Tall, stunning, happy, confident, cool: these are the words one would use to describe Behati Prinsloo at first glance. This is not, however, the image most of us would project working off of four hours of sleep the day after your best-friend’s wedding in a château in France, but so goes the life of a model. As a newly inducted Victoria’s Secret Angel, Behati is at the Victoria’s Secret Michigan Avenue store this June day, debuting the new VS Pink MLB line. She is joined by fellow Angel Candice Swanepoel, Sox player Gordon Beckham and Cubs player Randy Wells.
A host of prepubescent boys, overgrown boys, Pink-obsessed girls and Chicago sports fans impatiently wait to get a two-second snapshot with the gang. Behati wears a glittery Sox tank, whereas Candice sports a Cubs shirt and pink bat. By now, the Sox have officially shut down the Cubs 10-5 in the first game of the Crosstown Classic. And as a daylong fair-weather fan, Prinsloo is beaming with pride for her team. To most of these fans here, Behati is just another staggeringly gorgeous Victoria’s Secret model. To me, she is so much more inspiring.
Behati, born in a small city in Namibia, most certainly did not grow up with fashion and absolutely never wanted to be a model. In fact, she always wanted to be a marine biologist, minus the “learning biology part.” However, while on holiday at a supermarket in Capetown at age 16, she was discovered by the same scout who made Kate Moss a household name. At the time, Prinsloo had never heard of Miss Moss. She was immediately shipped off to London to get signed and it wasn’t long before she knew exactly who Kate was and exactly where taking this path could lead her. She walked exclusively for Prada and Miu Miu that year, and five years later here she is.
Now a seasoned model less than a month beyond her twenty-first birthday, Behati has graced the cover of numerous fashion rags, filled the pages of editorials, been a muse to countless brands and is now the most glamorous brand ambassador of them all—a Victoria’s Secret Angel. Behati says her role as an Angel is all about “being yourself, having a strong character and a strong personality.” And she certainly shows her personality regardless of where she is. Despite the obligatory VS Pink uniform, Prinsloo’s personal style still radiates in the hairspray-clouded room. Her Sox tank is tucked into her high-waisted and rolled-up skinnies, which have a vintage belt running through them. She also wears a vintage gold-leaf cuff, a very oversized ring on her middle finger, and brightly colored woven ankle bracelets from Mexico tied loosely above her black leather Yves Saint Laurent booties. As I am verbally admiring every aspect of her ensemble, she notices that I am also wearing Yves Saint Laurent booties. Behati then gives me a “damn girl” (while snapping) and fingers my oversized rings, leather ensemble, bag and finally again the shoes. Little does she know, but I started planning my outfit before the interview was even confirmed. And so to hear such affirmation from a girl whose street style I blog-stalk too frequently, is undeniably one of the best moments in my fashionable existence.
Now that it is understood that we speak the same language, I grill her on her runway career. While the majority of her modeling career has focused on high-fashion editorials and runway, lately she has added campaigns for J Crew and Ann Taylor Loft to her repertoire, along with Victoria’s Secret. She calls this transition a “good balance” as with commercial you get to be more “casual and fun” whereas the high fashion is “strict and serious.” Obviously the runway is the more glamorous and obsession-inducing aspect of the industry but commercial is “a nice break” and, well, rather necessary “to pay the bills.” Presumably, what runway doesn’t pay in cash, it compensates in prestige—and freebies. Prinsloo passionately recalls how generous Marc Jacobs and Alexander Wang are with their models, whereas other designers merely send her a bag post-show and make her wonder to herself “really?” The other greatest perk of the job is that you get to travel “to really beautiful places all the time, especially for campaign shoots, and chill with the same great group of girls.” However, during fashion month when designers unveil their latest collections back-to-back starting off in New York, then London, then Milan and finally in Paris, a model’s life is “nothing short of crazy”. It consists of fittings, castings, makeup, strutting for a twelve-minute-long show, being driven to the next one and repeating that cycle up as many as five or more times a day. That agenda perpetuates for an entire month, with some models walking up to eighty shows in the course of thirty days. As soon as this taxing time is over, all Prinsloo wants to do is “go to the nearest beach.” I remark that Manhattan, her current residence, isn’t the best island to live on for rest or relaxation. “True,” she replies while laughing, “so I jump on the soonest plane…but that would be the last plane I take for at least a week,” if she is lucky enough to get that much time off.
But, in the off chance that she isn’t working, Behati has a penchant for music. She was the object of affection in The Virgins’ music video “Rich Girls,” and Prinsloo says she has always wanted to be the only girl in an all-boy band. Unfortunately for Behati, she cannot play an instrument, so her music career is on hold for now. She and model BFF Coco Rocha have become quite the professional lip-synching duo, and after watching the two sing “My Hair Looks Fierce,” one will sense the strong personality that made Prinsloo the supermodel she is today.
So Miss Prinsloo, we both share a love for understated bling, vintage clothing and Alexander Wang’s coveted “model-off-duty” designs. We secretly desire to be musically talented, loathe the notion of studying science, and support the White Sox. My favorite editorial ever is of you mimicking an antelope for Bazaar in April 2008. We seemingly are long-lost sole sisters, give or take six inches.