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Natalia Vodianova Says She was an “Ugly Duckling” Before Becoming a Model

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Russian model Natalia Vodianova has opened up on her childhood, admitting that when she was young she was often bullied by her classmates in school. Natalia had a poor upbringing and admits she had to sometimes skip school in order to help her mother, while she also had a handicapped sister who she helped care for:  "The kids in my class didn't like me much anyway, so my [eccentric] way of dressing didn't help! I grew up with a handicapped sister, with serious autism. I would never invite anyone back home, I was studious, serious. Sometimes I would miss school to work with my mum, selling vegetables on the market."

She may have made millions from her gorgeous looks but Natalia says she was an "ugly ducking" and grew in to her features over time: "I wasn't pretty, I was skinny, very tall. It's the old cliché of the ugly duckling model, but it's true! My life wasn't easy. But deep down inside, something was telling me it was going to happen for me, that everything would work out."

Natalia now spends a lot of her time focusing on charity work when she isn't modeling and says her work with charity gives her life more meaning: "My life is rich, diverse. I respect and admire people who dedicate their lives to the fashion industry. But, personally, with my background, childhood and values, I can't just be satisfied with a life solely devoted that that. I've always seen this industry as an inspiring and powerful universe. But my heart is taking me elsewhere."

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