It's not just the push-up bras or feathered wings that give some top Victoria's Secret models their sexy swagger: It's their off-the-catwalk lives as mothers that give them their confidence and signature curves, they say.
Miranda Kerr, Doutzen Kroes and Alessandra Ambrosio have all been crowned VS Angels, so they are among the half-dozen models to get the best outfits and most face time during the lingerie giant's televised annual fashion show, which was scheduled to air Tuesday night on CBS. Backstage, wearing their short, hot-pink satin robes, they're also the ones attracting the most attention.
What were they talking about with all those photographers, makeup artists and other models? Nutrition, exercise and juggling their jet-setting careers with their little ones.
Kroes and Kerr have bona fide babies, both giving birth to sons last January. Ambrosio's daughter was born in 2008.
Motherhood hasn't slowed them down at all: Kerr even got to wear the coveted diamond-covered bra. "I was asked to do it after I gave birth," said Kerr. "That was awesome. It's such an honor."
Ed Razek, chief marketing officer for Victoria's Secret parent Limited Brands, has long taken the position that the company wants feminine, womanly models, because that's who looks best in the lingerie. "It's true, a number of our models have come back from having a baby more beautiful than ever. I know that some of them have used the show date as a goal to get back in shape and, I think, having a baby has given them a sense of confidence, an `I can do anything' attitude that is reflected on the runway."
One thing model moms can do is make money. Forbes ranks Gisele Bundchen, Heidi Klum, Kate Moss, Adriana Lima and Ambrosio _ all often photographed with their children _ as the top earners of the industry this year.
Some tidbits on mixing modeling and motherhood:
It was empowering to mold her new figure into shape, said Kroes, 27, who did "abs, abs, lots of ab exercises all the time." Her body isn't quite the same now as it was pre-baby, and she hopes it never goes back. "I wish every woman can feel so sexy after birth. It's your body but it's also a feeling."
Her two worlds might not seem on the surface a perfect match, but they are, she said. "You get your hair and makeup done!"
She also has a lot of control over her schedule. Even if she needs to be on location for a few days, it'll never be longer, and then she'll have many days off, Kroes explained. "It's not a 9 to 5 job."
She often can bring Phyllon on set, although she only does that when working locally. "I don't want him to become a `traveler' when he is still so young."
Her catwalk costumes are a little less risque now, but she's not ready to hang up the Brazilian-cup bras and short shorts. "I'm definitely more proud of my body now," she said. "Our bodies are changed as we get older, and I'm more conscious of it now. Now, I'm a woman doing the show, not a girl."
Part of that is giving up chocolate in the weeks before the show; she didn't always have to do that. Part of it is being able to walk in heels without teetering and she's also learned to ham it up for the camera and the audience.
Ambrosio got her Angel wings in 2004, when she was the first spokesmodel for the then-new Pink collection, which is loungewear geared for a more youthful customer. That's when she felt she was "a flirty and cheeky teenager" versus the sexy woman she is at age 30.
There might be a model in training at home in daughter Anja, who also loves to come to work with her.
"She loves dressing up, and there is always a lot of dress up here. There are wings _ so much fun for her!"
Pilates, yoga, weight training with resistance bags. They were all key factors in Kerr's new-mom fitness routine, said the 28-year-old, and they're all things that can be done in her living room.
"I do have less time, but I do try to exercise every day. I exercise at home with my son playing around with his toys on the floor."
She says she hopes he's watching and that he'll learn to incorporate physical activity into his daily life without a thought. The same goes for a healthy diet.
Flynn is too young to watch the Victoria's Secret show now, of course, but Kerr will let him see her runway photos later.
"I'm sure he'll be happy his mom had wings."