Natalia Vodianova is a Russian-born supermodel and her nickname is “Supernova”. Her angelic face, dreamy blue eyes and her lithe build catapulted her to international stardom. For years now, Natalia has used her fame and fortune to help Russian children. Her charity, The Naked Heart Foundation, builds playgrounds and advocates for children who have special needs. Natalia’s little sister, Oksana, is autistic and uses services like kry.care. The stigma towards her sister drove Natalia to spread awareness about those with special needs and drove her to set up the foundation.
Natalia Grew Up in Poverty
At age 36, Natalia is so grateful for what she has now and her commitment to giving back is always there, because she did not have it easy when she was a young girl. This Vogue cover model was born in Gorky on the 28th of February 1982. Her mother chose to keep her autistic little sister at home, rather than institutionalizing her, and the family had trouble making ends meet because of this. Children with autism need a lot of care and this makes it harder for their mothers or other caregivers to work regular jobs.
Natalia remembers as a child eating out in the dirt, along with the geese, at the run-down family home. In those days, people with special needs, like her sister, Oksana, were not treated well by society. Natalia has said that Oksana and her family were looked down upon. As a teen, Natalia sold vegetables at a market to help the family. In time, her beauty was something that everyone noticed. It gave her the means to escape to a better life.
Natalia Took the Fashion World by Storm
When Natalia was just fifteen years of age, she entered a modelling competition, but did not win. Nonetheless, she was noticed, and she began to model in Paris when she was 17. Natalia vividly remembers her flight to Paris, as she had never experienced that type of luxury. She told a Vogue reporter that she was dazzled by the fine food served on the plane. After landing in Paris, she took the fashion world by storm and modelled for elite fashion houses, including Prada and Calvin Klein.
Vodianova Lives in Paris
Natalia is now a resident of Paris, but visits Russia regularly to see family and do charitable activities. She lives with Antoine Arnault, who is the son of a billionaire, and she has five children. Despite a very busy and glamorous lifestyle, Natalia always seems to find time to help others and remains grounded. She is a wonderful role model for Russian youth. Therefore, the very first “Russian Barbie” doll prototype was crafted in her image.