Dessert-lover, former refugee, and international supermodel Ubah Hassan was born in Somalia and moved to Vancouver as a child. She was scouted when she was 17, and quickly landed on the Fashion Week circuit, walking for Ralph Lauren, Oscar de la Renta, Gucci, Betsey Johnson and starring in campaigns for Cover Girl and Lucky Brand. She was featured in the July 2008 all Black Issue of Italian Vogue shot by Steven Meisel and again, in the January 2009 issue, shot by Bruce Weber. As well as forging a successful career in modeling, Ubah’s a committed activist who champions the causes of helping people in Somalia and other countries combat water shortage.
She also happens to be a huge foodie, and one of the few supermodels we’ve met who says she can’t live without dessert—which is why we asked Ubah to share her food and workout routine with us. Keep scrolling!
What is a typical breakfast for you?
Ubah Hassan: Before I brush my teeth, I make hot water with lemon. My go-to breakfast is boiled eggs in a hot water jug. When the eggs come out, I chop them up with olive oil, lemon and pepper.
How do you take your morning coffee?
I usually make it—rooibis tea with a spoon of coconut butter, and blended in my Nutri-Bullet as a hot smoothie.
What is your morning snack?
At 11.45 a.m. or 12 p.m. I eat an apple with peanut butter. I only use fresh-ground PB from Whole Foods and never from the jar.
What’s a typical lunch for you?
Around 1:30—2 p.m. I have lunch: [Today that was] white rice with grilled salmon. Mostly I make it, and I always have protein and vegetables when traveling.
What do you snack on during the afternoon?
Today I had tea with a cookie. Sometimes I’ll get a hot chocolate for my sweet tooth! After my workout, I reward my body with a bit of sugar.
What’s your go-to dinner recipe?
I have steamed fish and vegetables my favorite fish being Branzino. I usually order a lot from the side menu at restaurants.
Do you drink alcohol during the week?
I don’t drink alcohol.
What about dessert?
I’m obsessed with dessert; it keeps me sane! I can only eat it before 4 p.m. though. I can’t have any sugar at night otherwise I don’t sleep well. My favorite desserts are cheesecake, pineapple, and Nutella.
What’s your favorite fitness class?
Physique 57—you see results in less then three classes. It’s very painful but results [basically] guaranteed.
How would you normally describe your diet?
It’s mainly protein, vegetables, and fat. I eat healthy but without too many constraints—everything in moderation.
What is your favorite local healthy restaurant and what do you usually order?
My favorites are Souen Restaurant and Macrobiotic. I usually get the grain of the day, steamed vegetables, and Hijiki Seaweed.
What are your favorite smoothie ingredients?
Blueberry, raspberries, and coconut butter. I prefer to make my own.
Do you see any holistic health specialists?
I have been having acupuncture once a month for about four years now. I have bad neck pain from traveling, and it helps manage that pain.
What healthy items do you always have in your handbag?
Oregon oil (diluted with orange juice or water, and mixed with olive oil can go under the tongue). I also have almonds as it holds me over until my next meal.
How do you deal with stress?
Deep breathes! I took a meditation course a year ago in NYC.
What are your top five must-have beauty products?
Coconut oil, epsom salt, La Mer lip balm, Cle de Peau La Crème, and Anastasia brows definer.