Our Face for this Memorial Day Week is Dr. Carla Retief. Her vision for beauty has transformed many faces in Nashville and around the country. From her humble beginnings in West Tennessee (Huntingdon, pop. 4,349), this first-generation college graduate went on to become one of the most sought after cosmetic dermatologists and surgeons in the area. The sudden loss of her 13 year old cousin to melanoma heavily influenced her decision to pursue this career and she has never looked back. After multiple years of medical and surgical training around the country and practicing in West Palm Beach, she returned to her roots ten years ago. She has developed a loyal clientele who trust her to stay ahead of the curve to keep them looking youthful and who swear by her exclusive product line, BuffRx.
When and why did you move to Nashville?
I have moved to Nashville twice. The first time, I came to Nashville to attend Vanderbilt. I met my husband in college and we lived in Chicago and then Palm Beach, FL. We decided to come back to Nashville ten years ago to start a practice closer to home.
What is the greatest piece of advice you have been given?
My sweet mother-in-law has always told me: “The less said, the sooner forgotten.”
Most valuable lesson you’ve learned from your patients?
“Better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission.” This is frequently repeated by women in the office in reference to their upcoming treatments and their later discussions with their husbands!
Best single bit of advice you can give for skincare?
I can’t narrow it down to one!! The top three 1) Always apply products to damp skin; 2) Wear a moisturizer with sunscreen every day. 3) Use Retin-A every night. Find one you can tolerate and stick with it.
Best tid-bit you’ve picked up from StyleBlueprint?
Always read the monthly SB list. It provides more information in one day than most magazines and keeps you up to date.
Something that many may not know about you?
I taught Tom Cruise how to read EKG’s while on the set of The Firm, which was filmed in Memphis, TN. I was a starving medical student and took a part as an extra in the film to make some money.
Any crazy fears?
Public speaking and grizzly bears (the last one developed after watching the movie Grizzly Man).
What books can be found on your bedside table?
Stacks of home décor magazines, medical journals and a “Why I can’t Sleep Tonight” journal to write down new ideas for skincare products.
Favorite thing to do on a Saturday night?
Have a cookout with friends in our outdoor living area. We are an open-door type of family and friends feel comfortable dropping by. We end up with a different group each week.
Things you are most looking forward to doing this summer in Nashville?
Sunday afternoons at Arrington Vineyards, cookouts and pool time with family and friends.
What is your “must-have” purchase for summer 2011?
What is your favorite hangout spot in Nashville?
Home! But if I am going out, I love the new Virago.
Favorite Vacation Spot?
Our family vacation spot is South Africa (my husband grew up there) and for a girls’ trip, it’s Canyon Ranch.
Do you have a playlist for a dinner party or a great workout that you can share with our readers?
I love music and have playlists for workouts, parties, dinners – I even have one that we play during surgery!
Dinner Party mix: Van Morrison’s “Someone Like You,” The Band’s “Up on Cripple Creek,” Elton John’s “Rocket Man” and “Benny and the Jets,” Bob Marley’s “Jamming,” Van Morrison’s “Tupelo Honey,” Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide,” Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World,” The Eagles’ “Tequila Sunrise,” Eric Clapton’s “Change the World,” Bonnie Raitt’s “ Angel From Montgomery,” Nora Jones’ “Come Away with Me,” Sara Bareilles’ “City” and “Gravity.”
To download this playlist, click here.