Rachel Hunter has been a beauty icon since she signed with Ford Models at 17 and graced the covers of Elle, Cosmopolitan, Sports Illustrated, and Harper’s Bazaar, and became the face of brands like Covergirl and Revlon. Her career in modeling, and subsequently acting and TV hosting has taken her from her native Auckland, New Zealand, around the world, and she revisits some of her favorite places and some new ones as the host of Rachel Hunter’s Tour of Beauty.
Each week, Hunter seeks out the best beauty, style, diet, and health secrets of the places she visits, beginning with France (including custom fragrances and the benefits of red wine) and South Korea, the plastic surgery capital of the world. Back in Los Angeles after her whirlwind odyssey, Hunter sat down to tell us all about it.
Where else did you go besides Korea and France?
We went to India, Dubai, Morocco, Japan, Greece, China, Brazil, Fiji.
What did you learn from the experience?
I changed the way I eat, introducing superfoods like chia seeds, noni juice, amaranth. I didn’t realize about the fermented foods like kimchi that people eat in other cultures. It’s something I started including in my diet because it’s a probiotic. I learned about ancient ways of healing. I learned African dance in Brazil—the joy and the colors of it. I learned about self-acceptance, going into the next phase of life–how aging meets a sense of self. Everything really, it was epic.
In Korea, a plastic surgeon made all these recommendations for work you should have. What are your thoughts on procedures?
If you are going to get plastic surgery, make sure that you really want to do this for yourself, you are not doing this for somebody else. What is good for one person may not be good for another. You should do what you want to do that makes you happy, and if it’s a bit of Botox, a bit of filler, that’s what you do, but it’s serious–you are putting chemicals into your face.
In the show, you say you had an ugly duckling phase. When was that?
I was like 10 and very gangly, had buck teeth, and my hair was really frizzy. I think we all go through that, you know? You go through those peaks and valleys throughout your whole life: You like yourself, then you put on too much weight.
You look flawless now—what’s your secret?
There is no secret. I do yoga every day, meditation. I eat no processed foods and lots of vegetables. I shop at farmers markets—meat in moderation. I don’t eat red meat anymore.
What does beauty mean to you?
Where it lies for me now is the synchronicity between the external and internal, and when those two meet, this harmonious moment happens when you feel great about yourself. It’s like when you put on your jeans and your hair’s right and everything kind of works, and you feel happy.
What do you do for your skin?
I use rose oil; I use real argan oil—it smells like nuts—on my hair and my face. But it’s really more about what I put into my body. I drink a lot of water—It’s all about putting moisture back in your body. I’m not a face product person, but I love smells: woody scents, rose, geranium.
What makeup lines do you like?
Japan and Korea were great for products. They have things like Botox face masks. In Santee Market in downtown Los Angeles, I get a Korean line made with carrots and enzymes.
What beauty advice do you have for young women?
No fear. Self-acceptance. If you’re having a bad day, it’s OK. Go do yoga or be with family and friends, whatever it is that makes you feel better and laugh. We all have sad moments and sad times but to be alone is not good.
Do you have romance in your life right now?
No. I would love to find love again, but I just started working again. I’d stopped for a while because I’d exhausted all my options. It was time to regroup and find out what my passions are and what I wanted to do. I loved the fashion world, but I’ve found what I actually do love doing. I’m happy.
What are your passions?
I love meeting people and different cultures and finding out about the different ways people think. I enjoy yoga; I love being around my kids and family.
Renee has just about finished three years at the London Contemporary School of Dance, and Liam plays ice hockey.
When you think of your modeling days now, what stands out?
The trips and the people and the hair and makeup and creativity. I worked with genius photographers like Richard Avedon and Steven Meisel, Gilles Bensimon. I was a 17-year-old selling clothes to women twice my age. It was amazing!
What do you want Tour of Beauty viewers to take away?
Learning about other cultures, places they would never go, understanding other people and ways of thinking. That’s really important, with what’s going on in the world. We’re all here together.
(Photos: Imagination TV)