Hilary Barry wins over Kiwi hearts with makeup-free bed hair selfie

Most TV hosts cultivate an image of being preened to perfect - but Seven Sharp's Hilary Barry – who is currently filling in for Laura McGoldrick on The Hits’ 3pm Pick-Up - is refreshingly candid about life when she's not in front of the camera.

Barry rolled out of bed this morning and in front of a camera, sharing a makeup-free selfie with untamed bed hair that had fans rushing to praise her.

"When you wake up and wonder 'what the hell was I dreaming about last night?'," Barry shared on social media, prompting a flood of positive comments.

"Kudos to you for keeping it real," wrote one fan, who labelled Barry "our Queen".

Another said that Barry was "such a breath of fresh air".

"Great photo of a great looking woman, totally comfortable in her own skin. You are a wonderful role model for young women Hilary," said another.

"Such a beautiful wahine toa, a fantastic role model on loving yourself and not being afraid to be yourself or letting what others think worry you. You make me smile everyday," another fan gushed.

While same thought Barry had simply lost a fight with her pillow, some made rather more risque suggestions.

"Looking at your hair I would say it was a Jason Momoa dream," one person joked.

"Whatever it was I reckon you must of burnt at least 2000 calories," another said with a wink.

Barry regularly shares her battles with haters online and some fans thought her natural bedhead could be a weapon in the war against those policing the appearance of women on television.

"Could you rock up on Seven Sharp like this please - you know just so we can have your back against the keyboard warriors who wake up 'wedding ready' everyday?" suggested one person.

Barry's no-frills selfie comes after her on-air fashion choices came under attack again with a viewer's bizarre complaint.

Barry appeared in a soft pink halter-neck top that exposed her shoulders, but even that chaste flash of flesh was too much for one critic.

"Hilary," the outraged New Zealander wrote, "that top is hardly appropriate for the role of a tv presenter. Come on you can do better than this."

"Perhaps you could be more specific?" Barry countered, only to be met with radio silence.

Her fans went into bat for the star, who expressed shock that anyone could find fault with the look - and poured praise on Barry's appearance.

"She's jealous of those traps," one suggested, with another agreeing and saying the much-loved presenter "looks pretty buff".

"I'm not sure what the issue is. Gorgeous colour, style, and Hilary could pull off wearing a potato sack," a fan gushed.

Others wanted a bit more Barry for their buck, with one commenter saying they could "handle a bit more showing" and another saying the complainant just "wanted more cleave".

Last year Barry took aim at trolls attempting to criticise her appearance, sharing a shot of herself living her best life on a beach in response to a man's attempts to age shame her.

"Please encourage Hilary to dress properly. Exposed shoulders are for the young," the man wrote in a Facebook post to the show.

Barry called out the man's age shaming.

"Just for the record, I'll wear what I like, when I like."

She then posted a photo of her basking in the sun on a beach in togs, with a message of empowerment to other women.

"This is for every Geoff whoever told a woman what to wear or what part of her body to cover up. We will not be told. Not now. Not ever."

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This article was first published by the NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.