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Natalia Vodianova fought poverty, and she’s doing it again

New Delhi, Sep 22 (IANSlife) Natalia Vodianova, a trailblazing supermodel and a 71-time Vogue cover girl, has been one of the most successful fashion figures of all times. With a striking eight-season, seven-figure contract with Calvin Klein, she has been the face of campaigns for Louis Vuitton and L’Oreal.

The role model, however, has more than fashion to her. Coming from very humble beginnings in a poor Russian suburb, with a half-sister with special needs, Vodianova realizes the power of kindness.

She is a leading philanthropist and impact investor, and runs Naked Heart Foundation (for children with special needs) and Elbi, a charity platform active globally and in India as well.

Vodianova has three children with former husband Justin Portman, and two with her current partner and French businessman Antoine Arnault.

Looks like she has a lot on her plate! IANSlife caught up with her to find out how she does it all.

Everyone deserves love are your words. What propels you towards this philosophy?

NV: I think my personal experiences propel me towards this idea. My half-sister Oksana has cerebral palsy due to which our family used to receive awful verbal and physical abuse from people where we lived. I remember asking myself, why can’t people just be accepting?

Oksana is such a wonderful person and has so much love to give. This has always driven me to advocate so hard for those less fortunate than me because we all deserve love and we all deserve to be accepted. The world will become a better place if we adopt this philosophy and perhaps spread a little love!

You have turned baggage from your early teenage years into a toolbox to help others. What were those days like?

NV: I feel that the early days of my life really laid the foundations for who I have become. It was very tough for me growing up, but it has made me so much stronger. Whenever it gets difficult, I remind myself of how far I have come. My roots motivate me to work so hard.

Your children have a very different childhood than what you had. Do you try to make them more aware and accepting of individual differences?

NV: Absolutely, I feel that teaching your children to understand and appreciate each person’s individual differences is one of the greatest gifts you can give. I have always made sure that they are aware of the world I came from, as well as what it took to get to where I am now.

On a different note, do you follow Indian fashion?

NV: I love Indian fashion. There is so much passion and care that goes into the process. From the initial designs all the way down to the craftmanship — you don’t get that everywhere. Fashion should represent the culture, hard work and emotion behind it. That is what makes Indian designs so breathtakingly unique. You see vibrant colours and elegance of each piece and can’t help but smile. To me, Indian fashion represents joy.

(Siddhi Jain can be contacted at




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