Cristina Cuomo was always ahead of the clean-eating curve. Growing up with a health-conscious mother gave her an early insight into eating well and staying fit—well before farm-to-table became a phenomenon. As a devoted mother of three, Cristina now spends her time sharing the tools for a healthy lifestyle with her own family as well as with readers of her magazine, The Purist. We sat down with her at home in Southampton, New York, to discover how she manages to juggle a career, family and a commitment to wellness.
Q: Clearly you do a great job of balancing family with career. Do you have advice for working moms and dads out there?
A: Give yourself some slack. Don’t be so hard on yourself if you can’t make those 10 activities happening in a day that you were planning to bring your children to. It’s okay. Sometimes it’s nice just to do nothing.
Q: What are some things that your children have taught you?
A: I think having children has taught me how to balance my time better. Individually, they teach me different things. I think for my teenage daughter, just getting to spend time with her is great; she’s got a very intense school schedule and social schedule, so I’m always excited when she makes time for Mom. My son, Mario, he’s a lot like me. He’s very stubborn and he’s a super athlete, so I love watching him learn new sports because he learns them immediately and becomes great immediately. And Carolina, she’s fearless. She wants to do everything and see everything, and you know she’ll hear about the city of Paris and decide, “we have to go there, Mommy!”
Q: Personal wellness is obviously important to you. Tell us more about your magazine, The Purist.
A: I created The Purist to introduce ideas to people who might not necessarily know where to find them. And also, not just for the wellness seekers, but for people who are deeply rooted in wellness to share their stories and really show people that there’s a reason and a science behind the things we eat and the things we do. Everything has a correlation to our health. And, you know, movement, for example, is the key to everything.
Q: You’ve mentioned the idea that wellness is no longer an indulgence but a necessity. Why have you made this idea a priority?
A: Well, I grew up with a very healthy mother, and she was shopping and cooking organic food when it was unheard of, and I had that advantage. When I became an adult, you know, we are all a bit lost in our early twenties, post-college. But because she gave me those tools, I knew how to eat well, I knew how to make healthier things for myself, I knew that I should be doing certain things actively for myself to stay healthy. I’ve learned so much about wellness, I want to start sharing it with other people as a journalist. I’m an editor by trade, I’ve been doing this for 35 years, and I just kept migrating toward this movement, toward wellness. And I realized that these holistic remedies that my mother had always given me—oil of oregano—are actually a cure-all. So, I started researching and applying those things to my life and to my children’s lives.
Q: Our customers have specific memories of Brooks Brothers—what is yours?
A: My German grandfather had a big chest of drawers in his bedroom, and I used to go through them all the time looking for treasures. I remember opening one of his drawers and he had the most perfectly folded and ironed white boxer shorts—all from Brooks Brothers. I remember pulling them out of the drawer and thinking how hilarious that was, and they were all lined up, dozens of them. And that was sort of my first introduction to Brooks Brothers, because then he came in and saw what I was doing and explained to me that I had found his treasure trove of boxers.