Candice Swanepoel is a woman who will literally stop traffic. She's tall, blonde and a Victoria's Secret Angel to boot. But is there something in her genes that gives her these striking looks? South Africa is a cultural melting pot, combining backgrounds from all over the world. Because of this, beauties like Swanepoel, Charlize Theron and Gina Athans have risen up from this land across the sea and become household names worldwide. Swanepoel is the youngest up-and-comer of the group.
Swanepoel is from Mooi River in South Africa, a town about 100 miles from the coast, so she wasn't exactly what you'd call a beach bum. In fact, she grew up on a dairy and beef farm, according to her website
While wandering around a Durban flea market one day, she was spotted by a modeling scout. Swanepoel was only 15 at the time and attending an all-girls boarding school. Only a year later, she was earning '5,000 ($6,550) a day as a model and traveling all across Europe. At 18, she moved to New York City and became a full-time model. Swanepoel knows she gave up a typical childhood, but feels that what's she's gotten in return was well worth the risk.
It's important to note, that if South Africa wasn't a wealth of beautiful people of all creeds and colors, a modeling talent scout wouldn't have been trolling the flea market. What he found that day was the face of an Angel.
Shortly after moving to New York, Swanepoel found a home within the Victoria's Secret family and credits them with much of her growth as both a person and a model. As an Angel, she's able to get her face, name and personality out there more than with many other companies.
While she didn't grow up on the beach, Swanepoel says, "Despite the high-profile life I lead, I'm still happiest and most comfortable hiding away on a beach with a good pair of sunglasses, soft sand and some Reggae music."
And who wouldn't love that accent? It seems as though having an accent and moving somewhere else endears people to her even more.
Ed Razek, Dynamic Chief Marketing Officer of Victoria's Secret, said of Swanepoel, "Candice is sweet but also worldly and sophisticated for someone so young, South Africa is remote'it's far to travel to the fashion capitals of the world. Candice has spent time reading and learning, and it's given her an intellectual edge. She's always an absolute delight to be around. Her lilting accent is so pleasant, it sounds like she's speaking with a smile."
It's possible to credit that to her humble and unlikely beginnings in a little farm town. Just 23, we'll continue to see her gracing the pages of magazines for years to come. One thing is certain from the Candice Swanepoel story: South Africa is a hidden land of exotic beauties just waiting for their big break.