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Vendela's Playboy Special Editions
I booked one of my first big jobs when I got a call from an agency I didn’t even know I was signed to. They were like, “Are you still bald? We’ve got a job for you.”
“People often paint a picture of me way before they even meet me. They think that I am a certain way because of my shaved head and tough look. In reality, I’m extremely shy. A friend once said, ‘You look like a badass, but deep inside you are as soft as baby shit.'”Still, I am able to tap into a certain confidence in front of the camera—a safe zone where I can access my alter ego. I get to switch between this tough character, when I’m on set, and the real-life version of me. I guess that’s why people get so confused.
Los Angeles, CA
As much as I’m not what people expect, I always try to be up-front with who I am. I’m very blunt and sarcastic. Also, everything I do is all or nothing. This is why I sometimes struggle with social media. I try really hard to make people laugh and feel good about themselves. I don’t want people to go through my Instagram and leave it feeling worse. I try to keep it as real as possible without publicly ranting when I’m having a bad day or putting my private life out there and disrespecting the people around me.
I try to be someone people can relate to. That’s why I’ve been very open about my experience getting out of an abusive relationship a few years ago, all while having issues with alcohol and eventually getting sober. I know these are things that many people struggle with but may not be comfortable discussing. I want to show people that they don’t have to be strong all the time and that it’s okay to have flaws because we all have them.
My goal is to be a strong role model. I love lending support to other women—helping them be confident with who they are and the skin they’re in. We often beat ourselves up about things we can’t control. People have been telling me my whole life that I can’t be a model because I’m only five-foot-five, and I still struggle with that. I grew up in Sweden, where you’re supposed to go to school, get a degree, get a good nine-to-five job, get married, have kids and buy a house—and that’s it. My dream has always been so much bigger than that, but I had to fight my way out of my comfort zone to get to where I am today. I came to the U.S. around two years ago, with a thousand bucks in my bank account, to go to school. Since then I’ve achieved so much more than I could’ve ever imagined.
ON BIG BREAKS
I booked one of my first big jobs when I got a call from an agency I didn’t even know I was signed to. They were like, “Are you still bald? We’ve got a job for you.” It was to be the first female face of the video game Battlefield 1. A lot of people supported it, but a lot of others hated that they put a girl on the cover.
ON POSING NUDE
It’s so empowering. We should be proud of our bodies. We all have the right to be naked and embrace the body as art. But with nude shoots, I have to be really comfortable. I won’t shoot something passive; I’ll only shoot something that makes me feel powerful.
The wallpaper on my phone is a picture of garlic bread. I just love food, especially crème brûlêe, cheesecake and ice cream.
I like darker, athletic guys. I work out a lot and take care of my body, so I expect guys to do the same. It doesn’t mean he has to be super shredded, but I want to feel safe with my guy. I also need a guy who can be sarcastic back to me, you know? I’m a sarcastic asshole most of the time, so I need someone who can deal with it.
I love a man bun. I really love long-haired guys. I don’t know why. I don’t like beards, but I like a man bun! Maybe it’s the juxtaposition of a guy wearing his long hair tied up in a bun with my shaved head.
My trainer and I laugh so hard every session. I love boxing, but I’m so uncoordinated. He’ll show me a combination, down to every distinct punch, and my reaction is just “Huh?” Every single time.
ON TOUGH LOVE
I’m very straightforward. I say exactly what I think, and some people get butt-hurt. I love very deeply. I would do anything for the people closest to me. If I cut you out, I have a really good reason. But it takes a lot for me to get there. I love hard, and I give tough love.
In relationships, in friendships, in the workplace, if you’re not comfortable doing something, always trust your gut feeling. Don’t ever do something you -really don’t want to do.
I’m working on taking more risks in my work. PLAYBOY is one of those risks that was out of my comfort zone and ended up being a great choice. I don’t want to be too scared. I don’t want to grow up and get old and be like, What if I had done that?