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Natalia Vodianova is a very famous sexy Russian model. She is one of the most recognized faces in the world of fashion...

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Natalia (Natasha) Vodianova was born on February 28, 1982 in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.

Vodianova never knew her father. She lived with her mom and stepfather in grandmother's house in Avtozavod region of Nizhny Novgorod. In a house with 4 bedrooms she had her own room with many toys and clothes.

When Natasha was 7 years old, her younger sister, Oksana, was born with a cerebral palsy. Larisa Vodianova (Natalia's mother) was advised to give her younger daughter to orphanage -- "you'll only suffer" she was told.

Stepfather got tired of hearing Oksana cry and left her mother. Soon afterwards grandmother couldn't handle it either. So Larisa, Natasha and Oksana moved to a separate 1-room apartment. Their regular meals included soups from packs, potatoes, buckwheat, and other grains.


Natalia's mother worked 3 different jobs to make ends meet. When her mother was working, Natasha took care of her ill sister. She did the cooking, washing, and other chores around the house.

Natasha didn't have any real friends when she was a child: they looked down upon her because of her sick sister and poor financial situation. Young kids couldn't understand those things.

To help her mom with finances, at the age of 12 Vodianova began selling fruits and vegetables at a local market. Natalia started her day going to a base to get her fruits, and than taking large boxes herself to the market. That was the time, when in order to help her family, she had to miss a lot of classes at school.

Vodianova wasn't very popular in high school: she didn't study well and wore old clothes. Boys didn't like her and called her a 'coat hanger.'


When Natalia Vodianova came to a local modeling agency, they told her that she had no chance of being on the podium. Natasha was happy with just working at greeting guests at various business events. (She was only 174 cm at the time -- a small height for a model.)

In 1999 two Russian photographers, Alexei Vasiliev and Georgiy Dzhikidze (representing French modeling agency) came to Nizhny Novgorod to look for 'new faces.' Out of 30 girls they only chose one...Natasha Vodianova who was wearing old clothes and worn-out shoes.

Photographers liked her, but her nose seemed too wide. They didn't promise her anything, flew back to Moscow while Vodianova went back to the market.

When the photographers developed pictures from the trip, they were surprised at how good they turned out. In France, modeling scouts liked Natasha's photos too, and offered her to come to France.

On December 1, 1999 Vodianova flew to Paris. Natalia had nothing at the time, not even a high school diploma. They placed her in a model residence with 3 other girls, and gave her roughly $100 dollars a month.

Natasha's day began at 7 in the morning. She had 10 to 12 castings a day. Even when they only needed brunettes at a specific casting, Vodianova would still go. She only commuted by public transit and bought her clothes 'second-hand' to save money. She used free modeling buffet dinners to eat. But in spite of everything, Vodianova still sent money to Russia to support her mother and sister.

In the summer of 2000, Vodianova made the cover of German Elle magazine. That was the turning point in Natalia's career. Instead of running around to castings, now she was personally contacted by top designers to participate in their runway shows or photo shoots.

Since then Natalia Vodianova worked for famous designers all over the world, opening important fashion shows and leading ad campaigns. Her most popular campaign was for Calvin Klein. Vodianova's TV commercials and billboards can be seen all around the world.


Vodianova says that in the beginning of her career, men looked at her as 'easy prey' when she told them that she was from Russia. Natasha was offered many dates from the rich and famous. But she knew that her career success would depend upon her mindset and attitude towards those men.

Natalia chose fashion above all romantic approaches at the time, which proved a great step in propelling her career...

Her friend Georgiy Dzhikidze invited Natasha to a party to introduce her to an English aristocrat. But Vodianova didn't want any matchmakers. She said that if she needed a fiance, she'd find her own. But 30 minutes later a model friend of hers called to invite Natalia to have dinner together.

When she arrived, she found herself in a room where the above-mentioned aristocrat, Justin Portman, had his party. Natasha was really upset. She was proud and thought she was above this all. But when she looked at Portman, she found him attractive. Unfortunately, her model friend was occupying all his attention.

When Portman saw her, he went up to introduce himself, but Natalia made a scene. She told him about her hatred for rich foreigners. Portman replied that it was his party and he saw her for the first time...

Justin came to apologize a day later. They started a serious relationship, and Vodianova soon became pregnant. They continued dating, but Portman wasn't proposing. Natalia was scared to ask not wanting to be disappointed.

But eventually Portman did make the proposal. Justin and Natasha married in August of 2001 in St. Petersburg. It was a small private wedding with about 100 guests. They close Peterhof for the wedding ceremony. Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre played Mozart and Vivaldi. Natalia's mother-in-law presented her a silver dish from Portman family collection.

Natalia Vodianova lives in Tribeca area of Manhattan with her husband and their 2 sons and 1 daughter. She is in charge of raising the children.

Natasha's eldest son, Lucas, doesn't speak Russian yet, but understands it very well. Vodianova wants him to study in Russia when he's older.

Vodianova loves Russian food. She shops at Russian food stores in Brighton Beach area in Brooklyn. Natalia loves to cook -- borscht is her favorite recipe.

Natasha continues working in the fashion business. But not as much as she used to.

Recently Vodianova set up her own charitable foundation dedicated to finding cure for cerebral palsy. Natalia says that modeling is a very self-centered and egotistical business. She wants to contribute more than that. It is one of the reasons for her charitable work.