ALICA SCHMIDT is used to leaving fans speechless on Instagram with her stunning looks and daring bikini shoots.
But the German runner wants to be recognised as a successful athlete first.
The 23-year-old beauty has turned heads on and off the track, becoming a showbiz figure in her homeland and earning the title of 'World's sexiest athlete' from the tabloids.
However, that means nothing to Schmidt who reached the 400m semi-finals of the European Championships in Munich back in August.
She dreams of Olympic glory at Paris 2024, and is even making time to finish her studies.
While, she also understands her brand and is thankful for the opportunity to attend fancy fashion shows around Europe.
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Speaking to SunSport, Alica revealed: "I think all that matters is my performance and what I bring to the table that counts.
"I’m focusing on what I want to achieve as an athlete and I try not to let people's perception of me dictate my behaviour or opportunities.
"I'm lucky I have such an amazing support system around me and can listen to them and their advice, and at the end of the day I'll always try to only do the things that make me happy and fulfilled."
Fanfare in Munich
Schmidt returned to the form at Munich 2022, following an injury lay off that derailed her Olympic bid last year.
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Although she travelled to the Games in Tokyo, she didn't compete.
"This was an experience and an opportunity every single athlete always dreams of," she said.
"It’s something that has been on my bucket list and the time spent in Tokyo gave me a lot, taught me a lot and simply pushed me forward. It’s something no one can ever take off me which is a really nice feeling."
At Munich 2022, Schmidt qualified for the semi-finals of the 400m. It was an emotional moment, especially given it happened in front of her own family. She could be forgiven for breaking down in tears.
"The European championships in Munich had been something truly special. Not only because I was able to qualify for individuals, but even more special because the competition took place close to where I grew up," she revealed.
"This constellation was extremely emotional and the pinnacle was that my parents where in the stadium too.
"I appreciated the support of everyone so much, that I can’t even find words to describe how I felt during this time. I was completely overwhelmed, but in a positive way."
'I need athletics to live and breathe'
Running is Schmidt's true passion. She lives and breathes the sport, training religiously sometimes twice a day.
And she's not afraid to push her body to the limit to get results.
She said: "It’s an amazing thing about passion. If you love something, if you have a strong passion for something, it will get you out of bed, and you make extreme measures to chase the goal.
"Being on the track, trying to push my myself to the absolute limit, that’s the feeling I live for. It means that I have to sacrifice a lot of things yes, but to me it’s absolutely worth it, as I need athletics to live and breathe.
"I will do everything it takes to become faster and faster. I train almost every single day, sometimes twice a day. If you have a dream just go for it and don’t compromise on it.
"I've never really allowed anyone to tell me what I was capable of accomplishing and I give everything I have into every single training session."
In 2017, Australian magazine Busted Coverage ran a feature on Schmidt – calling her the 'World's sexiest athlete'.
It's a tag that doesn't sit well with the blonde stunner, and neglects her track and field talents.
"This title doesn't mean anything to me," she revealed.
"It’s based on a subjective opinion of someone else judging the appearance of a person. I like to think that beauty comes from the inside!"
Still, Alica does enjoy the trappings of fame and boasts 3.2 million followers on Instagram.
She attended Milan Fashion Week, while she's a regular on the red carpet in her homeland.
She divulged: "All of these experiences are great and it’s still crazy to be me to be invited to such iconic events.
"What makes it special in the end is the people. All the people I meet along the way are truly inspiring and it’s an honour to be there in the moment next to them."
On social media, though, Schmidt keeps it professional – focusing on business rather than her personal life.
"I really don't feel comfortable sharing my private life with people who don't know me personally – but at the same time I enjoy using social media and only share the aspects of my life that I want to share," she revealed.
"I am so grateful for all of the business opportunities that have risen from my Instagram account and I really have fun creating content for the platform."
Despite clearly having the time of her life off the track, her ambition remains the same.
"My goal is to make it to the Olympics in Paris in 2024 and become faster," she said.
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"I’m also still studying and looking forward to get my bachelor's degree in communication and media design."
With such steely determination, you wouldn't put it past Schmidt to fulfil her dreams.
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