How Russian supermodel Natalia Vodianova reunited with her estranged sister at birth

Larisa doesn’t speak English and Jenna doesn’t speak any Russian (she’s learning the language now and has just mastered reading the Russian alphabet). “She was pretty anxious,” Jenna says, “but she got out as well as she could. she was a very intimate moment, the first time we met. Natalia and Kristina translated between the two of us. Everyone was a bit in shock. She just looked at me and hugged me.”

“I had never seen a calmer mom,” says Natalia. Larisa had ended up marrying Oksana and Kristina’s father, even though it would turn out to be “a very turbulent situation”. relationshipsays Natalia. She died in 2021 and Larisa lost her Ukrainian-born mother that same year. “But finding Jenna brought him a lot of peace,” says Natalia. “I couldn’t recognize her. She has been like a dark cloud for most of her life, and now she was a sun.”

Exactly one year after Jenna received those first emails from Natalia and Kristina, she joins them in the rambling turn-of-the-century house in a Connecticut seaside enclave where Antoine and Natalia and their extended families spend the summer, and Annie Leibovitz is here to capture the moment.

“Natalia is in such a different phase of life than I am,” Jenna tells me. With her mechanical engineering degree, she recently joined a construction company in Charlotte, North Carolina. “I just graduated from university. I’m starting my first job. And she’s been working, and she’s the mother of five children. But I think our personalities go very well together. She says things and I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s something she would say. It’s nice that we’ve finally made our connection and closed that chapter of uncertainty, and we know we’re both okay. It’s going to be exciting moving forward with that.”

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“For me,” Natalia says as she comes to join us on the porch. “I felt like she has always been a part of my life, even if I didn’t know her. But she was in a rather painful way, always asking me if she was okay. I feel like we are catching up very quickly. she feels like family. There is something beautiful in genetics and in our genes. Love comes very naturally. And thank God for technology because we never would have met. What are the odds?” I admire Jenna’s extraordinary grape-colored eyes. “I grew them myself,” she says with a laugh, and then, suddenly curious, turns to Natalia. “Did she have green eyes?” she asks, referring to her father. “They were,” Natalia tells him. “Isn’t that an incredible color?”

Shortly after the shoot, Natalia planned to travel to North Carolina to meet Jenna’s parents. Jenna promises to show her lots of family videos documenting her childhood. “You’re going to cry,” she tells her sister. “I’m ready,” says Natalia. “Tears of happiness.”

Hair: Sally Hershberger. Stage design: Mary Howard Studio. Makeup: Francelle Daly using Love+Craft+Beauty. Tailor: Deborah Rogers.

Photographed by Annie Leibovitz. Fashion Editor: Tonne Goodman

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