On the phone from Mexico where Rachel Hunter is filming the final episode of her new TV show Rachel’s Tour of Beauty, I’m expecting insights into how the Moroccan argan oil we’ve been slathering on our hair also has anti-aging properties. I want to know what amla oil from India will do for me, if camel milk is the new almond milk and all about the latest procedures the South Koreans are working on. All of this, says Rachel, will be revealed in her show.
But having visited 15 countries to learn about local approaches to – and perceptions of – beauty, she’s more excited by one recurring theme. Spoiler alert: it’s “happiness and the sense of community and belonging” that are the keys to beauty. “When you see a grumpy person, it’s not very attractive. But when you see someone who is really joyful and happy, that’s truly beautiful, and you see that when people gather.”
From Greece to Dubai, France to Fiji, from science labs to remote villages, the model and presenter travelled far and wide to uncover insights into different cultural attitudes to beauty. “Of course there are the superfoods we cover and some great things for your face, but when you’re travelling around meeting people on remote farms, you start to see that it’s actually basic and very simple. From what you can grow in your own garden that’s great for your body and face, to beauty products, to a sense of fulfillment, to being happy.”
As a result of researching and filming the show, Rachel says she has made a few changes in her life, such as eating a more plant-based diet, and she questions the provenance of ingredients. While she regularly practices yoga, meditates and hikes in Los Angeles, after her recent experiences, she’s on the fence about other Hollywood pastimes, such as cosmetic surgery. “You do feel the pressure, going, ‘Oh my God maybe I should do that, or I kind of need to do this’. Then I’m meeting these amazing people who haven’t done anything at all and it’s put me in this place where I’m wondering why would I do that? So it’s 50/50 for me at the moment.”
Rachel, 45, is more clear cut about her makeup and diet essentials: “I definitely always wear mascara and black eyeliner at night, and I like a nice light foundation. I always wear something for the lips, such as Papaw cream. But I always have ‘F**k it Sundays’ because I love cheese and I love a roast dinner! You can incorporate these amazing superfoods into your diet, they’re added benefits, but you still need to eat and live and be happy, and treat the kitchen as this amazing area where you all get together. It’s important to me to really enjoy life.”
As the conversation draws to a close, I tell Rachel I hope she has time to get back to NZ soon, but that I’m not sure we have any new beauty secrets to uncover. She instantly jumps to the defence of her beloved homeland. “Oh, but it does! Manuka honey, for example, does so many amazing things. New Zealanders are so hard on themselves, they need to realise a lot of this amazing stuff is in their own back garden.”
So perhaps a potential second series that ventures here? Watch this space.
* Rachel’s Tour of Beauty screens every Wednesday at 8.30pm, TV ONE.