Birthplace: Gorky, Soviet Union
Natalia Mikhailovna Vodianova (Russian: Наталья Михайловна Водянова; ; born 28 February 1982), nicknamed Supernova, is a Russian model, philanthropist and occasional film actress. 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. In 2015, Vodianova launched the digital app "Elbi", which allows people to donate money with a "Love Button," create content, send messages, and vote for Charitable purposes.
Born in Gorky, Soviet Union (now Nizhny Novgorod, Russia), Vodianova grew up in a poor district of the city (Avtozavod) with her mother, and two half-sisters Kristina and Oksana, one of whom has 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 400 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 every major international magazines including Vanity Fair; American, British, French, Italian, Chinese, Russian, Australian, Spanish, German, Turkish, Japanese, Greek, South Korean and Portuguese Vogue; W; Numéro; i-D; Marie Claire; GQ; Elle; Allure; Glamour; Pop; 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.
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.
In 2014, Vodianova appeared on the cover of the September isuue 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 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.
In 2001, Vodianova made a brief appearance in Roman Coppola’s film CQ with Billy Zane. In 2010, she portrayed Medusa in the 2010 remake of Clash of the Titans. In October 2010, she landed her first leading acting role in a film adaptation of Albert Cohen's 1968 novel Belle du Seigneur, directed by Glenio Bonder and co-starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, which was released in 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.
Vodianova is a founder of the Naked Heart Foundation, a philanthropic organisation that strives to provide a safe environment in which to play for every child living in urban Russia and to help support families raising children with disabilities.
She was inspired to found the charity after the Beslan tragedy. Her idea was to distract children who survived with play from their psychological trauma. The organisation built its first play park in 2006 in Nizhny Novgorod. It has since built nearly 90 more including one in Beslan.
The main fundraising event of the Naked Heart Foundation is the Love Ball. 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, Vodianova will organise the Love Ball in Monte-Carlo under the high patronage of Albert II, Prince of Monaco, and Charlene, Princess of Monaco.
Vodianova also lends her support to a number of philanthropic causes, such as the (Bugaboo)RED campaign, an initiative to help eliminate AIDS in Africa. That same year, Vodianova became an ambassador for Hear the World, a global campaign that seeks to raise awareness of hearing loss.
She is also a spokesperson for the Tiger Trade Campaign, an alliance of 38 organisations united under the common aim "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 magnicifent 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."
In 2015, Vodianova teamed up with Eugenia Makhlin, who has worked for tech sector in Google, Facebook, and AOL. They created The Elbi app, which was also launched on the App Store, it allows people to donate money with a "Love Button," create content, send messages, and vote. The app currently allows users to donate to a number of charities including Save the Children International, Walkabout Foundation, Blue Skye Thinking, and several others. The name stands for "Little Big" (LB), and the philosophy behind it is that you can make a big difference through little actions.
On Vodianova words: "Elbi is a platform that brings the power of social and digital worlds to charities and connects them with people around the world. With Elbi you can do small actions that make a big difference. That is what Elbi stands for — little actions that can make a big difference. "Little actions can make a big difference. So often these stories are lost. Now all of us can take action straight from our phones and make a difference all over the world."
The app has been supported by notable leaders in technology and philanthropy including internet safety and security minister Joanna Shields, Bebo cofounder Michael Birch, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, Huffington Post cofounder Arianna Huffington, Mind Candy founder Michael 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.
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 honored 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.
On July 2016, During her annual Love Ball, Vodianova was tapped by Mattel as their prototype for the launching of the first Russian Barbie.
Vodianova has close associations and friends in the fashion industry including top model friend Mariacarla Boscono, Karlie Kloss and Eva Herzigová, respected and well known photographers such as Mario Testino, Paolo Roversi, Steven Meisel, Annie Leibovitz, Bruce Weber and Patrick Demarchelier, top fashion designers Riccardo Tisci, Valentino Garavani, Stella McCartney, Karl Lagerfeld, Diane von Fürstenberg, David Koma, Christian Louboutin, Ulyana Sergeenko, Tom Ford, Editor-in-Chief of Net-a-Porter fashion magazine Lucy Yeomans, fashion creative director and icons Grace Coddington, Carine Roitfeld, and editor-in-chief of US Vogue Anna Wintour.
Vodianova met Justin Portman (b. 1969), half-brother of the 10th 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. The couple has three children: son Lucas Alexander (born 22 December 2001), daughter Neva (born 24 March 2006), and son Viktor (born 13 September 2007). Viktor is named after Vodianova's late grandfather, who had helped raise her after her father's departure, and Neva is named after the Russian river of the same name. Vodianova and Portman announced their separation in June 2011.
Soon 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's first son, Maxim, was born on 2 May 2014. She welcomed her 5th child and her second son with partner Antoine Arnault, named Roman on 4 June 2016.