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Natalia Vodianova, a Russian Cinderella. Natalia Vodianova, a world famous supermodel

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Natalia Vodianova

Natalia Vodianova is one of the highest-paid and most popular and world supermodels of Russian origin. She is only 29, a mother of 3 children and is now one of the world's most in-demand models. Natalia Vodianova was born in Gorky, USSR (now Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. She 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.

At age 15, Vodianova enrolled in a modeling academy, and started going to castings. A scouting agent from Paris told her that she could have a great future if she learned English quickly. Convinced that her life would change for the better, Vodianova learned English in three months, moved to Paris and signed up with the Viva agency at age 17.

Soon, Gucci made her the new face for their perfume line. After working at more than 40 runway shows, she was hired to appear in Calvin Klein's spring show. Around this time she also made a brief appearance in Roman Coppola's film CQ, with Billy Zane.

In September 2008 Natalia Vodianova admitted that she's not interested in film making currently because of her three children. Vodianova has done campaigns for David Yurman, Louis Vuitton, L'Oréal, "Dar Tamaddon", Darria Studio, Marc Jacobs, Miss Sixty, Pepe Jeans, and Calvin Klein's collection and his fragrance, "Euphoria".

In July 2007, Vodianova was featured the cover of American Vogue as the solo subject, a considerable feat during an era that relies heavily on celebrity cover subjects to push sales. She first appeared on the cover along with eight other top models in September 2005. The only other supermodels to have singularly graced the cover of US Vogue in between those two issues have been Linda Evangelista and Liya Kebede.

According to Forbes, Vodianova is ranked as the seventh highest-earning model in the world after Carolyn Murphy, Alessandra Ambrosio, Adriana Lima, Heidi Klum, Kate Moss and Gisele Bündchen. Her earnings for the past year were in the order of $4.5 million. She was ranked 14th in Channel 5's "World's greatest supermodel".

Her husband is British real estate heir, Justin Portman, a half-brother of the 10th Viscount Portman, son of a Viscount and Scion of one of Britain's wealthiest real estate families, owning swatches in London. The couple had their first son, Lucas Alexander, on 22 December 2001. On 1 September 2002, Vodianova and Portman married in a lavish ceremony in Saint Petersburg. Their second child, daughter was born on 24 March 2006. She posed with her baby in Vogue. Her third child, a boy named Viktor, was born on 13 September 2007; Viktor is named after Natalia's grandfather. Vodianova's husband and children often travel with her.

Vodianova does much work for charity. She is a founder and the president of the Naked Heart Foundation, a philanthropic organisation that strives to provide a safe and inspiring environment in which to play for every child living in urban Russia. 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. She is also a spokeperson for the Tiger Trade Campaign. In honour of her philanthropic achievements, Harper's Bazaar awarded Vodianova the award for Inspiration of the Year in November 2010


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