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Natalia Vodianova

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Natalia Vodianova
Наталья Водянова
Vodianova in 2019
Natalia Mikhailovna Vodianova

(1982-02-28) 28 February 1982 (age 42)
Gorky, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Other namesSupernova
  • Model
  • philanthropist
  • entrepreneur
Years active2000–present
  • (m. 2001; div. 2011)
  • (m. 2020)
Modelling information
Height1.77 m (5 ft 9+12 in)[1][2]
Hair colourBlonde[1][2]
Eye colourBlue

Natalia Mikhailovna Vodianova (Russian: Наталья Михайловна Водянова, lit.'nɐˈtalʲjə mʲɪˈxajləvnə vədʲɪˈnovə';[a] born 28 February 1982), nicknamed Supernova,[4] is a Russian model and United Nations Goodwill Ambassador. Vodianova has appeared on the cover of international Vogue 86 times, which makes her one of the models with the most Vogue covers appearances.[5]

In 2012, she came in third on Forbes top-earning models list, estimated to have earned $8.6 million in one year.[6] Vodianova was ranked in 2015 by models.com as one of the New Supers in the fashion industry.[7]

In 2010, Vodianova was awarded Inspiration of the Year by Harper's Bazaar. In 2014, Glamour recognized her as Woman of the Year and awarded her its The Voice for Children award.[8]

Vodianova is a mother of 5, and also a member of the Special Olympics International Board of Directors. In 2021, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) appointed her as a Goodwill Ambassador for the sexual and reproductive health agency.[9][10]

Early life[edit]

Vodianova was born in Gorky, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union (now Nizhny Novgorod, Russia). She grew up in a district of the city (Avtozavod, GAZ car factory) with her mother, Larisa, and two younger half-sisters, Oksana and Kristina Kusakina. Oksana has autism. Vodianova has another younger half-sister, Jennifer "Jenna" Burns (born Maria Mashinka in 1999), who was placed for adoption as a baby and raised in North Carolina, United States.[11] One of Vodianova's grandmothers is Mordovian (Erzya).[12] Vodianova was raised in a poor neighbourhood and has stated that she was often bullied for being too skinny and badly dressed.[13]

At the age of 11 Vodianova started helping her mother by selling fruit on the street.[14] Vodianova's mother's experience with abusive boyfriends caused Vodianova to move out at the age of 15.[14]

Vodianova revealed that she found her sister Jenna Burns, who had been given up for adoption, through a DNA test.[15]



At the age of 16, Vodianova enrolled in a modeling school.[16][17] A few months later she attended a casting held by an international scout and was accepted to a modeling agency. By the age of 17, she had moved to Paris, and signed with Viva Models.[16] Vodianova has achieved success as a runway, editorial, and advertising campaign model. She has appeared in more than 200 runway shows for American and European-based designers' ready-to-wear and haute couture collections, and has been featured in advertising campaigns for various fashion houses.[18]

She has worked with top fashion photographers such as Mario Testino, Annie Leibovitz.,[19] and also appeared on the covers of major international magazines including Vanity Fair; Vogue, and Interview.

Photographed by Steven Meisel, Vodianova made her first appearance on the cover of American Vogue in the September 2004 edition alongside Gisele Bündchen and Daria Werbowy as one of the "Models of the Moment". She then appeared as the solo cover subject of the July 2007 edition of the magazine.[20] During this time period, other covers of American Vogue all featured non-model celebrities with only three other exceptions—Linda Evangelista, Liya Kebede, and Bündchen.[21] In May 2009, Vodianova was again featured on the cover of American Vogue as one of the "Model Faces of the Moment". By 2014, Vodianova had appeared on the cover of British Vogue ten times; the first being the September 2003 issue.[22]

Vodianova in her Etam collection launch in 2009

In Spring 2009, Vodianova entered a three-year agreement to be a brand ambassador for the French lingerie company Etam and designed a lingerie collection each season during the term of the agreement. The collections were marketed under the brand Natalia pour Etam.[23] Vodianova has a contract with Guerlain, a French perfume house and cosmetics line, which was acquired in 1994 by the LVMH group, a multinational investment corporation specializing in luxury brands. She is also a regular campaign and poster model for Stella McCartney. In addition, she has been featured as a 'Face of the Moment' in May 2009's US Vogue.[24]

Vodianova's premiere collection in 2009

In 2014, Vodianova appeared on the cover of the September issue of Vanity Fair, shot by photographer Mario Testino. She was one of 50 models on the September 2014 cover of Italian Vogue, the magazine's fiftieth-anniversary issue. She also appeared on a solo cover for French Vogue in the September issue, her sixth cover for the magazine. In the November issue, Vodianova graced the cover of American Vogue shot by Annie Leibovitz; this was her fourth American Vogue cover and second solo American Vogue cover since her appearance in July 2007.

In 2015, Vodianova was photographed by Steven Meisel for the 2015 Pirelli Calendar; this was her fourth appearance in Pirelli since 2003. She returned as the face of Calvin Klein's Euphoria fragrance shot by Inez and Vinoodh, ten years since her first exclusive contract with Calvin Klein.[25] Vice President of Calvin Klein Fragrances, Coty, Friedemann Schmid, commenting on her return to the brand, said "Natalia Vodianova truly embodies the sensual glamour and sophistication of the Euphoria woman".[26] Vodianova returned for the Stella McCartney campaign for the spring/summer 2015 and fall/winter 2015 collections. She ranked No. 5 on the 2015 Forbes list of highest earning models, earning an estimated $7 million.[27]

In 2016, Vodianova was selected and photographed by Annie Leibovitz as part of the 43rd Pirelli Calendar, which celebrated some of the world's most inspiring women, such as Tavi Gevinson, Serena Williams, Amy Schumer, Yoko Ono, Fran Lebowitz, Patti Smith, Kathleen Kennedy, Yao Chen, Mellody Hobson, Ava DuVernay, Agnes Gund, and Shirin Neshat.[28] This was her fifth appearance in Pirelli. She also fronted Riccardo Tisci's Givenchy 2016 Spring/Summer campaign along with Tisci's longtime muse Mariacarla Boscono. Other veteran models in the campaign included Lara Stone, Joan Smalls, Miranda Kerr, Gemma Ward, Iselin Steiro, Candice Swanepoel.[29] This was Vodianova's fourth appearance in Tisci's Givenchy campaigns. Shot by Steven Meisel, she became the campaign model for Prada's spring/summer 2016 collection along with their comeback muse Sasha Pivovarova and Dutch newcomer Yasmin Wijnaldum.[30] Vodianova appeared in her ninth ad campaign for Stella McCartney in their spring/summer 2016 collection together with Boscono.[31] She also returned as the campaign model for Italian denim wear brand Miss Sixty. In October 2016, she appeared in her second campaign ad for David Yurman, which was shot by Bruce Weber for the fall/winter 2016 campaign.[32]

In 2017, Vodianova was again in the Campaign Ad for David Yurman along with model Taylor Marie Hill for the spring/summer collection. Vodianova was also hired by H&M for their Conscious Exclusive collection, a sustainable line using recycled and organic materials.[33][34] Vodianova appeared in her 5th cover for W magazine in their June/July 2017 edition, which was dedicated to Vodianova and photographed by Steven Meisel.[35]

Vodianova was ranked 14th in British television channel Five's 2005 television programme World's Greatest Supermodel.[citation needed] Forbes magazine estimates she earned US$4.5 million between August 2006 and July 2007, US$4.8 million between May 2007 and April 2008 and US$5.5 million between June 2008 and June 2009, making her the seventh highest earning model worldwide during all three time periods.[36][37][38]


Vodianova was cast as Medusa in the 2010 film Clash of the Titans. In addition, she appeared in major roles in the films CQ (2001), Probka (2009), and a 2012 film adaptation of Belle du Seigneur. She also served as the narrator in a major broadcast of Swan Lake from the Mariinsky Theatre (2013).[39]

Other work[edit]

In May 2009, Vodianova co-hosted the semi-finals of the Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow.[40] On 12 December 2009, she was designated an ambassador of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.[41] In 2010, she appeared at the 2010 Winter Olympics closing ceremony in Vancouver.


Vodianova (right) at LeWeb conference in 2012

Vodianova is a founder of the Naked Heart Foundation, a philanthropic organisation that strives to provide a safe and inspiring environment in which to play for every child living in urban Russia and to help support families raising children with disabilities.[42][43][44] Natalia's sister Oksana lives with autism. Vodianova drew attention to the problem of the rights of disabled people in Russia when her sister was asked to leave a cafe in Nizhny Novgorod because "she scares customers".[45]

She was inspired to found the charity by the Beslan tragedy. Vodianova's idea was to support children who survived the event by enjoying playing as a distraction from their psychological trauma. The organisation built its first playground park in 2006 in Nizhny Novgorod. Several more have since been set up by the charity, including one in Beslan itself.[46]

Vodianova also lends her support to a number of other philanthropic causes, such as the (Bugaboo)RED campaign, an initiative to help eliminate AIDS in Africa.[47] That same year, Vodianova became an ambassador for Hear the World, a global campaign that seeks to raise awareness of the topic of hearing and hearing loss and to promote the issue of good hearing all over the world.[48]

She is a spokesperson for the Tiger Trade Campaign, an alliance of 38 organisations "to bring back wild tigers by stopping trade in tiger parts and products from all sources." In an interview supporting the campaign, Vodianova said: "I'm proud that Russia, my country, is home to the most magnificent of animals, the wild Siberian tiger. Today, it is up to us to protect the tiger and its home. Fewer than 350 Siberian tigers remain in the wild, and no more than 3,400 tigers survive anywhere in the world. Unless we act now, we will see the extinction of the wild tiger within our lifetime."[49][50]

In 2015, together with Timon Afinsky, Vodianova co-founded the digital app Elbi, which allows people to donate money with a "Love Button", create content, send messages, and vote for charitable purposes.[51] The app was promoted by the Clinton Global Initiative Commitment in 2016 and supported by Joanna Shields, Bebo co-founder Michael Birch, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington, Mind Candy founder Acton Smith, designer Diane von Furstenberg, co-founder of Lastminute.com and Made.com Brent Hoberman, as well as the founder and CEO of Illumination Entertainment, Chris Meledandri.[52][53]

Other projects[edit]

Special Olympics[edit]

Vodianova is a member of the international board of directors for the Special Olympics and supported the 2014 European Games and the 2015 World Games.[54]

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Goodwill Ambassador[edit]

In February 2021, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) appointed Vodianova as a goodwill ambassador. Referencing her prior work with UNFPA's "Let's Talk" series, fighting shame, exclusion and discrimination, faced routinely by millions of women and girls, the agency said it hoped their partnerships would bridge the divide between the fashion and technology industries.[9]

Vodianova at Web Summit 2015


In November 2010, Harper's Bazaar awarded Vodianova with the Inspiration of the Year Award, given in recognition of her philanthropic efforts.[55]

In April 2013, she was honoured with the Inspiration Award at the fourth annual DVF Awards. The award is given to women "who have demonstrated leadership, strength and courage in the face of adversity, and who use their influence to effect positive change."[56] The same year, she was also the recipient of Harper's Bazaar's Philanthropist of the Year Award.[57]

On 10 November 2014, Vodianova was one of the honored 2014 Glamour Woman of the Year' for her contribution and philanthropy as The Voice for Children.[8] The ceremony was held at Carnegie Hall, with Arianna Huffington presenting the award to Vodianova.

Personal life[edit]

Vodianova met Justin Portman (b. 1969), half-brother of the 10th Viscount Portman and son of Edward Portman, 9th Viscount Portman, a British property heir, at a Paris dinner in 2001. They married in November 2001 when she was 8 months pregnant. In September 2002, over nine months after registering the marriage in the UK, they had a wedding ceremony in St. Petersburg, where Vodianova wore a dress designed by Tom Ford.[58][59] They have three children: two sons born in 2001 and 2007, and a daughter born in 2006.[60] Vodianova and Portman announced their separation in June 2011[61] and they divorced that year.[11]

Following her separation from Portman, Vodianova began a relationship with Antoine Arnault, son of LVMH founder Bernard Arnault and the CEO of luxury brand Berluti.[62] The couple have two sons, born in 2014 and 2016.[63][64] Vodianova announced their engagement on 31 December 2019.[65] The COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of their 27 June 2020 wedding at Saint-Pierre d'Hautvillers Abbey, and the couple officially married on 21 June 2020 at a Paris city council.[66] The couple have an apartment in Paris.[67]


  1. ^ Pronounced by her Водя́нова, IPA: [vɐˈdʲanəvə].


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External links[edit]

Preceded by Eurovision Song Contest presenter
With: Andrey Malakhov (Semi-finals)
Succeeded by