Meet Chrissy and Jayla, Models and Wellness Entrepreneurs

A few years ago, LA-based models Jayla Harnwell and Chrissy Blair both had health crises that caused them to pay more attention to their health and wellbeing. The stress of modeling, paired with frequent traveling, had left them with constant bloating and fatigue. Chrissy suddenly found herself with bad cystic acne that took her off of modeling jobs for 3 months, and Jayla became intolerant to dairy and gluten. The pair bonded over their shared health struggles, and as they searched for holistic remedies, learned about the benefits of bone broth. After drinking bone broth, Chrissy and Jayla saw significant improvements in their digestion and skin health, and their subsequent research led them to find that it was the collagen in the broth that was responsible for changing how they felt and looked. It was this discovery that led them to create Kalumi Beauty, a new brand that makes “beautyfood”: food that is good for you, from the inside out.

Kalumi, which is a cross between the words “Kalon”, Greek for beauty, and “luminous”, was thus founded on the principle ingredient of collagen. Collagen has many incredible properties - it is a hypoallergenic protein source which is not only carb and sugar free but also anti-inflammatory, unlike soy or dairy. As one of the body’s building blocks, collagen can help repair damaged hair, acne-prone skin and brittle nails.

It took Chrissy and Jayla 8 months to create Kalumi’s signature protein bar, as the pair wanted to find the highest quality, cleanest ingredients possible. The collagen found in the bar is not beef collagen, but instead marine collagen, which is a pescaterian collagen that is easy for the gut to absorb and one of the most bioavailable sources of protein. The other key ingredient in Kalumi’s bar is yacon syrup, a sweetener derived from yacon, a root vegetable found in the Andes region of South America. Jayla sourced the syrup from Peru, and though it is incredibly pricey, it gives the bar a sweet taste without a high sugar count. Chrissy and Jayla were adamant that their bar contain 3 times as much protein as sugar, a ratio seldom found in protein bars. Kalumi’s bars currently come in 3 classic flavors: Sweetie Pie, Lemon Love and Cocoa Kiss, are a healthy meal-replacement option when on the go.

 

At HerCampus, we know all too well that college students often survive off of whatever protein bar we can find at the nearest convenient store when we don’t have the time to eat in between class, so I asked Chrissy about how to choose a healthy bar. Surprisingly, Chrissy tells me that almost every bar on the market is unhealthy - most are “candy bars in disguise, and it’s extremely rare to find one with more protein than sugar, much less one that has 2 or 3 times as much protein than sugar”. She advises me that date-based bars like RXBars are among the less egregious bars, but they still have more sugar than protein. The worst bars are the ones loaded with sugar alcohols: chemically-based sweeteners that cause bloating and indigestion.

I take the bars with me on busy mornings when I know I will not have time to sit down and eat.

The bars themselves are delicious and completely filling, and provide plenty of nutrients to support skin and gut health. I love that the bars only have a touch of sweetness, and are chewy but not sticky. If I had to choose one, I’d recommend the Cocoa Kiss, which has a dark chocolate flavor.

The two models have had not just an incredible wellness journey, but an entrepreneurial one as well. They’ve learned many lessons about product development, and feel lucky that they are able to run a business together as best friends. The Kalumi team has exciting plans for the future - they are currently raising their first round of funding, just launched their 4th flavor Cheeky Chai (a sunflower seed based bar that tastes like a vanilla chai latte) and are planning additional products to the BeautyFood line. You can buy Kalumi bars online, or in Free People or GOOP!