A Beautiful Mind

  1. In Bloom: Model and mother of four, Natalia Vodianova wears Valentino, photographed by Ryan McGinley.

In an exclusive excerpt from Porter Magazine's special anniversary edition, Natalia Vodianova, the Russian model, philanthropist and mother of four, opens up on her battle with depression and the struggle she faced to reconcile her childhood with her fame

  2. Photographed by Ryan McGinley  |  Interview Lucy Yeomans
  3. Stylist George Cortina 
  5. When it comes to matters of the heart, Natalia Vodianova gives a frank account of how she became depressed and angry in her twenties after being plucked from the streets of her hometown, Nizhny Novgorod, at the age of eleven, while selling fruit to help support her mother and disabled sister. Suddenly thrust into the limelight, her life became “astronomical”, however Vodianova credits the charity, Naked Heart Foundation, with giving her new purpose. Love also played a part: the model discusses finding love again with fashion heir, Antoine Arnault, with whom she now has an eight-month-old son, Maxim, and reveals why she will never impose her tough past on her own children. Read highlights from her latest interview below:
  1. Vodianova On reconciling her past with her present:

  2. “Setting up Naked Heart (Foundation) was the only way for me to continue this life. It allowed me to reconcile my past with my present to create a balance so the future could make sense.”


  4. how she discovered a new path:

    “In my culture it is almost against God to turn gifts away, so I felt bad complaining. But the [Naked Heart] foundation made me realise that I could use this fabulous world I was living in and all the resources I was getting to give back to my country.”
  6. on the breakdown of her relationship with former husband, Justin Portman:

  7. “I guess at some point in my life there were things holding me back. I was really happy in my professional life and was passionate about Naked Heart, but while Justin enjoyed it and was brilliant at the fun side of it, he was able to share so little of the load I was carrying.”

  2. ON falling in love again:

  3. “We found each other. It’s not what we expected from each other at first, but it is perfect.”
  2. her secretive first romantic date with Antoine arnault in Portofino:

    “We’d been together for a few weeks, super super secret, no one knew about it.  Antoine goes, ‘We’re going to this very small, super simple little pizzeria,’ and I say, ‘Okay great, I love pizza.’ And he says, ‘But it’s really, really simple; it’s really rustic. And I go, ‘Fantastic, it’s what you do in Italy right?’ And then an hour later he goes, ‘I have to tell you something.’ And I’m like, ‘What?’ And he says, ‘I didn’t order a car.’ And I’m like, ‘How far is it?’ And he says, ‘Well. it’s Portofino, so everything’s five minutes away.’ And I say, ‘Perfect’. And he says, ‘Are you sure you’re okay to walk?’ And I say, laughing, ‘Who do you think I am?’ And he says, ‘Well, I don’t know; you girls, you know, you seem such divas.’”
  4. her viewpoint on motherhood:

  5. “They are very compassionate children and I think that is due to the fact that I always show them what life can be like, such as taking them to see orphanages in Russia. I don’t believe I have the right to impose my past on them – they will find their own way –  but I love sharing with my children, whether it’s my success, my work or my pain. I am pleased, of course, that I can give them a different childhood, but I understand that there was a lot of richness in the childhood that I had, too.”
  7. And introducing her own mother to Hillary Clinton:

    “It was completely surreal. Just as the ceremony was about to start, in walks Hillary Clinton, and sits directly in front of my mother, who had never even been to America before this trip. I’m looking at my mum and she’s sitting between Hillary Clinton and Anna Wintour and maybe that normally wouldn’t matter, but it was my mum in that place… As I walked onto the stage, I understood that my mother was the woman I really wanted to celebrate – the way she did not abandon my sister was, for me, the biggest kind of credit, the biggest proof of her unconditional love for us – and suddenly all my nerves disappeared. After the ceremony, Hillary (Clinton) came up to my mother and said, ‘I admire you so much,’ and, of course, we had to take a picture!”  

To read the full interview with Natalia Vodianova, pick up the latest issue of Porter, on sale globally or available as a digital edition below.


Shop the look(4 items)


Charlotte Tilbury lipstick

Net-A-Porter — $42

Shop it

Valentino cotton voile top

Net-A-Porter — $2

Shop it

Porter Digital Edition

Net-A-Porter — $12.95

Shop it

Tabitha Simmons leather pumps

Net-A-Porter — $745

Shop it