Alessandra Ambrosia Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

For the first time in nearly two decades, Alessandra Ambrosio won’t be walking at the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. The Brazilian beauty became a VS Angel in 2000 and retired just last year, making this year’s catwalk the first in a while she will not be a part of. Is she relieved? Is it bittersweet? Gulf News tabloid! sat down with the 37-year-old actress and model to find out, ahead of her Mall of the Emirates’ World of Fashion appearance in Dubai last Thursday.

The modelling landscape has changed lately with the introduction of social media. How different is it to when you were first starting out?

It’s a completely different thing. Back in the day nobody knew who we were. We had to walk from casting to casting to try to meet every client, every brand, every photographer, every stylist, for people to know who we were. With social media, you can see everything. It’s much easier and faster access to know who the person is, what they’ve done, what they’re capable of.

Would you have liked to do it in the age of social media, or are you happy with the way that it happened for you?

Now it’s definitely more instant results. But I love my old-fashion way. I wouldn’t change for anything. Sometimes I see that certain things are easier now, but I don’t mind going through my hard stats to be where I am.

You walked seventeen shows for Victoria’s Secret. How does it feel that this is the first year it’s happening, post¬-retirement?

It’s pretty good. I love it. I still love everyone at Victoria’s Secret, they’re my family, they always will be my family. I keep in touch with a lot of the girls. But for me, I’ve done it and it’s all good. Now I want to watch, I don’t want to do it. So, it’s kind of like you have that freedom kind of feeling. [laughs]

What would be your advice be to the new girls entering the VS realm?

For me, it was an amazing journey. They treated me like a princess, so I had the best life. Nothing to complain [about]. I got to model amazing lingerie, and be who I was, and show my personality — the world got to know who I am. Don’t take it for granted, enjoy and work hard. The hard work is fun, too.

What goals are you most focused on now?

I’m still a travelling a lot, but my priority is to focus on my kids. They’re growing, they’re 10 and six, so there’s a lot going on in their lives. I have my brand and a lot of things that I endorse, so there’s still a lot happening.

What keeps bringing you back to Dubai?

It’s nice and warm and sunny, so it’s my ideal kind of place. Next time, I really want to bring my kids here. I was showing them a little bit of the sea where I was, and the [sky-high] buildings. They were like, ‘Wow, it’s incredible.’

How would you describe your current sense of style?

It depends if I have to be glamorous or what kind of situation I’m in. But I like to be comfortable and true to myself. It’s not because something is trendy this season [that I wear it] — If I don’t like it, I’m not going to buy it. I just get whatever fits my attitude.

QUICKFIRE with Alessandra Ambrosio

Hear what the model had to say during an on-stage chat with Harper’s Bazaar Arabia editor-in-chief Louise Nichol.

Who would play you in a movie? My daughter.

Your first catwalk? In a mall in Brazil when I was 14 years old. I had to do my own hair.

The last time you cried? Probably watching a movie on a plane. Molly’s Game.

Advice to your 18-year-old self? Enjoy every second and do what you believe in. Life is a gift.

What’s for breakfast? Coffee, juice, slices of avocado, turkey bacon, two poached eggs and a little muffin with some honey.

Who should run the world? Girls… or Beyonce.

Social media: Good or evil? A little bit of both, but I try to use mine as a source for good.

Three words to describe you? #ForeverOnVacation. Because I love what I do.

*The ninth edition of World of Fashion took place from October 9-13 in Dubai, bringing together regional and global style lovers for fashion showcases, live celebrity interviews and runway shows.