New Zealand's first supermodel and a champion of natural beauty has turned 50.

From that curly-haired Trumpet girl to the cover of Vogue and home again, Rachel Hunter has made a memorable mark on our nation's pop culture scene and paved the (run)way for fellow Kiwi models to forge international careers.

To celebrate her birthday milestone, we've taken a look back at some of her most iconic moments.

Trumpet: Where it all began

"Our Rach" began her career as a teenager, first making waves on New Zealand television as a 15-year-old in Tip-Top's Trumpet ice cream commercials.

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From the North Shore to Vogue

At the height of her modelling career, Hunter graced the covers of Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and Sports Illustrated. Photo / Supplied.
At the height of her modelling career, Hunter graced the covers of Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and Sports Illustrated. Photo / Supplied.

While still a teen, Glenfield-born Hunter was signed to US-based international modelling agency Ford Models.

In 1987 she attained the holy grail of modelling: gracing the first of what would become several Vogue covers, including Vogue Germany, USA and Italy.

To the Playboy mansion

Rachel Hunter in 2004 with her Playboy cover.
Rachel Hunter in 2004 with her Playboy cover.

In 2004, Hunter stripped off for the men's magazine, reportedly for a staggering $2.8 million.

And back to Ferndale...

In her episode cameo, Hunter asked reception for
In her episode cameo, Hunter asked reception for "change for the parking metre." Photo / Supplied

By the early 90s, Hunter was famous enough to cameo as herself on Shortland Street. Arriving at the hospital's reception desk, Hunter asks for change for the parking metre as school boy Nick Harrison and Dr Hone Ropata sidle up to her.

When Rachel met Rod

The night before he planned to propose to his girlfriend Kelly Emberg, Stewart met Hunter at a nightclub and
The night before he planned to propose to his girlfriend Kelly Emberg, Stewart met Hunter at a nightclub and "swiftly changed his mind." Photo / Getty Images

At just 21, Hunter met British rock star Rod Stewart in a Los Angeles nightclub. An intense romance ensued.

In an extract from his book, Rod: The Autobiography of Rod Stewart, he wrote of Hunter:
"There was a connection straight away. She was extremely beautiful, but there was something no-nonsense about her as well. It was there in her New Zealand accent, but also in her face, which was open and smart."

They married in 1990 and went on to have two children, Renee and Liam, before separating in 1999 after nine years of marriage.

In 2012 Stewart revealed he shed 5kg and threw himself into yoga, psychotherapy and self-help books after Hunter dumped him. He was reportedly blindsided and begged her to stay - but she wouldn't.

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