A former Miss SA, Miss Universe runner-up and TV personality, Cindy Nell-Roberts has always existed in a celebrity whirl. Now, at 30, she’s left all that behind and is loving her role as a wife, new mother, and successful businesswoman.
What strikes you first about Cindy is her long, thick brunette locks, that trademark deep brown tan courtesy of her successful tanning range, and her enviably curvy but taut body. It’s hard to believe that she gave birth to her son, Ethan, in May last year.
Then you spot her strong, shapely legs that she used to great effect in the finals of Strictly Come Dancing a few years ago — the legs that are quite used to perching atop stilettos that would scare most women off.
She’s warm and relaxed and there’s not a trace of a beauty-queen diva as she models for the cover shoot at Oudekraal, just outside Llandudno, Cape Town. However, the next day in our interview at a Camps Bay guesthouse, she admits to having felt uncomfortable in her skin at the shoot. “I must be honest with you – I picked up 4kg over Christmas,” she says, almost apologetically. “I was devastated about the shoot yesterday because of my weight gain… But then I reminded myself that, ‘It is what it is.’”
Cindy is used to being judged by her exterior and admits she’s struggled with coming to terms with her body. She starved herself and even lived on diet pills in a misguided effort to attain the perfection ideal insisted upon in the modelling world. “But you have to make peace with the kind of shape you have – I think you do that in your 30s. I’ve never had a perfect bikini, small-waisted figure and, for a large part of my life, I wanted that. I know a lot of us think, “My body isn’t perfect.” But it is if it’s healthy and fit. I love that my body is strong and curvy – it’s just me.”
She also finally feels she’s attained a successful, sustainable profession, far removed from the uncertainty of modelling. “I’m aware that you can’t always be a model/celebrity/TV presenter – that will come and go. Now I co-own the cosmetics company Cosmetix with my husband, Clive. He has a brilliant business mind and has been my mentor. We supply Clicks and Dis-Chem and other retailers with Caribbean Tan; make-up ranges Catrice and Essence; and My Skin and Pure Skin, new adolescent skin ranges. When people ask me now what I want to be referred to as, I say ‘businesswoman’.”
She’s also penned Cindy Nell’s Model & Pageant Handbook (Struik) and has a blog, cindynell.co.za, that details her healthy living secrets. Here, she reveals her battle with disordered eating, the pressure of being a beauty queen, and lessons she’s learnt.
Read full article: SHAPE Cover Cindy Nell