Jess Hart

Why She Gave Up On Gluten-Free

Women's Health (South Africa) - - FRONT PAGE - By Tara Ali Pho­to­graphs By Si­mon Up­ton

It’s no won­der Jess Hart, 31, stars in Seafolly cam­paigns and has walked the Vic­to­ria’s Se­cret run­way – she’s in ace shape and that’s be­cause she gives her body plenty of TLC. “I just took a three-day tran­scen­den­tal med­i­ta­tion course at the week­end, it’s my new thing,” she says. “My sis­ter [Ashley] has been med­i­tat­ing for years and ev­ery time I’m with her, she does 20 min­utes in the morn­ing, 20 in the af­ter­noon. I used to think it was too hard to find the time, but I’m go­ing to do it. The benefits out­weigh the com­mit­ment by a long shot,” she says. We chat­ted to Jess while she was wait­ing for a flight back from LA to NYC. Be­tween shoot­ing fash­ion cam­paigns glob­ally and run­ning LUMA, her own nat­u­ral cos­met­ics line, we’re frankly im­pressed she has time for any­thing ex­cept col­laps­ing on the couch. High achiev­ing is in her genes.

Grow­ing up, my favourite meal was fried food…

My mum al­ways fed us healthy, or­ganic food; we were never al­lowed white bread – it al­ways had to be grainy and I think at the be­gin­ning I re­belled against that and wanted all the things I wasn’t al­lowed to have. But it’s not long be­fore you re­alise how un­healthy food makes you feel gross. I’m very much about bal­ance today. Don’t get me wrong, I still love piz­zas and burg­ers and I eat them, I don’t hold back, it’s just about bal­anc­ing it.

The older you get, the harder you have to work at the gym…

I turned 30 last year and ev­ery­thing’s changed. At 20, you don’t worry about much, ev­ery­thing bounces back a lot quicker. Back then I wouldn’t have thought twice about things like what I’m eat­ing. But as you get wiser, you be­come more in tune with your body and it just feels bet­ter when you nour­ish it. I’m more lov­ing to­wards my­self now.

Start­ing my own beauty com­pany has been a learn­ing curve…

At the be­gin­ning I knew ex­actly what I wanted, but I learnt along the way that you have to be open to pro­fes­sional opin­ions and crit­i­cism. We take polls now to find out what’s working. You have to be pa­tient and you can’t learn un­less you make mis­takes, you have to be okay with that. And be will­ing to put your­self out there cre­atively, which is in­tim­i­dat­ing. But LUMA has been re­ally well re­ceived and it’s an amaz­ing con­trast to mod­el­ling.

The health vibe in NYC is noth­ing like LA…

There aren’t as many gluten-free restau­rants and juice bars and healthy cof­fee shops ev­ery­where. I do feel a lot health­ier when I’m in LA. New York is more about eat­ing out and there’s only so much you can con­trol when you do that. With the life­style in New York, you don’t have a lot of time to go gro­cery shop­ping and cook for your­self. Most of the fresh food in your fridge goes off be­cause for the next two nights you’re out for din­ner. It takes a lot more plan­ning to be healthy there.

I once spent a year not eat­ing gluten…

I did feel amaz­ing, my sys­tem did work bet­ter. But then, well, I love pizza so I couldn’t keep that up! But now I feel I have a healthy re­la­tion­ship with it. But I think tak­ing it out for that time helped me tol­er­ate it more, my sys­tem used to, you know, back up if I ate a lot of wheat, but now I think I process and digest it bet­ter.

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