LIVING Supermodel, presenter, and yoga teacher Rachel Hunter says the times we live in demand that we all get grounded and find inner peace. Jack Yan and Amanda Satterthwaite speak with her
Photographed by Paddy Foss
Make-up, Hair and Styling by Krisztina Moricz
Last July, Lucire covered the news of supermodel Rachel Hunter’s latest collaboration, her endorsement of New Zealand skin care brand Essano.
Says Katarina Scrimshaw, Essano’s marketing manager, ‘We’ve been a good six months in now with this partnership. She’s very down to earth and really approachable, and she genuinely loves the brand. So I think that’s just lovely for us. We’re delighted to be working with her. She’s obviously an icon, and Kiwi and natural.’
When we were offered the chance to interview Hunter further in amongst our 25th anniversary celebrations last year, there was no question. Scrimshaw said it best: Hunter is an icon. And after all, who better a subject than another Kiwi who headed overseas and became famous?
Speaking to us via Zoom from her hotel room in New Delhi, about to depart India after a brief stint there, Hunter elaborated more on how she wound up working with Essano.
‘When you look back, obviously there were my modelling days where you’re doing Covergirl and different products. With products I may have endorsed, that’s where I was. It was relative to where [I was in] my life. With some of the natural products that I have been with—we don’t just have one thing in our bag.
‘I saw Essano in New World [supermarket] 10 years ago when I was doing New Zealand’s Got Talent, and then I went into a shop in America at the end of  and I saw them again. What I loved is that the product is high-value. And at the same time, you’re able to get it in a supermarket. You can go get your peas and carrots and you can go get Essano. It’s really important to get a high-quality product.’
When she first came across Essano, she tried it and liked it. Essano’s Certified Organic Hydrating Rosehip Oil (‘the oil’s amazing,’ she notes) is a mainstay of Hunter’s beauty routine. Seeing it again in Los Angeles prompted her to ask a friend to reach out to Essano. ‘We saw where they were at, and where I was at, at that point,’ explains Hunter.
‘It was really easy because they have all the right ethics, continually looking at sustainability. It’s very hard for brands to constantly be looking at ways to be sustainable, [yet] that’s part of their philosophy.
‘They also integrated with the yoga and the meditation that I do. I really love that, because then that shows it’s not just about the rosehip oil. There’s an integration with your life and who you are. So I really love their philosophy there, too.
‘To work with people like [Essano], it’s like working with friends.’
She’s also a fan of Essano’s Hydrating Rosehip Mist Toner.
Hunter warns against pigeon-holing spokespeople, or confining yourself by making declarations about what you stand for. The public will slam someone for going off-brand even once, she says. ‘All of us have done such a variety of things that are relative to that time. So to be contained in one kind of idea, one box, I think is really limiting. You adjust and you learn and you grow, and this is where I’m at right now. This is a huge part of my life.’
The 1980s and 1990s—the era in which Hunter became an international household name—were a time of excess, something that’s at odds with where she sees herself today. ‘Our generation, too—Generation X—we were full power, man. We were ambitious and it’s time for us to mop up a little bit of our mess, you know? We were out of control. It’s nice to kind of wake up and do that.’
One part of this awakening has been Hunter’s passion for yoga, which she calls ‘the best of everything all the time.’ Having first practised bikram yoga in 2000, she looked at different modalities, before formally training in India to become an instructor herself. She even has workshops and retreats planned through 2023.
‘The west knows more of yoga as asana. But when I went to India, there’s a whole deep philosophy within that, which people are becoming very aware of now.’
Her routine consists of a meditation, either in the morning or the evening, ‘whether that’s 20 minutes or goes to an hour, it’s always something.’
She elaborates, ‘It can either be pranayama or breath work, the kriyas, or the asana; most of these, or usually all together.’
She says that once people begin understanding yoga’s connection to breath, and how to incorporate it in their practice and between postures, ‘it brings you back in, it slows you down.
‘And for people who do not concentrate on the breath and just go through the asana, but just breathe gently, you can totally make it a power workout. At the same time, [if you] slow that down, go into the processes, creating that breath, it brings all that kind of magic slowly in.
‘Then you start naturally connecting to yourself, that happens with that blossoming. It’s a beautiful way.’
However, Hunter believes people can find their own ways to achieve that connection with self and to find a more comfortable pace of life for the benefit of their own health. ‘I don’t want to isolate it to yoga. It is my way, but I always think there are so many entry points for everybody and it’s not just one way.
‘[It’s the same thing with] tai chi … where you’re creating dynamic movements, you’re creating a slowness, but [also] strength. What it’s creating is subtle. That’s enabling you to go more inward.’ She also cites chi gong, and has a huge appreciation of ancient cultures, including Ayurveda, Chinese medicine, and Middle Eastern philosophies.
Hunter knew of the different methods but saw them most poignantly when she hosted her Tour of Beauty series, where she visited different parts of the globe to learn about how cultures defined beauty. ‘Even in China when I was there, you see all the older people come out early in the morning. They’re either dancing, or singing, they’re moving their hands. You see people there, and they’re getting up and doing stuff, and we [in the west] tend to just sit. And then we wonder why we get sick. Those older ancient cultures, they keep moving and that’s why they have longevity.’
She targets doing her 10,000 steps per day, admitting that when she sees 6,000 on her device, she thinks, ‘God, I’ve got another 4,000 to go. How am I going to do that? And it seems like the longest 4,000 you’ve ever done. It’s like you had to go 10 miles to do 4,000 steps.’
The inner peace is something we all need, especially with COVID-19 having upended so many lives, and Hunter herself feels she is continually travelling. ‘I don’t know where any of us are really right now, because our worlds have all been abruptly shaken around over the last few years.
‘I sold my house back in 2020 when COVID hit, so I’ve been moving around, because basically my belongings are in storage. We were locked down for quite some time. I was in India for the lockdown, until July . I’m just mapping out where I want to go and what I want to do.
‘I have a place in LA where I go back to and have a base, but I’m moving around mostly. My two kids live in London, so I go back and forth there for Christmases and stuff.’
It seemed less hectic during the production of Tour of Beauty, where Hunter and her crew did three countries in each stint and returned to their home bases. And it was fun, and never really tiring: ‘You’re in such a discovery mode where you’re uplifted energy-wise. It was easy because you’re dealing with these incredible people.’
But a few years later, the age of COVID reminds us that plans can change. ‘As you get older, you understand this more: you can plan all you want, but you usually get whacked out of that pretty harshly. Right now, look, everything’s changing so much.
‘We are all in the same boat. I don’t think I’m alone in this at all. We’re just jumping in with leaps of faith for all sorts of things, because our whole worlds have been robbed, so we’re just rowing around in our boats right now, hoping we see land!’
Humorously, she adds, ‘We all think we’ve got the golden nugget and then it’s “Whack!” No, you don’t. “Whack!” This is going to happen. “Whack!” That’s going to happen.
‘There are so many formal structures that have just been decimated. And rightfully so. We do need to grow up, evolve and move forward.’ Hunter notes that the era we are in is one of ‘purging’, a time where society gets rid of the shaming and the bullying. The transition is ‘unnerving’ but it is possible to ground yourself.
‘The most grounding experience I’ve had lately is I went into the 21-day panchakarma [an Ayurvedic cleansing and detoxing process]. I’ve never felt more grounded in my life because it was a serious panchakarma. There was no, “Here’s your fruit plate, you can go swimming in the ocean.”
‘So when you’re balancing the body out, and you’re eating in those ways, [the] grounding [that you find] is where you just absolutely have clarity, you’re stable … You are able to speak from a more grounded way.’
Hunter found that she was vata (or ‘very air’), one of the doshas in Ayurveda, describing the combination of universal elements in each person. ‘Most of us probably have a lot of vata, and when you actually bring that air down and you’re able to stabilize, you’re able to [feel grounded].’ She says the panchakarma helped her feel grounded for ‘the first time in my entire life.’
But those who prefer not to do yoga might find peace in ‘taking a pause, sitting in nature; of course there are things that are going to ground you.’
Whatever your approach, it seems the 2020s are a time when we all need to take pause and find our inner balance. Regardless of the method, Hunter advises we all do something daily for 20 minutes. ‘If you had an anxiety moment about it, you could have just done it.’ •
Jack Yan is founder and publisher of Lucire. Amanda Satterthwaite is a writer and photographer for Lucire.
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Photographed by Andrew Matusik
Hair by Jonathan Hanousek/Exclusive Artists
Make-up by Elaine Offers/Exclusive Artists
Styled by Cliff Hoppus
Digital post by DigitalRetouch.net
Photography assisted by Kirk Palmer
From issue 27 of Lucire