“I biked to school every day,” said Doutzen, when asked about her childhood, “My mum would say, if you go on your bike it will make you stronger… In the countryside, I was always outside, kind of like a tomboy… I never even thought about my looks.”
It’s hard to believe that she was once so blissfully oblivious to her natural beauty – a beauty which took her all the way from the Netherlands to New York, where she was immediately picked-up by Victoria’s Secret. Soon afterwards she unfurled her wings and was chosen to be a Victoria’s Secret ‘Angel’ in 2008. She then became a brand ambassador for L’Oréal Paris and experienced a stratospheric rise in popularity, to such an extent that she became one of the highest-paid models in the world, earning an estimated $8 million in one year. In fact, Models.com described her as the ‘Helen of Troy of Advertising’ and a glance at her radiant portfolio will undoubtedly confirm why.
Again, it seems vaguely unbelievable that her career started when she sent a selection of holiday photos to a small modelling agency in Amsterdam. Years later she appeared on the cover of Vogue no less than nine times (more than any other model in history,) and that was just in 2013. She was also the first model to be awarded four different solo international covers in Vogue’s September issue of the same year. In terms of professional feats and portfolio, Doutzen is pretty hard to surpass – even before she appeared on the big screen in Reinout Oerleman’s Nova Zembla, which was the first Dutch feature film to receive the 3D treatment.
Celebrated for her toned, curvaceous figure, Doutzen has spread ripples with her sublime natural beauty and almost Scandinavian eyes, as piercingly blue and lucid as glacial water. Her windblown blonde hair and gently formed features soften an exotic, expressive allure, reminiscent of the classic supermodels of the 80’s or 90’s. While Doutzen conceded that she was lucky to be born with a certain look, she also added that she owed her success to smart management – that and an honest creative flair, as you can see in Tiffany’s 2015 ad campaign (above) starring herself and her daughter Dree Hemingway.
However, it would be misleading to describe Doutzen, who’s also an avid supporter of Wildlife Conservation and the World Wildlife Fund, as a one-trick beauty. In a recent interview, she was asked about Dree’s future and the question of how she will introduce her daughter to the relatively insular world of modelling.
“Instead of saying, ‘you’re so beautiful,’ I’ll say, ‘you’re smart,’ she replied, ‘so she’ll have different aspirations in life than beauty and modelling. Though I love my job, I’m not changing the world. I’d love for her to study and to have different aspirations. We need to teach girls they can become presidents.”
Looks like we’ll have to add modesty to that long list of achievements…