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March 1, 2014

Natalia Vodianova: #Neverstop

The Russian Supermodel Stars in Filmmaker Bruno Aveillan’s Celebration of the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games

“What if?” is the question posed by Natalia Vodianova in #Neverstop, the inspirational film directed by the French filmmaker and artist Bruno Aveillan, released today to raise awareness for the athletes competing at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games. The short imagines a heavily pregnant Vodianova running through an empty hangar with a prosthetic leg, her goal to challenge peoples’ preconceptions of disability. The Russian model, who left behind a childhood selling fruit on the streets of her home city Nizhniy Novgorod for a celebrated career as the face of brands such as Calvin Klein, Louis Vuitton and Yves Saint Laurent, has long been a champion of families raising children with disabilities, and helps to create play environments for disadvantaged children through her charity the Naked Heart Foundation. Vodianova spoke exclusively to NOWNESS about her motivations launching the  #Neverstop campaign, created with JWT International Moscow and her support of next week’s Paralympic Games.

Can you tell us about working with Russian swimmer Olesya Vladykina, the other female ambassador of the Games?
Natalia Vodianova:
It was incredibly inspiring for me to meet Olesya. She lost her arm in a bus accident that her friend died in, and she told me how she felt afterwards that of course it took a few months to adjust. However there are positive ways that her life has been changed since the accident. She started to appreciate life so much more, alongside the kindness and openness of people. And speaking to Jessica Long, the American swimmer who has 15 gold medals and holds 13 world records by the age of 21, you see someone who really just appreciates the richness of life.

What do you feel when you watch yourself transformed like this?
NV:
The visual is not showing a reality but an idea: what if? And that is an important question for all of us. When I saw the last edit of the film I cried. I’m really just glad that it happened and that we made it; a project that was full of little miracles.

Have you seen a shift in how disability is perceived in Russia?
NV:
We knew that the stigma of people with disability is still very strong in Russia, so we wanted to show the inspirational side of the Paralympic athletes. The transition towards inclusivity in a country with an infrastructure like Russia will take a very long time because it’s a very big country with it’s own difficulties. I want as many people as possible in Russia to see the film and would love it to speak to their hearts.

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Mille Miglia: Auto Italia

Stunning Classic Cars from the Starting Line of the Iconic Vintage Road Race

Photographer Simone Cavadini traveled to Brescia, Italy, to capture the rare wheels and impassioned teams competing in this year’s historical Mille Miglia road race. Around 400 enthusiasts flaunted their prized vintage cars—including Bugattis, Ferraris, Mercedes, and even a rare 1938 Lancia Astura from Verona’s Nicolis museum—for the crowd before heading south to Ferrara. An estimated four million spectators lined the race route, which begins and ends in Brescia, taking in picturesque piazzas through six regions on the way to Rome before doubling back. “It was like a classic postcard of Italy,” says Cavadini of the event. “During the day it was like being back in the 30s with the noise of the old cars, sun and music.” The course has barely changed since the race’s 1927 debut, when a group of Italy’s most famous racing drivers formed the Brescia Automobile Club and organized what would become the “world’s greatest road race,” as declared by Enzo Ferrari. “The most beautiful thing about the competition is discovering the little pieces of Italy. Rome, Firenze, Bologna, Verona,” says Cavadini. Behind the wheel of a 1930s Alfa Romeo, Argentinean duo Claudio Scalise and Daniel Claramunt beat the likes of former F1 driver Jochen Mass and Fiat’s President, John Elkann, to take this year’s coveted prize.

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Spotlight

Will Self: On Your Bike

The Acerbic Author Waxes Lyrical About the Joy of Two-Wheels

On the eve of his appearance at the Intelligence Squared cycling festival, celebrated novelist and cultural commentator Will Self speaks to NOWNESS of his love affair with the “inert lump of metal.” Having converted to the train-handy fold-up Brompton bicycle nine years ago, the Cock and Bull writer is evangelical about the nifty British machine, lauding it as the optimum way to orient oneself to a new town or city. The proud owner of several sets of wheels, Self rhapsodizes on the “beautiful Zen experience” of riding a fixed-gear, and the triumph of the human spirit embodied in the bike. “I cycle alone. I walk alone. It’s not really convenient to cycle with other people,” the notoriously sardonic author muses. “Do you want to just spend your time looking at someone else’s bum, or do you want to encourage someone else to just look at your bum?” Appearing at the debate alongside fellow writers Bella Bathurst and Geoff Dyer, Self is set to provoke the kind of gloriously freewheeling discussion that tends to follow him around.

For more information on the Intelligence Squared Cycling Festival at the Royal Geographical Society on Thursday 8th click here.

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