Nina Agdal: Feet firmly on the ground

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She’s stunningly beautiful and genetically blessed, with a modeling career that has already reached incredible heights. Within the last two years, Nina Agdal has established herself among some of the top names in the modeling world. Having appeared in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues twice, earning her the title of “Rookie of the Year” in 2012, as well as endorsing iconic brands, such as Bebe, Billabong, Victoria’s Secret, Frederick’s of Hollywood, Macy’s and Banana Moon Swimwear, even appearing in the 2013 Super Bowl television commercial for Carl’s Jr/Hardee’s, this Danish-born beauty has already proven that she’s the next big thing in modelling. Nina may only be 22 years old, but she can be regarded as one of the most alluring and intriguing individuals of our generation. Her career is already set to reach epic portions, following in the likes of fellow Sports Illustrated alumni Kate Upton and Brooklyn Decker. She exudes charisma, confidence, with a maturity well beyond her years. She can even be considered as a positive role model for young women. It is no doubt that Nina Agdal can in fact be regarded as the next “it girl” in the modeling industry. She epitomizes the starry-eyed girl who dared to dream big, and ultimately succeeded in accomplishing her dream in America. In this interview, Nina gives us a refreshingly honest and down-to-earth perspective on her modeling career thus far, as she continues her journey upwards.

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Natalie: Nina, your journey from humble beginnings to Sports Illustrated model is truly remarkable. When you were first starting out, did you ever think that you would reach such phenomenal heights?

Nina: Not really, I never thought I’d come this far, it’s been hard but totally worth it. Mostly because it’s what I’ve wanted since I was a little kid. Such a dream that came true.

Natalie: You moved from your native Denmark to Miami when you were only 19 years old. How difficult was the transition? Also, what made you decide to try your luck at modeling in Miami and not Los Angeles or NYC?

Nina: It was pretty hard. I was still young. Younger than I am now. And it meant leaving my family and friends. And when I moved I had heard about people looking for models at some agencies, and I decided to try my luck there. But I eventually got to NYC and LA, as well.

Natalie: What’s the modeling industry like in Denmark?

Nina: It’s huge. The modelling industry is amazing there but they mostly want pro models and not beginners. That’s one of the reasons I decided to move out of there. But when I came back [to Denmark] people were calling for me, for shows, events, and it was seriously wonderful.

Natalie: Nina, would you describe your journey into the modeling world as a smooth one, or did you face any obstacles or struggles along the way to becoming one of today’s most recognizable faces in the modelling industry?

Nina: Both. It was quite hard for me to get into the modelling industry but kept trying until I was noticed. Since then everything has been pretty smooth for me and mostly easy. But it also gets hard sometimes. But like I said, it’s totally worth it when you’re doing something you love. If it’s that way, you stop looking at it like a job.

Natalie: What motivated you to pursue a professional modeling career, and did you always want to be a model?

Nina: I always watched fashion shows on tv when I was a kid and I thought “Oh, I want to be a model”. I had my parents support me since then, so it was pretty easy for me to be motivated. I loved watching models, their beauty and how they looked. And also, I liked knowing how they were off the stage and in normal life. And I found it amazing. This answers the other question. Yes, my dream was to be a model since I was a kid, and thankfully it came true.

Natalie: Nina, Elite Model Management signed you at the tender age of 15. Was it difficult starting out at such a young age in a very cut-throat, highly competitive industry?

Nina: Well, yeah it was quite hard. I was alone and had to start from zero while I watched other models do their stuff as professionals, while I was starting from the bottom. But people were nice and polite to me, so I easily grew up in that industry

Natalie: Nina, can you describe you earliest experience/s in modeling? Did anyone take you under their wing, so to speak, or were there any individuals who tried to discourage you from pursuing your dreams? And if so, did that make you even more determined to succeed?

Nina: Well, there are a lot of people telling you “you can’t”. But it’s up to you to prove them wrong or accept the things they say. A lot of people told me I was just wasting my time, that it was hard to be a model nowadays but I kept fighting for what I wanted. I mean giving up doesn’t help at all. I didn’t exactly want to prove them wrong. I wanted to show I can, for me. Because I knew I was capable of doing it.

Natalie: Has the modelling industry changed since you began your modeling career? Do you believe that it has evolved positively or negatively?

Nina: Yeah, it has. It has become more demanding but it’s good, because it makes you work harder and become better, but it’s still fun. That never goes away.

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Natalie: Nina, you’ve been referred to as the next Kate Upton. Do you plan on following in her footsteps and that of another fellow Sports Illustrated model, Brooklyn Decker, who have launched successful careers in Hollywood?

Nina: I’m a huge fan of Kate. I’d love to follow in her footsteps. I mean, she’s one of my role models to be honest. But I have to work hard at it. She is really wonderful. And I’m looking forward to it, but no one knows what future holds.

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Natalie: Nina, what are some of the key steps that you believe are important to becoming a successful model such as yourself?

Nina: Believe in yourself, that’s the main thing. Don’t let anyone bring you down and tell you that you can’t. Never give up and never forget where you come from. Keep your feet on the ground. Fight for what you want. It’s gonna be rough, but the prize is marvellous.

Natalie: Nina, what advice would you give a young aspiring model?

Nina: Don’t be afraid of following your dreams. Have high expectations, but don’t fool yourself. Never stop being yourself. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. You’re good enough.

Natalie: Nina, you can be considered such a positive role model for young women. Do you believe that the modeling industry can sometimes promote unrealistic expectations of what is considered the “perfect” shape and size that women should aspire to?

Nina: Yes, it actually happens most of the times. But it’s not about the perfect shape and size. This industry requires a fit body, but not starving yourself by eating healthy and working out. Of course, you can eat whatever you want, or at least I do.

Natalie: Is there anyone in the modeling world that you idolize or look up to?

Nina: Tyra Banks. She is seriously awesome. Love her.

Natalie: What inspires or motivates you in life?

Nina: My family, my friends, my fans, work partners but mostly my mom. She always keeps me going.

Natalie: What are your hobbies and interests outside of modeling, and how do you stay grounded?

Nina: I like the gym, sports, basketball, swimming, going out with friends. Well, it’s all about remembering who you are. My parents raised me with an education of never forgetting who I truly am, and where I actually come from.

Natalie: Nina, you’ve graced the cover of Ocean Drive, Bazar, Femina, Esquire Mexico, and most notably Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition, to name a few. What other magazines would you like to appear on the front page of, and why?

Nina: Elle and People, It’s been one of my dreams since I can remember. Haha!

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Natalie: Nina, you’ve modeled for Victoria’s Secret, Macy’s, Frederick’s of Hollywood, Bebe (incidentally, one of my favorite stores. I must confess many of the outfits that you have modeled for them, have encouraged me to make many purchases!), and also the iconic Australian swimwear brand, Billabong. One day, do you plan on launching your very own swimwear collection or fashion label/line?

Nina: I’m not sure about it yet. I mean I’d love to. It would be amazing. But now I’m focused on modelling. But having my own swimwear collection is definitely in my plans. I hope it can be done.

Natalie: Are there any photographers that you would like to work with, or have worked with and hold in high esteem?

Nina: Terry Richardson. I worked with him a few months ago and it was awesome. People talk senseless stuff about him, but he is actually pretty nice and polite. Was such an honour to work with him.

Natalie: Nina, what do you consider to be one the highlights of your career thus far, and why?

Nina: Well, to be honest there are many things. I can’t just pick one but I can only say it has changed my life, in a positive way.

Natalie: What do you believe is one of the greatest pitfalls that an aspiring model can fall into? And what advice do you give them in order to avoid these pitfalls?

Nina: People trying to make you get naked the first time you work with them, without signing, without anything. People trying to make you feel like you’re less, and that they’re better than you. First, you have to be sure the company is real, and that you feel like YOU are ready. If you’re not, no one can force you to do things you don’t want to do. Ignore people who try to bring you down. Most of the time, they’re just jealous and have an ego, I mean, it’s okay to be sure about yourself but without crossing boundaries. Feet on the ground.

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Natalie: Nina, do you have a mantra that you live you, and would love to share with your fans?

Nina: “Live like you’re at the bottom, even when you’re at the top”.

Natalie: What’s a typical day like in the life of Nina Agdal?

Nina: I mainly wake up early when I have a photo shoot or some event. I get my makeup done, then hair. It takes like two hours sometimes, then clothes, etc. On a free day, it’s just tons of food and movies with a friend or at the beach. That’s simply awesome and I love it.

Natalie: Nina, what are your aspirations or hopes for your future?

Nina: I hope to become a better model, to get the chance to work and meet more people. Get my own clothing line, or something. That’s totally in my plans.

 

 

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