“Victoria’s Secret” supermodel Candace Swanepoel earns millions modeling for the lingerie giant, even earning a place on this year’s top ten Forbes list for the highest-paid supermodels. But it wasn’t so long ago that the 22-year-old considered herself far too unattractive for a career in front of the lens.
“For a very long time I was really, really skinny – I was like that for most of my life,” Swanepoel told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column at the Victoria’s Secret “What is Sexy?” launch in Los Angeles last week. “And it wasn’t until I was 17 that I started getting curves… I had braces, the whole lot. I was an ugly swan before.”
But there are many who argue with the South African native’s definition of curvaceous, as Swanepoel came under intense criticism last month when numerous media outlets labeled her “scary skinny” and “emaciated.” Others even speculated she would lose her coveted Victoria’s Secret contract for having shed too many pounds.
Still, Swanepoel was glowing at the launch and seemed to have taken the controversy all in her stride – and the smiling star tells us she can’t wait to hit the beach this summer in her favorite brand’s bikinis.
“VS has lots of bra technology in their swimwear,” she said. “It’s extra cleavage on the beach!”
Speaking of bikini bodies, Miranda Kerr had jaws dropping last month when she was spotted posing in a skimpy swimsuit just weeks after giving birth to her first child with husband Orlando Bloom, Flynn. But the 28-year-old insisted that there was no crash dieting involved.
“I was practicing yoga the whole pregnancy and at the same time I have been eating super healthy, lots of veggies and fresh fish and grains fresh juices. The most important thing is I am healthy so I can be healthy for my son,” she told us, adding that breast feeding also played a significant role in helping her restore her pre-pregnancy physique in next to no time.
And like Swanepoel, there was once a time when Kerr too didn’t think that she had the looks to make a living based on her looks.
“Everyone has moment in their lives where they feel insecure or unsure and I think the most important thing is to realize that it’s a part of life—a growing experience. I think once you embrace yourself for who you are, that’s the most important thing.
“Do not compare yourself to anyone else,” she said. “I was quite shy as a child so it’s definitely something I’ve grown into. I think having a child helps with that, it puts everything into perspective… I feel sexier and more empowered now I’m a mother."
And for Kerr, one of the "Sexiest" characteristics a woman can possess is a sense of humor.
"It's the sixth year that Victoria's Secret has the 'What is Sexy' list and this year there are 17 categories from sexiest legs to sexiest lips," Kerr added. "My favorite is sexiest sense of humor, the winner this year was Chelsea Handler. It's a sexy thing when someone can have a laugh and be funny."
Hollie McKay has been a FoxNews.com staff reporter since 2007. She has reported extensively from the Middle East on the rise and fall of terrorist groups such as ISIS in Iraq. Follow her on twitter at @holliesmckay