Cather­ine McNeil


Sunday Herald Sun - Body and Soul - - FRONT PAGE -

If you’re think­ing Aus­tralian model Cather­ine McNeil un­der­goes gru­elling four-hour car­dio ses­sions and ex­treme di­ets to ob­tain her lithe physique, you’re very wrong. The 22-year-old, who has graced the cov­ers of Vogue Aus­tralia and Nu­mero mag­a­zine and walked on the run­ways of the world’s top fashion la­bels, in­clud­ing Chanel and Prada, fol­lows just three sim­ple rules: drink plenty of wa­ter, eat a lot of veg­eta­bles and walk – ev­ery­where.

“I’m just very tall and lean, so as long as I eat lots of fruit and veg­eta­bles and do lots of walk­ing, I’m all right,’’ the 1.8-me­tres-tall Queens­lan­der says.

McNeil, who got her big break at age 14 af­ter win­ning Girl­friend mag­a­zine’s Model Search com­pe­ti­tion, is now one of Aus­tralia’s most in-de­mand mod­els.

The con­stant travel and long hours are chal­leng­ing, but the New York-based beauty says she man­ages to main­tain a nu­tri­tious diet de­spite the un­pre­dictable na­ture of her job.

McNeil re­cently flew into Syd­ney to shoot a new cam­paign for Bonds to launch the brand’s new Train­ers range, which is when we caught up with her.

What does a typ­i­cal day or week for you usu­ally in­volve?

You re­ally don’t know very much in ad­vance about what you’ll be do­ing each week. There’s a lot of wait­ing around to hear about jobs and stuff, so you just have to have your bag ready to go and wait un­til you’re told where to go. Then you just get on a plane and go.

What is your diet like?

I’m al­ways just try­ing to drink a lot of wa­ter and eat­ing lots of fruit and veg­eta­bles. I al­ways carry snacks on jobs just in case they don’t have the right foods for me to eat, be­cause I’m a veg­e­tar­ian, but they’re usu­ally pretty good about cater­ing for my needs. I felt be­com­ing veg­e­tar­ian was just a lot eas­ier and health­ier for me. I still eat fish, though.

Do you have any par­tic­u­lar foods you like to keep in your bag when you’re run­ning be­tween cast­ings or on fashion jobs?

I take a bag around with me which I fill with wasabi peas, nuts, goji berries, raisins and foods like that, and I al­ways carry or­anges and ap­ples around in my bag – and lots of wa­ter.

Are there any foods that you like to in­dulge in oc­ca­sion­ally?

I can’t live with­out nuts and al­monds, and wasabi peas – I have a real ad­dic­tion to those! I think with nuts, though, you shouldn’t eat too many be­cause they’re hard to di­gest, and I’m a sucker for choco­late, es­pe­cially dark choco­late.

How do you cope with the con­stant travel? Is it hard to fit in reg­u­lar ex­er­cise?

It’s kind of hard, but I think liv­ing in big cities – es­pe­cially in New York and London – and run­ning around from job to job, means I’ll some­times be walk­ing up to five hours a day. I was very sporty at school, but now I mostly just walk. I still don’t know how to drive, so I walk ev­ery­where and it keeps me fit. It’s al­ways tir­ing and stress­ful when you’re con­stantly chang­ing time zones and run­ning around, so it’s im­por­tant for me to get a lot of sleep and keep hy­drated. It helps me to ad­just.

How do you re­lax and de-stress in be­tween mod­el­ling jobs?

I’ve been a model since I was 13, and I think it is stress­ful and there are long hours and lots of fly­ing, so it does take its toll, but you just have to take down time and rest. I think you just get used to it in the end, and when you do get those days off, you just en­joy it, re­lax and bum around on the couch all day. But my favourite way to re­lax is to take a long, hot bath.

Can you tell us about your beauty rou­tine?

I sleep as much as I can when I’m on the plane and drink lots and lots of wa­ter, be­cause trav­el­ling does make you de­hy­drated. It’s also re­ally im­por­tant to mois­turise your face and al­ways take your make-up off af­ter a day of work, be­cause it’s al­ways get­ting caked on. I also use Chanel’s Pre­ci­sion Hy­dra­max mois­turiser – that’s kept my skin re­ally healthy.

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