I meet Candice Swanepoel on a dreary almost-winter evening in Manhattan, at the downtown studio where she’s wrapping up a shoot for a spring issue of the Victoria’s Secret catalogue. I watch the last “look” for which she perches on a prop bed in
the middle of a concrete studio filled with various fluffy-looking items (furry pillows, pastel ottomans, etc…) and models an electric-yellow bra-and-panty set. She rolls into dozens of bed-appropriate poses, one after the next, camera flashing. In action, she’s extraordinary — professional and focused, all business, killing each shot. A dozen people right out of fashion-shoot central casting, all wearing shades of black or grey, stand by watching every move. When the shoot ends, Swanepoel changes into civilian clothes (a loose, long-sleeve white-cotton T-shirt, tight blue jeans with gaping holes in the knees, black Nikes) and we chat for a while on a couch nearby. Later that night she is meeting up with other Angels to watch the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show prime-time broadcast: “We all watch it together and scream,” she says, conjuring an image out of
a million male fantasies. “We eat popcorn and laugh at ourselves.”
I wouldn’t say she’s more beautiful in person than she is in her pictures, but it’s a different kind of beautiful — a more natural, warmer, less cartoonish beautiful. She has faint and lovely crinkles in the corners of her eyes when she smiles, which is often. When I told my mum that I’d be interviewing Candice, she e-mailed back: “That supermodel looks warmer than most — she has a great smile.” It’s
true. When you look at thousands of Candice photos, you see lots of different people in her. She has that chameleonlike quality common
to great models. From some angles, she can look like a young Cameron Diaz, from others, Uma Thurman. But after a while, the things that consistently leap out are that friendly-but-dazzling smile and her near-supernatural hip-to-waist ratio. She’s the kind of girl I’d probably fantasise about suffocating at a middle school slumber party (just kidding!), although she probably wouldn’t have ever been there to begin with — or at least not for long.
By Edith Zimmerman
For the full interview grab the June 2015 issue of MAXIM, in stores from May 21 to June 18.
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