Victoria's Secret Angel Stella Maxwell on her love of Belfast and Northern Irish roots
AS one of the world’s top supermodels, Stella Maxwell is used to being whisked off around the world — but she loves nothing better than visiting her parents’ home city of Belfast.
The 26-year-old blonde bombshell, who is one of the Victoria’s Secret Angels, was born in 1990 in Brussels to Northern Irish parents, Stella Maynes and diplomat Maurice Maxwell, the former head of the European Commission here.
Now in an exclusive interview for today’s Sunday Independent Life magazine, she has revealed she is a regular visitor home — where she has escaped ever being photographed.
Stella says: “My parents are both from Belfast. I have an Irish passport and a British passport, and I go back every summer and every Christmas, and sometimes I pop over during the year to say hi, and, of course, celebrate St Patrick’s Day.
“All my family look Irish. They act Irish, they look Irish, my sister even has red hair... it’s crazy. I’m the one that doesn’t seem Irish. None of the kids in my family, my siblings, speak with an Irish accent… we’ve never lived there full-time, we weren’t born there, we just go there once or twice a year. It’s weird. Our parents sound Irish, but we don’t.”
When prompted to try a Northern Irish accent and say the words, ‘Norn Iron’ she declines, saying she is not very good at it.
“It’s not very good, so I’m so not going to try,’’ she explains. “It’s like what they do if you want to imitate an Australian accent and you’re like, you’re supposed to say ‘horse trailer’ — so it’s like, ‘Horsetrailer’(Australia).”
Her chartered accountant dad Maurice worked for the European Commission since graduating in economics from Queen’s University in 1983.
Between 2004 and 2007 he was its representative in New Zealand, and also spent a large portion of his career in Brussels. Mr Maxwell’s most recent appointment before his retirement in 2012 was head of the European Commission’s office in Belfast.
Stella (right) — who has two brothers and a sister — has an old wedding picture of her parents on her extensive Instagram account.
The Victoria’s Secret star seems to be the hottest model in the world right now — designers, brands and fashion editors are clambering over each other to snap her up for their runways, campaigns and magazine covers, and she’s also been voted Model of the Year at the LA Fashion Awards.
Belgian-born Stella holds the number one spot on Maxim’s current Hot List, as well as being Max Factor’s newest ambassador.
Her colourful love life — Miley Cyrus is reportedly an ex, while it’s rumoured that her current girlfriend is actress Kristen Stewart — means that pictures pop up daily on entertainment channels and tabloids.
Speaking in her hotel room at the Castille Hotel in Paris, Stella, who was spotted by a model scout while attending Otago University in New Zealand, is clearly passionate about her career. Dressed in a denim jacket and jeans combo, she says: “I have always loved modelling. I used to look in magazines when I was growing up and I just thought it was such an incredible, glamorous life. And actually, as I’ve been working and doing it, I’ve just really... I don’t know, I’m just enjoying it so much.”
Quite the Instagram queen, with more than 2.6 million followers, she also gives an insight into the preparation required for the annual Victoria’s Secret fashion show.
“I do yoga. I have a trainer in LA and New York, so I can do it every day,” she explains.
“I decided two weeks before the show that I would pass on a couple of jobs and just sleep, rest, eat. Not flying on a plane to shoot an editorial and then flying back to New York. I just didn’t want to travel and get crazy.
“I just wanted to make sure I felt good about where I was at. That’s where yoga helps a lot. I meditate and spend an hour just thinking about breathing and my body. It’s really good. But yeah, it’s not insane. You just work out a bit more. Because I work out all year — I model every day of the year; it’s my job to be in shape and my body is my business — so it’s not like I just work out those two weeks.”