“I COOK MOST NIGHTS OF THE WEEK,” SAYS MODEL HILARY RHODA, CASUALLY DRESSED IN JEANS AND A CANARY YELLOW SWEATER PUNCTUATED WITH A SKINNY LEOPARD BELT WHILE COAXING A GIGANTIC VAT OF CHOPPED ONIONS INTO A CARAMELIZED DREAM FROM HER KITCHEN PERCHED ABOVE DOWNTOWN MANHATTAN. “I used to watch Food Network and Ina Garten when I was in high school. Now I love to go online and bookmark recipes from different websites and the New York Times.” Though she may be one of fashion’s most sought-after models whose all-American beauty, full-stop brows and bod with a capital “B” have graced the covers of countless magazines and international campaigns, today Rhoda is channeling her artistic sensibilities through her famous health-fied onion dip–a dish that nearly went viral on her Instagram story feed (a cheeky string of candid videos that star Rhoda on set at work, biking through Manhattan city streets or experimenting with her favorite facial mask at home while casually whipping up grilled cheese). We caught up with Rhoda who talked joining a CSA, her peanut butter M&Ms habit and what travel beauty secret that has her fellow passengers staring.
Photos by Sasha Israel
How did you discover your CSA?
I’ve been taking acting classes at Kimball Studio and the owner’s sister runs a farm called Essex Farm upstate. She’s from New York City and was a writer who was on assignment. She met this farmer, they fell in love and she left her life in the city to run this farm.
What do you love about getting your food from a CSA?
It’s just super good. They come and deliver a box every Wednesday. You get every kind of vegetables, fresh milk, sauerkraut, all kind of potatoes and grains. They even make their own sea salt and maple syrup.
Has it changed the way you cook and eat?
It makes it a lot easier when you have everything on hand. I find myself looking up recipes for new vegetables and how to cook them in different ways. Like celeriac—I didn’t even know what that was. So I made celeriac mash and it was amazing. The other day I did braised leeks, which I’ve never tried to make before. Now I’m obsessed with leeks.
What does breakfast look like?
I’m not a big breakfast person but on a Saturday afternoon I’ll do three eggs with the yolk and two of the whites, a little bit of skim milk and a sprinkle of cheddar, which is really good. Then I’ll add some sauerkraut. The farm makes sour cream too, which I’ll put in at the end because that’s what makes them really soft and creamy. I read somewhere that is Anthony Bourdain’s trick.
What about lunch?
I’ll do my custom Sweetgreen salad, which is mesclun mix, sweet potatoes, onions, feta cheese, apples, sunflower seeds and a lemon squeeze and balsamic vinaigrette. In the summer, I do pretty much the same thing but instead of sweet potatoes and apples, I do corn and tomatoes.
What are your favorite healthy snacks?
I like eating berries. I’ll also do greek yogurt some raspberries, chop up dark chocolate and add a little honey and granola. My favorite granola is Early Bird. The mix of yoghurt, chocolate and berries and granola is so good. I like to do it after the gym. It’s not that sweet with the raspberries, it’s a little tangy, but then you get the sweetness from the chocolate. It’s really good.
Peanut butter M&Ms. I go through a big bag every few days. It’s disgusting, I know. I need to stop.
What’s Sean’s favorite thing that you make him?
I love making chili in our slow cooker and he loves that. Anything that I can cook and keep in the fridge is always nice, to have as a quick meal. And pasta. When he was playing hockey, he would eat the same thing before a game, so that’s his go-to. I’ll do a homemade sauce, which is nice because if you don’t have the time to cook a whole meal, you can do little things like homemade sauces instead of store-bought.
Are there any things that you don’t eat?
I don’t really eat red meat. If it’s in chili, that’s ok. Otherwise, I want it really well done.
What are your favorite kitchen appliances?
We have these amazing mason jars that we got from our wedding registry at Food52. I also love my cast iron skillet. I make eggs in it and I made cast iron pizza last night. I was afraid of it for so long because of the way you’re supposed to clean and season it but I’ve gotten the hang of it. I also love my enamel pot from Best Made. It’s a camping store. You could put this on a stove and they’re really cute.
You have the most amazing skin. What are some of your beauty faves?
I love Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser. It’s soft and gentle enough that you can do it every day. Charlotte Tilbury, has a good eyeliner that’s kind of like a crayon. It’s creamy, so you can put it on and smudge it. I like Living Proof for hair products. Anything that’s volumizing because my hair dries so flat. They have a great sea salt and volumizing spray.
Can we talk about your brows?
(Laugh). They don’t really grow. I just pluck in the middle and a couple underneath, but that’s it. I just started using Lancôme’s Sable eyebrow pencil. I never needed to before because they were so thick, but as I’m getting older, they’re thinning out a bit.
We always love seeing your post-workout posts from Tracy Anderson. What do you love about it?
I was always into fitness and I played sports my whole life. I’d tried a couple different trainers and it was okay, but I was seeing results. I wasn’t excited about it. Then I found Tracy and Soul Cycle. Those are the two that I do. They’re part of my everyday. I haven’t missed a day of working out in years. And if I don’t work out, I just feel like shit.
How do you get around the city?
In the summer I bike everywhere. I got my bike at Bicycle Habitat but Sean just got the URB-E scooter–it’s this sleek, black thing with little tires and looks kind of silly but it’s so cool.
Since you’re so active, you must have a serious self-care regimen.
Massages are a big thing. I go to Greg at MPower Bodywork once a week. Before I was just going to hole in the wall place, but you need someone that knows muscles. I also do reflexology at Yan Foot Spa right down the street from La Esquina. I see this guy, Kevin is so good. It hurts like hell. You’re crying, but it’s so good.
What about facials? Do you do stuff like that?
I do derma planing at Tribeca Med Spa. They use the back of a scalpel to take the dead skin off your face. It’s the ultimate exfoliation. Afterwards, people are like, “Oh my god, you’re glowing.” I do that every six weeks.
What about workout clothes? What sneakers do you wear?
I wear basketball shoes, which are good for the dance cardio. I replace my sneakers every month. For clothes, I love Alo Yoga, Koral and Outdoor Voices. I’ve been wearing their new seamless ones that are really amazing. I like anything with a high waist. For sports bras, I like UnderArmour and Adidas. I don’t care about the cuteness of it, I just want something that’s going to make sure my boobs don’t bob around. For socks, I wear Feetures and Balega. Before I started dating Sean, I was like, “Whatever, I’ll wear these old socks that are not for working out.” I think I wore like drawstring sweatpants and t-shirts that I had from high school. Now, I realize it does make a difference in your performance and how you feel.
Do you take supplements?
I just started taking Isotonix. It helps stop free radicals and if you workout a lot, you’re more susceptible to free radicals because you’re breathing more oxygen. I also recently got this collagen powder called Reservage and I take a one-a-day multivitamin.
You travel so much for work. How do you keep healthy?
I took JetBlue Mint last time I flew to LA and the food was from Saxon and Parole. They had kale and avocado salad. It was so healthy and good. It didn’t feel like it had been sitting there for days. Otherwise I try not to eat anything on planes. I’ll take fruit or something and do that. And water. I cut up lemon and put them in plastic bags. I can’t really drink water without it.
What are your travel packing must-haves?
I use a sleep oil that I bring on the plane. It smells so good. I put it on my wrists, under my nose and my temples. It gives the plane a better atmosphere. I also bring 2XU compression socks because my feet get swollen, especially if I’m flying on a redeye straight to a shoot in the morning. They looked like bricks. These socks completely changed my life. They’re super tight. I have to go in the bathroom to put them on because it’s a scene trying to get them on–everyone stares.
What is your workout regimen when you’re traveling?
I bring a jump rope because I hate treadmills and hotel gyms in general. It’s all equipment from 1986. And I always bring my leg weights with me so I can do the Tracy Anderson streaming.
Do you ever get stopped by TSA?
Always, but now I know the drill. I take them out of my bag before. This way they’re like, “What is this?” I’m like, “They’re my leg weights.” And they’re like, “Alright, move along.”
Hilary’s Healthy French Onion Dip
Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in pan and add onions with a big pinch of salt. Cook onions over medium heat until they caramelize into a deep brown color. When the onions are done, add the minced garlic and stir for a few seconds until you can smell it. Turn off heat and stir in the Worcestershire sauce. Add the thyme to the onions and let it cool.