Interviewing Natalia Vodianova has been a long dream of mine - never because I saw her as an icon, but rather because I've always believed that she would be a very interesting person to talk to. I adore Natalia as a model, I deeply admire her charity work and I think she is an incredible mother to three gorgeous children. Yes, her and I are like to different planets, but at some level, and without going into details about my past, I've always felt connected with her. She means a lot to me - beauty, home, past and present... She is one of those people who brings warmth to my heart.
I was told that Natalia doesn't give interviews... Not unless it's a magazine or a news paper. Imagine how it felt when Buro247.ru announced that there would be an on-line live chat with Natalia and anyone's invited! Of course I couldn't miss it!
There were a lot of questions and only an hour for Natalia to answer them all. I was the greedy one. I posted not one, but three messages and to my surprise she replied to all of them! If you speak Russian, you can watch the full interview on-line - you won't regret it. Warm, sincere, adorable, honest and very down to earth, Natalia talked about her family, children, childhood, charity work, modelling industry, her favourite books and art, beauty products, diet... It was such a pleasure to listen to her!
And here are my questions and her answers... It still feels a little bit surreal, so I'll leave you at that, go and continue digesting what just happened.
Natalia, you are one of the most beautiful women in the world... What does beauty mean to you?
Natalia, oh, thank you! (laughs) It's a pleasure to hear, but I can't think of myself that way! In others, I appreciate the inner beauty the most. I think of people who do something good and important.
Take Zainab Zalbi, the founder of Women for Women International organisation. I look at women like her and I realise that the real beauty is the light that radiates from her eyes. I have other examples including my dearest and beloved Diane von Furstenberg - I admire her strength and the work she does to support other women. She is incredible and I am very grateful to her for supporting me 10 years ago.
The motto of the short film you've created to support Paralympics is Never Stop. And is there a quote or saying you personally find inspirational and empowering?
Yes, there's one. Somebody once said it to me and I made it my motto. "Keep your eyes on the goal and not the obstacles."
Natalia, if you could meet your 11-year-old self, what would you say to little Natasha Vodianova?
I'd say to her... Don't worry, everything will be alright.
Photo source: FlockedMedia, Elle China June 2009 (photography: Mei Yuan Gui)