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.
- Natalia is 5’9 with dark blonde hair and blue eyes. She is a size 4 and is most known for her full lips and big doll-eyes.
- She has appeared in ad campigns for Anna Molinari, Calvin Klein, Chanel, Diane von Furstenberg, Gucci, L’Oreal, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Moschino, Versace and many more labels.
- In 2001 she appeared on the cover of the fall issue of Teen Vogue, the same year she gave birth to her first son Lucas.
- 2002 proved to be a busy year for Natalia; she signed a fragrance contract with Gucci, opened the fall Yves Saint Laurent show in Paris, appeared on the May cover of i-D, became the new face of Louis Vuitton’s spring campaign, appeared on two seperate covers of W magazine, and was photographed by Steven Meisel for the December cover of Italian Vogue.
- In 2003 she scored a spot in the Pirelli calendar and signed her contract with L’Oreal. She appeared in a feature with her husband for the February edition of Vogue, photographed by Steven Klein. She appeared on the cover of September’s British Vogue. She ended the year by appearing in the December issue of Vogue in a spread shot by Annie Leibovitz, reenacting Alice in Wonderland.
- She began the new year by opening the fall Calvin Klein show in New York, and appearing on the March cover of British Vogue. September of this year had Natalia landing one of the nine spots on the infamous cover of Vogue, and opening for Calvin Klein’s spring show.
- In 2005 she was named Woman Of The Year by Glamour Russia, and officially became the new face of Calvin Klein, opening again for Calvin Kelin’s Fall show. She was featured in Vanity Fair with her husband and son, photographed by Patrick Demarchelier in January, and then landed the cover alongside Carmen Kass and Karolina Kurkova only two months later. The next month she was featured on the cover of Italian Vogue, photographed by Steven Meisel. She again opened the Calvin Klein spring show later that September.
- In 2006, Natalia renewed her contract with Calvin Klein and signed a frangrance contract for their Euphoria scent. In March she gave birth to her second child, daughter Neva. Only two months later she appeared on the cover of British Vogue. She opened the spring show for Calvin Klein, then landed another cover on W magazine, as well as French Vogue with the cover shot including her newborn daughter.
- In 2007, she again renewed her contract with Calvin Klein, opened the Fall show and appears in the label’s commercial. It was this same year that Natalia became a spokesperson alongside Kate Moss for David Yurman. Spring saw her on the cover of British Vogue, pregnant with her third child alongside Razorlight’s Johnny Borrell, which was photographed by Mario Testino. She also landed the cover of Vogue two months later, being the first model that year to appear on their cover alone. She wrapped up a very successful year by appearing alongside Kate Moss and Daria Werbowy in a David Yurman commercial, opening the spring Valentino show and closing the Chanel, YSL and Givenchy shows in Paris.
- She began another big year in modeling by renewing her contract with David Yurman, becoming the new face of Diane von Furstenberg and landing a spring ad campiagn for Louis Vuitton, alongside many other top models including Angela Lindvall and Stephanie Seymour. She then obtained a highly coveted job, by opening and closing for Garavani Valentino’s last couture show in Paris. In February she appeared in a Vogue editorial shot by Craig McDean, followed by another editorial in the Macrh issue, this time shot by Steven Meisel. She did back-to-back covers again in March and April, this time gracing the cover of Italian Vogue twice, followed by a cover on the Japenese Numéro magazine. On April 8, 2008 Models.com did a feature on Natalia and her plethora of cover shots. She graces yet another Vogue cover, this time Britian’s May issue, shot by Mario Testino and lands the cover of POP magazine shortly after. She completes two more editorials for Vogue; styled in couture and shot by Patrick Demarchelier for their October issue, and then the following issue with her daughter Neva, photographed by Mario Testino. She wrapped up a great year with both editorials, along with signing a fragrance contract for Guerlain’s Shalimar scent and opening the spring show for Balenciaga in Paris.
- Though Natalia has been modeling for what is considered a “long time” in the industry, she is still going strong. She began this year by becoming the new face of Nina Ricci. With a campiagn such as that, it’s very likely that this Russian beauty is here to stay. Aren’t we so lucky?
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):