Frederique van der Wal has one of the best-known faces in the modeling world. She has appeared on the covers of Vogue and Cosmopolitan magazines, in the pages of Victoria’s Secret catalogs, and in high-profile ad campaigns for Guess and Revlon. More recently, she’s turned to acting, with roles in Wild Wild West and Woody Allen’s Celebrity, and to business, with her own lounge and sleepwear line. We caught up with our cover model, Dutch-born Frederique, by phone from New York when she was six months pregnant.
FIT PREGNANCY: So you’re two-thirds of the way through; are you enjoying pregnancy?
FREDERIQUE: Well, I have to pee all the time. And my walk has changed.
FP: In other words, you’re waddling.
F: I’m waddling.
FP: Do you think Europeans react to pregnancy differently?
F: In America, everyone asks if I’m scared my body will change. The society here is so focused on the outside. But having a baby is what your body is meant to do. In Europe, women see pregnancy as a celebration of womanhood.
FP: Then again, you’re a model, and modeling is a mighty “outside-focused” business.
F: Well, of course the body will take a little longer to get back into shape. But it will go back. So you don’t have to go too bananas about the way it’s changing. By the way, the good thing about America is that women here don’t feel that working and having a baby is a conflict. Europe is more traditional. When you become a mother, you’re much less likely to go back to work.
FP: Speaking of changes, you’re a fairly curvy babe to begin with. Now your décolletage must be quite impressive.
F: At the beginning especially. I thought, “Oh, my God! What am I going to do with these things?!” But now it’s better because the belly has caught up.
FP: So now you’ve gone from babe to fertility goddess.
F: At least I feel like a goddess. That’s another thing about European women. Americans tend to wear all these big maternity clothes; Europeans show off their stomachs. When I went to Berlin for the film festival, I wore this really tight dress. I’m going to miss the way I look pregnant.
FP: Speaking of bodies, what are you doing for exercise?
F: A combination of ballet, yoga and other dance — which is what I did before I got pregnant.
FP: Have you had cravings?
F: Nothing strange. Every morning I have to have my cereal, and often at night, too. I even dream about my cereal.
FP: Uh, OK … but that’s a tad on the strange side.
F: Seriously, I love my cereal. Low-fat granola and Kellogg’s Mini-Wheats.
F: No, no. Never frosted.
FP: Thank heaven. Clearly cereal is your security food. All right, how about mood swings? Anything memorable?
F: The littlest thing can put you off. I tell my boyfriend, Nickolas, “Take out the garbage.” And if he doesn’t, I completely flip out. Or like this weekend, I was looking for houses with my brother and a broker, and I started laughing about something. Then the laughing went over into crying — I mean, for no reason. I could tell the broker thought, “This girl’s a mental case.” But it’s OK to lose your head a little bit. American working women have to be so controlled. I notice it in myself. If you flip out, so what?
FP: Since you’re a model, have you taken nude pictures of your gorgeous, pregnant self?
F: Not yet. But I want to. I was thinking of doing it with someone like Helmut Newton to really go over the top. I’m also doing something with a filmmaker friend. We took videos in front of the mirror when my stomach was flat, then more as the changes began to happen.
FP: You know, of course, that all these photos and videos will totally mortify your kid when he or she becomes a teen-ager. We speak from experience here.
F: [laughing] The pregnant body is an art piece, so I’ll just have to take that chance.