Affectionately referred to as ‘Our Rach’, Supermodel Rachel Hunter has to be the most loved of all Kiwi celebrities. My sister had the opportunity to meet her last year and was impressed with how friendly and open Rachel was. My sister works in the hospitality industry and meets many celebrities. She told me she found Rachel to be the most genuine and down-to-earth celebrity she has ever met. She was also impressed by the way she showed genuine interest in my sister as a person. In other words, she had no inflated ego. This no doubt has been behind the affectionate ‘Our Rach’ moniker.

Rachel Hunter (

Like singer Lorde and golf champion Lydia Ko, Rachel Hunter was also born on Auckland’s North Shore (1969). In 1985 she began her career as a 15-year-old appearing in a series of TV commercials promoting a popular New Zealand ice cream called a Trumpet. The ‘Trumpet Girl’ as she was called was noticed by a talent scout and was signed to New York modelling agency Ford Models. She proved popular with their clients and soon landed a Cover Girl Cosmetics gig as well as becoming the spokesperson for them. While still a teenager, she appeared on several Vogue covers including Vogue Germany, USA, Australia and Italy. However, it wasn’t until 1989 when she posed for Sports Illustrated as a swimsuit model that she became globally successful. She went on to appear in Rolling Stone, Cosmopolitan, Elle and the Dutch edition of Harper’s Bazaar. In 1994 she was part of the ‘Dream Team’ cover of Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit issue with Elle MacPherson and Kathy Ireland. Twelve years later she again graced the cover of Sports Illustrated as a solo model. Her popularity continued to climb after she posed nude for Playboy in April 2004 for a reported $2.8 million.

At the age of 21, Rachel met singer Rod Stewart at a Los Angeles nightclub. They married 3 months later. The marriage lasted 9 years and produced two children. In an extract from The Autobiography of Rod Stewart, he mentioned Rachel when he said:  “There was a connection straight away. She was extremely beautiful, but there was something no-nonsense about her as well. It was there in her New Zealand accent, but also in her face, which was open and smart.” After leaving Rod, she was romantically linked with Bruce Willis, Michael Weatherly, Kevin Costner and Robbie Williams. Rachel also formed relationships with two NHL players. She had planned to marry Canadian Jarrett Stoll on 14th August 2009 but he called the wedding off just 7 weeks before the wedding day.


‘Our Rach’ has appeared in 28 movies and 25 TV productions appearing as herself in 12 of them. Perhaps the most amusing cameo was in the 2004 Christmas Special of the hit BBC comedy series, The Vicar of Dibley. Prior to this, while just 21, she was famous enough to cameo as herself on the long running New Zealand TV soap Shortland Street.  In 1997 she guest starred in an episode of The Drew Carey Show as herself.

Being a model, her early movie roles tended to exploit her body and good looks. She made her movie debut in the 1999 comedy Just a Little Harmless Sex where she played a prostitute who gets a stranded motorist into trouble. Other films she has appeared in include 1999’s A Walk in the Park and 2000’s erotic thriller Two Shades of Blue. In one noted screen role, she played a lesbian cook in the award-winning indie film La Cucina, a yarnabout relationships, food and wine. Perhaps a little typecast, she played a sexy mother in the American sports comedy, The Benchwarmers and as a sultry, bikini-clad mother in the 2003 music video for Rock band, Fountains of Wayne’s Stacey’s Mum. In 2005, Rachel popped up in the celebrity episode of the American game show Lingo, where she helped generate $US30,000 for charity. In 2006, she hosted a US cable TV reality programme, Style Me with Rachel Hunter. The contestants on the show had to demonstrate they were capable of being her stylist.


Proving she is not just a model or TV personality but also a good businesswoman, in 2007 she launched Lola a fashion line of cutting edge affordable swimsuits with the same style, sexiness and originality she had seen in fashion shows around the world. In 2008, she launched an affordable but stylish women’s clothing line with ‘The Warehouse’ chain in New Zealand.

In 2012 and 2013, Rachel was a popular judge on New Zealand’s Got Talent. Ratings for the show were high, no doubt partly due to the presence of our own supermodel. I must say, she was a factor in my interest in the show week after week, due to her insightful comments and sparkling personality. In August 2015, the first episode of her own television series titled “Rachel Hunter’s Tour of Beauty” screened in New Zealand. In the series she travelled the world and undertook all manner of beauty treatments as well as looking at fashion and food. There was a strong spiritual element in the episodes. I watched the whole series and found it compelling viewing. It has proved popular with the public and has been screened in 150 countries. Just recently, she has released a book version of the TV series. The series also exposes Rachel’s deep interest in  meditation, breathing and conscious living. To this end she runs live workshops to teach people how to live less stressful lives.


Because she is a humanitarian, Rachel has taken on the role as an ambassador for The Born Free Foundation, and has established the Rachel Hunter Lowland Gorilla Fund. The Foundation was set up to ensure that all wild animals, whether in captivity or in the wild, are treated with compassion and respect and are able to live their lives according to their needs. This is what Rachel also tries to achieve for the people she involves herself with who respond warmly to her empathy, energy and personality.

Although she lives in Los Angeles, she has recently taken on the role as an international ambassador for Auckland.“I’m a proud Kiwi. Auckland is where I was born and will always be home,” she says. “It’s a beautiful place. The immediate connection you can have with nature, the city and the diversity of the people makes me proud of who we are as New Zealanders, and this is something I want to share with the world.”

‘Our Rach’ is another Kiwi achiever all New Zealanders can- and indeed- are very proud to call one of their own.

Ceidrik Heward

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