Photographs by CHRIS COLLS
Styling by MAYA ZEPINIC
it’s a sweltering 92 degrees in Manhattan, but Behati Prinsloo, 25, is a picture of cool as she walks into a SoHo cafe wearing a tank, jeans, sneakers and a hat. No matter where work takes her (she flits between NYC and LA), the Victoria’s Secret Angel travels with a model’s uniform. “I have a bag that I don’t unpack for months because it’s the same stuff back and forth,” she says. “I keep it simple: cut-off shorts, Dr. Martens, Rag & Bone jeans, lots of vintage rock tees from secondhand shops.”
In the same manner Patti Hansen and Kate Moss have done in the past, Prinsloo embodies cool-girl style. “My look is grungy, very rock’n’roll,” she says. “I love the ’70s; I love the vibe. The music I listen to most is Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, punk. That’s why The EDIT’s shoot was so cool.”
Today, Prinsloo is three weeks away from becoming a newlywed. But by the time you read this, she will be married to Maroon 5 singer and judge of America’s The Voice,
Adam Levine. Understandably, she doesn’t want to reveal the details of her big day – which took place on July 19 in Los Cabos, Mexico – but with a wide smile, she tells me that she is “very, very excited – it’s going to be awesome”.
Manhattan is a long way from Grootfontein, Namibia, where Prinsloo was born, the only child of a preacher father and a church-choir singing mother. “I was a total tomboy,” Prinsloo says happily, sipping her glass of rosé. “My mom recently sent me pictures from when I was a kid – in every one where I’m wearing a dress, I look so cross. But, of course, I had to wear dresses for church.”
“I was a TOMBOY. My mum sent me pictures from when I was a KID – in ones where I’m in a dress, I look so CROSS”
16, Prinsloo visited Cape Town with her family. In a grocery store with her grandparents, she was approached by a photographer from Storm Model Management. “It was so weird,” she says. “Growing up, I’d look at magazines and think, ‘These pretty girls are actually doctors, right?’ I didn’t even know about Kate Moss.” When the photographer asked if she was a
model, Prinsloo was stunned. “I was tall, skinny and awkward, so I said, ‘No, I’m not!’ And my grandpa said, ‘Don’t talk to strangers!’
But her uncle insisted on taking her to see if the photographer was “legit”. He was, and Prinsloo spent the next three months living in Cape Town with six other models. “It was the best time,” she recalls. “I can’t believe my parents let me do it, because my dad is strict. But later he told me, ‘I let you go because it was a chance to see the world. We [couldn’t] give you the opportunity to travel; you [had to] experience life outside.’”
In 2009, Prinsloo made her Victoria’s Secret runway debut, receiving her ‘wings’ two years later and joining the ranks of Karlie Kloss and Adriana Lima. “I was so nervous in the beginning,” Prinsloo admits. “You’re in your underwear in front of all these staring people. But it really does motivate you to be your best and look your best. All the girls are doing squats backstage! Thankfully, I’ve never fallen over or had a [wardrobe] malfunction. I don’t have a good story about falling on my face,” she laughs.
“I was so NERVOUS [before my FIRST Victoria’s Secret show]. All the GIRLS are doing squats BACKSTAGE”
Abudding photographer, Prinsloo documents every show she walks in. “I have great backstage pictures,” she says. “I’ve thought about putting out a book of them.” She also uses her photography for philanthropic efforts: she and fellow model Coco Rocha went to post-earthquake Haiti to visit orphaned children with supplies and letters of hope from around the world. Prinsloo’s photos of her time there were auctioned off, with proceeds going to LakayPam, a non-profit organization that provides health care, education and shelter to poor children and orphans. “That was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever done or seen,” she says of the trip. “I really want to go back.” Until then, she will continue to snap pictures of “interesting characters on the street”, her husband and her friends, such as Lily Aldridge and Candice Swanepoel, for her 750,000-plus Instagram followers.
Aside from a “definite” plan to have children, Prinsloo doesn’t look too far into the future. “I have no expectations,” she shrugs, taking a last sip of wine. “Not in a bad way, but I’ve learned that you can’t plan ahead. I live day by day and see what happens. It’s vague, but I like it that way.”
Source: The Edit