Like when she hit one million followers on Instagram. "My mom sent me a video of what a million looks like—it was a million letter As—and I saw it physically like that. I was like, 'Oh my god—that's so crazy.'"
Seven-figure followers is a serious accomplishment for anybody, but especially for someone who didn’t always take modeling very seriously. When she was younger Windsor spent most of her time playing field hockey and tennis even after she was scouted at a bar mitzvah when she was 14.
"I was so serious about school and sports and I thought of [modeling] as a side activity," she explains. During the school year, Windsor was just a normal teenager in St. Louis who prioritized homework and practice, but in the summers, while other kids scooped ice cream and worked at camps, Windsor jetted to New York for test shoots and modeling gigs.
She signed with IMG at 16, and the 23-year-old has been a full-time model for the past five years, since graduating high school. "That's when I really started modeling," she says. "Before, I was just tiptoeing."
Wading before diving in was a good idea. Devon says easing into modeling helped her build self-confidence; in her early years, she would get nervous with every gig.
"I'd get nauseous and not feel good and my mom would be like, 'You have to go,'" she says. "But I grew up and I got more confident talking to people on set and creating relationships and making friends. It's become so much more fun…I used to be terrified when I was going to work and now I'm looking forward to it every single day."
But Windsor admits it can still be a bit nerve-racking to walk the Victoria's Secret fashion show. "I almost black out, like 'Oh my god, what do I do? What pose did I do?' Thank god we film it twice, because it gives you two chances," she says.
Windsor says at her first show, Victoria’s Secret veterans Adriana Lima and Lily Aldridge gave her a pep talk, and now she passes on the good vibes to fresh faces. "I say, 'Honestly, it's fun. The audience is so engaging and the outfits are amazing. You feel so confident and you're having the time of your life.' It is fun. It's very, very unforgettable."
Windsor considers her Instagram followers not as faceless observers but cheerleaders who are joining her on the nonstop journey that takes her around the world, shoot to shoot. "I'm honestly so honored to have so many people following me and motivating me on this crazy adventure I'm going on," she says.
Windsor stays remarkably grounded in spite of the jet-setting glamour of her career. She's close with her family, and on Instagram or Snapchat, you're more likely to see her cooking than clubbing.
"I'm constantly cooking on social media," she says. "My signature dish—something I've been making since I was 10—is angel hair pasta with shrimp and feta in a white-wine basil sauce with tomatoes, because it's absolutely amazing. I love making pastas and pizzas—carbohydrates."
A model who loves carbs? It's possible when you're as athletic as Windsor. In high school, Devon ran track in addition to playing lacrosse, field hockey, and tennis. Those fitness habits have followed her into adulthood.
"My dad wanted to have a son and then he ended up with my sister and I, so from the time we could walk, we were constantly playing sports," she laughs.
But it turns out her dad had the right idea to focus on sports.
"It's taught me a lot about physical activity and a lot about my body, and I obviously carried that over to my modeling career," Windsor explains. Now to stay in shape Devon mixes up her workouts with Pilates, boxing, CrossFit, and even just long walks. "
I like to switch it up because it keeps it more exciting, and I like to work out with people because it motivates me to try harder," she says. "I'm very, very competitive, so it's fun."
Pick up Maxim's October issue, on sale September 26th, for all of Devon's glorious Maxim photos, and be sure to subscribe so you never miss an issue.