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178 Minutes With Miranda Kerr

Backstage with Victoria Secret’s next top model, ten months after childbirth and one since a Halloween battle with Heidi Klum.

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Observed in her natural habitat, model Miranda Kerr, 28, is less a person than a production. At Victoria’s Secret’s midtown offices, she is getting fitted for the underwear empire’s fashion show in a diamond- and pearl-encrusted brassiere and wings shaped like a giant silvery clamshell growing from the base of her spine. I feel very special and shiny and sparkly! It’s very Marilyn!

Staring in at Kerr through the aquarium wall of her personality are two film crews shooting a Victoria’s Secret CBS special (airing November 29); a line of photographers; a layer of reporters; publicists; personal assistants; agency representatives; Victoria’s Secret spokespeople; costume makers bearing feathers, sequins, and tulle; makeup artists with brushes at the ready; and a lone bodyguard who never takes his eyes off Kerr’s $2.5 million Fantasy Treasure Bra.

This old thing? she says, batting her eyelids and cooing to no one and everyone in her native Australian lilt. Someone tells Kerr that she’s wearing 142 carats of diamonds. A hundred and forty-two carats of diamonds? she says, flashing the cameras a dimpled smile. Wow. Rich. A hyperactive stylist piles on 142 carats more, in bracelets and earrings, then pauses to reconsider Kerr’s panties. The ones she’s wearing are wrongall wrong. An emergency team is dispatched to scour for alternates. I want to go to sleep in my clamshell and then wake up! Kerr says as she waits.

Panties crisis solved, Team Kerr continues working in the dressing room for another 30 minutes. She emerges not like Venus but like an overaccessorized burlesque performer. There’s no business like show business! sings her stylist, and Kerr breaks into Big Spender, waggling a miraculous derrière that seems held aloft as if by invisible string. The stylist steps back, admiringly: Look at that cleavage! Kerr gives her and the cameras a wink: Well, it’s milking time.

Ten months ago, Kerr’s now perfectly flat, stretch-mark-free stomach contained her first child, Flynn Christopher Blanchard Copeland Bloom. Even if her workout routine, diet, and husband, Orlando Bloom, weren’t the only things reporters ever asked about, Kerr shows a strong reluctance to utter any sentences not purely banal. She insists she owes her return to bra-modeling shape to yoga, smoothies with noni juice and vitamineral greens, and her organic-skin-care line, Kora Organicsthe very mention of which turns on her infomercial voice. She and Bloom are practicing Nichiren Buddhists, but she doesn’t want to talk about that. He’s good at changing diapers since he’s a Capricorn and they’re really hands on. (Kerr is an Aries: Not shy and kind of out there.) They have homes in L.A. and the English countryside, as well as a New York apartment that is too small, so they just stay at hotels. I really feel like the world is our home, she says.

Kerr grew up in the country with horses and motorbikes, and first saw a Victoria’s Secret store as a 16-year-old exchange student in Virginia. I was like, Wow! This is like a wonderland for women in here! We don’t have anything like that in Australia.’  She was blown away when she became the first Australian to get a contract with them. I just remember, like, the first time I met Adriana [Lima], she was so beautiful. I was like, Why would they want me? I mean, look at her. She’s incredible.’ And then I met Heidi and Gisele and I was like, What am I doing here?’ 

When Kerr started out at Victoria’s Secret, she modeled Pink, the most junior line, then swimwear, then underwear. The Fantasy Treasure Bra is a graduationa crowning honor. Kerr will be the closing showstopper for the Angels Aquatic section of this year’s show, walking to a live Maroon 5 performance. Kanye West and Nicki Minaj will play during the show, which includes Ballet (models dressed like sexy ballerinas), Super Angels (models looking like sexy superheroes), Passion (models dressed like sexy crows), and Club Pink (the show’s youngest models in sexy skirts made from stuffed animals).

Another sign she’s hit the big time: Page Six trumpeting a Zoolander-like model battle between Kerr and Heidi Klum because they threw competing Halloween parties in New York. The two are actually running buddies, though popular opinion says Klum’s realistic ape costume out-wowed Kerr’s sexy ringmaster. I always see myself as, like, equal to everyone, Kerr says of her fellow models. In 2010, she wrote a self-help book called Treasure Yourself and doesn’t see how the Victoria’s Secret catalogue could possibly cause anyone self-esteem issues: I can’t feel bad about being who I am, just like the girl next to me can’t feel bad about being who she is, she says. Because a rose can never be a sunflower, and a sunflower can never be a rose.

Later, backstage at the show, she repeats the sentiment like a mantra. I want to encourage women to embrace their own uniqueness. Because just like a rose is beautiful, so is a sunflower, so is a peony. I mean, all flowers are beautiful in their own way, and that’s like women too.

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