Interviewed and written by: Katarzyna Aurora Sprengel

This absolutely drop-dead gorgeous Italian web influencer juggles playing basketball with modelling and TV presenting. There is a reason why she has been honoured with the title of the sexiest basketball player on the planet after she posed for Playboy in 2013.
Valentina was born in Rimini and was part of two childhood basketball clubs (one of them being Happy Basket Rimini) until she was around thirteen. In 2005 her modelling career took off. Valentina graduated from a fashion academy in Milan, was the finalist for Miss Italy and continues to do commercial modelling for swimsuit brands.
Now she is 26, plays for Milan and is a host on a few programs like Under the Basket. On her Instagram with 1.3 million followers, Valentina shares behind the scenes from games and snippets of her personal life. She is also a cancer survivor.
If all of that is not enough already to prove her fabulousness, maybe you should have a look at her other Instagram page @letortedellavignalona … Guess what, this girl is also a very talented baker! Go have a look yourself, I shall now leave you to drool over the numerous pictures of meticulously decorated cheesecakes and pies.

1. You are unquestionably an inspirational figure. You stand out from other Instagram models in many ways. Even your concise Instagram bio is impressive. What did you get into first, modelling or basketball? Do you think they complete each other well and what do you enjoy most in both of them?
Thank you. I first got into basketball when I was 8. I was so tall and being a good dancer was impossible, so I said “ok, everybody tells me basketball is for guys, but who cares?” Love at first sight.
I started modelling when I was 15 years old. It’s crazy – it’s completely different, sometimes in my bag I have heels and make up with basketball shoes. I love it, they are part of me.

2. You’ve been to Maldives recently! Could you tell us about that experience? What’s your favourite travel destination?
Maldives is one of the best place I’ve ever seen in my whole life. The colours and nature are incredible, people have to go there at least once in life, it’s an amazing experience. I visited Maldives three times! Travel is one of my passions. I have travelled a lot in my life, I love the European Capital especially in Christmas time, and I also love mountains. I can say I’m so in love with the world!

3. How would you describe your personal fashion style? Do you have brands you’re a little obsessed with or can’t quite get enough clothes from?
Sincerely not. I wear what I want and when I want. I range from glittered dresses to NBA jersey and Jordan, ahah. For sure I can say most of the time I’m sporty and comfy.

4. How does your typical day look like? Or is a ‘typical day’ something that doesn’t exist in your world?
Usually I don’t have typical day because I travel a lot. I go to the gym or practice like 5 times a week. I have about three shoots a week. It seems easy, but it’s hard do everything.

5. How did the fact of being a cancer survivor change your life?
It changed the way I see the world, it taught me what the important things are, and what really matters in life. You understand it with pain when you don’t know if you’re going to survive or not. And if you win it, you will be stronger than ever. Now I feel invincible.

6. How do you like to relax?
I listen to music and I love baking. I have a page on Instagram called @letortedellavignalona where I post pictures and recipes of my cakes.

7. Name two or three necessary ingredients to achieve success in your opinion.
Constancy, commitment and a little fortune. Nobody gives you anything for free, you need to build your success day by day.

8. What was so far the best and worst experience of yours in the sports/modelling industry?
Years ago a model agency told me I was fat and I could not work with them. I said “ok fuck, I’m not fat, I can be a model even if it’s not with you”, and I started to walk my own way.

9. Favourite drink?
Apricot juice and still water.

10. How would you describe your approach to life?
I’m a lion!

11. What are some exciting projects you are working on at the moment? Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
I always play basketball, I’m working with some TV channels and I also work with a lot of fashion brands. My life is amazing now, I could not ask for a better one.

Valentina Vignali on social media:
INSTAGRAM @valentinavignali
TWITTER @vignalona
FACEBOOK FANPAGE @valentinavignaliofficial