The Stunning Transformation Of Candice Swanepoel

With bombshell blond hair, crystal blue eyes, and a winning smile, Candice Swanepoel embodies a physical representation of angelic beauty, wings included. The supermodel is best known for her work as a Victoria's Secret Angel, a title that she earned in 2010 (via Vogue). What many fans may not realize about Swanepoel, however, is that her glamorous life as an international supermodel is something that she could have never imagined from her humble beginnings as a child growing up on a dairy farm in South Africa (via

Though a chance encounter led to Swanepoel entering the world of high fashion, her dedication to her craft demonstrated the supermodel's unimpeachable work ethic and passion. Through maintaining a vigilant fitness routine and crafting a sustainable diet for herself, Swanepoel continues to dominate the runway as one of Victoria's Secret's most iconic Angels of all time. Here is the stunning transformation of Candice Swanepoel and the journey that led her to finding and owning her wings.

Candice Swanepoel grew up in a farm in South Africa

Far removed from any bustling city life, Candice Swanepoel spent her earliest years in Mooi River, a small farming town in South Africa (via For the first 13 years of her life, Swanepoel grew up on a meat and dairy farm with very little knowledge of the fashion industry. In an interview with Elle, Swanepoel opened up about how her hometown had caused confusion in the past when introducing herself to new people. "You know that 'Mean Girls' quote? It happens to me a lot in real life," she told the magazine. "'So if you're from Africa, why are you white?!'"

Swanepoel remembers her childhood spent on the farm with fondness. "I was very wild," she said in an interview with Fashionista. Though growing up on a farm in South Africa is a fairly unconventional childhood, Swanepoel insists that it was a pretty typical rural upbringing. "People think I have lions in my backyard. I mean, I grew up on a farm," the supermodel told Elle. "I didn't have lions in the garden but I did go on safari for holiday, and we had animals on our farm," she explained.

She spent her adolescence at an all-girls boarding school

At age 13, Candice Swanepoel made the move from her family's meat and dairy farm to an all-girls boarding school in South Africa. "My parents were humble. They're farmers, but they worked really hard to send us to good schools," she told Elle in an interview. According to IOL, Swanepoel attended St. Anne's Diocesan College, which served as the sister institution to the all-boys boarding school her older brother attended.

Her education in an all-girls boarding school helped prepare the supermodel for a future career that can have its less-than-glamorous moments. "I loved the experience of it, but it's definitely unique," she said to Elle. The girls resided in what the school called "houses," which were dorms that accommodated about 70 girls each. "You learn how to get up and out of bed so fast," Swanepoel recalled. Upon reflection, Swanepoel credited the disciplined lifestyle of boarding school as an experience that would help her acclimate to a lifestyle of sharing spaces and traveling with other models for brand campaigns.

A talent scout noticed Candice Swanepoel at a flea market when she was 15

Candice Swanepoel was only 15 when she got scouted at a flea market in South Africa by a talent agent (via Self). In a surprising turn of fate, the young teenager would soon be living the life of an international supermodel with modeling gigs booked all across Europe. Although this chance encounter has long since contributed to Swanepoel's Cinderella story, one modeling agency insists that Swanepoel was already modeling at age 14.

The South African news source Independent Online ran a story in 2013 that interviewed Irene Olivier, who had reportedly scouted Swanepoel before her legendary meeting at the flea market. "I'm very proud to say that I discovered Candice at St. Anne's Diocesan College in Hilton in 2003 when I did a talk at the school in connection with starting modeling courses," Olivier told Independent Online. "I soon realized she had a lot of potential and asked her to sign a contract with Irene's Models while she was still doing her course," she added. To back up her claims, Olivier produced portfolio shots of Swanepoel at 14 and an invoice for one of Swanepoel's paid gigs. While Swanepoel's team has yet to respond to the claim, Olivier assured readers in 2013 that she harbored no ill will towards the supermodel.

It took some time for Candice Swanepoel to adjust to the modeling life

Though Candice Swanepoel now enjoys the life of an international supermodel and star, her first few years in modeling nearly cut her career short. Swanepoel has opened up about her early career in interviews, and distinctly remembers her initial awkwardness when she first began. "When I first started modeling, I was younger and quite shy," she told Vogue in an interview.

Swanepoel's first major gig came in the form of an editorial shoot for Italian Vogue. The supermodel looked back on her first Vogue appearance and laughs. "I really didn't even know how to move," she said in an interview with Fashionista

It also took her a while to get used to the environment of the fashion world in general, and as a teen model, Swanepoel often felt the stress of the fashion industry eating away at her mental health. "Every day, I was working with different people who were speaking different languages, so I was never able to form any relationships. I just wanted to go home," she told Self in an interview. Combined with the industry's notoriety for body shaming, Swanepoel became overwhelmed by the unstable environment she had been thrust into at an early age.

Candice Swanepoel walked in her first Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in 2007

Candice Swanepoel was on the verge of leaving the modeling industry at age 17. Traveling around the world left the young model feeling lonely and exhausted, and she was ready to call it quits. In the nick of time, however, Swanepoel's agent received a call from Victoria's Secret. "My agent said, 'They want to see you. If you get the show, will you move to New York?' I said, 'If I got Victoria's Secret, I'd do anything,'" Swanepoel told Self.

Candice Swanepoel was eager to join the Victoria's Secret family. After years of working as a solo model, Swanepoel craved the opportunity to work with a support network. "I said to my mom, 'I want this so badly, I just want to be a part of something,'" she told W Magazine. With high-profile brands in her portfolio at the time of her audition with Victoria's Secret, Swanepoel was ready to go all in. Though awkwardness in front of the camera and body image issues had held Swanepoel back earlier in her career, she was more than ready to walk down one of the most highly anticipated lingerie runways in the world. "By the time I had the opportunity to wear lingerie and swimwear for Victoria's Secret, I was confident and it just felt like the next step in my modeling career," she told Vogue in an interview.

She credits her professionalism as the key to her success

When asked about what Swanepoel credits as her key to success as a young and up-and-coming model, she said that her professionalism went a long way. In the cut-throat world of modeling and high fashion, "being pleasant" will get you far, Swanepoel said in an interview with The Lowdown.

Swanepoel's upbringing on a farm greatly contributed to the development of her work ethic. In an interview with Self, she recalled waking up at 4 a.m. with her father to get work done around the farm. "Growing up surrounded by so much life and death and realness shaped my personality. Africa is not for wussies. It's in our culture to be hard workers," she said. Her schedule as a model is greatly reminiscent of her days at the farm. According to Self, Swanepoel's work day usually starts at 5 a.m. and lasts until sunset. Then, the supermodel will go home to complete an intense full-body workout. As a year-round swimsuit and lingerie model, the hustle never stops. "I lead a really balanced lifestyle. It is important to eat healthy but also allow yourself to indulge a bit," she told Vogue, when asked about how she manages to keep in such great shape.

In 2011, Candice Swanepoel opened the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show

After a few years of becoming a staple model in the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, Swanepoel earned her angel wings in 2010, along with models Lily Aldridge and Erin Heatherton (via CBS News). In her very first show as an official Angel, Swanepoel was the face of the show's advertising campaign and appeared on ad displays and the show's invitations. Just a year after her initiation into the brand, Swanepoel made a major career leap by being selected to start off the 2011 runway.

In an interview with CBS, fellow Angel Adriana Lima revealed that the newly crowned Angel, Swanepoel, would be opening the 2011 Victoria's Secret Fashion show. The show featured musical acts by Maroon 5, Jay-Z, and Nicki Minaj, amongst various other celebrity performers. The show cost a whopping $12 million, as reported by Vogue, and no expense was spared in order to throw the massive event. For the brand new addition to the Victoria's Secret family, Swanepoel had ample opportunity to hit the ground running, or rather, flying, as angels tend to do.

Candice Swanepoel got engaged to her longtime sweetheart in 2015

Candice Swanepoel met Hermann Nicoli, a fellow model, at age 17. The two were both working in Paris at the time of their encounter, and quickly became romantically involved (via Elle). Nicoli, who is Brazilian, taught Swanepoel Portuguese, which came in handy as the two frequently visited each other in their home countries throughout the years.

After 10 years of a relationship that spanned continents, Nicoli finally popped the question to Swanepoel in 2015. At the time of their engagement, a source told E! News, "She couldn't be happier," regarding their newfound relationship status. Any time that Swanepoel managed to get a vacation from her life in the spotlight, Brazil was her go-to place to be.

"I've been going since I was 17, and the first time I went, I fell in love with it. Just the energy, and I feel alive when I go down there," Swanepoel told W magazine in 2012. The model even admitted to having a place of her own in Brazil, which served as a testament to her love for the country. Despite the couple's ties to Brazil, New York City was their primary home throughout their busy careers, and they even purchased a condo together in 2010, where they resided until 2016 (via Observer).

The model became a mother in 2016

Victoria's Secret Angels have a reputation for being strong and powerful women, and motherhood has never been an obstacle for the international stars. Candice Swanepoel joined some of her fellow Angels in motherhood when she gave birth to her first son, Anacã, in 2016 (via People). The supermodel returned to the runway just 8 months after her son's birth, and has since given birth to her second child, Ariel, in 2018.

In 2012, W magazine asked Swanepoel if she had ever considered starting a family during her modeling career. "I think about the girls taking care of their business and their children and everything. It's a lot," she said. "But you make it work, and at a certain point you long for your own family, something more than just work." Since bringing Anacã into the world, however, Swanepoel seems to be crushing it. The supermodel is a natural birth enthusiast, and made a stunning recovery to the runway before a year had passed since her son's birth. "I was actually surprised how quickly the body can go back. We're amazing creatures," she told People.

Swanepoel continued to dominate her career even after her second son was born. "It's pretty intense, but it's amazing," she told People in 2018. In 2019, Swanepoel revealed that she was single in an Instagram Stories Q&A, but little else is known about her split with her ex-fiancé and father of her children (via Elle Australia).

Candice Swanepoel started her own swimwear brand in 2018

Candice Swanepoel is known for being an international supermodel and supermom, but in 2018, she became an entrepreneur too. Swanepoel created her own swimwear line that sought to bring fashion and sustainability to the beach. Her brand, Tropic of C, creates timeless swimwear pieces that can survive the dreaded trend cycle and avoid the wastefulness of fast-fashion. "I wanted the line to be something I could be proud of from all angles, not just adding to the problem. I want to leave the world a better place, not worse," she told Fashion Week Daily.

Tropic of C has allowed Swanepoel to push herself for the better. "When I started this company I knew nothing about business. I've enjoyed stepping into my entrepreneurial power," she told Fashion Week Daily in an interview in 2021. The young brand managed to survive the initial setbacks of the pandemic in 2020, and continues to thrive. As Swanepoel continues to lend her talents to the development and longevity of the brand, she says the key to her success is living in the moment. "Life is all about learning and evolving, so I'm looking forward to what lessons 2022 has in store for me, both professionally and personally," she said.