Proving beauty can be an excellent asset for attaining a better lifestyle, certain laides have not only built careers, but also snagged desirable spouses on behalf of their looks and charm. It is well known men of wealth and power love to have a beautiful woman on their hand, and women don’t seem to mind the lavish life either. Among many models and beauty queens from all around the world who have married well, there are certain Slavic beauties who have topped the list by tying the knot with some of the wealthiest and most influential men alive.
Belgrade native Aleksandra was a successful model and a member of a girl pop group Models before her marriage to Russian oligarch Andrey Melnichenko. Ranked to be 88th richest man in the world by Forbes, and 7th richest in Russia, Andrey was certainly a catch. Aleksandra started her modeling career at the age of 15 by appearing in music videos of many famous pop singers and groups. However, at the age of 17, she joined the pop group Models, one of the most popular all girl bands in the Balkans. Known for their sexualized image and provocative music videos, all members of the group were also proclaimed sex symbols, including Aleksandra. Growing up in the spotlight, she dated professional athletes Vladimir Ivić and Marko Jarić before she met her future spouse. Year of 2003 was a turning point for Aleksandra’s personal life, as that year she got to met Andrey in the French Riviera.
After two years of dating, the pair tied the knot in a lavish setting with entertainers such as Whitney Houston, Enrique Iglesias and Christina Aguilera. It is estimated that the three day wedding costs were approximately 30 million dollars. Seven years after, the couple welcomed their first daughter Tara, who was born in Nice, France. Widely reported in the press was the gift Andrey purchased for Aleksandra, which is the world’s most expensive yacht by the name ‘A’. Her best friend is Eva Cavalli, and Aleksandra splits most of her time between Moscow, Belgrade, New York and Nice.
Certainly the most successful Slavic fashion model and one of globally most coveted models, it is no wonder Natalia Vodianova easily pulled all sorts of powerful and influential men to her. Nata Supernova, as fashion crowd calls her, was previously married to Justin Portman, a wealthy British property heir. However, after their marriage ended, she found love yet again, only this time with French businessman Antoine Arnault, son of Bernard Arnault, who happens to be the CEO of world’s largest luxury goods company LVMH. However, Antoine is not only a son of one of the world’s most successful business magnate, he runs multiple high profile businesses himself. CEO of Berluti and chairman of Loro Piana, he met Vodianova in 2011, and welcomed two sons with her in the following years. Having a highly privileged upbringing, Arnault’s life path was drastically different than Natalia’s, whose rags to riches story is one of the enigmatic modern legends in fashion.
A daughter of a single mother from Nizhny Novgorod, Natalia also had two sisters, one of whom suffers from cerebral palsy. Working at the fruit market, Vodianova was discovered and promptly sent to Paris. There, she was an instant success, working with all major high fashion brands in her first season. Next to Gisele, she is widely considered to be the most successful model of 2000s, with many of her contracts still active till this day. More of a philantropher than a model these days, Natalia has devoted most of her time to Naked Heart Foundation and her five children. She founded the Foundation in order to help build a society open to people with disabilities and special needs as well as create free support services for disadvantaged families. Her work with the Foundation has resulted in more than 175 disability inclusive playgrounds built all over Russia.
Jelena Bin Drai
Born in a small village near Novi Sad, Serbia, Jelena came from a family of teachers. Born Jelena Jakovljević, future model and fashion designer made her first steps toward the public life in 1997, after she took part in Elite Model Look. However, her major career breakthrough happened in the following year, after she was crowned Miss Yugoslavia. Following her victory, Jelena started collaborating with numerous modeling agencies in Milan. Yet, her look was most wanted and admired not in European or American, but Middle Eastern market. Making a name for herself in the Arabic world, Jelena became one of the first and most relevant supermodels in the region.
Working with major fashion brands in UAE, Jelena became a well known face and figure. This kind of exposure and profile enabled her to meet one of the wealthiest men in Saudi Arabia, sheikh Said Bin Drai, son of a former prime minister of Emirates. Five years after they met, Jelena and Said got married in an intimate ceremony in Dubai. Founding her fashion brand, as well as starting a few other major business projects such as a luxury spa chain has brought Jelena many notable awards and recognitions in the Middle East. In 2013, she was nominated for ‘Best female entrepreneur of the Middle East’ as well as in 2014. Jelena has three children with her husband, and she spends most of her time with them as well as at various business engagements that await her daily.