Model Arizona Muse was, yes, born in Arizona and named for her mother’s fascination with the desert. Since starting her runway work at age 19, she’s appeared on Vogue covers around the world — on Chinese, Australian, Spanish, Greek, Korean, Mexican, Portuguese, Russian, Turkish, and Ukrainian Vogues. Muse is now the campaign star of Stella McCartney’s new perfume, STELLA Peony. She said the perfume, “smells exactly like the color of the bottle. That’s what my nose says. It’s fresh and deep. It makes me think of being an empowered woman.” At home, she’s wellness-focused and married to an osteopath, with an Ayurvedic understanding of the link between eating sustainable food and personal health. The model spoke with the Cut about her extensive research into sustainability, the importance of eating a “big plate of food at every meal,” and maintaining her sweet tooth.
How I start my morning: The first thing I do is brush my teeth. I try to do that before I drink water. In the night, our mouths get actually quite dirty and we need to clean them out — you’re drinking the stuff that builds up in your mouth. This is an Ayurvedic understanding.
I brush my teeth and then I wash my face with either a creamy cleanser or just water. I don’t use a lot of cleaners on my face. I have a Dr. Hauschka milky cleanser. Then I use apple cider vinegar as a toner — two thirds vinegar and one third water. I put it on cotton — it’s excellent for everything such as balancing the skin, getting rid of blackheads and acne. My skin has been so much better since I have started doing that. Then I moisturize with an oil. I love rosehip oil. I go to the gym in the morning, so I don’t put on any makeup.
How I like to sweat: I love sweating. I think sweating is so important, I feel so cleansed afterwards and it’s one of our human body’s ways of detoxing our body.
I like more high intensity than low intensity. There really are some bodies that work better at low intensity. I don’t see it as an achievement to do high intensity, that just works better for me. I like circuit training. I find boxing too high impact, but I like non-impact boxing where you’re doing punches in the air with weights rather than actually hitting something. I also really like Extend, which is barre class with more extension in it. It’s to music that’s not dance-y, but there’s more movement than barre.
What wellness means to me: Wellness has such a wide meaning. I grew up in a really healthy household. I’ve known that wellness existed for a really long time, but also the older I get the more I realize wellness is so important. Stress plays such a big role in everyone’s life. If you can understand your stress in order to mitigate it you’re going to feel better and look better.
What we put into our bodies makes a huge difference. I’ve been reading a lot recently about genetically modified food. You could eat a whole meal that looks beautiful and fresh and healthy but you could be doing all the wrong things but almost all of it was genetically modified. That has a big toll on our systems. It’s really important to know the food that we’re eating. I was brought up that way, it’s always been a part of my life.
I really see the benefit and it makes a difference in the long run to stay true to things that are pure. Not only do I not want toxins on my skin, but I also want to know about the factories where these products are made. I want to confirm that they’re organic, and not spreading toxic waste into the environment.
How wellness has changed for me: Fads change. In my house, my healthy household, we used to eat margarine instead of butter. I now know that margarine is so bad for you. In the early ’90s though, everyone thought it was the next best thing. We were like Here’s the good stuff made with vegetables — which was a lie and so disgusting. There are misunderstandings all the time and I’m sure in the future I’ll find out the stuff that I’m using now is not actually great. Do your research and stay up to date and don’t just believe what big brands are telling you.
Soy milk is the same thing. Milk alternatives are all bad. Nut milks are okay but as long as they’re organic. Take almond milk — if the nuts are not organic, it’s one of the worst crops in California. They’re poisonous to the bees, and take so much water than there is there. It might be healthy for your body aside from the pesticides, but also you’re having an impact on Southern California, the people that work there and the environment. But the more I learn about it, the more I’m excited about all the solutions that are there.
On nutrition: I eat a lot of protein and good fats, like olive oil. But I’ve stopped cooking with olive oil now. I now use ghee, which is clarified butter. It’s a good fat, it’s easy for our bodies to absorb quickly and use for energy. It won’t make you fat ever, it just goes into your cells for energy.
Also, I like to eat my food instead of drink it. I think chewing is really important part to digestion. I love eggs a lot. I like fish, but you have to be careful of heavy metals. Sardines are really good, they’re not consuming as much heavy metal as the larger fish that live longer. If you get sustainably caught sardines, those are really good. They’re an acquired taste though.
I love salad but I also love steamed vegetables or sautéed anything. It’s just delicious. It’s so easy to cook, you start with the onions and you go from there and put in almost anything. I’ve used a lot of celery recently.
My biggest wellness struggle: Sugar. I have such a sweet tooth. Every day I have to be like “nope, nope, it’s so bad.” Even too much fruit and I can feel like I’ve overdone it. I’m very sensitive to sugar. I feel amazing when I don’t eat it. I’m full of energy, my posture is great, my hair is great, my skin is good.
It is truly very important for me to stay away from sugar. When I don’t manage it, my skin doesn’t look good and I’m in a bad mood. I’ll have not had any sugar for a week and then I’ll have a tiny little bit, and then I’m like sugar sugar sugar. I love sugar so much. I like cakes and any kind of ice cream. I don’t like candy, that’s the only sugar I don’t like.
On cutting out foods: I don’t want to let go of foods. But the more I learn, the more curious I get. I was really disappointed recently because someone told me that Brazil nuts are carcinogenic, and I was like, “But they’re one of the best nuts because they’re highest in fat and it’s all the good fats.” I need to research that more. I’m not sure that’s true but it is disappointing.
If someone just tells you, “Don’t eat cake,” you’re like, “But I love cake.” But if you understand that cake is 85 percent sugar, the rest is gluten and it’s all genetically modified, you’re more likely to not want it. If you’re disappointed about having to cut something out, learn more about it.
If you’re disappointed about it or questioning it, it means that you don’t know enough about why you’re cutting it out.
My best wellness advice: All the boring advice like drink enough water, sleep enough, and pay attention to all this stuff. People also need to eat more than we think we need to eat. Often, when we cut something out we forget to replace it. You go on a diet where you cut out carbs but then you’re only eating a third of what you used to eat. After a few days of feeling amazing, you crash and can’t do it anymore because you’re not eating enough food.
You need to eat a whole big plate of food at every meal. But it needs to be full of vegetables and protein and good fats. If I do that, then I feel so good and it’s sustainable for weeks on end.
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