There are Victoria’s Secret models, and then there’s Adriana Lima. The leggy 36-year-old Brazilian is the lingerie giant’s longest-running spokeswoman and has held the coveted title of Angel for nearly two decades. More impressive are her stats: the top model made her runway debut at just 18, she’s worn a total of three Fantasy Bras worth $9 million combined, and she was named the most valuable face in the brand's history earlier this year. Even more awe-inspiring is the fact she opened her fifth VS show in 2012 less than two months after giving birth to her second daughter. Given all of that, it’s fair to say that Lima knows more than the average person about keeping her body in the best possible shape. Ahead of her travels to Shanghai later this month for the 2017 edition of the annual scantily-clad event, we caught up with the OG-Angel for all her pearls of health and wellness wisdom.
Can you remember how you felt before you walked your first Victoria’s Secret show in 1999?
I was in total shock and completely scared, but everyone was so amazing. I remember looking around and seeing all of the Angels of that time like Heidi [Klum] and Tyra [Banks]. I must have really loved it, because here I am still!
How do you feel about the event in Shanghai this year?
I am always nervous before walking in any show. People are surprised to hear that, but I’m human, too.
How far in advance did you start preparing for it?
As a model I need to be ready all year long so I train consistently. For about two months leading up to VS every year, I train even harder and eat a little bit leaner. I also try not to eat too many sweets, but it’s really hard because they are my favorite thing.
What does your workout routine look like at the moment?
I’ve been switching things up a little bit. I love boxing, but more recently I’ve been doing a lot of circuit training and running. I've found that keeping fit on the road is really challenging. I always want to try new types of food that may not be all that healthy. The key to balancing this is keeping my body active. If I have a gym at my hotel, I'll wake up and do a quick workout, or I'll run outside as a way to see the place that I’m visiting. Another good trick of mine is packing a jumprope and doing ten minutes in my room first thing in the morning to get my heart rate up.
What’s your in-flight routine?
Depending on how long the flight is, I'll sleep, watch movies, snack on fruit and—most importantly—drink lots of water. To cure jet lag I try and get my body to adjust to the schedule of wherever I am in the world as soon as possible.
What do you eat everyday to stay healthy?
I love smoothies, fresh fruit, and veggies. I also take a daily vitamin and drink lots of different herbal teas to help purify my body. It doesn't bounce back the way it used after having kids, so I have to workout really hard to be in good shape in addition to being a tired mother.
What advice would you give to other new moms trying to get in shape?
Don’t be too hard on yourself and listen to your body—it will tell you when it’s ready to workout again. Work hard, but make sure not to deprive your body of necessary nutrients, because it’s really important to keep your energy up to hit the gym.
What’s your greatest indulgence?
I make a really good Brazilian dish called feijoada. I could eat Brazilian food forever, of course. Also, I love chocolate molten cake. I can’t get enough of it!
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Not really. I just say a little prayer and hit the runway. After the show, I’ll celebrate with lots of food and dancing with all of my other Angels.