Natalia Vodianova Russian: Наталья Водянова, born 28 February 1982 is a Russian model, actress and philanthropist who now permanently resides in the United Kingdom.
Born in Gorky, USSR (now Nizhny Novgorod, Russia), Natalia Vodianova grew up in a poor district of the city with her mother and two half sisters, 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 Natalia was a toddler, and she did not have any further contact with him until after she had become famous.
At age 15, Vodianova enrolled in a modelling academy, was told she would need to learn English to succeed, and mastered the language in three months. By age 17, Vodianova had moved to Paris, and signed with Viva Models.
Vodianova has achieved considerable success as a runway, editorial and advertising campaign model. To date, Vodianova has walked in more than 175 runway shows for U.S. and European based designers' ready-to-wear and haute couture collections, has appeared in editorial spreads in fashion magazines worldwide and has completed advertising campaigns for Calvin Klein, Louis Vuitton, L'Oréal, David Yurman, Marc Jacobs, Pepe Jeans, Diane von Fürstenberg, Chanel and others.
As of May 2009, Vodianova has appeared on the cover of British Vogue seven times; the first was the September 2003 issue. She made her first appearance on the cover of the U.S. Vogue in the September 2004 edition alongside eight other models, then appeared as the solo cover subject of the July 2007 edition of the magazine. During this time period, other covers of the American Vogue have all featured non-model celebrities with only two other exceptions: models Linda Evangelista and Liya Kebede.
As an actress, Vodianova appears in Roman Coppola's 2001 film CQ. In September 2008, Vodianova stated that she was not interested in filmmaking because of her three children; however, she appears in director Alexander Kott's 2009 film Probka.
In Spring 2009, Vodianova entered into 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 was ranked 14th in the UK channel Five's 2005 television programme World's Greatest Supermodel. Forbes magazine estimates Vodianova earned $4.5 million (USD) between August 2006 and July 2007, $4.8 million (USD) between May 2007 and April 2008 and $5.5 million (USD) between June 2008 and June 2009, making her the seventh highest earning model worldwide during all three time periods.
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 Sochi 2014 Winter Games, becoming a ‘face’ and key advocate of Russia’s first Winter Games.