60 and Ambitious

Leah Garcia is who you want to be when you grow up (even if you're already grown up!). Her vision is powerful, her ambition is motivating, her personality is dynamic, and her skin is positively illuminating.

Growing up on a ranch, where hard work and responsibility were paramount, Leah developed mental strength and a deep respect for how quality care optimizes longevity and performance. She’s carried these values with her throughout life, and it’s paid off both personally and professionally.

As she begins her 60th trip around the sun, we asked Leah a few questions about this milestone moment—reflecting on the past, envisioning the future and sharing some skincare tips (because let’s face it, we all want to know).

What advice do you have for women who want to embrace aging with grace and confidence?

Set your own definition of what grace and confidence means first, then live true to yourself without comparing to other people’s expectations. 

What does turning 60 mean to you, and how are you personally going to embrace this new decade?

My 60th year is special in that I’m so grateful for what I’ve been able to accomplish on this planet. When I recently shared my age with a friend, she replied, “You’re six perfect tens.” It was so profound that I’ve adopted the description. Every decade truly is perfection. Whatever comes of it, builds to the next and makes us who we are today. I have certainly lived life abundantly. Not with riches, or privilege; but with meaning and experience. I’ve touched lives and made a difference. If I can keep making a positive impact and sharing happiness, love and laughter, this will be a great next chapter.

My mother wrote a short story about me once and the section I always remember is how I want to continue life and embrace the next 10: “This is about a young woman who has never been afraid to take the bull by the horns or literally ride the bull. Life is a challenge that she meets head-on. Just as the bull charges the cape of the torero, so does she attack life. Just as the bull makes an impression or a legend of the torero, so will she on her goals.” (Olé. Mom’s proud Spanish analogy.) 

What are some of the most important lessons you've learned over the years as a businesswoman and entrepreneur?

There’s going to be triumph and struggles and a lot of other experiences in between. I’m an expressive individual and it’s easy to really fist pump the good times and kick tires on the bad days. The most important lesson is to stay centered on goals and objectives, and start every new day with fresh eyes, enthusiasm and a can-do attitude. 

What advice would you give to other women looking to start their own businesses, especially later in life?

Starting a business is an all-in endeavor. Whether it’s later in life, or not, the advice I’d give is the same. Believe in what you’re doing so much so that you’re willing to commit 100% of your focus on the business venture. An entrepreneur should think like a professional athlete with a training plan. Know your milestone events, work backwards to prepare for those, hone in on performance methodologies and plan ahead for deviations (because they will always blindside you). Don’t get sidetracked, prepare well and execute to the podium moment.

What personal achievements are you most proud of as you turn 60?

I’m super proud of my athletic accomplishments: My world championship win in the Hill Climb, the North American Cross Country title, and being the only American woman to have raced the Mountain Bike Tour de France. Professionally, I’m proud of my double decade tenure as a sideline reporter, which may be a record in the female sports reporting world. And most importantly, I’m proud to have founded and grown NULASTIN into the brand it is today.

What’s on tap for the next decade, personally and professionally? 

Everything I’ve been dreaming, thinking and planning has to do with NULASTIN. What’s on tap professionally is to amplify the brand and make elastin replenishment a part of people’s daily lives. It sounds like marketing when I say it out loud, but physiology doesn’t lie. We all need supplemental elastin for our hair and skin health because it depletes with age. No other brand is addressing this loss of elastin, which means I’m highly motivated to continue being a leader in the industry. We have new product development in the pipeline that will be even more transformative.

Personally, I’d like to be at a point where I can share more generosity. Time is the enemy. There are not enough hours in the day to mentor, support others or share moments. What I plan to strive for in the next decade is to get back to a spirit of surprise and delight.

How do you stay inspired and motivated every day?

My daily inspiration and motivation come from within. I love what I do. Plus, I’ve curated a life that’s exactly what I want it to be: Where I live, lifestyle, choices, friendships and opportunity. At 17 years old, a high school counselor introduced me to the term, self actualization (personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences). This resonated with me so intently, I’ve been striving to reach it since. No doubt, there are tough days when I’m buried at my desk and get a little bitter (I’m human!). But I balance that with phone-free moments of hiking, bike riding and detoxing from the noise. 

What’s your best kept secret for great skin at 60? 

When I was little, I couldn’t wait to have laugh lines like my mother. But as I started aging, I seriously questioned that dream. I didn’t exactly set myself up for great skin success—I used to suntan with baby oil (who’s with me?). In high school, I suffered from acne and spent hours under a steamer to try to clear my pores, only to “tone my skin with rubbing alcohol.” Talk about being ill-informed.

In college, I developed hyperpigmentation and went on a dermatologist bender in an attempt to lighten my skin. All of my bad decisions, along with hours in the sun riding horses and mountain biking, did me no favors.

It was around 1998, when high-def television became the norm and I was working as a commentator on an outdoor television show. Wow, that footage doesn’t lie! From that moment on, I vowed to take care of my skin. The first product I committed to was a bioavailable cream by Dr. Barry Sears, of the Zone Diet. Around 45 was when I switched to biodesigned elastin replenishment, otherwise known as NULASTIN skincare. It was almost too effective. People thought I was going under the knife. Fifteen years later, I can tell you with certainty—it works. I use our Intensive Hydrating Serum and Rejuvenating Facial Moisturizer every single day. That’s it. Your routine doesn’t need to be complicated. It just needs to be effective.

What are your top selfcare tips for looking and feeling your best?

There are three and if I don’t follow them, I’m a mess! Exercise (you have to sweat), hydrate (lots and lots of water), and sleep (at least 8 hours).

How are you celebrating your 60th?  

When I was younger, I’d make milestone birthdays a major event by living out a bucket list idea. For example, on my 45th, my bucket list goal was to travel without expectations. So, I cashed in miles, flew to Hawaii, and landed on Oahu’s Turtle Bay with nowhere to stay and no money for a hotel room. An old-timer lifeguard struck up a conversation and mentioned there was a cabin I could sleep in if I promised to clean it. After getting the hut spick and span, I slept on a palm leaf mat and was awakened at 4am by someone saying, “Who’s in my house?” I replied, “The maid!” As it turns out, the owner of the cabin was a kind local, with a sense of humor, and we ended up becoming good friends. 

I digress, but I could go on with many more bucket list birthday shenanigans. This year, however, I’ll enjoy my favorite thing in the world—a day with my friends riding my bike, followed by a 5-star meal with my amazing husband. And then, in August, we will be going to the Paris Olympics for a true bucket list moment.