The world is full of beautiful people. But being sexy dwarfs beauty — it is more than just a pretty face or nice physique. When you look at the Sexiest Girls we have chosen, you see a common factor: they all own their sexuality. There will always be critics, but being sexy is about having the cheers of admiration drown the whispers of jealousy.
So each week, let FIB give you a glimpse into our upcoming book, TOP MODELS Volume 63 — Sexiest Girls. Be warned, though: some of these women can make Kate Moss jealous.
What defines a model? Is it her slender physique? Or is it her pretty face?
Spoiler: it’s neither.
In later interviews, agents at Ice Models and Kevin Ellis (the man who spotted Candice Swanepoel) said it was the way Swanepoel carried herself — the quiet charisma born of a confident, grounded centre — that separated her from millions of other girls.
Born in Mooi River, South Africa on 20 October, 1988, Swanepoel came from what she describes as a conservative family. Swanepoel was discovered in a Durban flea market aged 15 by model scout Ellis. From there, they sent some polaroids to renowned booking agent, Kirsty Reilly, who sent them to London-based agency Select. The agency responded within 25minutes, laying the first tile in Swanepoel’s long, successful path.
By 2005, aged 17, Swanepoel made her runway debut for Tommy Hilfiger’s show in NY, as well as walking in Milan for Dolce & Gabbana. That same year, she got her first magazine cover, featuring for VOGUE Hellas’ October issue. In seeing this cover, Swanepoel’s potential is evident — her presence in front of the camera is uniquely commanding, while her prominent cheeks portray an endearing vibe.
Swanepoel continued her rise through the industry, walking for a number of designers in the 2006 NY Fashion Show including Betsey Johnson, Cynthia Rowley, Sass & Bide and Philosophy di Alberta Foretti.
The next year in 2007, Swanepoel would feature in her first of nine consecutive Victoria’s Secret Fashion Shows. Earning this opportunity at the tender age of 19 reinforces her maturity — both internally and externally — as she walked alongside veterans Adriana Lima (debut 1999) and Heidi Klum (1997), as well as rookies Behati Prinsloo (2007) and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (2006).
In 2010, Swanepoel received modelling’s Holy Grail as she became a VS Angel. This confirmed her status as a recognised international sex symbol, joining the industry’s upper echelons occupied by the likes of Miranda Kerr, Alessandra Ambrosio, and Lily Alridge. That year, Swanepoel also shot for the Spring/Summer collections of Guess Swimwear and Victoria’s Secret Online. While in terms of covers, she featured on GQ South Africa (May) and Cosmopolitan South Africa (June).
By 2011, Swanepoel was undoubtedly one of the world’s most recognisable models. It’s therefore no surprise that she was part of the Fall/Winter campaigns for Ralph Lauren’s Big Pony collection, Carina Duek, Versace Eyewear and Versace’s fragrance, Bright Crystal. She was also part of Spring/Summer campaigns for True Religion, Agua Bendita and VS‘ famous swimwear catalogue, Swim. Swanepoel featured in a number of magazine covers that year, including VOGUE Italia (February), GQ Spain (March), VOGUE Hellas (April), GQ Russia (April), VOGUE Portugal (July), Harper’s Bazaar Russia (November), V Magazine (Winter) and Marie Claire South Africa (November).
Much of the same success followed in 2012, with Swanepoel shooting a number of Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter campaigns. The former included shoots for Miu Miu, Versace’s Bright Crystal fragrance, Prabal Gurung and VS. While for Fall/Winter, Swanepoel featured in the campaigns of Brian Atwood, Oscar de la Renta, John Frieda and Versace Jeans.
It is clear that Swanepoel was at the peak of her powers and would be equally powerful at the time of writing. This is evident in the plethora of magazine covers she was on, including Harper’s Bazaar Spain (January), Harper’s Bazaar Czech Republic (March), GQ British (May), VOGUE Japan (June), W Korea (June), Muse (Summer), Numéro Tokyo (September) and ELLE Brazil (September).
2013 was a monumental year for Swanepoel for two reasons. Firstly, she was handed the much-coveted honour of featuring on the cover of Swim. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, she was the sole wearer of that year’s Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show Fantasy Bra, designed by Pascal Mouawad and valued at US $10 million. Wearing the bra is iconic — it’s the photo that everyone remembers. To put it in perspective, other Fantasy Bra models include Miranda Kerr, Alessandra Ambrosio and Gisele Bundchen. In addition to this, Swanepoel rounded out 2013 by beginning three-year associations with Max Factor and Versace, as well as featuring in several magazine covers.
Fast forward to 2015 and Swanepoel is still soaring the enviable heights she was years ago. She was the face of Givenchy and Givenchy Jeans’ Fall/Winter campaigns, as well as Juicy Couture’s Viva La Juicy fragrance. In case she wasn’t famous enough, Swanepoel was part of VS’ Superbowl XLIX ad, seen by more than 115 million global viewers. The South African also featured on the covers for Self (March), Maxim USA (March) and Lui France (September).
Swanepoel has been equally powerful on the philanthropy front. In 2013, she starred in the ad for Operation Smile, a non-governmental organisation that helps kids with facial deformities. That same year, Swanepoel, along with VS figures Lily Alridge and Liu Wen, took part in Michael Kors’ Watch Hunger Stop campaign. The girls posed in campaign shirts, encouraging others to post their own photos — with Kors pledging to donate 50 meals for each photo posted.
In 2014, Swanepoel was the face of Bottletop’s collection, designed by Narciso Rodriguez. The bags were made with discarded ring pulls collected by local Brazilian communities, with generated profits funding local projects.
Swanepoel designed a denim capsule collection for mothers2mothers in 2015, with profits supporting the AIDS charity.
Keep an eye out for FIB’s upcoming book, TOP MODELS Volume 63 — Sexiest Girls.