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Nancy Donahue

As super model, Nancy Donahue, runs through her moves at a photo shoot, one fluid pose transitions into another, like a dance with an unseen partner. “Don’t photograph my toes!” Nancy laughs. “I’ve been swimming in Walden Pond and need a new pedicure.”

One of 11 children from a close, Lowell, Massachusetts, Catholic family, Nancy Donahue was discovered by accident. “I was dating a bartender who modeled in New York for Mademoiselle magazine. They asked if he knew any cute girls, so I went for an interview at Mademoiselle. There were 200 other girls, and they chose me. They gave me a contract for 10 covers.”

“I NEVER KNEW I WAS PRETTY. I DIDN’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT MAKEUP. I WAS A TOMBOY. SKINNY. THE LAST GIRL TO GET PICKED TO GO TO THE PROM.”

As one of the first international supermodels, Nancy Donahue has graced the covers of countless magazines, including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Self. She’s modeled the Paris collections for American Vogue, done runway work in New York and Hong Kong, modeled for Cover Girl and Almay cosmetics, and continues to model. “The great photographers made you work. If they didn’t see it from within, they wouldn’t take the picture. It was a great learning experience, but it was the ‘80s, and cocaine was everywhere.”

“You’re making a lot of money, and everybody and their mother did it. Cocaine was a nasty thing. I came home once, and I was emaciated. My mother said, ‘If you don’t get your stuff together, you’re getting kicked out of the family. We don’t want to see you here…That still makes me cry… So I just stopped. I didn’t want to lose my family.”

Nancy’s next phase was to reinvent herself. “My mom was a great cook, and I thought I’d love to bake bread, so I went to culinary school. My son was six, and for three years, I would go every Saturday, for 12 hours. I loved school and graduated number one and became a pastry chef and an all-around chef.”

“But I needed something else, a diversion, so exercise became my passion… is still my passion.” Nancy became a triathlete, participating in over 100 triathlons. She’s also a certified yoga and Pilates instructor, disciplines she practices every day.

While she was fitness director at a country club, one of Nancy’s clients was a surgeon who’d had liposuction on her stomach. The surgeon was using a device her massage therapist had given her to get rid of edema in the scar tissue. The surgeon suggested Nancy use it in her pre and post-marathon runs. “It helped with soreness and my muscle recovery time. Then I gave it to my girlfriend, who’s also in her 50s, and she noticed her cellulite was better.”

After three years of research and development with doctors and MIT and Harvard engineers, Nancy launched BelleCore BodyBuffer, a beauty/body wellness tool. “It works because its random, orbital oscillation warms up muscles and gets the lactic acid out that make muscles sore. It helps with cellulite control because it stretches the fibers that holds the cellulite together and flushes out the fat and toxins.”

From super model to business woman, Nancy Donahue has determination and energy. “The BodyBuffer launched as an exclusive with Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Harrods, London, and we’ve won the Neiman Marcus Beauty Award, twice. I’ve had my ups and downs, and you just have to think there’s light at the end of the tunnel.”

1 thought on “Nancy Donahue”

  1. I enjoyed learning about Nancy. She inspires me to do yoga every day. I admire her for doing the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon. I live in the SF bay area and getting into that water to swim takes courage not to mention running and riding the hills of San Francisco. I really want to look into this BelleCore Body Buffer. She is a beautiful woman and a great example of living life to the fullest. Fantastic interview.

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