In 2012, Natalia Vodianova came third on Forbes’ top-earning models list, estimated to have earned almost £7million in one year.
As well as maintaining a hugely successful career as a supermodel, she has invested money in a number of businesses, founded the Naked Heart Foundation and become an ambassador for a number of other philanthropic causes.
She has also just invested in the “Deliveroo for babies” Little Tummy.
As a mum to five children she’s not afraid to speak out about the challenges working mums face and how to raise children who aren’t “snowflakes”.
According to the supermodel, the first rule of parenting is simple: “Weekends are sacred. They’re for the family.”
We’re all eager to find that illusive “balance”. The balance between work, family, friends and spending time alone.
Natalia believes in compartmentalising each area of your life for the best results.
“My second rule is being present. When I get home I focus on my children and my family. The messages will continue to come through now that we’re connected everywhere. Instagram, WhatsApp, email.”
“Unless you psychically switch off your phone you’ll continue working all day and all night.”
With 2.3 million Instagram followers, Natalia probably receives more messages than most, but she credits turning off her phone to the close bond she has with her family.
“Giving 100 per cent when I’m in working mode is just as important as giving 100 per cent when I’m at home.”
For Natalia, that doesn’t just mean spending time with her children. She’s also very invested in their independence and career development.
“There’s truth to the snowflake generation,” she says, “I see it in a lot of young people. They want to skip the coffee bringing jobs and go straight into the high paying jobs.”
“They all have the mentality of founders, which is why you have to invest time in your children and tell them to work hard.”
The term “snowflake” is used as a derogatory term to describe a person who thinks the world revolves around them and are shocked to hear an opinion they don’t like.
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Even at this point in her career, she believes her job is made up of “10 per cent of passion and things that I actually enjoy doing and 90 per cent of boring routine jobs.”
She’s keen to pass this knowledge down to the younger generations, particularly her children.
“You have to work hard. Take Grace Coddington (creative director at large for American Vogue). I’ve been working with her for 20 years and even now she still puts the shoes on the models herself.”
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This approach to parenting is the opposite of what is frequently described as “helicopter parenting”. This is where the parents hover over the child and swoop in at even the slightest problem.
The UK is currently enduring increasing rates of child obesity. One of the reasons for this is that “helicopter parents” struggle to say no to their children.
“I can’t believe how parents could feed their children this heavy processed food. It obviously can’t be good for the child. Some of the products are much older than your baby.”
In fact, she feels so strongly about this that she has recently invested in Little Tummy, a kind of Deliveroo for babies with an aim to provide parents with a healthy alternative to traditional baby food.
The co-founder of Little Tummy, Dr Sophie Niedermaier-Patramani, shares her enthusiasm with Natalia, which is why the supermodel described them as a “good match.”
“You have to be persistent when offering new tastes to babies. It can take 10 to 15 tries for a baby to get used to a new taste or texture, don’t lose heart.” Dr Niedermaier-Patramani says.
The cold-pressure process Little Tummy retains means that the food will still taste good without skimping on nutritional value.
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The last piece of advice Natalia has for mums trying to “juggle it all”? She describes it as her “biggest challenge” to encourage her children to pursue what they’re good at without being forceful.
“I say to my children, who are you doing this for? If they’re doing an hour of piano for my sake or to compete with a family member or friend, then stop. They have to do it for them.”
“But, if they momentarily don’t want to learn piano because they want to go to a rock concert in the evening instead then that’s a different story. It’s a fine balance and it’s the biggest challenge we have as parents.”