In this week’s A-Typical interview we feature South African model, beauty queen, businesswoman and TV presenter Cindy Nell.

Nell was crowned Miss South Africa in 2002, and the year after finished second runner-up at Miss Universe.

She has had several stints on television, presenting for lifestyle shows such as Pasella.

Nell is also the co-owner of cosmetic company “Cosmetix” . 

The 37-year-old has been nominated as ‘Most Stylish Woman’ for the You Magazine awards several times, boasts over 55 magazine covers, has international and local modeling endorsements, and is also a published author of her book "The Model and Pageant Industry".

Cindy Nell-Roberts


What is your most embarrassing moment from high school?

I have so many. I had braces and I was never the most beautiful girl. I didn’t really enjoy my teenage years because we moved around a lot. I had a few classic walk-in the glass door moments in front of my friends and family -- I think my entire high schooling was embarrassing altogether. 

What is the best fitness tip you have ever been given as a model?

The best fitness tip I’ve been given is to make fitness a part of your life. Do squats on the steps, which I still do today in my house by. Park further away from entrances so that you’re forced to walk a further distance, having a fitness app on your phone also helps. Basically just to use up more calories than what your intake is.

What is in Cindy Nell's fridge currently?

My fridge caters for a family of four very different humans, my team who work from home, and emergency instant meals.

Mostly you will find healthy things like chicken and salad, I have great love for cheese (sadly) so you will find a wide variety.

My daughter loves to snack on capers and gherkins, my son loves biltong and bread and we all eat a lot of salad, soup and avocado, you’ll find those almost always.

Hidden behind things you may find some dark chocolate and always a variety of yogurts, omegas in the door, diluted juice on special occasions for the kids, we use a lot of milk and there is always fresh herbs and home grown chillies in the fridge from my herb garden.

We love simple but good food. My husband has a business called Buyfresh which delivers all our fresh produce and meat every week so every week is different depending on what we feel like.

You can only choose one: Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter? Which one would you choose and why?

If I had to choose one I would choose Instagram because I enjoy the creative outlet it gives me. I secretly want to be a photographer and plan on one day being the Annie Leibovitz of South Africa and photograph beautiful images.

If you were a pair of shoes, what kind of shoes would you be?

I would definitely be a nude pair of Jimmy Choo pointy 9-inch heels. They are beautiful, timeless yet practical. They last long, they’re sexy but smart.

If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what food would you choose?

I absolutely love bread and cheese.  I also love rice and avocados. I love going to Europe and being able to have bread and cheese as much as I can. More particularly, I love the mature cheddar from Woolworths.

Which two famous people, living or dead, would you want at your fantasy dinner party?

I would have Joan Rivers and Michelle Obama. I love to laugh and talk about life and intelligent things and that would be my night with them.

What is the worst date you’ve ever been on and how long did it last?

I don’t recall really terrible dates but I wasn’t really a dater. I never saw the point of relationships because I was so driven. I was introduced to my partner’s by friends who knew me well and all my relationships were long term ones.

Imagine you owned a five star restaurant. What would you serve and what would the name of the restaurant be?

If I owned a five star restaurant it would serve really spunky street food inspired by the Italians and Spanish.

For me food should be simple and delicious, and it should be about the quality of ingredients and not the complexity of the meal.

Things like simple steaks, simple Greek salads with delicious olive oils, crispy really well grown lettuce, grated parmesan, tomatoes, grilled halloumi, tofu and  and so forth.

It would be a five star restaurant that feels like you’ve gone to the best braai of your life.

I love nutritious foods like chia seeds as well. I would call the restaurant Taste or Tast and the interior of the restaurant would be the complete opposite of very modern, luxurious, high end chandeliers, pretty much the opposite of what’s on the menu.

It would also be typical South African, so instead of bread on the table it would be biltong for example.

What is the longest time you have been without your smart phone? And how difficult was it to be without it?

I cannot live without my smartphone. It is an extension of me.

The longest I’ve really been without it is when I hand it in to get my screen fixed or do meditation retreats. Once I get over the initial anxiety of not having my phone with me I find it really relaxing. I definitely recommend it.  

My husband and I try to put our phones in a box when we get home so we can focus on being with our family and being present with our kids.  

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