Born July 20th, 1980, in Horizontina, Rio Grande de Sul, Brazil. Gisele is a supermodel beauty. Gisele, raised in Horizontina, a small town of less then 20,000 people located in the southern part of Brazil. With six daughters in the family, her five other sisters are all natural phenomenons. Raquel, Graziela, Gabriela, Patricia, and Rafaela are all aspiring models.
As a school girl, she was taunted with the nickname Olive Oil, the waif thin girl friend of Popeye the Sailor in cartoons.Bündchen, 14, is spotted by an Elite Modeling agent in a São Paulo McDonald’s. “They asked if I wanted to be a model, and I was like, ‘Forget it,'” she tells New York’s Daily News in 2004. “But in Brazil, people struggle, so I thought, ‘You know what? I should try this.'” She moves to New York in 1997, where she catches the eye of top photographers Mario Testino and Steven Meisel, who coax magazines and designers to take a chance on the teenager. “I was mesmerized by her,” Testino tells PEOPLE. While grabbing a Big Mac in a shopping mall, she was seen by a modeling agent who approached her and asked if she had any interest in becoming a model. Despite her father’s lack of approval of the career choice, he allowed her to move to Sao Paulo and she entered the Elite Look Modeling Competition, and her career took off.
Bündchen single-handedly ends the “heroin chic” era brought in by Kate Moss when fashion industry’s bible, Vogue, puts her on its cover. The magazine declares the “Return of the Sexy Model.” The Brazilian import is named Vogue/VH1 Model of the Year and by 2001, graces nine Vogue covers. Bündchen follows the likes of Tyra Banks and Heidi Klum when she signs with lingerie giant Victoria’s Secret. “I think guys like me because they like girls in lingerie,” she tells Time about her Victoria’s Secret work. “They like any girl in lingerie.”
Gisele has modeled for all the major fashion houses such as Ralph Lauren, Versace, Valentino and Chloe. She also has appeared on several magazine covers such as Vogue, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar and Rolling Stone. Bündchen frolics on the shores of Malibu with actor Leonardo DiCaprio. The two remain coy about their relationship. “I don’t talk about my private life,” she tells New York’s Daily News. “The only thing I have to say is that I so appreciate [Leo].” They endure a rocky, nearly six-year, on-again, off-again relationship before calling it quits (for good) in November 2005. It may not be Vogue, but Bündchen graces the cover of Rolling Stone in a bikini. The magazine dubs the 20-year-old, “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World.” Time magazine says she’s “one of the few runway models whom straight men can name.”
Bündchen makes her acting debut opposite Queen Latifah and Jimmy Fallon in the box office disappointment Taxi. “It’s not Shakespeare, I’m not telling everyone I’m a serious actress, because that’s not who I am. I’m a model!” she tells New York’s Daily News of her role as Vanessa, a leader of a group of gorgeous bank robbers. After her split from DiCaprio, Bündchen is photographed surfing and cuddling with Pamela Anderson’s ex Kelly Slater on the sands of Hawaii’s Waikiki beach. The two tanned stunners are reportedly more than beach buddies. Bündchen appears in the film adaptation of The Devil Wears Prada despite reports that anyone involved would be banned from the pages of Vogue. She plays an editor opposite Anne Hathaway and Emily Blunt.
Bündchen expresses her admiration for New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, 29, telling the Herald, “Definitely not too shabby. He’s pretty cute. All-American, that’s a good way to describe him.” The following month, Brady, who recently ended a three-year relationship with actress Bridget Moynahan – who later discovers she’s pregnant – begins dating the 26-year-old supermodel. After seven years as a Victoria’s Secret model, Bündchen, 26, parts ways with the lingerie giant. New York Post’s Page Six reports that Bündchen split with the company because it wouldn’t raise her $5 million-a-year salary and many speculate that she’s heading towards retirement. In 2004, she told Vanity Fair, “I would never want to be one of those girls who is 30, and modeling is all they know how to do. I want to do my best, and then I want to close the chapter on this job so I can look back and say this is what I did from 14 to 26, and then have another chapter.”
Bündchen tops Forbes’ list of the World’s Richest Models and earns $33 million in the past year. Kate Moss and Heidi Klum take second and third place respectively. “Some people start modeling because they want to be models and they want the parties and the recognition, and then there are people like me,” she tells Vanity Fair. “I come from a simple family, and for me getting into modeling was a chance to make money and create a business.” Dubbed “the globe’s reigning symbol of female perfection” by GQ, Bündchen appears on the magazine’s cover, where she discusses meeting boyfriend Tom Brady. “We met through a friend who knew us both for a long time,” she says. “Our friend knew that we would like each other. And we did. So I guess he was right.” Formerly with DiCaprio, the supermodel admits: “I’ve had my heart broken.” But of Brady, she says, “He really, genuinely doesn’t have a bad bone in his body.”
Gisele has recently signed a multimillion-dollar contract with North American lingerie firm, Victoria’s Secret. As a result, the Brazilian beauty will appear in several of their lingerie, beauty and hosiery campaigns for television and print, as well as in their point-of-sale materials. According to rumors that circulated amongst the fashion crowd during New York Fashion Week, Gisele will receive a cool 20 million US dollars for the job. Gisele currently lives in Los Angeles, an apartment in New York and a house out in the country in up-state New York. She has had her belly-button pierced and has a tattoo of a star drawn on the inside of her left wrist. It is nice to see that Gisele, albeit a young, rich and famous model, still maintains her naturalness and a down-to-earth personality.
Bündchen, 28, and Brady, 31, tie the knot in a small, private ceremony in Santa Monica. The couple exchange vows again at Bündchen’s Costa Rica home that April. Then in December, the newlyweds welcome their son Benjamin. “To be a mother is a magical experience,” she says. “It really is the miracle of life. I am really happy!”
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