Today’s topic for Beauty 101: Nnenna Lynch, the 22-year-old fleet-footed Rhodes scholar and reigning NCAA Woman of the Year, who is currently causing a double-take disturbance at Oxford University. Never mind those luscious legs or that smoldering gaze: Lynch’s real grab is her gray matter. “From the minute she opens her mouth, you’re captivated,” says longtime track pal Paul McCabe.
Not tied down by textbooks, though, the 5’7″ New Yorker (Mom is a nurse from Canada; Dad a historian from Tobago) has modeled with sister Shola, 25, for the Gap and Glamour. At Villanova University she was the 1992 women’s outdoor 3,000-meter NCAA champ, a soup-kitchen volunteer and a founder of the school’s Athletes Against Alcohol (Abuse) group. “It was a chance to give something back,” she says. Now busy studying social anthropology in hopes of pursuing a doctorate or opening community centers for underprivileged youth, Lynch, whose first name is a word used in Nigeria to honor female relatives, makes time to date but keeps her beauty regime elementary: fresh fruit, lots of water and a daily 6-to 12-mile run. “Beauty is so transient,” she explains. “I’d rather spend time developing more stable, sustaining aspects of myself, like the mind.” Class dismissed.