When Naomi met Vladimir: fights, fitness, and tiger traps

 

Moscow

They have both posed topless for the cameras, both enjoy the limelight, and are both seen as sex symbols. So it was no surprise that when Naomi Campbell met Vladimir Putin, the conversation kicked off with an exchange of tips about how to keep in good shape.

The Russian Prime Minister, who has shown off his muscles in bare-chested horse-riding jaunts and fishing trips, told the supermodel in an interview published in GQ magazine this week that his fitness regime was probably similar to hers. When she replied that she didn't work out much, but believed a healthy mind helped keep her fit, he answered: "Exactly."

That's not to say that Mr Putin doesn't ever find time to work on his figure. "I go to the gym, I swim daily and from time to time I meet with friends and do extra-curricular stuff," said Mr Putin. "I had a good work-out just the day before yesterday."

When Campbell asked about another of his photo opportunities last year – riding a Harley-Davidson motorbike with a group of Hell's Angels – he said one of the group had lost a leg during the war in the former Yugoslavia. "I'm not the tough guy, those guys are," said Mr Putin.

He also expressed admiration for bare-knuckle fighters, but said that he personally preferred to stick to judo, which he has been practising since he was 14. Mr Putin has released a DVD of his judo tips.

Campbell spends much of the year in Moscow with her billionaire boyfriend Vladislav Doronin. She conducted the interview during a December summit in St Petersburg that brought together world leaders and celebrities to agree to a programme for saving the wild tiger.

Mr Putin is fond of wildlife, and Campbell asked him about the time he came face to face with a tiger and had to shoot it with a tranquilliser dart. Sceptics suggested the incident was a carefully choreographed stunt designed to boost Mr Putin's image among voters, but he told Campbell that the danger was real, although he himself had not been scared.

"It felt good for me, but not all of my Russian colleagues felt the same way," recounted Mr Putin. "When I came to the reserve, a tiger was caught in a special trap... But the tiger was smart, and as soon as the cameras started rolling, he stuck his paw through the trap. You could say the reporters were afraid." Luckily, Mr Putin was able to come to the rescue with a stun gun and save the day.

The Russian Prime Minister also praised the "bravery" of women who took their clothes off to tell him how much they admire him. Journalism students from Russia's leading university stripped down to their underwear and pulled sexy poses for a special birthday calendar made for Mr Putin last year. Each month also included suggestive captions. "You put out forest fires, but I'm still burning," said one. "How about a third time," pouted another girl, an innuendo that alludes to rumours that Mr Putin is planning a return to the presidency in 2012.

"I like the girls a lot, they're beautiful," said Mr Putin. "In Russia in particular, it's fashionable to criticise people in power. If you come out in support of someone like me, you're going to be accused of trying to ingratiate yourself. The girls in the erotic calendar were courageous and they were not scared."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Assistant - Oxford

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: As a successful and growing Security Installat...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Agent - OTE £25,000

£13000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides specialis...

Recruitment Genius: Software Implementation and Support Consultant

£28000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A consultant is required to pro...

Recruitment Genius: Office Assistant

£12675 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Assistant is required...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn