5 minutes with Adriana Lima: "I love getting older"
Touched by an angel
Adriana Lima is a name and face that needs no introduction, but for the sake of carving out a good story, here's a summary: Brazilian, beautifully so. Model for Victoria's Secret fashion show since 1999. Mother to daughters Sienna and Valentina. Received her own wax statue at Madame Tussauds New York City in 2015. Borrowed her signature pose from a face she used to make when rebelling against her mother in her childhood. First-time visitor to Singapore, all of her 1.78-metre frame in a white body-hugging dress, standing mere inches away from me.
We're on the second floor of the Victoria's Secret duplex in Mandarin Gallery. Lima has just introduced the Body by Victoria collection and now has only five minutes to spare. This Victoria's Secret Angel powers through a packed schedule, which later involved tea at Arteastiq and cocktails at Gibson (her choice drink: My Next Mistake, a concoction of vodka, beetroot, raspberry and orange). So what do you ask someone as iconic as Lima when you're strapped for time? Solution A: Do the research and squeeze in as many questions she's probably never been asked before. For someone as prolific as the 35-year-old, there's a chance she's been asked everything under the sun, from her favourite colours (emerald green and red) to her guilty pleasures (chocolate cake). Solution B: Bring up politics and women's rights, both hot button issues which saw Lima herself contributing to W Magazine's I Am An Immigrant video alongside 80 other fashion celebrities. Solution C: Ask her five questions, hope for the best and try not to gape.
I went with Solution C. Here's what you probably didn't know about Lima, who's equally proud to show off the three new styles that have joined the Body by Victoria lineup as she is to embrace nerves and getting older.
What's your definition of the word, "sexy"?
First of all, I never considered myself sexy. Everyone else gave me that title. I think that when you are unique, embrace yourself and you're confident, that's sexy to me.
You've previously shared that the third segment with The Weeknd at the recent Victoria's Secret fashion show in Paris is one that you felt connected to. Why?
I'm a big fan of The Weeknd, and I think he's such a talented musician. I love the song Starboy, so to have a chance to be walking the runway along to my favourite musician and my favourite song, I had a blast.
What do you think your favourite lingerie pieces say about your personality and strength as a model, and as a woman?
Red and emerald are actually my favourite colours. It's a little bit of my personality. I have a very strong personality and I think you can express that through what you wear and the colours. I was really happy. And the bra was a push-up bra. I felt a little bit like James Bond, a spy, so that's what I was trying to create — that character for the moment that I was walking in the runway.
You still get nervous before a Victoria's Secret show even after 19 years. Do you consider nerves a good thing?
Nervousness is not a bad thing. Nerves mean you actually care what you are doing and that what you are doing is important for you. I feel nervous at every single fashion show for Victoria's Secret. At my first one, I thought maybe that's going to go away after so many years. It doesn't. The reason is that the show gets bigger every year. It's a phenomenon in the world that so many people will be watching. It's not like a regular fashion show, it's like a performance with models, dancers and musicians are involved. Around the world, people wait for that moment. We indirectly bring so much happiness and cheer for people who are watching. So it's a big responsibility for us that everything will go well.
What advice would you give someone dealing with nerves and cold sweats before a big presentation, meeting or show?
Just embrace it, breathe, get out there and be yourself, and do what you know. That's it.
What's the best thing about getting older?
I love getting older. I believe that these days, women are getting older in such a graceful way. I think older women — I'm sorry, if there is anyone younger here — look even more beautiful than a lot of younger girls out there. It's true. Besides that, you have all the experience that you learn and wisdom that you get throughout life. You know who you are, you know what you want, and you are centered. There's nothing more beautiful than that.
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