Candice Swanepoel Is Living a 'Mean Girls' Quote

Like the smiley bombshells Kate Upton and Gigi Hadid, Candice Swanepoel is a model version of America’s sweetheart. She’s blonde. She’s cheerful. She’s laid-back, as if the bikinis she models are always under her clothes, ready for a quick trip to the beach. But Swanepoel also speaks three languages, has 11 million Instagram followers, and seems to shoot major fashion ads at the speed of a fighter plane—despite being a new mom with an 8-month-old son.

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Her latest campaign is for Vive La Juicy Glacé, a fragrance from the velour empire with notes of mandarin, jasmine, and pear sorbet. Inspired by frozen flowers (and probably, a little bit, Queen Elsa), the scent made its debut at the New York Edition Hotel this week. That’s where we met the 28-year-old to discuss pregnancy pressure, Mean Girls moments, and really bad self-tanner.

Juicy has been around since we were kids. When you grew up in South Africa, did you have one of their velour hoodies?

I don’t think we got actual Juicy Couture clothes in South Africa, but I definitely remember seeing the ads. It was definitely a thing for us as teenagers. And when I first came to New York, I remember seeing the billboards for Juicy and thinking they were so fun and so vibrant. They were with Sasha [Pivovarova]. I remember literally asking [my agent], “Hey, can I do the Juicy ads?”

And now here we are.

It’s good to manifest things you want and goals. If you do, they kind of end up happening.

Is that how you figure out next steps in your career?

When it comes to a modeling career, it’s hard because you want to be clear with your goals, but you can’t be “realistic” because modeling isn’t realistic. The sky’s the limit with this kind of job. So when I go to [my agent], I’m not afraid to shoot really high. I’ll say, “Why not this photographer? Why not this campaign? Let’s get it!”

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This particular campaign, with the pink dress and the pink fuzzy cap, it’s very ‘Clueless,’ isn’t it?

So Clueless! I didn’t even think of that. We got that movie in South Africa, but it came right when all those other ’90s teen movies got to us, like She’s All That. So when I was a teenager, I really thought that’s what being a teenager in America was like. And even know, when I’m in LA, I think, “Oh my gosh, my life just became a movie.” I feel like New York is the same in the movies as in real life, too. You can be going home in a cab and get inspired by the most random thing, even the traffic lights. When I’m coming home from the airport, I get a little sentimental. I see the skyline and I think, “That’s my city! I’ve come so far!” It’s seriously like a movie.

What about South Africa? Is that like a movie, too?

Sometimes I tell people I’m South African and they get really confused. You know that Mean Girls quote? It happens to me a lot in real life. “So if you’re from Africa, why are you white?!”

“My god, Karen, you can’t just ask people why they’re white!”

Yeah, that Mean Girls scene, it’s a real thing. Also, people think I have lions in my backyard. I mean, I grew up on a farm. I didn’t have lions in the garden but I did go on safari for holiday, and we had animals on our farm. I’m actually going back home tomorrow, because it’s my dad’s birthday, and everyone wants to meet the baby. It’s his first time, going back to his little African roots!

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