Natalia Vodianova (Russian: Наталья Водянова, born 28 February 1982) is a Russian-born 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.
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, France and signed with Viva Model Management Paris.
Vodianova has achieved considerable success as a runway, editorial and advertising campaign model. To date, Vodianova has walked in more 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, Miss Sixty, 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.