With earnings of US$4.5mil (RM18.9mil) in 2015, Daria Werbowy is listed at number 12 under “The World’s Highest Paid Models” report by Forbes.
According to Forbes, Werbowy’s earnings rose from US$3mil (RM12.6mil) in 2014 owing to a busy year for the Ukrainian-Canadian model.
Known as the face of Lancome, 32-year-old Werbowy added to her beauty contract income by modelling for fashion labels such as Celine, H&M, Equipment and AG Jeans.
Born in Krakow in Poland in 1983, Werbowy migrated to Toronto, Canada with her family when she was three.
According to Model.com she signed with the Toronto modelling agency Susan J. Model and Talent Management at the age of 14, and subsequently signed with IMG where her career took off.
During her first season for Fall/Winter 2003, Werbowy landed two of the modelling world’s most coveted jobs.
She was picked as the face for Italian fashion powerhouse Prada’s Fall/Winter ad campaign and appeared on the cover for Vogue Italia for three consecutive months. In fact she has appeared on the international covers of Vogue issues more than 50 times!
Putting in the hours on runway shows Werbowy holds the record for opening and closing the most shows in one season.
Whether she’s wearing little or no make-up, Werbowy is naturally appealing and manages to look effortlessly chic in casual or couture.
Werbowy’s plum contract as the face of Lancome in 2004 was estimated to be about US$1mil (RM4.2mil) a year according to Model.com.
Lancome was created by Armand Petit Jean in 1935 and its iconic products include Tresor, La vie est belle, L’Absolu Rouge, Rouge in Love, Advanced Genifique, Visionnaire and Teint Miracle.
To celebrate her 10 years of collaboration with Lancome, Werbowy spoke to Star2 in an exclusive interview.
As Lancôme’s face, what has been the best part? “A lot of things! I’ve travelled a lot, giving me the privilege to learn about women in different places,” says Werbowy.
“I’ve also had the pleasure of becoming a woman with the brand. It has been a decade of transformation for me, and it has been a blessing to have my growth embraced by the brand as well.”
What do you think about French women and would you say you have the “French touch”?
“I wish I had more of the French touch! I think French women embody that combination of wisdom and strength. They’re progressive, open-minded and strong – all the qualities that I hope to have. There’s also romanticism and poetry in a French woman!”
French shirting brand Equipment obviously thinks Werbowy has that French savoire-faire as she was picked as the face for their ad campaigns. She also photographed a series of self-portraits for the brand.
“Lancome has an honest and real perception of women and its vision of femininity is elegant, not superficial. It’s a brand that is sensitive, generous and appeals straight to the heart of women globally. It’s actually representative of my personality!” she says.
When it comes to honesty, Werbowy has had conflicted feelings about her professional life and says in a September 2008 Fashion Magazine interview: “I’ve had a lot of mixed feelings about what I do. A lot of the time, I feel like I’m part of the problem when it comes to all the superficiality and vanity that impacts the way girls grow up”.
On the other hand, who can blame her? Winning the genetic lottery with a 1.8m frame and a cat-like silhouette, it naturally thrust her towards the lucrative world of modelling.
On fame, Werbowy says “I’m pretty under the radar. I don’t really deal with a lot of fame in the ‘pop culture’ way. I’m recognised and I enjoy the attention.”
“It’s fascinating to see the effect you can have on people. Of course it can affect me, make me feel insecure and wonder how to behave, but I try to be as truthful to myself in every decision I make. I wouldn’t want an extremely public life, that would be challenging.”
Having turned 30, Werbovy says she’s less tense and handles pressure better.
“Hopefully, I’m wiser, but I don’t feel old though as when I hang out with my 14-year-old cousin, I don’t feel disconnected or the age difference!”
While she’s on the plane flying from one job to another she uses essential oil compresses, which is like a herbal steam for her face, and hydrates with Lancome Hydra-Zen Moisturizer.
“I’m used to jetlag now, but recently I’ve been fanatical about drinking water on the plane. I stay hydrated by drinking a lot of water and the trick is to sleep through the day!”
“My mum and women around me always advise me to care for myself through exercises and massages. I also do yoga every morning and absolutely remove all my make-up in the evenings!”
For someone who’s been rewarded for her beauty Werbowy says, “I don’t think you can define beauty. Beauty resides in so many shapes and colours. More importantly, a woman is beautiful when she has a combination of strength and wisdom.”
When she’s not working the runway, Werbowy can be found close to nature – sailing.
“When we moved to Canada, my father taught us sailing. For me, it’s the way to be the most disconnected from our fast-paced world and be reconnected to nature in a very raw way.”
“When you’re sailing you’re vulnerable, you act on instincts and you really learn about yourself. Also, I like the rush and the fear that things can go wrong,” she says.
With the courage to pit herself against the harshness of the ocean and accept that things can go wrong, Werbowy’s certainly cut out for the ruthless world that she’s found herself in.