Sunday, July 15, 2018

Natalia Vodianova / This much I know / 'I have an animal sense for danger’





Interview

THIS MUCH I KNOW

Natalia Vodianova

'I have an animal sense for danger’
The supermodel, 34, on the humiliation of poverty, weekends in nightclubs and building a play park for children from the Beslan siege


Ruaridh Nicoll
25 February 2017

Natalia Vodianova

Poverty is humiliation. You feel like there is something wrong with you, not with society, especially as a child. You see other children who are happy and you think it must be so incredible. You daydream a lot about not being yourself. Maybe that helped me model.


Boys in my school in Nizhny Novgorod hated me. I was unhealthily skinny because sometimes we had nothing to eat. They used to draw me like a stick. And the stigma against my sister [Oksana, who has cerebral palsy and autism] brushed off on me. They called me dirty.



I have an animal sense for danger and make decisions based on intuition. I arrived in Paris at 17, but changed agencies within the week. On the second night, I was taken to a nightclub with some guys. Nothing happened, but I was a young girl so I liked young guys, and these were not young guys. A day or two later the Viva model agency said: “If you ever want to change…” and I was like: “Yes, right now.”







Having a sister with special needs taught me love – and patience. As a child Oksana’s idea of fun was opening all the kitchen cupboards and mixing everything together. She’d sit on top of the pile and be like “Ha!” It’s catastrophic for a family which doesn’t have food.
I was never an angel. I did not sleep on the weekends because my friend and I would open the nightclub and close the nightclub. For three years I danced every weekend, and I guess the body came from that.


Natalia Vodianova
I did once say that having babies improves your skin. I have had five babies. Don’t try it at home.
By 2004, I was very successful, but I didn’t really understand what the purpose of success was. The Beslansiege made me realise I could do something. I could build a play park for children who suffered in the tragedy. Play is a great way of taking a child away from reality and beginning the healing process. [The result was the Naked Heart Foundation which has raised €39m for families with disabled children and built 177 play parks in Russia.]
The biggest difference between Britain and France is royalty and republic, and my marriages reflect that. My first husband [Justin Portman] did not work, but he is a walking encyclopedia and very creative – that comes with having spare time. My second husband [Antoine Arnault] is a workaholic. The good thing with my first husband was that there was more time for holidays.


‘I was never an angel’: Natalia Vodianova at home in Paris.
Photograph: Dmitry Kostyukov/

My two-year-old loves me with my hair down. If I put my hair up, he says: “Mummy you’re so ugly.”
There is a saying: ‘Money doesn’t buy happiness, but only the rich know it.” When you are poor you don’t have time to think about the future, you don’t know what you are going to eat tomorrow. When you are wealthy you do think of the future, but it is difficult to find focus and goals. I have been both poor and wealthy and I can tell you money doesn’t buy you happiness.


THIS MUCH I KNOW


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