Birthplace: Gorky, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Natalia Mikhailovna Vodianova (Russian: Ната́лья Миха́йловна Водяно́ва (for work accented as Водя́нова); ; born 28 February 1982), nicknamed Supernova, is a Russian supermodel, philanthropist, entrepreneur and public speaker.
She is well known for her rags to riches life story and for her eight-season, seven-figure contract with Calvin Klein. In 2012, she came in third on the Forbes top-earning models list, estimated to have earned $8.6 million in one year. Vodianova is currently ranked by models.com as one of the New Supers in the fashion industry.
Vodianova is founder of the Naked Heart Foundation, a philanthropic organisation committed to helping children with special needs and their families. In 2015, Vodianova launched "Elbi": a disruptive digital platform that aims to bring philanthropy in the daily life of people through micro-donations.
In 2010, Natalia was awarded by Harper’s Bazaar as Inspiration of the Year, in 2014 Glamour recognised her as Woman of the Year and The Voice for Children award. In 2016 Mattel created the first Russian Barbie under her name. She received Vogue India's Women of The Year awards 2017.
Besides supermodel, philanthropist, entrepreneuse, and mother of 5, she is also a member of the Special Olympics International Board of Directors, the world's largest sports organisation for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, providing year-round training and competitions to 5.7 million athletes and Unified Sports partners in 172 countries.Born in Gorky, Soviet Union (now Nizhny Novgorod, Russia), Vodianova grew up in a poor district of the city (Avtozavod) with her mother Larisa, and two half-sisters Kristina and Oksana, who has autism and cerebral palsy. As a teenager, Vodianova helped her mother sell fruit on the street and later set up her own fruit stand with a friend to help her family out of poverty. Vodianova's father walked out on the family when she was a toddler, and she did not have any further contact with him until after she had become famous.
At the age of 15, Vodianova enrolled in a modelling agency. By the age of 17, she had moved to Paris, and signed with Viva Models. Vodianova has achieved success as a runway, editorial, and advertising campaign model. She has walked in more than 200 runway shows for American and European based designers' ready-to-wear and haute couture collections, and has completed advertising campaigns for Guerlain, Givenchy, Prada, Calvin Klein, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci, Nina Ricci, Versace, Yves Saint Laurent, L'Oréal, H&M, David Yurman, Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney, Diane von Fürstenberg, Hugo Boss, Miss Sixty, Stuart Weitzman, Etam and others.
She has worked with all the prolific fashion photographers such as Mario Testino, Annie Leibovitz, Steven Meisel, Patrick Demarchelier, Paolo Roversi, Bruce Weber, Peter Lindbergh, Craig McDean, Inez and Vinoodh, Mario Sorrenti, Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, Alasdair McLellan, David Sims, Juergen Teller, Helmut Newton, Bruno Aveillan, Hedi Slimane, Ellen von Unwerth, Terry Richardson, Mariano Vivanco, Sølve Sundsbø, Steven Klein and Karl Lagerfeld.
Vodianova has also appeared on the covers of major international magazines including Vanity Fair; American, British, French, Italian, Chinese, Russian, Australian, Spanish, German, Indian, Turkish, Japanese, Greek, Polish, South Korean and Portuguese Vogue; W; Numéro; i-D; Marie Claire; GQ; Elle; Allure; Glamour; Pop; Love; Cosmopolitan; Harper's Bazaar; L'Officiel; Grazia; Esquire; Tatler; Hello!, Porter 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. During this time period, other covers of American Vogue have all featured non-model celebrities with only three other exceptions—Linda Evangelista, Liya Kebede and Bündchen. In May 2009, Vodianova was again featured on the cover of American Vogue as one of the "Model Faces of the Moment". As of 2014, Vodianova has appeared on the cover of British Vogue ten times; the first was the September 2003 issue. As of December 2015, she has appeared on a total of 70 international Vogue covers.Vodianova in her Etam collection launch
In Spring 2009, Vodianova entered a three-year agreement to be a brand ambassador for the French lingerie company Etam and will design a lingerie collection each season during the term of the agreement. The collections will be marketed under the brand Natalia pour Etam. 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.Vodianova's premiere collection
In 2014, Vodianova appeared on the cover of the September issue of Vanity Fair shot by photographer Mario Testino. She was one of fifty models on the September 2014 cover of Italian Vogue, the magazine's fiftieth anniversary issue. She has 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 of 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. Vice President of Calvin Klein Fragrances, Coty Inc, Friedemann Schmid, commenting on her return to the brand, said "Natalia Vodianova truly embodies the sensual glamour and sophistication of the Euphoria woman". 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.
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. 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. 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. Vodianova appeared in her ninth ad campaign for Stella McCartney in their spring/summer 2016 collection together with Boscono. 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.
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 tapped by H&M for their Conscious Exclusive collection, their conscious line uses recycled and organic materials to create more sustainable fashion looks and synthetics. Vodianova appeared in her 5th cover for W Magazine in their June/July 2017 Cover, the Issue and articles were dedicated to Vodianova lensed by photographer Steven Meisel.
Vodianova was ranked 14th in British television channel Five's 2005 television programme World's Greatest Supermodel. 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. In 2010, she was named in Tatler's top 10 best-dressed list.
She was cast as Medusa in the 2010 film Clash of the Titans. In addition, she played 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).
In May 2009, Vodianova co-hosted the semi-finals of the Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow. On 12 December 2009, she was designated an ambassador of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. In 2010, she appeared at the 2010 Winter Olympics closing ceremony in Vancouver.
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Vodianova has completely put her fame, fortune and social network to task for the sake of social good. In 2004 she founded the Naked Heart Foundation, whose mission is to help build a society open to people with disabilities and special needs, encouraging play and creating free support services for disadvantaged families. Through its humanitarian work and Every Child Deserves a Family program, the charity provides support to families raising children with special needs. Through the Play with Purpose programme, Naked Heart Foundation creates safe, inspiring and inclusive children’s play parks.
The Naked Heart Foundation vision is that following your heart is the most natural thing you can do. Or to say it with Steve Jobs words: “You are already naked, there is no reason not to follow your heart.” From this quote, that reminds us we have nothing to lose in our life, Vodianova took inspiration for the name of the charity when deeply touched by the Beslan tragedy she decided to found it. Her idea was to foster playing towards the children who survived to distract twith hem from their psychological trauma. The organisation built its first play park in 2006 in Nizhny Novgorod. To date, over 175 accessible play facilities have been built in 130 towns across Russia and internationally thanks to Natalia and her team’s work, including one in Beslan.
The main fundraising event of the Naked Heart Foundation is the Love Ball, a glamorous Gala that every two years gathers the biggest celebrities of the moment in a different, astonishing location. During the event, the guests are entertained by music and art performances as well as charity auctions. The first Love Ball was organized by Vodianova in Moscow in 2008, and the next two took place in London (2010) and in Paris (2011). In 2013, the Love Ball was held in Monte-Carlo under the high patronage of Albert II, Prince of Monaco, and Charlene, Princess of Monaco. The 2016 Love Ball, that also celebrated 10 years of Naked Hearth Foundation, welcomed its hosts at the Fondation Louis Vuitton under the patronage and in the presence of Mr Bernard Arnault and raised € 3,886,000 to fund the organisation’s programmes.
Convinced that charity dinners are boring, Natalia Vodianova created the most spectacular and engaging fundraising event ever seen, Fabulous Fund Fair, co-hosted by her model friend Karlie Kloss. Every year since 2015, a big, shiny fair gathers the most fabulous individuals from the worlds of fashion, film, art and music. Many luxury brands run their own fun fair stalls, each of them headed by a celebrity, to raise money for Naked Heart Foundation’s work with special needs children.
“The more fun our guests have, the more fun we can bring to the lives of the children we are helping.” —Natalia Vodianova
In 2015, together with Timon Afinsky, Vodianova co-founded Elbi with the goal of making philanthropy a daily habit for people.
Elbi is an innovative platform that revolutionises charitable giving by bringing together people, brands and charities to make philanthropy easy and rewarding.
Elbi makes doing good fun, light and engaging, empowering others to fundraise for charitable purposes efficiently. Every day, the Elbi app activates users through compelling video storytelling connecting causes to people at an emotional level, in a straightforward way. More than 50 charities, from 80 different countries of the world, including have the chance to introduce themselves, their mission and their campaigns to its users around their goals. Users can take part in the cause by expressing their involvement though video reactions or by donating seamlessly and safely via integrated Apple Pay, safe in the knowledge that 100% of their donations goes directly to the charity without Elbi taking a cut.
Elbi also wants to make giving both fun and rewarding. The reward comes through its LoveShop. Launched in 2017, the LoveShop became the only place in the world where givers can shop with love - the shop has the most desired products from the likes of Louis Vuitton, Supreme, Christian Louboutin, David Yurman, H&M, Berluti, Fendi, Stella McCartney allowing users to spend their LoveCoins earned on Elbi for doing good. LoveShop products are curated by Jenke Ahmed Tailly, one of the world’s most influential stylists, styling the likes of Beyoncé and Kim Kardashian.
To make philanthropy even more engaging, Natalia decided to add gamification to the Elbi experience. So, in 2018, she introduced ElbiDrop. ElbiDrop is an in app competition that encourages donations via exclusive items one-of-a-kind products from the worlds most iconic brands. ElbiDrop item are only available in the app for 24 hours and they are used to reward the highest donating user on Elbi during this period.
Since its launch in January 2018 Apple has featured Elbi in 80 different countries including as The App of the Day in USA, Canada, India, France, Spain, Russia, Italy and most of Middle East and South Africa countries.
On top of physical prizes, users also get emotional rewarded following their actions via feedback from the charities they’ve helped. Elbi calls this, their "Feedback Loop". This gives sense and purpose to the Elbi user's contributions and proves the promise of Elbi’s claim: ’Love unlocks change’.
It is Vodianova's belief that technology offers a continuous opportunity for people to become socially useful and active. For example, by introducing the LoveButton into the Elbi app, Natalia saw the huge potential to evolve the like functionality of many other social network sites into a meaningful ‘action’ tool, able to raise money for relevant causes and gave us the Elbi LoveButton.
The app has been endorsed by President Clinton at Clinton Global Initiative Commitment 2016 and supported by notable leaders in technology and philanthropy including internet safety and security minister 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.
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She tirelessly supports inclusivity through her work with Special Olympics. She has been a consistent supporter of the world’s largest sports organization for people with intellectual disabilities, sitting among the members of the international board of directors and lending her support to numerous fund-raising events as well as the 2014 European Games and the 2015 World Games.
Every year Natalia Vodianova organizes a charity the ‘Running Hearts’ charity race in Russia, together with Polina Kitsenko. The event is promoted by the Naked Heart Foundation and Podium Market. In 2016 the marathon raised RUB 37 million - a record amount for a charity race in Russia. All the funds raised went towards the Naked Heart Foundation’s project to develop early intervention services - a network of free support services for families raising children under 6 with conditions such as autism, Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy and learning disabilities. The support services, which are based on up-to-date, proven psychological, pedagogical and medical approaches, will be permanently available to more than 300 families and will help children with disabilities integrate in society and enjoy a fulfilling life. The project will also involve 100 child development specialists, who will gain up-to-date knowledge about internationally accepted practices for supporting people with disabilities.
The Mattel company, which manufactures the legendary doll, chose Natalia Vodianova as the most inspiring icon of goodness for a first Russian Barbie doll. Natalia agreed to the project stressing the “importance of play for the balanced development of any child" and added that with the new doll the foundation’s program Play with Purpose would definitely “acquire a new meaning.” Barbie Natalia has been created to inspire philanthropy towards a very young audience. Of all the symbols and benchmarks that parents can provide to their children, this doll wants to represent an icon of goodness. According to its philanthropic nature, part of the profit on sales would go to the Naked Heart Foundation to create a system of free services for families raising children with special needs and building inclusive play parks for children of all ages and abilities. Barbie Natalia is scheduled to hit the market in 2017 in a limited edition series.
Natalia has been appointed the ambassador of her native city, Nizhny Novgorod, for the World Football Championship in Russia in 2018.
Fashion 4 Development’s Annual First Ladies Luncheon is held during the United Nations General Assembly week in New York to celebrate the unprecedented cooperation between diplomacy and fashion for the greater good of women and children worldwide. First Ladies, UN Ambassadors and celebrities from around the world gather to honour award recipients for their humanitarian work. In 2016 Natalia Vodianova was selected as one of the “Agents of Change” and received the Fashion 4 Development Award. As an ‘Agents of Change’, Natalia has been recognized as a global influencers who work in partnership with Fashion4Development on initiatives that empower and advance world culture - from education to training, sustainability and micro-finance models, these luminaries from varying industries are committed to engaging in solutions for positive social change and a new way forward.
In May 2009, Vodianova co-hosted the semi-finals of the Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow. On 12 December 2009, she was designated an ambassador of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. In 2010, she appeared at the 2010 Winter Olympics closing ceremony in Vancouver.
She’s brought her philanthropic vision at many prestigious events, including the Clinton Global Initiative, Global Citizen, First Ladies’ Luncheon, Web Summit, Founders Forum, Millennial Summit, One Young World, Tech Crunch, Founders Forum, LeWeb. Having a strong knowledge of the power of notoriety, she strives to bring it to the causes that need the most attention.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.
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." The same year, she was also the recipient of Harper's Bazaar's Philanthropist of the Year Award.
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. The ceremony was held at Carnegie Hall, with Arianna Huffington presenting the award to Vodianova.
In July 2016, during her annual Love Ball, Vodianova was tapped by Mattel as their prototype for the launching of the first Russian Barbie.
She received Vogue India's Women of The Year awards 2017.
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, former artist and chess organizer 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. They have three children: son Lucas Alexander (born 22 December 2001), daughter Neva (born 24 March 2006), and son Viktor (born 13 September 2007). Neva is named after the Russian river of the same name, and Viktor is named after Vodianova's late grandfather, who had helped raise her after her father's departure. Vodianova and Portman announced their separation in June 2011.
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. The couple has two sons: Maxim (born 2 May 2014) and Roman (born 4 June 2016).