Russian supermodel Natalia Vodianova never knew that you could track your period. “I’ve never used one, obviously, because I have five kids,” she jokes. Still, she’s a major proponent of menstrual realness and firmly believes women should be totally open about their monthly cycle.
Ironically enough, she’s now a key investor and board director of Flo, an artificial intelligence-powered women’s health platform that tracks your period and provides customized insight to what’s going on in your body. On top of that, the model is launching a campaign called Let’s Talk About It. Period.—which aims at eliminating the taboo that comes along with menstrual woes (yes, girl!).
“With men, ‘dick’ isn’t even a bad word—but ‘vagina’ makes people cringe.”
“[On the app] women write things that they wouldn’t discuss anywhere else,” says Vodianova. “At the same time, it’s quite important. There are so many stigmas and shames related to women’s health and sexual life and how we should have our pleasures. With men, ‘dick’ isn’t even a bad word—but ‘vagina’ makes people cringe.”
The supermodel—who’s also a huge philanthropist—recalls times in her modeling career in which she’s felt ashamed and horrified because she was on her period. “I’ve had a lot of situations,” says Vodianova. “I was shooting an underwear campaign and was on my period and I was petrified of something happening. Honestly, I shouldn’t have been—I should have been telling everybody, like, ‘Guys, watch out—the underwear might have to be thrown away after this.'”
“You really feel that shame when you should be, I don’t know, doing a dance with it.”
Though she can laugh about it now, she is working to ensure women don’t have to be in a scenario in which they’re ashamed of what their body’s going through. “It’s not funny at the moment, and you really feel that shame when you should be, I don’t know, doing a dance with it,” she says. “No matter which culture you come from, we have a ways to go when it comes to embracing the woman and thinking that what’s happening to us every month is so cool and incredible. We have to be there for each other and create a protective and understanding environment.”
And she’s starting the education with her young children—one of whom is an 11-year-old girl who’s starting to experience changes. “I speak to my daughter and tell her these hormones—it’s like, imagine they’re a little dragon that is not you,” says Vodianova. “But it’s part of you so you have to love him and forgive yourself in order to be more understanding of it.” Is this not the cutest way to describe PMS?
“For six years out of your life on average you have your period. So if you take control of it and you understand it better, you can prevent a lot of things. It’s a moment of being even stronger.” Now, who’s up for a quick “period dance?”