Natalia Vodianova was born on February 28, 1982, in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia and her rags to riches story has made her one of the most intriguing and personable models to ever grace the runway. Natalia grew up in a poor district of the city with her mother and two half sisters, one of which has cerebral palsy. As a young girl, she spent most of her time helping her mother sell fruit on the streets in Russia; it was long work with little pay-off. She later moved into an apartment with her friend, and the two of them set up their own fruit stand, and used her money to help her family through poverty. At the age of 15 Natalia enrolled in a modeling academy and was told that in order to be successful she would need to learn English; she learned the language in 3 months. Two years later, in1999 Natalia moved to Paris and signed with Viva Management, and her career took off. Along with Viva, she is now signed with Why Not Model Agency, MY Model Management, and her mother agency, DNA Model Management. Natalia has graced the covers of over 50 international magazines, has walked more than 175 runways and twice made Forbe’s list of the highest paid models; between 2006-2007 she ranked fifth and was estimated at making $4.5 million (USD) and then seventh for 2007-2008, when she was estimated at $4.8 million (USD). Natalia was married on September 1, 2002 in St.Petersburg, to the Honourable Justin Trevor Berkeley Portman, a British real-estate heir and the half-brother to the 10th Viscount of Portman (making Justin an Aristocrat). The couple has three kids; Lucas Alexander, Neva and Viktor. Natalia and her husband founded the Naked Heart Foundation, which aims to provide a safe and inspiring environment to play, for children living in urban Russia.
Below you can read more about her career and view some of her greatest pictures.
Here are a few of Natalia’s cover shots:
Covers from left to right: British Vogue January 2004, Vogue Italia April 2008, Russian Vogue March 2008
Vogue US September 2004; L-R: Daria Werbowy, Natalia, Gisele Bundchen, Isabeli Fontana,Karolina Kurkova, Liya Kebede, Hana Soukupova, Gemma Ward and Karen Elson.
Covers from left to right: Italian Vogue May 2005, Dutch Vogue October 2005 & Vogue Paris October 2006
Some amazing editorials done by Natalia:
Marie Claire Australia, March 2001
Vogue Nippon, January 2002
Numero #41, March 2003
Harper’s Bazaar (US), December 2003
Vogue (US), March 2004
Vouge Italia, September 2004
Vogue (US), January 2005
Vogue (US) February 2008
Vogue (US), November 2008
Some of Natalia’s ad campigns:
For full listings of editorials, magazines, and ad campaigns, detailed biography and timelines, visit one of the following links (sources for my Model Moment on Natalia Vodianova):
More positive progress in the fashion industry was quite apparent at this season’s New York Fashion Week, as the number of ethnic models increased. According to statistics, of the 3,697 spots in shows or presentations by 116 labels, 668 were filled by models of color, about 18 percent. It may not sound like a big deal, but that’s a whole 6 percent better than last year’s runways.
There were 668 models of ethnicity hired; 41 percent were black, 36 percent were Asian, 22 percent were Latina, and one percent were other ethnicities. There were about 160 opening and closing slots in shows; Latina models opened and closed five times, Asian models three times, and black models ten times. Of all the shows presented, only 6 shows in total had zero models of colour. On the other hand, there were 19 shows that cast zero black models.
The controversy concerning the “lack” of “ethnic” models grows with each season, and while I support the concept of making the runways more diverse, there are many problems within both sides of the “argument”. To begin, it bothers me that people seem to think that ethnicity only belongs to people of colour. Everyone in the world is part of an ethnicity, so technically every model on the runway is “ethnic” – white girls included. If you look at the models individually, you will see that the runways are very diverse – many models come from Brazil, Russia, Canada, England and many other countries, all with their own culture, beliefs and history.
Another barrier in the fashion industry is, and always will be size. Over the years, there have been many angry people who insist that models are too thin and that it is the responsibility of the industry to change the image that they “choose” to portray. Well first of all, design is an art and as an artist, every designer has the right to portray their art as they see fit. On a more solid argument, there is a lot more to it than just hiring “bigger” models. Every designer works within the industry standards – the technical aspects of design all rely on the same measurements – our patterns, our mannequins and our samples are all made to fit one single size – and that’s what size the models need to be in order to fit into the clothing.
Add height restrictions to the required size of a model, and you’ve got two large barriers that can highly affect the amount of “ethnic” models on thr unway. Of course every nationality has a wide variety of body types, and I would never give into the prejudices of difference races, but your background can definately impact your body shape. The height requirement in the modeling industry is generally 5’8 – though I could not get a definite fact, research seem to suggest that the average Asian woman is only 5’4, which may explain the lack of Asian models in the industry. Though this number is definately growing and the few Asian models in the industry have found great success, it’s not likely that the numbers will ever be very high. Size barriers can certainly be an issue for many women of ethnicity when it comes to curves – a women who normally seen as thin may be too big in the hip or bust area when it comes to modeling.
All in all, there are barriers in modeling to women of all ethnicities, and the amount of women eligible for modeling is quite slim in comparison to the world population. While I do hope that more ethnicities can soon enter the world of modeling at a higher rate, I choose to have a realistic view of the standards. With the growing number of countries hosting their own “Next Top Model” series, the opportunity for women who meet the standards is growing, and it would be a great success to see models of many different cultures grace runways and magazine covers across the world.
Years ago, top designers of the fashion industry relied on a small circle of top models who were on a one-name basis with fashion and people all over the world. Today, in a time where everyone is looking for the next big thing, models go in and out of style as often as the fashion trends themselves. Sure there are a few big models who thrive in the industry, who have the staying power to outlive the normal 2-5 year span of a top model; but even these women have seen fewer runways each year. Today, a great model is a dime a dozen, but those great models are definately out there. The new millenium has seen a large assortment of models every year, but there will always be the favourites. Following in the foosteps of some greats like Natalia Vodianova, Jessica Stam, Daria Werbowy and Gemma Ward, this season is seeing some favourites pop up already. Here are the top 10 faces to watch on the upcoming runways.
Constance Jablonski – Born in France in 1990, Constance is signed to both Elite Model Management and the Marilyn Agency. She entered the French Elite Model Look contest in 2006, after which she quickly signed with Elite in Paris. Two years later she obtained a contract with the Marilyn Agency. Constance made her debut at the spring BCBG Max Azria show in New York, in September of 2008; she also walked for Diane Von Furstenberg, Donna Karan, Matthew Williamson, and Marchesa. She then went on to open and close the spring Blugirl by Blumarine show, and open for La Perla later that September. In October she walked her first Paris Fashion Week for Dries Van Noten, Lanvin, Louis Vuitton, Nina Ricci, and Vivienne Westwood. Later that month, Constance appeared in the Italian Marie Claire editorial, photographed by Max Cardelli. In November of that year, she landed her first cover on the Italian magazine Amica, and then appeared in a Numéro editorial, one of Italy’s biggest magazines, where she was photographed by Sofia Sanchez and Mauro Mongiello. Constance wrapped up a very successful first year by appearing in an Italian Vogue editorial, photographed by Steven Meisel. She began the new year with a bang, as she walked the runway for the Givenchy Spring Couture show in January of 2009. Shortly after, she becomes one of the faces of D&G, alongside Ariel Meredith and Imogen Morris Clarke, photographed by famed fashion photographer Mario Testin, then lands spring ad campaigns for Topshop and Donna Karan. This month saw her in editorials for W and Russian Vogue. You can expect to see her throughout fashion week in New York, and next month she will appear in an editorial for Teen Vogue.
Daniela de Jesus – Born in Mexico in 1986, Daniela is proof that not all models have to be super-skinny to find success; her curves and beautiful features had casting directors worried that she would be too sexy for this industry – which was a chance a certain photographer was willing to take. Bruce Weber is one of Daniela’s biggest supporters, and has shot an impressive 30-page editorial spread of Daniela in Italian Vogue. Daniela is known mainly for her curvy, womanly body and her gorgeous eyes. She began her career in 2007, gaining experience through catalogue work; later that year she officially signed contracts with Major Models in New York and Milan. She then scored her first editorial in Italian Vogue. In 2008 she appeared in the Italian Maxim – a magazine that is not very known for fashion models. Shortly after she was the focus of two major modeling websites, Models.com and TheImagist.com, and she landed an ad for Abercrombie & Fitch which was photographed by her friend Bruce Weber. She wrapped up the year walking the runways of Chado Ralph Rucci, Mara Hoffman, Marchesa, Vena Cava, and Verrier at New York Fashion Week. She began the new year by doing the pre-fall show for Giambattista Valli in Florence, and appearing in her infamous 30-page spread in Italian Vogue. She now lives in New York. It is with great hope that Daniela finds great success in her career, in order to help pave the way for a change on the runways around the world.
Eden Clark – Born in England in 1989, Eden Clark is a familiar face without a name. She was discovered a bit over a year ago at a music festival, and she signed with One Model Management. Eden is most known for her androgynous looks and full lips. She made her offical debut in 2007 as an exclusive, where she walked the spring Burberry show. A month later she was profiled on Hintmag.com as a rising star in the modeling scene. In February of 2008, Eden’s career began to blow up; she was first photographed by Steven Meisel for an editorial in Italian Vogue. She walked the Fall runways for Burberry, Prada and Marni shows, followed by the Miu Miu show as an exclusive. Later that year she becomes the new face of Kenzo, and replaces Iekeliene Stange as the face of Burberry Black Label. Fall 2008 saw Eden obtain her first opening on the runway in Paris for the spring Gaspard Yurkievich show. She was also photographed by Emma Summerton in November for the cover of British Vogue. Ending a great year in fashion, Eden leaves One Model Management in New York and signs instead with Supreme Management. Eden currently lives and works out of London, England.
Emma McLaren – Born in England in 1991, Emma McLaren is one of those models you can’t take your eyes off of – she’s odd looking in an alien kind of way, but she’s so delicate and doll-like at the same time (she is very much like Gemma Ward). She is most known for her high cheekbones and big, blue eyes. Emma began her to climb the modeling ladder in 2007 when she signed with Ford Models in Paris and the Why Not Agency in Milan. She made her professional debut in February of 2008, opening for the fall Ashley Isham and Allegra Hicks shows in London. Two months later, Emma appeared in a British Marie Claire editorial, photographed by Bruno Ripoche, which was followed by an editorial in Glamour magazine. It was during 2008 that she signed with DNA Model Management in New York and then signed a fragrance contract with Cacharel, ads photographed by Corinne Day. She was featured on the website Hintmag.com as a rising star. Fall of 2008 proved to be Emma’s busiest time. In September she appeared in another British Marie Claire editorial, photographed by Jonty Davies; she walked her first New York Fashion Week for top designers Donna Karan, Erin Fetherston, ThreeAsFour, Diane Von Furstenberg, Marc Jacobs, and Michael Kors and closed the spring Bottega Veneta show in Milan. She also walked for the Jil Sander, Christian Dior, Givenchy, and Lanvn shows. October saw Emma appear in a beauty editorial in British Glamour, while Models.com featured her as a top-ten newcomer and the Worcester News also pegged her as a rising star. Next she was featured on the cover of French L’Officiel, and was photographed by Inaki for the fall issue of French Revue de Modes. She started off the new year by doing yet another beauty editorial in British Glamour. Shortly after she became the sole face for Bottega Veneta, and landed an ad campaign for Moschino Cheap & Chic. Emma McLaren lives and works out of London, England.
Georgie Baddiel – Born in Burkinabe in 1988, Georgie has not had a huge success of modeling. Although she has walked some major runways and there has been talk of wanting to diversify the industry much more, she is yet to have her career take off. She began her career as Miss Africa 2005, and it wasn’t until two years later that she signed with her first agency, Storm in London. She made her modeling debut in September of 2007 at the spring Ben de Lisi, Duro Olowu, and Jasper Conran shows in London. Following in 2008, Georgie signed with her second agency, Muse Management in New York and immediately began working more. First, in January of 2008, she appeared in an editorial for the French magazine Biba, followed by walking the fall runways for the Diane von Furstenburg, Marc Jacobs, Issey Miyake, Louis Vuitton, and Chado Ralph Rucci shows in New York and Paris in February. The next month saw Georgie appear in an editorial for Essence magazine, and Models.com featured her on their website after booking the Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton shows. In April, the site did another story headlined “Gorgeous Georgie”. That same month she appeared in a Russian Vogue editorial, photographed by Mark Pillai. In May she appeared in an editorial in Interview magazine, which was photographed by Sebastien Kim. After a summer of no work Georgie appeared again in September, closing the spring 3.1 phillip lim and Halston shows in New York; she also walks the runways for Oscar de la Renta, Bottega Veneta, Chado Ralph Rucci, Dries van Noten, and Louis Vuitton. Although Georgie hasn’t worked since, she is expected to be on the runways of fashion week. It is with great hope that she finds her way back into the mainstream of modeling, in order to help continue the growing amount of ethnic models, that will help pave the way for a more diversified industry in the future.
Hyoni Kang – Born in Korea in 1987, Hyoni is one of the very few Asian models in the industry that has found large success. Her career began when she won the Ford Supermodel of the World contest on January 16, 2008 – immediately giving her a contract with Ford Models. The next day, Models.com featured a story on Hyoni which also talked about the lack of Asian models in the industry. She made her debut in February of 2008, opening the fall 3.1 phillip lim show in New York; she also walked the runways for Brian Reyes, Marc by Marc Jacobs, and Karen Walker. In April that year, she was featured on her first major cover, for Korean Vogue and modeled the cover alongside fellow Korean top model Hye Park. She resumed her career that summer, snagging an editorial all styled in Gucci in V magazine, along with an editorial in Teen Vogue, photogrpahed by Tom Allen. Two other big projects of 2008; Time magazine features Kang in their fall fashion issue as a rising star in modeling, and David Sims photographs her ads for Benetton. September of that year was Hyoni’s busiest time, beginning with her opening the spring Trovata show in New York and closing the spring Nanette Lepore show in New York, where she also walked for 3.1 phillip lim, DKNY, Halston, and Michael Kors. She later appeared in a Harper’s Bazaar editorial, photographed by Oliviero Toscaniand, then reappeared in Korean Vogue for an editorial with Chanel Iman, photographed by Hyea W. Kang. She began the New Year being photographed by Terry Richardson for Lacoste, alongside Alyona Osmanova and Tanya Dziahileva. She was last seen in an editorial for V magazine, which was photographed by Will Davidson. Hyoni now lives in New York, and she will be on the runways of New York Fashion Week.
Nimue Smit – Born in the Netherlands in 1992, Nimue is known for her large eyes and her lips. She began her modeling career when she became a top-ten finalist in the Elite Model Look contest in Amsterdam. Almost immediately she was signed with Code Management in Amsterdam, and in 2008 she signed another contract with Women Management in Milan. She made her debut in September 2008 at the spring Prada show in Milan, and also walked for Marni. The following month Nimue opened as an exclusive at the spring Miu Miu show in Paris. Models.com responded by naming her a top-ten newcomer. She got off to a great start in 2009, when she became one of the faces of Prada, alongside Katrin Thormann and Sigrid Agren which was photographed by Steven Meisel, and then landing an ad campaign for Topshop, photographed by Max Farago. In January, she appeared in an editorial for Italian Vogue, photographed again by Steven Meise. Her latest work included editorials for Dazed & Confused, British Vogue, and Numéro, all of them in February.
Rose Cordero – Born in the Dominican Republic in 1992, Rose is very knew to the modeling industry. She is most known for her hair, but her ethnicity is a strong asset as well. Her career began in 2008, when she walked the runways at the Dominican Fashion Week; she quickly signed with Wilhemina Models in New York, but left the agency after the new year to sign with Supreme Management, followed by Women Management in Milan. On January 15, 2009 COACD.com featured Cordero on their website as a newcomer, along with TheImagist.com who featured Cordero as a rising star – and they were right. Although she has not done any high fashion work around the world yet, she is expected at New York Fashion Week and has already been pegged a favourite by many in the fashion industry.
Stephanie Carta – Born in Australia in 1987, Stephanie has won the hearts of the fashion industry for her well known pout. While attending high school in Brisbane, Australia, she was discovered by a stylist in 2005, when she moved to Sydney and signed with Chic Management. She began to model locally in Australia, and was interviewed by Fashion TV during the Australian Fashion Week. In 2007, Stephanie signed with Next Management in Paris and moved there when she was chosen to work with Nicholas Ghesquiere for five months, modeling for the Balenciaga look book. In 2008 she left Next and signed with Elite Model Management. Her first appearance was in January of 2008, when she walked the pre-fall Balenciaga show in New York. The following month she appeared on the fall runways for the Antonio Berardi, Balenciaga, Costume National, and Kenzo shows in Paris. She didn’t work again until that July when she closed for the resort show of Balenciaga in New York. She was also featured in Australian Vogue as a rising star alongside other Aussie models Alice Burdeu and Skye Stracke. The fall began with Stephanie closing the spring Bruno Pieters show in Paris; she also walked for Jil Sander, Dries van Noten, Balenciaga and Givenchy. On October 3 of 2008, Models.com features Carta as a top-ten newcomer. She started the new year off walking the Givenchy spring couture show in Paris. Her next job will be her appearances on the Fashion Week runways from this month.
Ymre Stiekema – Born in the Netherlands in 1992, Ymre is most known for her blue eyes, full lips and the mole above them. Her career began when she finished runner-up in the 2007 EML World Model Finals; she quickly signed with Elite Paris, followed in 2008 by One Model Management in New York. Ymre made her debut in June 2008, when she opened at the spring Roberto Cavalli and Neil Barrett menswear shows in Milan. Her success was sealed when she became the new face of Prada Linea Rossa, and was photographed by Steven Meisel. On August 26, 2008 TheImagist.com featured Stiekema’s Prada campaign and on Prada’s future direction. She became one of the most talked about models of the season when she opened the spring Prada show in Milan. Two months later, Ymre appeared in an editorial for Italian Vogue, again being photographed by Steven Meise. Her new year began by renewing her contract with Prada, closing for the spring Valentino couture show in Paris, and walking the runway for the Christian Dior couture show. You can expect to see this blonde beauty on all the major runways for years to come. You can just tell.