At this point in her career, Candice Swanepoel has walked hundreds of runways and shot hundreds of campaigns. Discovered at the age of 15, the now 28-year-old Victoria’s Secret Angel embodies the epitome of what a successful model looks like these days. And she’s not done yet.
After taking a break from modeling to expand her family—she gave birth to son Anacan with partner Hermann Nicoli in October—the South African native is back working, fiercely taking on the modeling scene via runways, campaigns, appearances and more.
In fact, one of her first post-baby gigs was shooting a campaign for Gap with her son. “He’s a great model, but I felt like I was worrying about him too much because we had to wake him up from a nap and I wasn’t too happy about that!” she says.
Her latest job: Fronting the Juicy Couture campaign for its new fragrance, Viva La Juicy Glacé, an update of the brand’s signature Viva La Juicy scent, but this time, infused with crisp ingredients like frozen mandarin, pear sorbet, jasmine, vanilla and sandalwood. (It’s available for $96 for 3.4 oz. at macys.com.)
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“Each Juicy shoot that I do, they always portray a very fresh, flirty, fun woman,” Swanepoel tells PeopleStyle at an event launching the fragrance in New York City recently. And it helps that she actually likes the scent: “It’s one of my favorites,” she says, noting it’s among her top five ever. “It’s elegant. It’s a mixture of the fruity and earthy smells that I really like in this fragrance.”
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Next up, she’ll be preparing for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in November in between projects this fall. It will be her big return as an Angel, since she missed the show last year due to the birth of her son.
And any pressure to look a certain way as a model, post-baby, is self-inflicted, she says. “We’re amazing creatures,” she muses.
“I was actually surprised how quickly the body can go back,” she says. “Definitely at the three- or four-month mark, I was like, ‘Oh, is it ever going back?’ But I was just thinking of taking care of the baby. Breast-feeding also helps.”
With a life that’s always on the move—she’s constantly traveling between Los Angeles, New York, Brazil and around the world—she says being true to herself has helped her every step of the way. “I’ve always stuck by certain principles, and haven’t changed them for certain situations,” she says of her secret to success.
“That’s how I built my career—it’s a natural personality trait.”