Meet Australian former actress and model, Virginia Hey and one of Karma Sanctum Soho’s favourite guests! A long-time advocate and practitioner of health and wellness, Virginia shares her obsessions about London’s No.1 Rockstar hotel.
Firstly, what do you love about Karma Sanctum Soho?
I stay at Karma Sanctum Soho a few weekends a month! I’m like family – a grand dame swishing about! It’s such a wonderful atmosphere and constantly filled with music business celebrities – the ultimate eclectic experience.
I’m best friends with the owner Mark Fuller and his beautiful wife Sherene. I’ve known Mark for 40 years, and so whenever I’m at the hotel we have a lot of fun. We’re like two school kids chitter-chattering away and reminiscing. I think the world of Mark, he’s always been such a wonderful loyal friend and confidante.
Any favourite suites? Or dishes?
Junior Suite #204! That room and the entire hotel is eclectic, arty and elegant with rockstar genes! Ooh, I think I just described myself! Ha ha!
Food-wise, I’m a huge fan of 3 Michelin star chef superstar Garry Holliheads culinary delights, so I’m in heaven at his Wild Heart Bar & Shokudo – which just happens to be on the ground floor of the Karma Sanctum Soho! When at the hotel, I don’t have to go very far to be wowed by a fabulous dish! I simply fall out of bed, jump in the shower, and wander downstairs and there it is! I love Garry’s Salmon Teriyaki followed by Mochi ice cream for dessert. I’d be happy if I ate those two dishes every day for the rest of my life!
What are some of your other passions?
When I’m not in the Karma Sanctum world, I am at home in my pretty garden apartment tending to my waves of flowers and toddling off to the Victoria and Albert Museum which is one of my favourite haunts! I’m single so I can do as I please, and that suits me.
You’ve had such an amazingly vibrant career. Tell us about it…
Yes, I’ve had the most extraordinary career spanning many decades. I moved from art school into fashion modelling then television commercials, films, back to fashion as a fashion editor and stylist (twice), acting again to creating my own line of candles and perfumes in my fifties and sixties. However, throughout all my career, I maintained a passion for studying medicine, in particular, natural medicine.
So, I used my career in the early days to fund my medicine studies. In-between films and TV series, I was studying Naturopathy, Homeopathy and Herbal Medicine. I would always get distracted back to the boards, as they say, by the opportunity to jump into another fascinating role, but my heart was always in the medicine field.
I think it’s something I inherited from my father who had the most extraordinary scientific mind that he shared with all his children. My mother was fascinated by art, classical music, and psychology, and shared with us the brilliance of those gems. How lucky was I to have those two incredibly brilliant people as my parents!
Any favourite gigs?
Playing Warrior Woman in Mad Max 2 was such an exciting experience. My first acting role! In the old days there were no strong roles for women, so this broke the mold!
What’s your wellness routine look like? Any sage advice?
I’m a soap and water girl! Although I did try a lot of creams and lotions in my youth, I always went back to soap and water! I inherited my father’s skin which was constantly shiny when I was young, but now I’m grateful for it because it has settled into having a gentle natural soft moisturizing quality.
Personally, love doing Zumba Gold because I love dancing. I like to garden and walk – even sitting with my back against a tree feels so healing. In my opinion, spending time quietly with friends and laughing will improve your health enormously!
My skincare tip is ‘less is more’. Under no circumstances should anyone with lovely skin wear foundation makeup. Don’t waste your money on expensive skin products. Just use natural, simple products. A little dab of vitamin E oil on the skin works wonders
I also swear by Aloe Vera drinks, plus the protein powder drinks I make filled with fruits and vegetables such as spinach and spirulina. We all eat too many carbohydrates and not enough protein, so reverse that equation. Very simple to do, just buy some good quality protein powder and make yourself at least one protein and fruit drink smoothie every day. Ease-up on the sugar!
How has 2020-2021 been for you? Any silver linings?
It’s been a challenging time for the entire planet (although there are many people who don’t seem to realise we are in a global pandemic)! It’s not just in our isolated areas in our own countries that are affected.
For me, always seeing the big picture, there was a feeling of unity in this crisis. We humans all banded together across the planet to fight this plague. It brought nations together to fight a common cause that had no monetary basis. The silver lining was that Mother Earth got to breathe and rest for a little while from pollution. There were lovely stories on the news every day of birdsong in places where there hasn’t been for decades, baron waterways attracting fish again, and all kinds of wonderful stories about nature regenerating itself during the isolation period.
This pandemic made pretty much everyone aware of their environment, and most people are now much more conscious of growing their own, recycling, tending to gardens and being kinder. Something wonderful happened out of the biggest global disaster yet. A new respect and human relationship with mother nature was born – just as it should be!
Once we can all travel freely again, where will you go?
To spend time with my favourite best friends who live in different parts of the world. One is in Bali. Another bestie is in Sydney plus many others! My bucket list is to visit old friends. Maybe a reality TV show documenting the journey would be great! Oh.. and Hawaii, no friends there, I’d love to go back there to laze in the sun!
My dream is to retire and return to my studies, which I will do at some stage, but for now I’m having fun playing with my dear friend Mark and his amazing Emporium of style that is the Karma Sanctum world!
Thank you, Virginia!