Ruchel is an accomplished author, editor, and producer, known for her insightful interviews and lyrical brand of journalism. Her nuanced coverage of style, celebrity, health, philanthropy, and politics has earned her widespread acclaim, while her work as an editor has brought significant success to a spectrum of lifestyle and wellness companies.
Ruchel Louis Coetzee was born on July 18, 1958, in Bloemfontein, South Africa, the daughter of George and Shirley Louis. In 1976 she married architect Pieter Coetzee and the couple, together with their two children, lived in South Africa until 1993, after which they immigrated to America. In 1995, armed with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Free State, South Africa (1980) and an Associate’s Degree in Broadcasting from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale (1995), Ruchel pulled together a diverse team of experienced and creative industry professionals to form the company Successful Images. For 14-plus years, this award-winning, international multimedia production company worked with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to universities and non-profit organizations.
During this period Ruchel produced a documentary on South Africa tourism for the Latin Travel Channel (1996); her first full feature movie, Gringo Wedding (2007); and wrote her memoir, PULANI, about growing up in South Africa during the apartheid years. She had also conducted interviews with the likes of the Dalai Lama, Sean Penn, Maria Shriver, Anthony Shriver, artists Botero and Romero Britto, Prince Albert of Monaco, David Caruso, Dakota Fanning, Richard Adams (Watership Down author), and notable politicians.
In 2009, Ruchel closed Successful Images to start her own brand label, RUCHEL LLC, incorporating all her talents—multimedia production, author, guest speaker, writer, and film producer. By this time Ruchel had solidified her probing interviewing style.
Her exhaustive research and effervescent personality helped her become recognized for drawing revealing portraits of her subjects. Mike Jackson, CEO of AutoNation at the time, said, “It takes real talent to get someone to open up in an interview setting, and that’s a talent Ruchel definitely has. She has a warmth that’s genuine, which brings out a level of intimacy and candidness that’s pretty uncommon. Add in her incisiveness and the ability to ask challenging questions without coming across as adversarial, and she stands apart as one of the truly best interviewers.”
Presently, Ruchel is co-executive editor of NEW YOU magazine where her celebrity cover and feature interviews—from Sharon Stone and Martha Stewart to Kris Kardashian, Jenny McCarthy, Carmen dell’Orefice, Brooke Shields, Larry King, Elizabeth Banks, Paris Hilton and beyond—have garnered the magazine national press at each launch. She has also appeared on NBC, CBS, and ABC for NEW YOU and has had articles published on CNN.com, Huffington Post, USA Today, and Daily Mail, amongst others. In 2014, she accepted the Ozzie Award for Best Improved Magazine with Sharon Stone on the cover on behalf of NEW YOU. Jonathan Cheban, business mogul and BFF to Kim Kardashian, had this to say – “There are things that you do that make people feel comfortable – your demeanor and your laughter. You react in a positive way and laugh and connect with my stuff that’s between us which is a great thing. It’s harmless and it feels fun – you’re a great interviewer.”