Huffpost Fifty

Victoria Principal On Her Skin Care Empire, Cary Grant And Her Big Regret

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Victoria Principal may always be remembered as the actress who played Pamela Barnes Ewing in "Dallas" -- the CBS program than ran from 1978 to 1987. It became a global phenomenon with the 1980 "Who Shot J.R.?" episode, at the time, the highest-rated television episode in U.S. history.

Over the past two decades, Principal has built a skin-care empire -- Principal Secret -- with estimated annual sales of $100 million, according to People magazine. She is also a New York Times best-selling author and activist. Huff/Post50 caught up with Principal recently, and she talked about her entrepreneurial success, the valuable advice she received from Cary Grant and why she'd like to be reincarnated as a (famous) horse.

What ignites your creativity?

Anything in nature, it's as important to me as oxygen.

Tell us about your skin care line, which has blossomed since you launched it in 1989. We read that you were giving your family members facials with Crisco and flour when you were eight!? Tell us about the factors that prompted you to launch the skin care line.

I have always had a fascination with skin, and after my feeble attempts with flour and Crisco led to an outbreak throughout my entire family, I realized I needed to learn to apply healthier ingredients to the facials I gave everyone. To this day I find the ceremony of skincare to be magical and irresistible. The musical sound of containers being opened and closed. The fragrance that wafts gently to you. The feel of a luxurious formula softening your skin, and the after glow.

In my young 20s, I developed adult acne, dermatologists could only prescribe antibiotics to clear it up, and these medicine left me with a terrible stomach ache. I found myself in a vicious cycle of studio skin care and makeup, acne break outs, prescribed antibiotics, the acne drying up, a bill I could not afford and a stomach ache.

I decided to break out of this cycle and to search out a healthy and holistic manner to treat my skin. Once I discovered I was allergic to more than half the ingredients of all skin care and make up, I arranged with a chemist to help make a cleanser, a moisturizer and an eye product that did not contain any of those irritants. The results were so successful that my girlfriends began to request that I make extra for them. After a decade of doing so it occurred to me that there was a business in my kitchen, and I decided to take my knowledge and apply it to a skin care line for the public. I created my skin care company in 1989 and debuted it simultaneously in 1991 both in an informercial and on QVC. I'm happy to say, that the company has exceeded even my wildest expectations and is now available in over 40 countries.

What's the best part about being an entrepreneur?

Working for myself and being willing to take all of the blame when things go wrong and happy to take the credit when I get it right.

Tell us about your fitness routine, and any nutrition tips you might have for our readers.

I don't believe the word diet is what you don't eat. To me the word diet is what you do eat. I don't want to spend a life time in a negative dance with food, nor feeling deprived of the joy of food. The way that I created my diet, which is the way I eat, the way I cook and the way I order when I'm eating out, is that moderation, as in almost everything, is the key. I do believe in eating organically, and I don't believe in eating processed foods. I do believe in eating dark chocolate and I'm happy to say I do so every day of my life. On my death bed, I don't want to say "I wish I'd had the chocolate."

My exercise routine varies depending upon my mood and fatigue level. I find the best way to get started each day, is to stretch a little, and then crank up the music and dance. Then I decide if I will do resistance training, light weights, walking or swimming, but always changing it up so I'll not become bored. I never want to become a slave to exercise. I want exercise to be a joyful outlet.

What is the best advice anyone ever gave you?

Cary Grant once told me an acting career is like being on a bus. If you are unknown, you are in the back of the bus. If you are able to work on a regular basis you'll be in the middle of the bus ... and if you are very lucky, sometimes you'll be at the front of the bus. But to remember, wherever you are on the bus, to never get off. Because once you get off, you can never get on again.

What social or political cause are you most passionate about?

My deepest concern is for the planet and every living thing on it. Without a healthy planet, education won't matter, hunger won't matter and science won't matter because we will not survive. Unless we rectify the damage we have done to our land and our oceans, then I truly believe, the planet will reclaim itself. If it is true that you reap what you sow, then all of humanity should be very frightened.

What is your biggest regret?

Not being taller ... or not lying about my age at the get-go ... no wait, it's too late. Actually I had to leave college as a result of a serious car accident; I regret not going back.

What is your greatest accomplishment?

Lobbying for 11 years as the ambassador to the government for the Arthritis Foundation. In the 11th year, with the help and support of many other people, I was able to participate in establishing a federal fund in the National Institutes of Health for all autoimmune diseases, such as arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma and many more.

If you could say one thing to the next generation, what would it be?

If you will be mindful of each minute in your life, the days, months and years will be well spent. Also, remember that the greatest virtue is kindness.

What's the one thing you know now that you wish you knew when you were growing up?

I wish I had known my childhood would end.

At this stage of life, what's the one rule you feel you can break with impunity?

Hmmm ... I'm trying to narrow it down to something that's not illegal.

If you could reincarnate as anyone or anything, what or who would it be?

Secretariat. I want to know why he ran and how it felt when he ran. I would love to be in that body and fly!

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