Photography by Trevor Smith

Rachel Hilbert

Model

| Nolita

It’s near freezing on Rachel Hilbert’s shoot day— the sort of bone-chilling wind that seems to say, “Are you sure New York’s for you?” billows down the streets— and yet, when we break it to her that we’ll be shooting outside this morning, all she quips back is, “Alright… jacket open or closed?” But that’s Hilbert for you. Accented by a platinum hair flip and a perfectly dimpled smile, the model’s “let’s do this” approach isn’t just instinct, it’s infectious. In a matter of minutes, we were snapping Hilbert twirling around her downtown neighborhood of Nolita. No doubt, the blonde beauty’s up-for-anything nature is, in part, why, at just 21 years old, she’s already been the face of Victoria’s Secret’s PINK label for two years (yes, that includes strutting down the runway for the be-all-end-all VS Fashion Show twice, too). In fact, her career was never going to be one that needed time to blossom— Hilbert started modeling at the age of 16 when a trip to a Manhattan open call ended in the agency signing her on the spot. And come high school graduation, the Rochester, New York native was pledging PINK. Juggling cover shoots, press appearances and a virtually superhuman-sounding workout routine (a mix of boxing, pilates and personal training), Hilbert’s day-to-day seems almost out of reach… That is, until she points to a pizza place mid-shoot and says, “Have you guys ever had Prince Street Pizza?! That’s how I’ll be rewarding myself post-VS Fashion Show this year,” and, just like that, we get right back to jiving with her. After all, who says you can’t have your slice and eat it too? Here, Hilbert sits down with CITIPHILE to reveal her little black book on NYC.

NEIGHBORHOOD STANDBY: I have three favorite places in the city and they’re all actually in my ‘hood. First, I love Bondst (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x)– especially the lounge downstairs; I usually order the tuna tartare pizza, avocado salmon hand roll and the seaweed salad. For something a bit more laid-back, Siggy’s Good Food (MAP IT, x) has great, locally-sourced options that are not only healthy, but delicious. And, Café Gitane (MAP IT, x) is a favorite!

COFFEE OR TEA: Coffee from Gasoline Alley (MAP IT, x)– the coffee is so fresh and delicious.

ALL-TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANT: That’s such a hard question because there are so many amazing restaurants in NYC. I’d have to say that, on a cheat day, one of my favorites is Cipriani (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x)– their gnocchi is out of this world.

COCKTAIL DE LA NUIT: I stick with vodka-soda or tequila-soda with lime. I like to go to Cafe Select (MAP IT, x) or Sweet & Vicious (MAP IT, x). Now that I’m 21, I’m finding so many new places to go!

GIRLS NIGHT OUT: They usually start in the lounge at Bondst and from there, we either go to a bar/lounge like SoHo House (MAP IT, x), Rose Bar (MAP IT, x), Socialista (MAP IT, x) or Acme (MAP IT, BOOK ITx). Sometimes, we end up at Sing Sing (MAP IT, x) for karaoke and it’s super fun too!

DINNER WITH FRIENDS: Catch (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x).

MUSIC PICK: I like all kinds of music, but I lean more towards rock-n’-roll. It usually depends on what mood I’m in, but Socialista always has a good playlist– they bump the throwbacks that are fun to dance to.

BEST BRUNCH: I’m not a huge brunch person, but I would say Bubby’s (MAP IT, x) because they have great food. 

BEST PEOPLE WATCHING: Café Select. That place always attracts a wide cast of characters.

HEALTHY STAPLE: Souen (MAP IT, x)– it’s a macrobiotic health food restaurant with a Japanese twist. I usually get the macro plate which includes vegetables, brown rice, beans and seaweed.

GUILTY PLEASURE: Prince Street Pizza (MAP IT, x)! The deep dish, spicy square slice is my go-to.

NY’S BEST-KEPT SECRET: ZZ’s Clam Bar (MAP IT, BOOK ITx)– amazing cocktails mixed with amazing food.

FIRST THING I MISS WHEN I’M AWAY: How convenient everything is.

REGULAR AT: If I’m not working, you can find me at the infrared sauna called Higher Dose (MAP IT, x)… or Equinox (MAP IT, x)!

DATE NIGHT STANDBY: The Waverly Inn (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) because it’s super cozy and intimate.

DELIVERY GO-TO: Mottsu Sushi (MAP IT, x). It’s around the corner from me and the sushi is amazing.

TO SEE AND BE SEEN: Bar Pitti (MAP IT, x) is a place to be seen and heard. It’s very authentic, yet it has a cool vibe at the same time. A ton of people go there and the food is delicious.

TO ESCAPE AND UNWIND: I go to Aire Ancient Baths (MAP IT, x) to escape and unwind. The candle-lit space immediately puts you into a relaxed state.

WINTER IN NYC: Rockefeller Center (MAP IT, x) around Christmas time screams winter. The tree and the ice skaters mixed with all of the lights and buzz of the tourists just makes me think of the holidays.

GO-TO GETAWAY: St. Barth’s is my go-to getaway. The island has so many beautiful beaches, great local shops and an array of restaurants to choose from.

CLOSET CHECK: I would describe my style as vintage, edgy and chic. There are a lot of vintage shops in the L.E.S. that I love!

BEST HOST/HOSTESS GIFTS: Flying Tiger (MAP IT, x)– they have gifts and gadgets for every occasion. Sometimes, I find things there that I never knew existed!

BEAUTY BLACK BOOK: Dry Bar (MAP IT, x) for blowouts!

FIT PICK: I have a personal trainer named Michael Strevel at David Barton Gym (*Location now closed). He mixes up my workouts every time I see him. He is always pushing my body to work at its highest potential. We mix cardio with calisthenics and weight lifting– it’s a total body experience!

ULTIMATE NY MOMENT: The musical performances on the subway always amaze me. Only in NY do you see full-on performances underground. Some of them are really talented, but New Yorkers are so jaded that we just stroll by like it’s any regular day! CP

Rachel’s New York

From L to R: Pie at Bubby's, Gasoline Alley Coffee, SoHo House, Cipriani. Second Row: Rockefeller Center; Pasta from Bar Pitti; Gitana's, Socialista Lounge

From L to R: First Row: Pie from Bubby’s; Gasoline Alley Coffee; Holidays at SoHo House; Dessert at Cipriani. Second Row: Rockefeller Center; Pasta at Bar Pitti; Gitana’s latte; Inside Socialista Lounge.

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