Fergie’s new role is revealed on eve of Eugenie’s wedding: Duchess joins Ivana Trump as ambassador for Italian diet guru who promises you can eat pizza and pasta to lose weight – with meal kits costing up to $1,000
- Fergie, 58, is now a spokesperson for the Italiano Diet by Gianluca Mech
- Former wife of Donald Trump, Ivana, also became ambassador in June this year
- Duchess joined Mech on visit to University of Padua, Italy last month
- Low carb programme features kits including drinks and ready meals
She’s set to play a key part in tomorrow’s royal wedding as the proud mother-of-the-bride, but it turns out the Duchess of York has also has another new role to celebrate, as brand ambassador for a colourful Italian diet guru.
It’s the latest in a long line of commercial endeavours for the Duchess who took on a lucrative role brand ambassador role for WeightWatchers following her divorce, after profligate spending left her owing £5million to the royal bank, Coutts.
Then, a series of bad investments and the collapse of a fledging ‘lifestyle’ company saw her on the brink of bankruptcy again in 2010.
Now she’s said to be promoting Mech’s low-carb diet that mixes herbal extracts, flavored drinks, and pre-packaged food including pasta and soup and costs up to $1,072.80 (£811) for a kit that promises to help you lose up to 20lbs in 45 days.
And according to Managing Director of branding, PR and influencer marketing agency edencancan.com, the timing of Fergie’s new role is very ‘clever’, given the glare of publicity surrounding her daughter’s wedding.
‘All eyes will be on the mother-of-the-bride on Friday as the ceremony unfolds in Windsor, and it’s an easy way for the brand to get a huge amount of free coverage from the partnership.
If Fergie looks amazing at the wedding, her appearance will no doubt be credited to the diet brand, ensuring they get maximum exposure around the big day.
The Duchess of York has also has another new role to celebrate, as brand ambassador for a colourful Italian diet guru, following on from her role as a WeightWatchers spokesperson
Ivana Trump and Gianluca Mech embrace at a launch for their Italiano Diet collaboration in New York in June 2018
‘It’s clever timing as the wedding is making Fergie topical again, and with her name already in the news agenda, it makes the announcement bigger than it would otherwise be.
‘The Royals are big around the globe too, so the World interest in the wedding will mean the story has an even larger reach.
‘That said, the pressure will be on for Fergie to look great. If she makes a fashion faux pas that doesn’t flatter her figure that positive coverage may not be as strong as the brand hoped.’
MailOnline has contacted representatives for the Duchess of York. Nobody from Gianluca Mech’s side was available for comment.
The Duchess also accompanied Mech on a visit to the University of Padua in Italy in September which was involved in the development and testing of his products, which are said to work by using herbs to stimulate the metabolism.
During the visit the Duchess spoke to The Rector Rosario Rizzuto and about her interest in the issues of metabolism and nutrition, understood not as a problem of well-being but of health.
Gianluca Mech on the dancefloor at a Saturday Night Fever party in 2017. He set up his diet plan inspired by his father’s battle with obesity
Fergie joins Ivana Trump as an ambassador for Gianluca Mech’s Italiano Diet. Trump and Mech pictured together in New York in June 2018
And it’s clear that Fergie is taking her new role seriously, seeing it as an opportunity to champion research into issues surrounding obesity and health.
During last month’s visit to Italy, the Duchess visited the University of Padua with Mech and a post on the institution’s website appeared to suggest that she’s setting up a fund to support research into weight loss.
Since I was 12 years old I myself had problems with weight,’ she said. ‘Growing up I realized that the question of poor diet and the health problems that it creates, represent a question of world health because they affect many people including many children.
‘I intend to return soon and give life to new collaborations, including a new fund – the Sarah Trust – for the realization of projects to support those who really need to lose weight and to support research in this field of science.’
The Duchess of York is set to play an important role as mother-of-the-bride when her daughter Eugenie marries Jack Brooksbank at Windsor Castle tomorrow. Pictured: The trio attending a charity event in 2017
It’s not Fergie’s first foray into the diet industry. In 1997 she signed as a US ambassador for WeightWatchers, a partnership that lasted 11 years.
The deal was reportedly worth £600,000 a year to begin with, rising to £2M a year when she successfully lost weight on the programme.
While WeightWatchers is based on a points system, the Italiano Diet supplies meal kits people can rely on for differing amounts of time depending on what they want to achieve.
Who is Gianluca Mech?
Born in Montebello Vicentino in Venice, Gianluca Mech is described as the sole heir of his family’s long-standing herbal enterprise, which dates back to the the late 16th century and creates and supplies ‘healing, rejeìuvenating and therapeutic treatments’.
These remedies are liquid herbal extracts made by a secret method known across the world as Decottopia (ten plant therapy), and he’s been involved in prodcuing them since childhood.
His father died when he was 18-years-old after battling obesity and this made his son determined to create a ‘healthy low-carb diet’, incorporating the family love of herbs and without excess protein.
According to his website, his diet products work as they contain ‘a combination of natural herbal extracts that speed up the metabolism, especially the one of fats, allowing you to purify the body in order to guarantee a healthy weight loss’.
After 10 years of extensive research, the “Gianluca Mech Diet” was launched and in 2007, he set up the Gianluca Mech Research Center in conjunction with the University of Padua, which Fergie visited last month.
He is also a huge fan of the film Saturday Night Fever and spent $200K recereating the 2001 Odyssey Disco that inspired the film on the site of its original location in New York.
A ‘luxury kit’ for sale on Gianluca’s website, which includes four different kinds of herbal-extract-based ‘tonics’, two kinds of flavored drinks, soup, and fusilli pasta, comes at an original price of $1,072.80 for just one person.
The company is based in the US, but also ships products to the UK.
Its 45-day ‘luxury kit’, which is currently available at a discounted price of $749, is organized — as many diet plans are — in two different phases: a 21-day ‘intensive phase’ and a 24-day ‘stabilization phase’, and supposedly helps people lose 15 to 20 pounds.
It includes ‘depurative’, ‘energizing’, ‘diuretic’, and ‘regulating’ tonics, banana-split and vanilla-chocolate-flakes-flavored drinks, mushroom-flavored soup, and fusilli pasta.
Gianluca Mech’s Italiano Diet programme involves a series of meal kits that dieters can follow for different time periods, depending on how much weight they want to lose
In addition to the ‘luxury kit’, Gianluca also sells individual products as well as other meal plans, including a $480 (discounted price: $439) ‘gold kit’ containing flavored drinks, herbal extracts, and sesame crackers for 80 days, and a $300 (discounted at $289) ‘silver kit’ lasting 100 days.
There are also less expensive kits for those looking to lose less than 15 to 20 pounds, with the price range decreasing in proportion to the promised weight loss. The cheapest option is a $69.90 three-day kit.
What is the Italiano Diet?
On his website, Gianluca, who also sells individual products, says he was inspired to create his diet plan as the result of his father’s passing due to obesity.
In a promotional video, he insists it is possible to eat Italy’s best-known delicacies, i.e. ‘all the Italian food you like, from pizza to pasta but also chocolate cookies’ while losing weight.
However, pizza is explicitly banned during both the intensive and the stabilizing phase of the plan, as is raw ham, bacon, speck, milk, yogurt, several types of cheese, soy milk, fruit (‘fresh, centrifuged or pureed’), and honey.
A sample menu for the 60-day ‘silver kit’ for women (which promises a weight loss of between five and nine pounds) dictates to begin the day with ‘three biscuits or three rusks with three pieces of jam’.
After breakfast comes a snack of banana-split-flavored drink for 100 calories, or a piece of fruit (even though it is supposedly banned during both phases of the diet), or some low-fat yogurt (which is supposed to be banned as well).
Lunch consists in pasta, rice, or some other type of unrefined cereal, with cooked or raw vegetables and three sesame crackers.
There is then a second snack, which can be made up of seasonal fruit or low-fat yogurt, followed by a dinner that can include meat, fish, vegetarian protein, ham, cheese, eggs, and even ‘a pizza with vegetables’ (but only once a week).