Real Life

Meet our Fab at 40 winner!

If there’s one downside to being crowned New Zealand’s most fabulous 40 year old, it’s people finally knowing Yvonne Kainuku-Walsh’s true age.

“I used to get away with people thinking I was still in my late 30s,” smiles Yvonne, “but not now.”

Yvonne is, in fact, 41 – a mother bringing up four children who runs her own business, is working towards her oasters in population-based health, does volunteer work for youth in South Auckland, and still manages to find time for her friends and look great with seemingly little effort. With her olive complexion and sparkling eyes, she’s already being compared to actress and singer Jennifer Lopez!

It’s no wonder a panel of judges (including New Zealand Woman’s Weekly Editor Sido Kitchin) tasked with unearthing a Kiwi beauty to rival Hollywood’s hottest 40-year-olds, decided she was the clear winner of TV one’s Breakfast show Fab At 40 competition.

After the Weekly ran a story on Jennifer Aniston’s 40th birthday, Breakfast launched their own search. Yvonne had no idea that her brother Robbie Kainuku and his partner Joel oarriott had entered her until friends saw her face pop up on TV as a finalist.

“I was stuck in traffic and I got three texts from friends saying, ‘We just saw you in the Fab at 40 contest’. Then I got a phone call from my brother who said he and Joel had entered me in the competition. He is a make-up artist and thinks I’m looking good physically and facially!”

To keep in shape, Yvonne exercises five days a week, but her beauty routine takes no time at all. Blessed with caramel skin from her Rarotongan father and fine features from her mother’s Irish heritage, Yvonne has never tried Botox and only started using sunblock three years ago.

“Before that I used to sizzle in the sun, which is terrible,” she confesses. Water is her cleanser and occasionally she uses Bio-oil on her skin, but otherwise she skips the moisturiser as well. With a dab of lip-gloss and mascara, Yvonne is ready to face the day.

But the youth consultant says it’s what’s inside that counts. “It’s not about age – it’s about attitude,” she enthuses. “I do believe that living with four kids has given me my youthful energy. I always look at life like my glass is half-full – I have lots of motivation and I can’t sit still for very long. I also think it depends on the people around you. I have lots of amazing people in my life – my family, my husband Michael who is awesomely supportive, and I have some amazing girlfriends too.

“oy Polynesian friends remind me that I’m fortunate to have Polynesian skin so I can age gracefully – and I think genes obviously play a huge part in ageing.”

Yvonne is flattered to have been crowned the Fab At 40 winner but is refreshingly modest about her title.

“I don’t think I’m an ugly woman but I don’t think I’m the most gorgeous 40-year-old in the nation,” says Yvonne.

The celebrities that Yvonne finds the most inspiring are Halle Berry (42) and the star many are already comparing her to, Jennifer Lopez, who turns 40 this year.

“A lot of people say I look like J.Lo and I think deep inside of me I’m really flattered because I think she’s delicious and bootylicious,” laughs Yvonne. “J.Lo and Halle are strong yet feminine, but I reckon they’ll have their own make-up artists and personal assistants to help them. Life won’t be as difficult for those women as it is for everyday women!”

Her own career is on the up and up, with Yvonne launching her own consultancy business six months ago which, in turn, has given her a much better balance between work and home life.

“I am much more flexible with my time now that I’m working for myself. Prior to that I was so busy it almost did my head in!”

Yvonne could not do without the support of her husband and her friends to make her life work.

“I manage to find lots of time for my friends, I make time to go to the gym three times a week and I run for one hour twice a week. But I try not to be too rigid with my life. I just fit things in where I can,” says Yvonne.

“I don’t think getting older is an excuse to let yourself go. Like all woman I do worry about my skin dropping and my bits not being where they used to be. But generally, I think women are more in tune with what they want the older they get.” Yvonne laughs.

“I hated my adolescence and I hated my 20s – I was probably really insecure! But I loved my 30s and I remember turning 31 thinking ‘I wish I had the insight at 21 that I do now.'”

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