Natalia Vodianova

Natalia Vodianova on Destigmatizing Menstrual Health, Girls and Women’s Personal Care

Natalia Vodianova on Destigmatizing Menstrual Health, Girls and Women’s Personal Care

Natalia Vodianova is putting a spotlight on Menstrual Hygiene Day today, bringing awareness to the importance of menstrual education and access to personal care goods globally.
Earlier this year the Russian model was named Goodwill Ambassador at UNFPA, the United Nations agency that focuses on sexual and reproductive health.
“I started my work as an activist in the field of period poverty and female health a little earlier, maybe a year before I met with UNFPA folks,” Vodianova said over Zoom from Paris, where she’s based with her five kids and husband Antoine Arnault.
The philanthropist, who’s been open about her humble beginnings, is known for her charity work with children, girls and women, particularly as founder of the Naked Heart Foundation. She’s also an investor, backing endeavors that directly impact her missions.

It was UNFPA that reached out to Vodianova, after seeing her 2018 “Let’s talk about it. Period.” campaign for the app Flo — where Vodianova held conversations with women like Emily Ratajkowski to discuss their personal journeys and intimate stories about their menstrual education and experiences. Vodianova is an early investor in Flo, which was founded in 2015 to help women around the world access knowledge and support for their well-being. Vodianova would go on to partner with the U.N. agency for “Let’s Talk!”, an event created by her charitable platform ELBI to unify leaders, activists and policymakers to discuss taboos surrounding women’s health.

For Vodianova, the goal through her work with UNFPA is to empower girls and women and fight the stigma that surrounds menstruation. It’s also been personal; she realized she had her own issues to confront.
“It was really just my Soviet background, the fact that I grew up without sexuality education, and then realizing that I have some stigmas relating to periods myself and kind of feeling a lack of education in certain areas of my life, female health,” she continued, explaining her initial interest in the issue.
“I realized that I was always hiding everything to do with my female identity, menstruating and, like, washing sheets and hiding the period products,” she went on. “And, you know, feeling awkward if someone had seen them.”
The lack of education and cultural taboos surrounding women’s health can lead to major issues for girls and women around the world, she explained.
“In India, up to 40 percent of girls will completely drop out of school by grade six,” said Vodianova. “Their life, their dreams, their opportunity, their potential will be completely shattered, simply because they have no ability to manage their period, or it’s because…they have to get married, or because the parents are afraid for their well-being. It’s connected to their female identity and to having [their] period.”
And these issues are closer to home than imagined, she added.
“We think that they are very far away from us, but in the U.K. alone one in five girls will be bullied because of menstruation, and two out of three girls will miss school, also connected to their menstrual cycle,” Vodianova said. “That’s in the U.K.”
To shed light on the topic, she’s unveiling a UNFPA kit on social media — a backpack filled with menstrual items like reusable pads and underwear, as well as other needs like soaps, toothpaste and batteryless flashlights (available at unfpa.org): “For $15, you can buy a dignity kit, and UNFPA will deliver it….They are real doers. They are on the field.”

The agency, which distributed 1.4 million kits across 58 countries last year, also works to assist those in humanitarian crises.
“For $15, women can at least live through an already very, very horrible situation or extreme poverty,” she added. “At least they can live these situations with dignity.”

Natalia Vodianova Fronts Loro Piana’s Latest Launch: the Sesia Bag

Natalia Vodianova Fronts Loro Piana’s Latest Launch: the Sesia Bag

Behind-the-scenes of the Sesia campaign shoot, fronted by Natalia Vodianova Photo: Courtesy of Loro Piana
Loro Piana, the luxury Italian fashion label known for its superior fabrics (think extra fine wool, the softest cashmeres), and first-class craftsmanship, has expanded its portfolio over recent years to focus on the growth of its leather goods category. For longtime fans of the brand, rest assured that their signature of timeless design remains intact: novelty trend-led accessories these are not.
The new Sesia bag comes in a palette of powdery hues Photo: Courtesy of Loro Piana
Take for example the new Sesia bag, a beautifully curved top handle with smooth contours inspired by the silhouettes of natural objects and organic forms. Available in satin and grain matte finishes, the collection comes in a palette of powdery hues including rose, white, buttercup yellow and eucalyptus – a wardrobe staple for the quiet and confident…and the environmentally-conscious. The leather used has been certified by the Leather Working Group, a non-profit organization that works to reduce the environmental impact of the leather industry.
A self-described “unconditional fan” of the brand, supermodel and philanthropist Natalia Vodianova (who fronts the house’s spring campaign), has found inspiration in Loro Piana’s minimal-yet-luxe approach, styling their tailored coats and knits oversized and loose. But their latest launch has become a new favorite.
Photo: Courtesy of Loro Piana
“I particularly love the Sesia bag. The colors are beautiful, the shapes are simple and the style is effortless,” Vodianova says. Plus, it’s spacious enough for her to use everyday. “I need a bag big enough to put my diary in…I’m not one of those women who collects bags – I absolutely need to be able to slip all of my essentials inside.”
Photo: Courtesy of Loro Piana
As the fashion industry continues to reevaluate its environmental footprint, in addition to its seasonal calendar, it’s reassuring to know there are heritage brands like Loro Piana who remain consistent – a reliable provider of high quality, timeless design – when so much of everything else is in flux.
Read Next: A Day in the Life of Model Malika Louback, the New Face of Loro Piana

This Virtual Reality Fashion Game Allows You To Style Your Favorite Supermodels

This Virtual Reality Fashion Game Allows You To Style Your Favorite Supermodels

Natalia Vodianova, Precious Lee, Irina Shayk, Imaan Hammam and Candice Huffine have joined DREST as avatars you can style. Photo: DREST

If you love fashion and computer games, or are a budding stylist who dreams of dressing an A-list star, then you’re in luck. Until December 9, DREST is giving its players the opportunity to cast and style supermodels in a series of photoshoot challenges.
Natalia Vodianova, Precious Lee, Irina Shayk, Imaan Hammam and Candice Huffine have joined DREST, an interactive luxury styling game, to feature as hyper-realistic avatars allowing players to dress their favorite models in a series of outfits.
Style your favorite model through the game, than shop the look. Photo: DREST

The models can be cast through a Booking Fee that grants players a set number of uses, after which the talent will need to be re-booked. Once models are booked the player can style them in a number of outfits, with more than 200 leading brands to choose from including Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Prada, Off-White, Loewe, Chloé, Thom Browne, Burberry, Stella McCartney and Fenty. Playing stylist, players can also style their model’s hair with nine different styles to choose from, each designed by leading celebrity hairstylist Sam McKnight.
An example of a photoshoot challenge. Photo: DREST

Taking the experience up another echelon – blending virtual with reality – once the look is complete, players can not only share their creation but can also shop the pieces, thanks to a partnership with Farfetch.
On being chosen to have her own avatar, model Imaan Hamman tells Vogue Arabia, “I remember being very excited when I got asked to be part of DREST. When I was a little girl I always had a thing for playing dress up with avatars, it’s so my era! Fashion for me has always been an outlet where I could be myself in many ways and be bold, so having my own real life avatar is a dream come true. It was such a cool experience, so different from a normal day to day shoot. It went by so fast. I had to stand in the middle of the room and I was surrounded by a 1000 mini cameras/lenses in a circle that took a photo of every single part of the body. How cool?”
Photo: DREST

The models admits playing with the latest fashion items appeals to her, saying “I would definitely have lots of fun with just exploring and experimenting. I would love to dress up in three different kinds of styles: classy, street and sexy.”
While shopping in the virtual world and online is fun, the former Vogue Arabia cover star admits, when it comes to buying clothes she still prefers IRL. “It’s so important for me to be able to try the clothes on before buying – to feel the fabrics and feel confident,” she says. “I love to shop when I am in Paris, I feel like there are always better collections there than in other cities. I love Galeries Lafayette and Le Marais area is where you can always find me – I have a huge love for vintage and I always find the best pieces there.”
Players can do group or individual shoots. Photo: DREST

Behind the collaboration between the models and DREST is a philanthropic endeavor. “We have made a pledge to match 50% of revenue earned by the supermodels in-game and donate this to their respective causes through charitable donations,” explains Lucy Yeomans, Creator, Founder & Co-CEO, DREST.  For Hamman, her cause is She’s The First, “a non-profit that fights for a world where every girl chooses her own future. We work with local organizations to make sure all girls are educated.”
Read Next: This is How Model Imaan Hammam Celebrated Her 24th Birthday

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