photo: Corbis

Gorgeous black hair, tan skin, and legs for days, Lais Ribeiro from Piauí, Brazil is taking the modeling world by storm. Joining fellow Brazilian supermodels Alessandra Ambrosio and Adriana Lima, the 5'11" beauty has just reached the pinnacle of her modeling career. At 25 years old, she's rightfully earned her wings and was named a Victoria's Secret Angel earlier this year. 

But the mother of seven-year-old Alexandre hadn't always planned on becoming a model. She was studying to be a nurse when a friend convinced her to work part-time as a one. Soon thereafter she began working with an agency in São Paulo, and later moved to New York City, where she has been working and living ever since. We caught up with the stunning bombshell and talked about beauty, fitness, and, of course, being Latina.

Related From Vivala: Latinas Who Have Graced the Victoria's Secret Runway

It was only a matter of time before Ribeiro's career took off. From being a young mother in Brazil to walking the Victoria's Secret runway, the model can hardly grasp the change.  "Of course I was excited on becoming a VS Angel — I cried when my booker called to tell me the news! I would say it was a dream come true, but I never imagined it was a possibility, so I didn't dream of it. However, becoming an Angel has been incredible, people recognize me more, and I think that more than anything becoming an Angel proves that great things can happen when you work hard."

photo: Corbis

And indeed, the hard work has paid off. Ribeiro has graced the runways of major designers, such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Marc Jacobs. She has also been photographed for American, Brazilian, German, and Italian Vogue, and has appeared in campaigns for Dior and Ralph Lauren, amongst others. As for maintaining her bombshell physique, Ribeiro gets real and confesses that she works hard to stay in shape, but likes to mix it up so that she doesn't get bored. 

Related From Vivala: How Models Prep for the Victoria's Secret Show

"Sadly there is no secret: I work really hard to stay in shape. I love doing boxing, and I just started Pilates — which looks very simple but the movements take a lot of precision and control. It helped me to get my body ready for the VS Fashion Show." And when it comes to preparing for the most anticipated show of the year, she pushes even harder. "I usually work out all year because I have to . . . but for the show I work harder. I work out every day and my workouts are more intense. If I'm traveling, I will Skype with my trainer." 

The Brazilian model is also proud of her heritage:

"Being a Latina and having the power to give an example to others makes me very happy and proud. I would say to my fellow Latinas to accept themselves the way they are and not try to be anyone else. Don't go hard on yourself or your body and create your own rules." 


photo: Corbis

When it comes to beauty and fashion, the brunette describes her style as "casual chic with a dose of sexy." For a low-key look, she loves her J Brand Jeans and a Celine jacket. To turn up the sexy, she goes for her sultry Stuart Weitzman thigh-high boots and a slip dress. But Ribeiro doesn't sacrifice comfort for beauty. "I always thought less is more and have had it confirmed over the years!" She also never leaves the house without her Bioderma Créaline H20 makeup remover. "It's so important to let your skin breathe, so the minute I finish a shoot, I take off the makeup. I also never leave home without a lip balm . . . dry lips are never good." A proclaimed lipstick lover, her go-to is Matte Bad Blood from Urban Decay and L'Absolu Rouge from Lancôme. "A colorful lipstick is sexy on every woman regardless of her age, race, body type." As for glowing skin? She loves Embryolisse's moisturizer and recommends lots of sleep and drinking coconut water. 

It's easy to understand why no one can get enough of Ribeiro and her contagious energy. She believes her best asset is her work ethic and sense of humor. "I love what I do for a living, but I think it's important to treat modeling as a job and not as a lifestyle and not to take it too seriously." 

When she is not strutting her stuff on the catwalk and caring for her son, the Brazilian native takes time for her philanthropic work as the new ambassador for Bottletop. "I'm very excited to continue my work with the Bottletop Foundation, which helps to create jobs and skill sets for women in Africa and Brazil by designing and making handbags from recycled bottle tops and locally sourced materials. The entire initiative and the finished product is so incredible, I'm very proud to be part of it all."