Ali Hewson's secrets...
Ali Hewson’s philosophy on life, the universe, beauty and wellbeing... There is something magical about Ali Hewson. You can totally understand how her husband Bono, rock musician and fellow activist, came to write ‘The Sweetest Thing’ for her birthday one year (apparently he had forgotten to buy her a present but we think most women would settle for a song any day).
Now 53, Ali combines a formidable portfolio: mother of four (two girls, two boys, all now grown-up), married to Bono for over three decades, founder of eco-fashion line EDUN, and in 2007 the co-founder of natural skincare line NUDE with Bryan Meehan, founder of Fresh & Wild organic stores.
But when Sarah met her – just after Ali had flown in from America – not only did she look as fresh as an Irish morning, she had that ineffable charm of being ‘all yours’ for that time. (A quality she referred to later as ‘being present in the moment’
Her creamy-pale Irish skin was a tribute to the efficacy of NUDE products. After being quiet for while, the brand is launching new products in the near future by the way. We are delighted as the original products were not only personal favourites but romped away with Beauty Bible awards. So fingers crossed for the future.
Sarah began by asking Ali what she told her two daughters, Jordan and Eve, now 25 and 23, about how to live well.
• 'I have always just wanted my kids to be content. We [she and Bono] just tried to instil in them that people see through make-up and dresses to the person inside. It was very important that our girls knew they had nothing to prove – they just had to know who they were and be themselves.
• We tried to reaffirm in a balanced way what was great about them – all their good points. In fact I learnt from them: I have watched the way they relate with their friends, for instance, building them up and making them feel good about themselves. They all believe in each other and the effect of having someone believe in you is so positive – especially if you are feeling low.
• They are lucky they both have gorgeous skin. I didn't know much about beauty products back then– they learnt most of that from their peers - but I was clear that the best chance of achieving perfect health was to eat well, and as much as possible natural unprocessed food. I probably took it too far… they only had treats from the health food shop. My friends used to say "your poor kids, give them some chocolate!"
• We try to eat mainly organic food – there is great availability in Ireland. I had a light bulb moment when I realised that since I was so conscious of the food we were putting in our bodies and it’s effects, I should also be concerned about what we were putting on our skin.
• The skin is the largest organ in the body and already has to contend with so many pollutants in the air. That’s when the idea to launch NUDE with Bryan made sense. We really wanted to produce a proactive skincare without harmful chemicals that would produce a positive effect on the skin. At the time there were plenty of natural skincare products but we were one of the first to include an anti-aging element. More on www.nudeskincare.com.
• I do take supplements, including omega essential fatty acids, vitamin C and – because I don't eat red meat – I take iron. The best iron supplement I have found is Spatone [available nationwide].
• I fly a lot and that can give me problems with my neck so I go to a myofascial therapist at home in Ireland. He puts my neck back on top of my body, which is a good place for it to be! [Myofascial trigger point release is a soft tissue therapy for the treatment of skeletal muscle immobility and pain, more at www.myofascialrelease.co.uk.]
• I often forget to breathe because I get caught up in what has to be done. So I make myself stop and breathe deeply for a few minutes. It also sort of helps to slow time down.
• As a family, we have made a habit of taking a moment to stop if we see something lovely, such as a beautiful sunset or view. We take a picture in our mind’s eye so we can all say to each other at a later time, ‘do you remember that wonderful sunset?’ or whatever it might be. It’s a way to hold onto those family memories.
• When I was in Ethiopia just after Live Aid in 1985, I was struck by how open and friendly and trusting the children were although they had nothing materially. We live in such a different world where we have everything we could possibly want in the supermarket but somehow we are spiritually much more closed – so much less open and accepting of other people and experiences.
• Walking is one of the great things to do, anywhere, any time. I never want to take it for granted.'