Rachel Hilbert Shares Her Foolproof Hack for the Perfect Beach Waves

Perhaps most recognizable as the onetime face of Victoria’s Secret Pink—a title she shared with Zuri Tibby, the first black woman to be appointed spokesmodel for the brand—model Rachel Hilbert, 23, is also a proud “Pisces, baby,” as she announced on a recent afternoon in the lobby lounge of New York’s Gramercy Park Hotel. It was just a couple of days before her birthday, as it happened. She wore an oversize sweater and leather leggings, her go-to look, and her hair was still slightly damp, a casualty of her role in W’s spring astrology shoot: Channeling the artistic Pisces, Hilbert smeared black paint over her face and collarbone—and then, she had to relieve herself of it.

While, as a Pisces, Hilbert’s artistic bona fides are secure—in addition to her career as a model, she also danced intensively throughout high school—she is also a self-professed “very athletic person,” who maintains a rigorous exercise regimen that includes Pilates, yoga, running, boxing, and biking. One would expect nothing less from a woman who has twice walked the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, training for which has been likened to training for an Olympic event. (Due to injury, Hilbert did not walk the show in Shanghai, China, this past season; she was just on the edge of recovery when we met in March.)

As much as she might be known for her work with the lingerie giant, Hilbert also has well-documented street style marked by her penchant for vintage finds, as her more-than-800,000 Instagram followers are well aware. Here, she shares her style essentials, as well as a few of her beauty secrets—including her foolproof method for achieving the perfect beachy wave.

Your look in three words:

Vintage, casual, kind of out of the box. I like comfy, honestly, but a vintagey look.

Favorite stores:

It sounds so bougie, but Barneys. They always have awesome things. Net-a-Porter, Barneys… I love & Other Stories, I love Aritzia, I love Reformation—they always have a nice selection of jumpsuits—and Isabel Marant. Bloomingdale’s is awesome—any department store, really.

Favorite vintage stores:

The Vintage Twin is pretty cool. They pop up all around the city. I like Tokio 7. I got an amazing blazer from there. Another place upstate, honestly, is Savers. It’s almost like a big Goodwill. I get the best things there—the best oversize sweaters, and I’ve gotten a lot of leather jackets from cool places in Brooklyn. I do a lot of pop-up shops, like those cool little stores that are all around that have old leather jackets.

Nighttime look:

A jumper, actually, if it’s warmer out, a halter-top jumper and a nice pair of heels. My hair, just naturally wavy, and some eyeliner, mascara, a nice darker bag, and, for a jacket, a leather jacket, usually. Definitely a heel.

Style icon:

Kate Moss.

Style pet peeve:

I own a pair, but I’m not much into wedge sneakers right now. Those little tiny heel things, kitten heels, nobody can wear them.

Last purchase:

A Chloé bag. It’s suede on top with a big black circle. I bought my mom a Chloé bag, also, for Christmas—from Barneys, of course.

Lusting after:

There’s a new Fendi bag and a new Dior bag that I’m lusting after. The jacket from Louis Vuitton that Kate Moss wore during the Fall 2018 menswear show.

Never travel without:

Sunglasses, and I always travel with a ChapStick.

Most prized possession:

I love my Rolex, my vintage Rolex from 1954. When I got that bad boy, I was like, [shivers].

Favorite shoes:

My Prada boots right here, but they’re out of season. My Prada combat boots.

Favorite accessory:

All my rings.

What are you listening to right now?

“Rock It for Me,” by Caravan Palace. It’s kind of old—I like old music.

In-tub must-read:

I watch Shameless, but I’m done with that now, so I like to watch Blue Planet documentaries. They’re relaxing in the tub, with Epsom salt. A candle, Epsom salt, and a face mask. I love that.

The secret to good skin:

Water and sleep. That’s the two everyone ignores. A great moisturizer and a lot of face masks. I like using all different kinds of essential oils on my face.

SPF of choice:

I like the Neutrogena SPF 30 face lotion. It’s affordable, too, so you can get a bunch of it.

Makeup miracles:

I love my Clé de Peau [Beauté] concealer, to cover up blemishes under the eyes. Clé de Peau is my favorite. I love La Mer moisturizer, but that’s expensive. I love Givenchy bronzer, I like Maybelline Lash Stiletto mascara—I’ve been using that for years—and a good rosewater spray.

Never leave the house without:

My phone. It’s like part of my body now.

The secret to a good hair day:

Wash it at night, let it dry a little bit, then go to bed with it kind of damp, in a loose topknot bun with a scrunchie, so you don’t have creases in your hair. Then, you wake up in the morning, and you take out your hair and put some beach spray in it and you’re good to go.

Nails must be:

I love dark colors, red, or natural. That’s it.

Beauty from the inside:

I love food. I wish I could say I was a super healthy person, but I can’t lie, I’m not the most healthy person, foodwise, but I love green juices. I haven’t really been eating meat; I’ve been trying to lay off it just because I don’t want to put that much in my body. I love a salad from Sweetgreen. That’s my go-to place. Or, I make a nice fish dinner. I love sushi, avocado.

Exercise obsession:

I love boxing; it’s my go-to. Pilates, yoga, running. I’m very athletic; I love riding my bike in the summertime. Dance. Basically everything.

Drink of choice:

I like water with lemon. That’s my go-to; I always drink water. I love green tea with honey and lemon. Those are my two—I don’t drink a lot of coffee because I get too jittery. I drink a lot more tea and water. A soda here and there.

A woman should smell like:

I love, right now, Tom Ford Jasmin Rouge.

Best advice from mom:

Screw what everyone else says; be you.

Best-kept beauty secret:

Vitamin C oil on your face. You wake up the next day glowing. ChapStick on your eyelids, especially in the dry months. And then, a lot of water—I drink like a fish.

Definite doppelgänger:

Everyone says I look like Kate Hudson, mixed with Madonna when she’s younger.

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