It is a melancholy day in Paris. Pedestrians bow their heads against the rain, and motorists convey impatience through insistent horns. Still, as I watch from one of the windows in the honeymoon suite at the Hôtel Le Bristol, the downcast faces snap up and the noise pollution mutes at the sight of a slender figure unfurling herself from a town car, walking gazelle-like towards the building’s grand entrance.
My guest is one of the city’s newest yet already most famous inhabitants. Natalia Vodianova – supermodel, nascent actress, philanthropist and mother – has become a Gallic obsession, emblematic of the country’s prized characteristics: beauty, style and grace. She moved here to live with her partner, Antoine Arnault, CEO of French luxury menswear brand Berluti and son of LVMH’s Bernard Arnault, and to her fellow Russians and now her French compatriots Vodianova represents the existence of a real-life fairy tale.
Natalia Vodianova says her favorite body part is her ears because they tingle when she likes something.
Natalia Vodianova thinks her body is “really good on average.”
The model admits feeling under pressure to look slim and toned, although she accepts that is part of her job. On the whole she’s happy with her figure.
“Of course I feel pressure to look good – it’s an important part of my work,” she said. “I want to do the best I can with what I have. And what I have is really good on average, I guess.”
However, there are parts of her body Natalia would like to change if she could. She stops short of saying whether she would ever go under the knife to change them, explaining instead she focuses on what she likes about herself.
“I hate my belly button. I also don’t like my toes because I’ve worn heels so much that they are misshapen. I have bad circulation and my hands get swollen, which isn’t pretty,” she told the UK edition of Elle magazine.
“My favorite part is my ears. When I like something I feel my ears tingling.”
Natalia Vodianova didn’t bother training for a recent half marathon as she wanted to “feel out” her metabolism.
The supermodel began taking part in the races three years ago.
Each year she competes in one during Paris Fashion Week, but this time round she took a new approach. The 30-year-old decided against running a lot before the event took place.
“I don’t train. I haven’t done anything for the past three months because I’ve been feeling out my metabolism,” she explained to the latest edition of UK magazine Elle.
“Running is all about mental strength and understanding what your body needs. I’ve been able to do this [half marathon] and my time was better than last year! I feel really sure of my body.”
Vodianova has a sensible attitude towards food and exercise.
Although she does treat herself from time to time, the star never feels the need to overindulge when it comes to meals. She thinks that is linked to her childhood, when she grew up in Russia.
“Food is a big pleasure in life and a great treat – I learnt this when I was young because I didn’t get many treats. There was very little, but I needed very little, so it was OK. I never thought of regular eating as a given – a bowl of soup was often enough and, as long as my belly was full, I could focus on more important things, like getting on with life,” she explained.
“I feel like I am almost back [in Russia], I have a similar relationship with food.”
Natalia Vodianova’s daughter Neva Vodianova has made her modelling début at the tender age of six. Neva has starred in a campaign modelling a new dress created in aid of her mother’s Naked Heart Foundation charity. The dress, which is also available in adult sizes, was designed by Eva Karayiannis of childrenswear label Caramel Baby and Child. The label is a favourite amongst celebs including Victoria and David Beckham who have dressed their daughter Harper in a dress from Caramel Baby and Child.
Neva is no stranger to the camera, she has modelled alongside her on several occasions for Vogue magazine. As the second child, Neva has two siblings Lucas, 10, and Viktor, 5. She follows in the footsteps of Cindy Crawford’s 10-year-old daughter, Kaia Gerber, who recently modelled for Versace.
All the proceeds from the dress will go towards aiding underprivileged children living in Russia through providing recreational facilities and financial assistance, to help with their medical care. Made from cashmere, the child’s dress is priced at £225 and £380 for the adult version – with the matching collar costing £45. You can order both from May 6 by phoning +44 207 352 8857, or by visiting Caramel Baby and Child stores and selected department stores from the end of June.
Natalia Vodianova’s controversial comments about diet and weight at the Vogue festival over the weekend got lots of people riled up, and she wrote the obligatory “my quotes were taken out of context” response to her critics on her Facebook page last night. She says that the atmosphere of her discussion — which also included models Jourdan Dunn, Eva Herzigova, and Lily Cole — was humorous, and she and the other panelists were making the audience laugh. “If I was giving a speech I would have chosen my words more carefully of course,” she writes. But she also stands by her comments and defends her perspective on weight and eating.
In her post, Vodianova reasserts that the modeling industry shouldn’t be blamed for people’s body-image problems:
I felt angry actually now I think about it. Our industry is scrutinised for giving false image and criteria of beauty and provoking eating disorders however there are other industries that might be even more to blame like food industry that constantly reinventing ways of pushing food on us. Makes people stuff fridges with food, buying pills, millions of books on diets, shopping for the right clothes to hide those extra few pounds, beauty products. I guess some would say that’s what makes our economy go around. Yes, I choose to do more and eat less. Sorry world economy, I am a bad client!
And she’s right — it’s terribly twisted that the diet industry rakes in billions while so many people in the world can’t even get a proper meal. She also reiterates her “eat to survive” approach to food, explaining that she grew up so poor that her family often had to skip meals. She concludes:
Back on the topic of discussion I wish I did say at the time, that I assume there is very little Anorexia or Bulimia issues in countries like Africa, China and Russia today!
It’s unclear what exactly she means to prove by pointing this out. (Is it supposed to be a good thing that fewer people have eating disorders in those largely impoverished areas?) Perhaps she means to draw a connection between “eating to survive” and having a healthy relationship with food. In any case, she’s right to point out that many people in today’s thinness-obsessed developed world have a backwards perspective on the matter.
Natalia Vodianova took part in a panel discussion at the British Vogue Festival over the weekend, where she made some ballsy statements about women and weight. The comments were sparked by British Vogue’s executive fashion director Calgary Avansino’s question: “It’s undeniable that models are very thin, expected to be very thin, and thinner than 99.9 percent of the population. What message should you be sending out?” Vodianova didn’t hold back; see what she had to say about her diet, losing weight after childbirth, and how she trains (or doesn’t) before running a marathon each year.
On how images of thin models affect women: “Come on, guys, it’s better to be skinny than to be fat! We eat well, we exercise — please, do the same and you will look like this. I’m sorry, but today the NHS [Britain’s National Health Service] are fighting against obesity, children are taken away from their parents because they’re too fat … And here we are, defending that we are healthy and skinny.”
On her diet: “I respect my body — my body is my temple. If I eat like a pig, I feel like a pig.”
On losing weight after childbirth: “I must say I actually came to [an event at] the V&A after giving birth to [my son] Victor, three days later, and I was wearing Givenchy Couture.”
Her advice to women who want to lose weight: “I don’t want to offend people who are trying to lose weight — if you want my tip, everyone should look into the only diet I’ve ever done. When I was little I had ulcers in my stomach from not eating very properly. I had really bad digestion and suffered from it for a long time. Then somebody recommended the blood type diet. Ever since, I have more energy and I’ve been doing it for five years now. It really works for me. It’s not about eating more protein or more carbohydrates — it’s which protein you eat, and which carbohydrates.”
On exercise: “I run [a marathon] once a year; I don’t train. It’s true!”
Vogue cover girls Adele, Cheryl Cole, Florence Welch, Keira Knightley, Emma Watson, Natalia Vodianova, Lily Cole and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley have been named as some of the wealthiest young millionaires in the country, according to The Sunday Times’ Rich List. The annual chart documents Britain’s richest individuals, with a category dedicated to those under 30.
Keira Knightley topped the Young Rich List, with cumulative earnings of £58 million; £30 from her acting jobs and £28 million from her modelling work – more than Natalia Vodianova with £16 million, Lily Cole with £8 million and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley who is worth £5 million. Emma Watson also ranked highly, with overall earnings of £52 million – making £26 million respectively for both her modelling and acting work.
Adele was named the country’s richest young musician with £20 million, followed by Cheryl Cole with £12 million and Florence Welch with £7 million. Other faces to be included in the list are Daniel Radcliffe, Britain’s wealthiest actor with £54 million, and Robert Pattinson with £40 million.”