Born in Namibia and now living in LA with singer-songwriter husband Adam Levine, model BEHATI PRINSLOO is navigating a career path without fear of veering off the beaten track – when ‘success’ is not your ambition, it leaves you open to finding a more interesting way to travel. The 30-year-old shares her journey from Africa to the world of music videos and group chats with the Victoria’s Secret moms.
“IT WAS A SHOCK TO THE SYSTEM when I left Namibia to model. The first place I went was London. I was 15, it was gray and freezing; I wasn’t used to the cold, I wasn’t used to how many people there were. But I’m an only child and I feel like I’ve always wanted chaos around me. I learned a lot about myself, and although at times I was really miserable, I really enjoyed it, too. New York was also a shock; the first time I had to take a taxi, I was like, ‘This is crazy!’ We don’t have cabs in Africa, you just drive everywhere.”
“THE HARDEST THING WAS having to speak English all day every day. I missed talking to people in Afrikaans. In New York, how quickly everything moves was a shock, but in the end, it gets you – it throws you in at the deep end and you just have to swim, you don’t question it. Compared to Namibia, it’s a whole new world. I’m so glad I spent my late teens and early twenties there; you really discover yourself through discovering the city. It’s such a crazy place to be when you’re that young and alone. I could do whatever I wanted. I’m so happy I did my growing up there.”
“I MET MY HUSBAND [Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine] through a mutual friend. Adam was looking for a girl for a music video that could do some action stuff, and our friend was like, ‘You should meet Behati because she’s a total tomboy and down for anything,’ so he emailed me asking if I could do it. I ended up not doing it, but we kept emailing each other. It was such a natural correspondence that we kind of fell in love over email. A month later, I went to LA for a job, and that was the first time we met in person. I remember walking in: I opened the door, and it was the classic moment where the light shines into the dark studio and everyone turned to look at me. He had boxing gloves on and he came to hug me – it was so awkward. Then he took me for dinner and we talked for hours and had the best time. It was love at first sight, it was crazy. We broke up for two months, realized that it was the worst decision, then got back together, got engaged and got married. It was a wild ride!”