First-year swimsuit rookie Natasha Barnard is more than a pretty face - the South African model is a Forumla-1 Racing fanatic and a lover of all things wildlife. In fact, Natasha plans work with wild animals when her modeling career is over. She's also interested in wildlife photography and shared some of her best shots in the gallery above. SwimDaily caught up with Natasha about being on the other side of the camera and her post-modeling plans.
SwimDaily: Has photography always been a hobby of yours?
Natasha Barnard: Yes, i've always loved taking pictures and it just increased as I starting traveling more and more.
SD: How long have you been shooting wildlife?
NB: I've been shooting wildlife ever since I got my very first camera as a child, but i've only been taking it seriously for the last 2 years.
SD: Did you go to the zoo often as a child? Is that where you got your love of animals?
NB: I only went to the zoo once when I was really young and I could't handle seeing all the animals in cages or enclosures, so I haven't been back since. My love for animals came from all our family vacations in the bush. I grew up within a family that loved wild animals and being in nature. I was lucky!
SD: What's the most memorable experience you've had?
NB: The one that stands out the most is seeing a rhino give birth right in front of us. The little rhino started walking immediately -- it was a very special moment.
SD: Do you find there's more of an appreciation of wildlife in South Africa than the U.S.?
NB: I can't speak for the U.S, but Wildlife is a very big part of out culture in South Africa, so much so that we even have our big five on our money notes. Our animals are our pride and quite possibly our biggest tourist attraction.
SD: Do you have any pets?
NB: I have two miniature horses back home. Unfortunately I travel too much to be able to take care of other pets. One day... ;)
SD: What's your favorite animal?
NB: My favorite animal is a tiger, but I also adore Siberian huskies, lizards, owls and penguins.
SD: Has your experience modeling taught you anything about photography?
NB: It's definitely given me an appreciation for photography and getting the right shot. It's taught me that patience is key. Ha Ha
SD: Is this something you'd like to do when you're done modeling?
NB: Absolutely! I more than anything want to work with wild animals, be involved with conservation and also further my wildlife photography. I have big ideas for a wildlife show, coffee table books and a one of a kind lodge, so watch this space. :)
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