Alessandra Ambrosio: "I didn't expect modelling to last"

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Photo credit: Courtesy
Photo credit: Courtesy

Alessandra Ambrosio has been a regular fixture in the fashion industry for more than two decades - so she knows a thing or two about style, consistency and longevity. The Brazilian-American model has worked with a vast array of brands and forged long-lasting relationships with her industry partners - including a 13-year-stint as a Victoria's Secret Angel - and has been listed as one of Forbes' highest-paid models in the world. It's an impressive career for someone who "didn't think modelling would last".

One such longstanding partnership has been with luxury watchmaker Omega, for whom Ambrosio has been an ambassador since 2017. We caught up with the model and mother in Madrid, where she was launching Omega's Her Time exhibition, to discuss how her personal style has evolved, how she's shopping more sustainably, the style advice she'll pass on to her children, and how she's developed an inner confidence.

How has your personal style evolved over the years?

"I think I’m still happy to be playful and go with my mood, or match the occasion, so I’ve always had fun with my looks. But I think the change has been internal. Over the years, I have become more confident with who I am and how I present myself. So I can experiment and try on looks without feeling at all self-conscious."

What are the key pieces in your daily capsule wardrobe?

"I love the beach, love the water, so my go-to style is a summer dress, strappy sandals, jeans, a casual top and always my Omega."

Photo credit: James Devaney - Getty Images
Photo credit: James Devaney - Getty Images

Whose style have you always admired and why?

"The style icons: Brigitte Bardot, Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, because they carried themselves with confidence and a sense of fun. They also embraced a timeless look."

How are you trying to be more sustainable with your approach to fashion and style?

"In my personal life, I keep things simple. I’m a Brazilian girl, even though I now live in LA, so swimsuits and simple beachwear is my style. I love fashion but I don’t have to go crazy with buying items. I’m happy with what makes me comfortable. With my Omega watches, I am wearing an item that will last for generations, so there’s certainly nothing throwaway about that."

Photo credit: Gotham - Getty Images
Photo credit: Gotham - Getty Images

What’s been a favourite or most memorable red-carpet moment for you?

"I loved being in Shanghai for the Omega Iconic Women event, with Nicole Kidman, Cindy Crawford and Liu Shishi, because I shared the red carpet with women I admire and we had a lot of fun. More recently, I had a great time at the Vanity Fair Oscars party.

Photo credit: VCG - Getty Images
Photo credit: VCG - Getty Images

What’s the best piece of style advice you’ve picked up through your work in the fashion industry?

"I think the best advice would be to remain authentic. You can be playful and follow your instincts. You can’t abandon yourself entirely; you have to stay true to who you are, even when you’re wearing something that you wouldn’t normally choose."

What style advice will you pass on to your children?

"I want them to feel happy and comfortable in their own skin, so I would gently guide them if I felt they were trying to be someone they’re not. But I’m happy for them to take their own journey. It’s the only way."

Which of your most precious fashion and jewellery pieces will you pass down to your children?

"Well my son wants my Omega Speedmaster. I’m not ready to give it up yet, but I know he’d be happy to make it his! My daughter already has her eye on my Speedmaster Aqua Terra."

How has your relationship with your body, your appearance and your style changed over the years?

"I think I’ve developed an inner confidence. I didn’t expect modelling to last, but here I am still doing it and loving it. So, that has made me feel that I can embrace my look at every stage of my life."

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

How do you decide which brands to work with?

"It’s important the brand appeals to me personally and shares my values. In the case of Omega, I knew they were a brand with a distinguished history of women’s watchmaking, in addition to their proud history of Olympic Games timekeeping, exploration and commitment to excellence in everything they do. That’s the kind of brand I wish to work with.

"I can say with confidence that Omega watches are the best since I know first-hand how much care and attention they bring to watchmaking. What’s more, they are just great people, who support and encourage you and make you feel part of the family. I wear my Omegas with a sense of real pride."

Fashion has a reputation for being frivolous, but why does what we wear matter?

"If what we wear makes us feel confident and relaxed then it feeds in to how we are in the world. But that doesn’t mean we should obsess because then it becomes a source of anxiety. I think we should approach fashion with a sense of fun and playfulness. That way we can enjoy trying on looks and seeing how it feels. If it doesn’t work, move on. If it does, then enjoy. But of course it’s not everything. Life is about family, friends, love. Fashion should be the icing on the cake, not the be all and end all."

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