Swanepoel was born to Willem and Eileen Swanepoel and raised in Mooi River, South Africa, to an Afrikaner family of Dutch descent. She has one brother named Stephen. At age 15, she was spotted by a model scout in a Durban flea market.
She is fluent in Afrikaans, English and Portuguese, the last of which she learned from her boyfriend, Hermann Nicoli, a Brazilian male model. She has been dating him ever since they met in Paris when she was 17. In August 2015, the couple announced their engagement. In March 2016, it was reported that she is pregnant with the couple’s first child.
She is close friends with fellow models Doutzen Kroes and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.
Swanepoel has appeared in editorials in American, Italian, British, Spanish, German, Russian, Australian, Brazilian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Mexican Vogue, British, Italian, and Chinese Elle, American and Korean Harper’s Bazaar, V, Allure, and W.
Swanepoel has appeared on the covers of Australian, Brazilian, Mexican, Korean, Greek, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese and Italian Vogue, Brazilian, British, German and South African Elle, British, South African, Romanian, Mexican and Chinese GQ, Turkish, Spanish, Czech and Argentine Harper’s Bazaar, i-D, Lush and Ocean Drive (U.S.).
Swanepoel has walked the runway for Fendi, Chanel, Tommy Hilfiger, Dolce and Gabbana, Michael Kors, Donna Karan, Giambattista Valli, Jason Wu, Prabal Gurung, Rag & Bone, Oscar de la Renta, Elie Saab, Diane von Fürstenberg, Sportmax, Betsey Johnson, Stella McCartney, Viktor and Rolf, Givenchy, Jean Paul Gaultier, Christian Dior, Blumarine, and Ralph Lauren. She has appeared in advertising campaigns for Tom Ford, Oscar De La Renta, Givenchy, Miu Miu, Rag & Bone, Ralph Lauren, Shiatzy Chen, Versace, Diesel, Guess?, Tommy Hilfiger, Prabal Gurung, Swarovski, Colcci, True Religion, Nike, Juicy Couture, as well as for Victoria’s Secret since 2007. In addition to appearing in the lingerie brand’s commercials, she was a featured model in the 2010 “SWIM” catalog, along with Lindsay Ellingson, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Behati Prinsloo, and Erin Heatherton.
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