Kroes was born in the town of Eastermar, in the province of Fryslân, the Netherlands. After graduating high school (HAVO), she sent snapshots to modeling agency Paparazzi in Amsterdam.
Kroes has made the covers of Time, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Seventeen, Elle, Marie Claire, Glamour, W, Avantgarde, Dazed & Confused and Numéro. She also appears regularly in the Victoria's Secret catalog and walked the runway of the company's fashion show in 2005, 2006 and 2008. Kroes' campaigns include Gucci, Tommy Hilfiger, Escada, Dolce & Gabbana, Valentino, Versace, Hugo Boss, Guerlain, Bottega Veneta, De Beers, Escada, GAP, Gianfranco Ferre, and Neiman Marcus. In August 2005, she was named spokesmodel for the Calvin Klein "Eternity" fragrance campaign, replacing American actress Scarlett Johansson, and, in April 2006, she signed a three-year contract with L'Oréal Paris. Kroes can currently be seen in the company's commercials alongside Eva Longoria and Kerry Washington.
In 2005, Kroes was selected as "Model of The Year" on Vogue.com by readers and was featured on the cover of the May 2007 issue with Hilary Rhoda, Caroline Trentini, Raquel Zimmermann, Sasha Pivovarova, Agyness Deyn, Coco Rocha, Jessica Stam, Chanel Iman, and Lily Donaldson as the new crop of "supermodels." Along with several of these models, she appeared in the 2008 Pirelli Calendar.
In July 2007, earning at an estimated total of $4.9 million in the past twelve months, Forbes named Kroes fourteenth in the list of the World's 15 Top-Earning Supermodels. In April 2008, she soared to the fifth position, with an estimated income of $6 million.. In May 2009 Forbes named Kroes fifth again in the list of the World's 15 Top- Earning Supermodels.
Kroes also is in the official Frisian provincial campaign for the West Frisian language which is her mother tongue.
In 2006, Omrop Fryslan made a documentary about Kroes. Piter Claus follows Kroes during the fashion week in Milan. The documentary won a NL-Award for best regional documentary.
Doutzen Kroes received the Lifetime Achievement Award, part of the Dutch Model Awards, that she has won in Amsterdam, on May 12, 2009. The jury praised her achievements at her age.
At the end of August 2008, Victoria's Secret confirmed to People magazine that Kroes was to be the newest Victoria's Secret Angel. Her first campaign as the brand's newest Angel is "Supermodel Obsession", alongside Adriana Lima. She was recently signed to be the new face for Swiss cashmere label Repeat for two years.
Currently, she is signed by DNA Model Management.
In the Amsterdam branch of Madame Tussaud's wax museum, there is a wax figure of Kroes.
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