Candice Swanepoel on her first Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, her diet and exercise regimen and being a mum-of-two

South African-born blonde-haired, blue-eyed Victoria’s Secret Angel Candice Swanepoel earned her Angel wings in 2010 and hasn’t looked back; fronting swimwear campaigns for the lingerie brand, walking the runway in memorable Swanepoel-style and making her mark in the Victoria’s Secret history books. All this, while also having two children, Anaca, two, and Ariel, four months, with her fiancé Hermann Nicoli. This is one Angel at the top of her game.

But just how does this superwoman do it all? Speaking to Vogue backstage at the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in New York City, Swanepoel revealed exactly what it takes to be Candice Swanepoel, Victoria’s Secret Angel, along with what it’s like to be backstage at a Victoria’s Secret Show, what she thinks of Australia, her simple trick to settle pre-show nerves and who her dream Victoria’s Secret Angel would be.

What really goes on backstage?
“My favourite thing that goes on backstage is the camaraderie with the girls and the love, how everyone supports each other,” Swanepoel said. “I think there is a lot of nerves, a lot of preparation but to see everyone supporting each other is really nice. I remember my first show…the first time you see how everyone here knows each other and is caring with each other it’s really lovely to be a part of it. For the new girls walking today my advice to them is to just enjoy the moment as much as possible and not to let the nerves take over too much. My first show is still one of my favourites.”

What does your diet consist of on a typical day and how does it change in the lead-up to the VS show?
“I start my day with coffee, coffee and more coffee, it’s the only way I can function and then I have to feed a baby. I like to eat healthy food…it’s not really about cutting anything out, it’s just about making sure everything’s fresh and good. This time leading up to the show [because] my babysitter is vegan, whatever she is cooking the boys, I’ve been getting into as well. Whatever I feed my boys is what I eat too and I make sure they eat well.”

What is your year-round exercise regimen?
“I do a lot of resistance training and yoga as well. I meditate through yoga, it helps with my breathing.”

How does your exercise routine change in the lead-up to the VS show?
“I use weights to gain muscle,” Swanepoel revealed. “I was recently in Miami so I would run on the beach, that’s the best preparation for me, running on the beach and thick sand. It doesn’t feel like I’m trapped in a gym.”

What’s something most people don’t know about you?
“I get nervous walking [the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show]. My secret to calming nerves is breathing, I’ve learned to breathe a lot better because I used to get short of breath and just thinking about all the hard work we’ve all put in to be here, to just make sure I enjoy it and I don’t get too nervous. I actually don’t love to see the people in the audience, it makes me a little more nervous, I tend to look for friends who are cheering me on and are excited so I can laugh and have a smile with them,” Swanepoel said.

If you could make anyone in the world a Victoria’s Secret Angel, who would it be?
“Rihanna. I was watching old shows the other day and she like slayed the runway after her song [at the VS show in 2012],” said Swanepoel.

Victoria’s Secret are opening their first full-range store in Australia in Melbourne later this year. Have you been to Australia and what did you think of it?
“I have been, I went recently for a job, I was there very briefly, it was lovely,” said Swanepoel. “You know the culture is a little similar to South Africa, it kind of felt a little like home and Australian people are very welcoming and friendly, they are always up for a good time.”