In the fourteen years since she first started Modelling, South African-born beauty Nicola Breytenbach has graced the pages of Cosmopolitan, Elle magazine, Vogue and American Marie Claire, to name a few. She’s walked the runways of Milan, Paris, London and New York for designers Chanel, Galliano and Dior. She’s done campaigns for Revlon, L’Oreal and Versace and mingled with the likes of Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, David Blane and Giselle Bundchen and worked alongside international supermodels Kate Moss, Cindy Crawford and Claudia Schiffer.

And it all started when Nicola’s mother’s hairdresser spotted her and managed to convince her to see a modelling agent in Amsterdam. Born and raised in Durban, Nicola’s parents got divorced when she was 5 years old and she later moved to Europe with her mother and stepfather shortly after her 13th birthday.

“My mother remarried 8 years thereafter and we moved to The Netherlands because my stepfather was working for the United Nations. After meeting with a modelling agent I decided to take a year off before embarking on my law studies. I wasn’t sure what to do so I decided to give it a shot for a year and it just snowballed from there.”

And the rest, as they say is history. Before she knew it Nicola was heading for supermodel stardom.

“My first year was relatively easy. I modelled in Holland and managed to stay close to my family and friends but then I moved to Paris and it started getting a little lonely but my parents encouraged me to stick it out.”

Nicola got her big break when she was appointed as Dior’s in-house model and it wasn’t long before she turned into one of the hottest ramp models in Europe. But the excitement didn’t stop there. A few years later she was approached by Trump Models in New York and moved her life to The Big Apple.

“New York was a dream come true. I had always hoped I could live and work in New York, but I never thought it would be a reality.”

Within months she joined Trump Models, owned by Donald Trump, and landed a R4 million contract with cosmetics giant, Revlon, as the face for their Absolutely Fabulous campaign and things went from great to the day she saw herself on a huge screen in New York’s Times Square advertising L'Oreal hair products.

“It was one of the happiest moments of my professional career. It was unbelievable!”

Donald Trump also handpicked Nicola to appear in the second and third season of the popular reality TV series, The Apprentice.

“Donald wanted to incorporate his agency, Trump Models, into a few episodes of The Apprentice and he chose six guys and girls from the agency to help the contestants with tasks relating to the show.”

She says the most challenging part about modelling at that time was maintaining a balance between her career and personal life.

“It's very important to stay close to those people that are important to you. They remain supportive while you have to be focused and professional, but when it's time to relax, I give them 100%.”

Downtime for Nicola means being able to relax with her husband, Ben Steiner, family and friends and just taking it easy. She loves painting and cooking and enjoys the odd New York shopping spree.

“I love music and dancing, but I'd much rather have a dinner party at home than stay out all night in a noisy club surrounded by hundreds of people.”

Partying and socialising are the last things on Nicola’s mind at the moment. She is intricately involved in the development of her first perfume called “Nicola” which is due in stores in 2009 and is increasingly spending more time and energy working for her favourite charity The Diamond Empowerment Fund.