When you sit down for a chat with businesswoman, author, and the country's best-known beauty queen, Lorraine Downes, you soon realise there's a lot to talk about.
She's open about her life's ups and downs, lessons she's learned along the way, her dedication to wellness and nurturing her spiritual side, and the harrowing experience of losing her husband, cricket legend Martin Crowe.
The past few years have been challenging, to say the least, but have strengthened her belief that every day is precious and a chance to live life to the fullest.
"Losing my soulmate has made me realise how vulnerable life can be, and how important it is to be present in the now, in the today," she says.
"Your thoughts are a choice – you get to choose them, so how do you want to feel? I choose to have joyful thoughts and to be present in every aspect of my life."
Self-care is a key part of the equation for the 54-year-old Aucklander, who published her memoir, Life, Loss, Love, earlier this year.
Her name might be synonymous with glitz and glamour, but away from the cameras, she's more focused on what's happening on the inside rather than the exterior."I love to walk, to go to the beach and take in nature, and I think connecting with nature is a form of meditation," she muses.
"For me it's about getting out of your head, calming your busy mind and all of that mental chatter. It's taking it away from your thoughts, and connecting with your heart."
For Lorraine, listening to her inner self has long been important, and it's a lesson she's also passed on to her two adult children.
"It's all about trusting your gut instinct," she explains.
"I've been intuitive from a very early age and I believe I'm an empath. I have always said to my children, 'If you get a funny feeling in your stomach, if you feel really uncomfortable about something, there's a reason. Trust it!' Both of my children live overseas now and I know they live their lives by that."
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