By Nicole Berrie
Photographer Libby Gray

THESE DAYS, New York is riddled
with ‘model-slash-DJs’ running the streets from Madison Ave to the Bowery, but it’s
safe to say that Alexandra Richards is one of the first of that burgeoning tribe
who started it all. For years, the downtown-based beauty has juggled posing in
front of the cameras with manning the turntables all across the globe, earning
her other gig as spokesperson for Michael Kors. (No surprise, after one
glance at her cascading Cali-blonde locks, sun-kissed complexion and statuesque
frame—three hallmarks of the designer’s Americana look.) How does she keep
healthy while doing it all? “It’s about planning ahead,” said Richards,
barefoot and clad in a vintage T-shirt and jeans at her downtown New York
apartment on an overcast Saturday morning. “When I was 21 years old I wasn’t
paying attention to my body, which I learned about the hard way. Now I’m more
conscious about my health.”

Amidst salt crystals, aloe plants, Fornasetti incense holders
and a trove of her own artwork, Richards discussed how she keeps grounded in
the ever-tumultuous world of fashion and nightlife. “I love to cook,” she
revealed, adding that she and mom Patti Hansen enjoy whipping up healthy meals
like grilled sole at their home in Connecticut. (Dad Keith and sister Theodora
are the carnivores in the family, Richards admits.) “We have these peach trees
and in the fall, all the girls in my family get together and make our own peach
and mango chutney.” Here, bonberi caught up with Richards who revealed her
arsenal of health and natural beauty secrets, what she treasures in her
wardrobe most as well as her efforts to promote low thyroid awareness amongst
young women of her generation.

Working as a DJ and keeping
healthy seem anti-intuitive. How do you do it?
I’m big on water especially since I’m flying a lot. Between
meals and drinks, I’m always hydrating. I don’t drink alcohol while I’m djing
because I like to focus on what I’m doing.

Do you ever get wiped
When I’m feeling low and my immune system is down, I make an
amazing green soup. I put everything in it that’s green—zucchinis, kale,
spinach, cabbage, celery, green pepper, jalapeño, curry and hot pepper. I have
it as soon as I start to feel off. I puree it with a Vitamix and it lasts me
three days. It’s really good. It blasts me back into reality.

Sounds amazing. What
else do you cook?
I have an amazing chopped salad, which is basically the green
salad version of the green soup. My dressing is usually olive oil, lemon and
apple cider vinegar. I love sea salt. You can put it in your water; it’s
good for your body for hydration, digestion and alkalinity. When you are doing
those cleanses it replenishes your electrolytes.

Do you have favorite
healthy snacks while on the go?
I love raw almonds, pistachios and Whole Foods’ trail mix with
cranberries and nuts. I drink coconut water all the time.

“No one talks about it but a lot of young girls have a low thyroid but they don’t know. They self diagnose, like, ‘Oh I have anxiety, I’m going to take a Zanax.

Your skin is amazing. Do
you have beauty any secrets?
Tracie Martyn has been my facialist for a long time. She has
this rosewater spray that’s all natural. I make sure I bring that on the plane
with me. I also use Mario Badescu cucumber toner, which is very refreshing and
his drying lotion you want in your cupboard no matter what. But when you’re
having a sleepover, you have to sneak it. Less is more with me. I try to
wear not too much make up. I really try to keep my skin clean on my days

We noticed that contraption
attached to your sink. What is that?
That’s my water ionizer! I have one in my shower as well. I
notice a huge difference when I use it. The filter collects all the crap. I get
my hair dyed it doesn’t turn brassy or green. It also stabilizes and
purifies the water and makes the PH high.

Wow we want one! Are you
into other homeopathic remedies?
Definitely. I have a book Coconut Cures, which I got when I was
in Palm Springs on a cleansing weekend trip. I stayed at the Ace, and went to
all these spas, hiking trails and salt-water baths around there. Someone told me
coconut helps with your thyroid. I have a slow thyroid that acts up. It makes
me moody, tired and not feeling like myself.

When did you realize you
had a thyroid problem?
I had botched tonsillectomy when I was 16 years old. They did an
ultrasound around my neck and noticed these nodules sitting on my thyroid. I
was noticing that I was gaining weight. My weight fluctuates all the time
because of it. It’s the most annoying thing. Every woman should get her
thyroid checked.

We had no idea low thyroids
are common among young people.
Yes, well, no one talks about it. A lot of young girls have it
but they don’t know. They self diagnose, like, “Oh I have anxiety, I’m going to
take a xanax.” Just get your thyroid checked! It’s not in your head. It’s
probably acting up and it regulates everything in your body. 

Is there a cure?
I used to take thyroid medicine but that can affect things like
pregnancy in the long run. I did a bunch of different testing with diets to see
what helps. Drinking is the worst thing you can do, but it’s in my life and I
moderate it. I also don’t eat meat because of it. Now I take my vitamins and
I’ve noticed improvement.

Do you feel more
inclined to use natural remedies?
I believe that if you put energy into something and start
thinking about it, you’re going to automatically become what you imagined.
You’re depleting what is natural and what is human nature by just taking pill.
I’m sick of seeing so many girls that are numb. They’re not alive. I get it,
some girls really have it bad but I try not to think about when I’m having a
bad day. I try to manifest good energy.

“I don’t listen to music when I run. I like concentrating on my breathing. I can go longer without music. I like to pace myself. It’s therapeutic.”

What vitamins do you
A multi vitamin; Evening Primrose, which is great with my
traveling; Nordic Naturals Omega 3 for hair and nails; and Vitamin C.

Has your mom passed down
any homeopathic remedies?
She’s always been on the health tip ever since we were really
young. She bought organic when it first became popular. She got bladder cancer four
years ago, which is the surprise because she’s the healthiest one out of my
parents. Since then she’s been raising awareness because a lot of women don’t
talk about it. It’s such a personal thing and more women have it then men do

That’s so admirable. What
is your biggest health accomplishment?
I quit smoking! I have the e cigarette thing. It really helps. I
stopped cold turkey. I woke up one day and was just like it’s not me anymore. When
I quit last summer, I gained that 15 pounds but once you get over the hump, it
stabilizes. Now I nibble on tea tree toothpicks, which help a lot. I also
liked Allen Carr’s
The Easy Way To
Quit Smoking

Do you cleanse?
For the longest time I didn’t order juice cleanses because of the
freshness. I’d rather get a fresh juice. I did a lot of cleanses to shrink the
nodules on my thyroid. I was able to do that by not eating meat, eating right and
not drinking— basically a fish diet. Now two are gone and the last one is so
small so it really worked well.

What is your favorite
I usually run the Brooklyn Bridge. I don’t like feeling like I
have to compete. I have a trainer Marc Felberg who comes over and we do Pilates
mixed with weight training and push-ups. It helps me to get motivated.

Do you have a go-to playlist
while exercising?
I don’t listen to music when I run. I like concentrating on my
breathing. I can go longer without music. I like to pace myself. It’s therapeutic.

Sounds it! Do you do
anything else to keep your mind balanced?
I love doing laundry. Getting the stuff out of the dryer and
folding. It’s my meditation.
Why Zebra’s
Don’t Get Ulcers
is a great book about dealing with anxiety. I have a lot
of family that have been in rehab and have drinking and drug diseases so this
book just puts your mind in a better place to accept it all. 

What is the most
treasured piece in your wardrobe?
I have endless Rolling Stones shirts from when I was a baby. I
cherish them because it says a lot about my past, my travels and the tours I
used to live on. I also have an amazing scarf collection. I lived in Jamaica
until I was five so we were always naked or wrapped in my dad’s saris.

How would you describe
your personal style?
My street wear is jeans and a T-shirt. When I’m dressing up, I
tend to lean toward the little black dress. It’s sexy and chic. Too overdone is