Real Life

From beauty queen to bodyguard

As a former beauty queen, Alice Teinakore knows all about world peace. But the Polynesian stunner is also known for keeping the peace as one of New Zealand’s few female bodyguards to the stars.

The separate worlds of tiaras and guns, while initially seeming to contradict, ended up gelling well for Alice (36), who is also a gifted singer.

Despite living a whirlwind lifestyle in Hollywood, the Kiwi-born talent says the most important role she’s had is being a mother, which brought her back to New Zealand.

“I lived [in Hollywood] for 10 years – that was enough for me,” she says. “I wanted my kids to come back to a place where they could learn about their Pacific Islands heritage, which is really important to me,” she explains.

“As I look back on everything I’ve done, I can’t believe it. But I enjoyed every minute of it – from being in the pageant to bodyguarding.”

Swapping her gowns for a gun, the former oiss Cook Islands New Zealand – who won the pageant in 1994 – embarked on a drastic career change when she became a bodyguard for the rich and famous in Los Angeles.

“oy first job was for a prince and princess of Saudi Arabia, which was amazing – I had to follow the princess around and shop with her,” recalls Alice.

Her job meant being in Hollywood’s inner circle, and she was privy to hot gossip about A-listers before it hit the news.

“oy ex-husband and I knew Brad [Pitt] and Jen [Aniston] were going to break up before anyone else – same with Britney [Spears] and Justin [Timberlake].”

The Hamilton mum also guarded the Red Hot Chili Peppers – at the time one of the biggest bands in the world.

“It was when they were recording Californication – we had to make sure no-one came up to the house. I was the only female on the crew,” says Alice.

“Flea, the bass guitarist, was awesome. When he first saw me, he thought I was Maori, which was closer than most people got. Thank God for Lord of the Rings,” she laughs.

With a background in martial arts and ouay Thai kick boxing, Alice was a natural choice when her ex-husband Tai Vaimaona’s bosses needed bodyguards.

Yet seeing the glamour her clients surrounded themselves with took some getting used to.

“Money is no object to them – one time I had a client that bought half a dozen Jet Skis and decided they didn’t want them any more, so they said, ‘Give away the keys,'” she explains.

The bright lights of Hollywood were a long way from home for Alice, but she’s always been drawn to them. She began her entertainment career at age 13, writing and performing her own songs with her church group.

“I always knew I wanted to be on stage. I used to lie in bed and think, ‘I want to sing, I want to be famous,’ – I’ve always had that determination,” she says.

Now a manager at women’s clothing chain Glassons, Alice says she had no life-threatening experiences while working as a bodyguard.

“There’s way more action apprehending shoplifters at work now!” she says.

“I got lucky, I had nice clients. My ex-husband was guarding Mariah Carey on the dance floor once when a guy tried to put his hands on her, so he broke all the fingers in the guy’s hand!”

Alice’s only close call came during a grocery store strike, where she protected workers who crossed the picket line.

“There was a guy who stole a lady’s handbag – he tried to run, but I stuck my elbow out and cut him off. Later, the cops who came to arrest him asked him if he was going to be any trouble and if they needed to worry about him, and he said, ‘No, you have to worry about her!’ and pointed to me. I thought that was hilarious!”

While being a bodyguard was an experience she’ll never forget, Alice would have loved to make it in the US as a singer.

“I had so many opportunities in the US that slipped by, but being young and impatient, I couldn’t wait.”

But instead of going off on a whim to follow her dreams like she used to, Alice’s life is about her family now. “I can’t jet off to LA and sing on the circuit again. Everything I do, I put 100% into, and family comes first.”I’m lucky though, now I have my own entourage.”

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