Even as a small child, modern-day adventurer and entrepreneur Rachel Grant was keen to learn what was over the next hill, behind the hidden doorway or lurking in the great beyond.
Now, as an adult, this actress-turned-social-advocate has translated her passion for travel into a world-spanning career marked by appearances as seductive Bond femme fatale in “Die Another Day;” host of her own travel show onboard Cathy Pacific Airways; contributing editor for Travelife magazine; a featured travel expert and guest host on NBC's shopping channel Shop NBC; and spokeswoman for Biaggi, an award-winning travel innovator that created the first four-wheeled luggage that folds flat for easy storage.
Born on the island of Luzon in the Philippines and raised in the United Kingdom, former international beauty queen and Miss Hawaiian Tropic Grant has logged expeditions to six continents and nearly 50 countries. But while some actresses may be content simply to play colorful characters, Grant actually is translating her varied interests into a globetrotting existence full of extraordinary exploits that even a real-life Bond girl would have trouble emulating. She was an originator of a daring subterranean river exploration and one of the team leaders that revealed and publicized the famous uncharted Angel Cave in the Philippines.
Grant has trekked the edge of the deadly Mayon volcano; communed with the Hourani tribe in Ecuador; witnessed lions mating in Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve; sojourned in secluded groves in the Amazon rainforest; and swam with hammerheadsharks in the Galapagos. She scuba-dived through warships in the South China Sea; experienced Japanese “naked communion:” in the volcanic hot springs of Mount Fuji; journeyed deep underground; to visit ancient Mayan sacrificial caves in Guatemala, and flamenco-danced through the Feria de Abril de Sevilla annual Seville Fair in Spain.
It is not surprising that roving far-flung regions of the planet has fostered an appetite for unusual delicacies in Grant. The imaginative gastronome has supped on Royal Rat, fried tarantula, crispy locust bars and balut duck embryo.
Grant is a gifted athlete and aficionado of the martial arts, studying with Grandmaster Dan Inosanto, a renowned student of Bruce Lee. She has graced the covers of international magazines, filmed demonstration videos on historic Asian weaponry, and performed her own stunts in movies, including death-defying car chases and spins in The Tournament, and working as a body double for Angelina Jolie in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.
Grant's wanderlust can be viewed as an expression of an ancestral family trait; her full name is The Honorable Rachel Louise Grant de Longueuil, a barony title granted by King Louis XIV of France to Charles le Moyne de Longueuil for his travels and explorations throughout North America. The first Baron de Longueuil and his sons secured large wilderness areas for France, which were acquired by the United States in the Louisiana Purchase. Grant’s great-grandmother, Ernestine Bowes-Lyon, was first cousin to the British Queen Mother; and as a direct descendant of the baron, Grant is cousin to the British royal family, including Princes William and Harry.
The intrepid explorer combines her fervent love of exotic locales and little-known destinations with myriad compassionate causes around the world, authoring the book “Making a Difference” about the positive ventures and good works she has encountered during her travels, including working with programs endorsed by the United Nations to build and refurbish housing, paint buildings and pave streets in poor communities. Indeed, Grant was so moved by the poverty and suffering she has witnessed in various regions that she dedicated herself to helping disadvantaged communities and currently is building a school in Bani, Philippines, to serve 150 children who were typhoon victims. Grant’s tireless efforts and philanthropy have been acclaimed by world leaders: in 2012 she was personally invited by Hillary Clinton to a private function with the President of the Philippines in recognition of her charity work and achievements.
Grant also serves as a global ambassador for social economic enterprise Human Nature organic cosmetics, which assists underprivileged farmers in the Philippines. She recently launched her own eco-friendly pet products line, Furry Kind, in partnership with the firm, promoting good works and good will to animals, humans and the environment. (See www.furrykind.com) She continues to seek new adventures and pursue novel opportunities that combine her zeal for touring with her generosity of spirit.