Social Icon Interviews: Abigail O'Neill
On hydrotherapy, beauty at all ages, and - of course - raw chocolate
From her Byron Bay Hinterland home, Australian model and author Abigail O’Neill shares more than just stunning nature-filled photos of her enchanted garden, her delicious raw cacao treats, and snippets of her family life… She shares with authenticity and honesty the kind of messages about wellness and beauty that the world desperately needs more of today.
Before we jump to any conclusions and think it must be easy to be healthy for someone who looks the epitome of good health already - know that she has faced her share of illness and has moved through it all with grace.
Abigail unapologetically shows us that there is no substitute for taking good care of yourself every day - inner health definitely shines out. And she’s calling on us all to embrace ‘Destination Ageless’ as a culture. We’re ready to see women thriving at all ages and stages of life in our media and our world! Let’s support each other and make it happen.
Q: Food can feel so complex and polarized into camps, so I’m a big fan of focusing on the simple things we can all agree we need more of. You’ve clearly found a way of eating that works for you, but are there elements you feel are universal to good health?
A: Absolutely! Thank-you for the kind words, Lindsay. For each unique body I do feel it is a fine art learning what foods suit us best, understanding ourselves and what is right for our particular occupation or output, the time of life (hormonal imbalances, etc.) and any other specific health/healing requirements.
For me, yes! I love eating simply. My meals are uncomplicated combinations such as fresh fruit as breakfast on its own or with coconut kefir/nuts, spirulina. Sometimes my house-made Almond Mylk raw cacao spicy hot chocolate, matcha, pimped organic coffee or turmeric latte. Coffee is highly acid forming, so if I indulge like my Portuguese ancestors I like to compensate with more minerals/hydration/adrenal tonic herbs such as medicinal mushrooms.
Occasionally if I know I need (as in before a long day of modeling) something more substantial, sometimes I’ll swap my fruit meal for lightly poached eggs and piles of fresh herbs/greens from my garden.
I often like to have a Supersmoothie for lunch boosted with more greens, powders like moringa, maqui berry and cacao nibs, goji berries, avocado, mountains of blueberries. Or, vegetable soups if it’s cold, and my raw seed crackers are so good.
For dinner, usually lots of leafy greens and perhaps a legumes, brown rice or dry baked veggies (drizzle cold pressed olive oil on after). Essential good fats as found in raw nuts, seeds and avocados are wonderful for your skin and satiation.
Keeping my body more alkaline, mostly plant based - loaded with raw organic fruit and vegetables, hydrated with alkalised water, fresh pressed juices/herbal teas, superfoods daily such as my Model Chocolate, raw cacao (perfect afternoon snack), bee pollen, spirulina (these are my ‘supplements’ and beauty potions) along with absolutely abstaining from anything processed, fried or unnatural keeps me feeling at my best.
I don’t crave unhealthful foods as I’ve lived this way for many decades, so eating this way tastes much more delicious and satisfying to me. That said, I’m always baking loaves of rustic sourdough bread, cooking super-tasty (more complex) vegan/vegetarian meals for my family too.
Q: You often post some pretty epic waterfall jumps and hydrotherapy in natural springs! In what ways has nature been healing for you? And what are some of your favorite tips for incorporating more nature in our lives, even for those who live in urban environments?
A: Hydrotherapy has been my salvation in more ways than one. Those waterfall leaps, for instance, helped me heal from the most devastating grief after losing my beautiful sister. Water is detoxifying, alkalising, invigorating, balancing — everything is dependent on this planet’s ‘Water of Life’ so I love to envelope myself in it daily for good health using both hot and cold water in various ways.
The great thing is, anyone can make more use of hydro in their own bathrooms for an instant pick-me-up, healing, and beauty. You can easily make full body scrubs such as mine (based on 1/2 sea salt, 1/2 epsom salt, add in any essential oils you love), and apply to moist warm skin in the shower or (standing) in the bath tub, rubbing vigorously to exfoliate twice a week and finishing with a blast of cold water.
Another excellent way to connect with nature if you’re living in the city is to find your closest park, breathe, walk barefoot daily on the grass. Venture further to explore the ocean or national parks on weekends...even just hugging a tree on your street if you can spare a moment. Gaze up its strong trunk and feel its empowerment. I was just visiting my daughter in the city recently. We took so long to walk a few blocks as I had to caress so many plants along the way!
Q: What topics or causes are you most passionate about sharing right now - something that could really help the world if everyone got on board?
I wish we would all only purchase organic foods where possible. Shop at local farmers markets and health food stores instead of huge supermarket chains. This in itself would be so enriching to mother Earth. By eliminating chemically grown fruit, vegetables, grain and especially animal products (if you consume those), it would be healing to our soils, restoring our microorganisms essential to all life, and on a larger scale our precious ecosystems. It might seem hard at first, but it’s getting cheaper all the time! The more people who vote organic with their dollar the cheaper these essential life nutrients will be. I remember being a one-wage earning family with our little ones as they grew, and creating ripples of change by our choices 20+ years ago. Your health is your greatest wealth.
Go plant based as much as you can! It will make organic living possible too, as you’ll have more bang for your buck buying beans instead of beef (for instance). Animal agriculture is one of if not THE biggest ruiner of our soils, and rivers, and is — according to many sources — the largest threat to our Earth’s rainforests, exotic jungles, and endangered wildlife.
Eliminate completely the use of chemicals in your home, or on your skin.
I know it sounds funny coming from a model, but do wear last season’s clothing!!! (And the last 7+ seasons for that matter!)
Q: Your perspective on agelessness and natural beauty is something we’d love to see go viral worldwide! If you could speak to women everywhere today, what is the #1 lesson you’d share on these topics?
A: Okay! No beating around the bush, I’d like to say loud and clear to you reader, that you are enough right now. Beautiful. Perfectly imperfect (as I am).
Please! If you’re under 40, do not have Botox. Please give yourself some time to form healthy pro-ageing ideals of beauty. Heal soul and body first. Rejuvenate. Spend your money instead on blueberries, raw cacao, organic delicious foods that make your skin glow. Allow time for taking walks (or whatever you like to do for exercise), getting sunshine, floating in the sea or bath, getting enough sleep, and keeping up your hydration.
Please, I beg you - especially young girls - don’t have surgery, yet! I’m a model with a size A cup (meaning I’d probably get more work - so some say), but instead they’re all mine. And although I’ve thought of it once or twice, I can tell you they’re not changing for anyone! Be thankful for your uniqueness. You have so much goodness to give the world! Please comprehend all of this has been said with entirely no judgement: one close precious love to me succumbed to much altering of herself, so I totally understand if this has been part your experience. Start loving you as you are right now. It’s not too late to form new thoughts. Allow your true, stunning, confident self to glow, from the inside out. It will take practice but you can do it, if you want to.
Q: Let’s talk DIY BEAUTY RITUALS because you have an arsenal of them… what’s the #1 beauty ritual that can instantly cheer you up and shift your energy?
A: #1 is Hydrotherapy. It’s lazy woman’s exercise and it’s absolutely amazing to transform the way you feel (confidence is everything remember) body, mind and soul in a very short amount of time.
#2 I soak in my Model Chocolate raw cacao bath and pop a simple chocolate face mask on that I make from natural ingredients from my kitchen like cacao, green clay, raw honey, açai powder, coconut yogurt, avocado, spirulina, anything boasting high antioxidants and good fats really! I love to use those when I’m really needing extra TLC. It’s also no secret that I often use Frankincense and Myrrh 100% essential oils on my face, only make sure if trying for the first time you dilute with a carrier oil such as coconut, almond, jojoba, olive, or rose hip so as not to burn or cause irritation to sensitive skin.
Q: What’s the biggest change you’ve made in your life to help make the world better?
A: Love freely daily, compliment others a lot. From a very young age I’ve tried to align myself with nature and her ‘laws’ of health and happiness. Becoming a mother was my biggest change ever, and that was so young for me. Never stop hoping, believing — the world gets very black very quickly if you let the light in your soul go out...and that’s ageing AF! (For lack of a better expression for you youngies)! 😉
Q: What is the one question you wish people would ask you more often?
A: As much as I feel this interview has covered so much I’m passionate about, I’d be fine with the odd personal question regarding my perspectives on lasting love/relationships (I’ll be married this year 28 years I can’t even believe that myself!) and why being a stay home mum was important to me (rather than chasing a modeling contract) when I was still in my teens. Maybe that would be interesting as it’s not really trending to live this way at the moment either, but it’s been my life, and from my perspective I wouldn’t change a thing.
Q: What does being a Social Icon mean to you?
A: Ah, I feel lucky to be here and that anyone would even call me that. Yet I’ve only just skimmed the surface of what I want to accomplish. I am abundantly happy with the choices I’ve lived, especially that of making my family my #1 priority for most of my yet young life. I’ve self-published a best seller (Model Chocolate), and that took a lot of daring, originality and perseverance. I do feel there’s a lot of change happening right now, you know with age positivity and diversity. I even cut my hair off to celebrate. Excited for my future, YOUR future, and our beautiful Earth’s future. 💞✨🙏🏼