Candice Swanepoel nearly quit modelling when she was told to lose weight.

The Victoria's Secret angel was so distraught when she was advised to slim down to book jobs that she considered giving up on a career in modelling altogether.

The blonde beauty, who moved from South Africa to Europe after being discovered in a flea market aged 15, said: ''Every day, I was working with different people who were speaking different languages, so I was never able to form any relationships. I just wanted to go home.

''I was so used to people criticizing me for being too thin that it was shocking to me. I was crying.''

Candice, 26, who became a Victoria's Secret angel in 2010, also shared the secret behind her slender frame and confessed she works out in the gym like an ''athlete'' to ensure she feels strong enough to strike her best pose on set.

She told Self magazine: ''I'm up and on-set pretty early, usually by 5 a.m.

''I do a lot of swimwear, so for the best light, we try to get the sunrise and sunset.

''I'm an athlete. I use every single muscle, especially my core and arms, when I pose. It's so important for me to feel strong.''

The South African-born star insists she is used to early mornings after spending her childhood watching her father working on a dairy farm.

She explained: ''I saw my dad wake up at 4 every morning to milk the cows. I'd put on my overalls and gum boots and follow him around.''