There are quite a few things that are absolutely fascinating about Abigail O’Neill. First of all, the beautiful Australian broke the age-related stereotypes associated with modelling by staring her successful career at the age of 32. She is a gorgeous loving (and loved) wife and mother of three teenagers, though she looks more like their sister (for a visual proof, you get a wrinkle-free skin and a figure any 18-year old would envy for).
If this isn’t enough, Abigail showed the healthy side of modelling by establishing herself as an extraordinary raw food chef and an author of Model Chocolate, a book full of mouth watering, scrumptious, raw, sugar-, diary- and gluten-free chocolate recipes that can take you from breakfast to dinner and a few nourishing treats you can use for your skin.
As somebody who not only believes in chocolate and its goodness, but also “nutrition, exercise, water, sunlight, temperance (or balance), fresh air, rest, & trust” as the essential steps to health and wellbeing, Abigail got to my list of most inspirational and beautiful women before I knew it and I am incredibly excited to have her here.
I love a beautiful smile, it transcends age and crosses all barriers. Another thing for me which defines beauty is freedom of spirit; the ability to love, laugh and express a genuine admiration for the beauty in others.
A lot of girls tend to compare themselves to the models they see in fashion magazines and, as a result, dislike their own appearance. Is there a way for them to learn to love and accept their body the way it is, to feel beautiful in their own skin?
A great big YES!! To anyone who feels like this right now, reading this, I'd say please focus on making yourself feel energised, nourished, blessed. It might sound cliché, but true beauty really does come from within. A picture won't always capture that. To capture an image of beauty which really 'shines' through (I'm speaking of modelling in front of the camera) I know I personally feel so much more effortless in shaping 'that moment' when I feel great. Exercise, time out, and nutritious food works wonders!
What do you do to be camera-ready at all times?
I enjoy a lot of raw food daily, which keeps me hydrated and helps make my skin glow. My daily raw cacao treats (from my book - Model Chocolate) are essentials for me, they give me extra energy and antioxidants which rejuvenate my skin. I also surf regularly, take brisk walks and do yoga. How does your diet help you achieve it? I would say diet is No 1 when it comes to keeping me looking at my best. I've practiced this style of organic living/mostly raw vegan eating for about 20 years now and always receive flattering comments on how young I look. Is it more about exercise or any other beauty/fitness regimes?) I love to smother my skin with my cacao face mask (also in the book) after a long day of shooting, it really works a treat and smells delicious too!
Have you always been interested in healthy eating? Has it been a transition or a way of life from the very beginning?
Yes! From since I was about 13 years old, I loved reading health books, and actually 'took over' my mums kitchen! That was the best way to learn.
Would you agree with La Rochefoucauld that “to eat intelligently is an art”?
Totally - love that one! One of my quotes from my book Model Chocolate is similar, it says:
“ENCHANT, STAY BEAUTIFUL AND GRACEFUL, BUT DO THIS, EAT WELL. BRING THE SAME CONSIDERATION TO THE PREPARATION OF YOUR FOOD AS YOU DEVOTE TO YOUR APPEARANCE. LET YOUR DINNER BE A POEM, LIKE YOUR DRESS.”
Charles Pierre Monselet
In your fabulous book you say that chocolate is what “transforms the way you feel about food forever”. How does the chocolate affect our mind and diet?
The style of chocolate in my book is revolutionary, until it becomes mainstream, which is what I want - it will continue to change and challenge the way people think about healthy food. Model Chocolate tastes so great, and is as good for you as it tastes, perfect for anyone wanting to look and feel their very best.
Are there any recipes you’ve created that you like the most or eat most often?
I can't live without my Hit the Spot Hot Cacao in Winter, along with the Goji Ginger Healer, which tastes AMAZING and helps keep me well. I use my 'Classic Dark' raw chocolate all the time, and at the moment enjoying lots of Nibana Soft Serve (a raw vegan ice cream made with bananas and cacao nibs) for breakfast. The Love Me Bittersweet Pie is world famous, and another of my personal favourites.
Can you share one of your delicious ideas with us, please? Love to! Why not try my Ecoblock recipe! It's like a cross between a coconut chocolate slice, and fruit and nut chocolate, raw and economical to make - so perfect for sharing with friends (scroll down for the recipe).
Do you have any other tips for looking beautiful and feeling great? Lots! I love to share pictures of my organic lifestyle and tips on Instagram and blog, love to see you there!
This is the economical way I made chocolate for years, except I used carob powder in place of cacao. Whenever I made it, someone always asked me for the recipe. Look for the 'blocks' of creamed coconut in a cardboard package such as Royals. The jars of creamed coconut are more expensive, not necessary for this recipe.
200g creamed coconut or concentrate, chopped
2 big tablespoons raw honey
¼ teaspoon vanilla powder
1 big tablespoon raw nut butter of choice
½ cup chopped raw brazil nuts
½ cup mixed sultanas, currants and raisins or dried cherries
Pinch fine sea salt
⅓ cup raw cacao/organic cocoa powder
Place creamed coconut into a glass bowl to melt over a larger bowl of boiling water. Remove from heat adding all other ingredients and mix gently until combined. Scrape out onto a lined tray or chocolate mould and set in the fridge.
10 minutes to prepare, 10 minutes to set. Makes a massive family-sized block.
Super Tip: to make this nut free, substitute raw organic coconut oil in place of nut butter and omit brazil nuts.
"Thank you" to Abigail, Rhiannon and BleachPR for the support, interview and images.
Photo source: c/o Abigail O’Neill & Bleach PR, photography: Damien Nikora, styling: Tamzen Holland Chalmers)