If you’ve ever tuned into one of UFC’s action-packed fights, then you’ve probably taken notice of the bikini-clad Octagon Girls parading around the cage—it’s kind of hard not to. Chief among them is Vanessa Hanson, whose day job as a Ford model also requires her to flaunt her body in revealing clothing for clients such as Nasty Gal, FHM and Maxim.
Considering she’s basically made a career of looking hot in a swimsuit—something we can all use a little help with at this time of year—we couldn’t help but be curious about her secret to staying so self-assured and fit. For starters: “A good tan always makes me feel more toned and confident,” she says. “I also think it’s important to pick the most flattering swimsuit for your body type.”
As it turns out, that bikini lifestyle comes easily to Hanson because she puts wellness first. She admires the power and ferocity of Ronda Rousey and the other MMA fighters she supports in the ring, but sticks to yoga and healthy food to stay fit. For more specifics on her snacking habits, the fitness app she swears by, and the foods she cuts out before a big event, keep scrolling.
I start an average day by:
Cuddling with my animals!
For breakfast I had:
An over easy egg on wheat toast and fresh fruit with yogurt and granola.
The one thing I’d never eat is:
Pie and cake. I don’t like anything too sweet, and sugar essentially turns into fat.
For lunch I had:
Mahi mahi with an avocado quinoa salad.
My all-time favorite workout:
Yoga by far!
My go-to healthy restaurant:
Octopus. Sushi is my go-to healthy meal when eating out. I stick to sashimi and avoid the tempura rolls.
If I need to shape up before a big event:
I cut out bread and other foods that are processed or high in carbs, and eat smaller portions.
Today, I snacked on:
A Kind bar. It’s delicious and filling!
The health trend I just can’t get behind is:
Being vegan. I’m a huge carnivore!
My go-to cocktail:
I always go for a Mexican Mule.
For dinner I had:
Oven-baked chicken and broiled vegetables in olive oil.
I’m obsessed with these Instagram accounts:
@dennistheprescott is the ultimate food porn, and @erinwasson is one of my favorite models and style crush. And @moistbuddha because I’m obsessed with memes!
My signature healthy dish is:
A kale salad with avocado and salmon topped with a homemade teriyaki/Sriracha dressing.
My edible guilty pleasures are:
Anything with cheese on it.
My biggest health tip for travelers:
Bring your own healthy snacks, so that you don’t binge on greasy food later. I always travel with avocados and nutrition bars.
The top three songs on my workout playlist right now are:
Rihanna‘s latest album! I listen to it incessantly.
My go-to health app:
ClassPass! Payal Kadakia and Mary Biggins are geniuses. It’s perfect for mixing up your workouts.
The best part of my job is:
Traveling, but I also love working with so many creative people!