the basics, embarking on your wellness journey becomes a lot less daunting because you don’t feel like you have to change your whole life. I used to have an intense workout and dieting routine, and when I took time off, I would be scared to start again. You don’t want to build something that you dread. Instead, you want to ease yourself into a lifestyle you can sustain. Look at what your life is, and proceed to make little changes inside of that. Maybe you just need to go grocery shopping or simply take 10 minutes in the sun.
The best thing you can do is to learn and understand your body because no one can truly do that but you. Learn when you’re tired, hungry, crave certain foods, and when your hormonal phases are because then you can give your body what it needs each day. As women, we have four hormonal phases in a month, so we are essentially four different versions of ourselves in the same month. Learn to work with your body instead of going against it.
CreditImages: Luigi & Iango