MODEL, mother, businesswoman, billionaire, supermodel,
superwoman: not since the original supers of the Nineties has there
been a model with such power and influence as Gisele Bundchen.
Her Amazonian body and striking beauty were the antithesis of
can't-be-bothered late-Nineties grunge and spawned a wave of more
womanly models. More than any other before her, Bundchen parlayed
her beauty and body into a multi-million-pound brand - and is now
on the cusp of becoming the first ever model billionaire.
SEE GISELE'S CAREER IN PICTURES
- Born July 20, 1980 in a small Brazilian town, Três de Maio,
Bundchen - whose name is of German descent - grew up in Rio Grande
do Sul with her parents and five sisters: Raquel, Graziela,
Gabriela, Rafaela and her non-identical twin sister Patrícia.
- Bundchen was famously scouted on a school trip to Sao Paulo
when she was 13, before entering the Elite Look of the Year
contest. She only achieved fourth place at the final, held in
Ibiza, but began her modelling career in earnest shortly after,
making her catwalk debut at New York Fashion Week in 1996.
- Alexander McQueen gave Bundchen her high-fashion break when he
chose her to walk in his famous Rain show in 1997 -
christening her "the body".
- In 1998 she secured her first British Vogue cover, and
became the most in-demand cover girl of her generation with 10
covers in less than four years - even Kate Moss has never graced
more than nine in the same period.
SEE GISELE'S VOGUE COVER ARCHIVE
- In the same year, she cemented her wide-ranging appeal with
campaigns for labels as varied as Missoni, Chloé, Dolce &
Gabbana, Valentino, Gianfranco Ferré, Ralph Lauren, and
- In 2000, Bundchen went from model to supermodel as she signed a
record-breaking $25 million contract with Victoria's Secret, making
her one of the only models known to women - for her high-fashion
campaigns, catwalk appearances and covers - and to men.
SEE GISELE ON THE VICTORIA'S SECRET CATWALK
- Her appeal to designers didn't wane, however, and in 2000 she
opened shows for Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Dolce & Gabbana,
and Valentino - and walked with supermodels including Linda
Evangelista, Naomi Campbell and Eva Herzigova in John Galliano's
10th anniversary Christian Dior Couture collection show. The
designer named it one of the highlights of his career.
WHAT GALLIANO SAID ABOUT IT
- In the same year, Gisele became only the fourth model ever to
grace the cover of Rolling Stone, which named her "the
most beautiful girl in the world" - and was heralded by US
Vogue as the standard-bearer of "the return of the sexy
model". She also simultaneously graced the covers of both the US
and British editions of
Vogue in January 2000, the first issue of the new
SEE GISELE'S VOGUE COVER ARCHIVE
- In 2000, Gisele began dating Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio.
The duo split in 2005, without ever speaking about the reasons
behind the break-up, by which time Gisele had gone from movie
star's girlfriend to star in her own right.
- In 2004, she was named the world's highest-paid model by
Forbes, an accolade she has held ever since thanks to
endorsement deals and branded collections with labels from Apple to
SEE THE WORLD'S HIGHEST-PAID MODELS
- 2004 also saw Gisele's acting debut, as the leader of a gang of
bank robbers in the Tim Story-directed film Taxi. Despite
the film's critical panning, she received another film role - a
cameo this time - as Serena, a friend of long-suffering assistant
Emily in iconic fashion film The Devil Wears Prada in
- In December 2006, Gisele met Tom Brady. "I knew right away -
the first time I saw him," she told Vanity Fair later. "We
met through a friend. The moment I saw him, he smiled and I was
like, 'That is the most beautiful, charismatic smile I've ever
seen!' We sat and talked for three hours. I had to go home for
Christmas, but I didn't want to leave. You know that feeling of,
like, you can't get enough? From the first day we met, we've never
spent one day without speaking to each other."
SEE GISELE WITH BRADY
- Shortly after Gisele and Brady met, his former girlfriend -
actress Bridget Moynahan - announced that she was pregnant with his
child and planned to have the baby on her own. "In the beginning
you're living this romantic fantasy; you're thinking, 'This can't
be true, it's so good!' And then, whoops - wake-up call!" she said
later. "We were dating two-and-a-half months when he found out, and
it was a very challenging situation. Obviously, in the beginning,
it's not the ideal thing. [But] I think it was a blessing, because
otherwise I don't think I would have known what he was made of, and
he wouldn't have known what I was made of. I wouldn't have seen the
integrity in him - the way he was a good person through all the
times." Brady's son Jack - who Gisele now refers to as her "eldest"
- has encouraged Gisele to split her time between Boston and LA,
where Jack lives, in order to spend as much time as a family as
- 2008 saw a black-and-white photo of Bündchen, shot by Irving
Penn, auctioned for $193,000 (£96,000) alongside images of other
models and celebrities, including Carla Bruni. Gisele's fetched by
far the most on the night.
SEE THE FAMOUS NAKED PICTURE
- In April 2009 Gisele married Brady, a Quarterback for the New
England Patriots, at a small ceremony in Costa Rica attended by her
family and close friends. "The bride donned a form-fitting ivory
lace strapless gown with a trumpet skirt, scalloped edges, long
train and a floor-length veil with attached handmade satin roses
and attached satin headband, all by Dolce & Gabbana. Her three
dogs also wore matching Dolce & Gabbana floral lace collars,"
Us Weekly reported at the time. No images of her dress
were ever released.
- After much pregnancy speculation,
Gisele stepped out with an obvious baby bump for the first time
in July 2009, but remained low-key throughout her pregnancy -
forgoing all red carpet events in favour of lunches with friends
and trips to the gym.
- In December 2009, Gisele gave birth to her son Benjamin Rein
Brady. She later talked in detail about the birth, which she
asserted "'didn't hurt in the slightest", and detailed the yoga and
meditation methods she used to ensure she had a "tranquil birth at
home" in Boston.
SEE GISELE WITH BABY BENJAMIN
- Gisele graced the cover of the April 2010 issue of US
Vogue, the magazine's annual Shape issue, debuting
her post-baby body for the first time, around eight weeks after
giving birth. "I did kung fu up until two weeks before Benjamin was
born, and yoga three days a week," she told the magazine. "I think
a lot of people get pregnant and decide they can turn into garbage
disposals. I was mindful about what I ate, and I gained only 30
SEE GISELE'S POST-BABY BODY
- The supermodel angered some mothers soon after by declaring she
thought there should be a "worldwide law, in my opinion, that
mothers should breastfeed their babies for six months". She later
clarified her comments, saying: "I understand that everyone has
their own experience and opinions and I am not here to judge. I
believe that bringing a life into this world is the single most
important thing a person can undertake and it can also be the most
challenging. I think as mothers we are all just trying our
- Following the 2010 Haiti earthquake,
Bundchen donated $1.5 million, more than was given by many
governments, and when asked why at the time, said: "because I
can". She has also supported a variety of environmental
causes, including clean water initiatives, environmental
sustainability, and the preservation of South American rainforests,
as well as cancer research and treatment. She has also donated
money to help the victims of natural disaters including Hurricane
Katrina and the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami. Every
year, Bundchen chooses a charity, to which proceeds of sales from
her Ipanema sandals are donated, with the 2011 donation going to
ISA - the Socio-environmental Institute.
- In 2011, it was revealed that
Gisele was outperforming the Dow Jones stock exchange - helping
companies she represented to consistently beat their
- Bundchen has appeared on more than 600 covers worldwide to
date, a total thought to be surpassed only by the late Diana,
Princess of Wales, and in 2011 was revealed to be on course to
becoming the world's first billionaire model.
SEE GISELE'S VOGUE COVER ARCHIVE
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