I usually play the “name names” game with my friends to kill boredom. As the name of the game implies, one has to give names to survive a round; otherwise one would be forced to do something stupid or funny one would surely regret. So when I asked my straight male friends to name at least 5 supermodels, they could hardly give any but ONE. Guess who that supermodel is, that even heterosexual malescan recognize without giving much of a thought? Yup, that’s right! It’s the uber sexy, incredibly beautiful and filthy rich supermodel, Gisele Bundchen.
Gisele is born Gisele Caroline Bündchen in 1980. What people don’t really know is that Gisele has a fraternal twin sister named Patricia. They were born in Tres de Maio, Rio GrandedoSul in Brazil but they were raised in Horizontina, a small town near the Argentine border of the country.Their parents are VaniaNonnenmacher, a bank clerk pensioner, and ValdirBündchen, a university teacher and writer. Both of Gisele’s parents are of German descent and Gisele is said to belong to the sixth generation German Brazilians.
Growing up, Gisele was often ridiculed because of her height. Younger, she stood at 5’11, approximately the same height that she has today. Gisele was also very slender. Because of this, Gisele was called “Olive,” which was derived from the name, “Olive Oyl”, an extremely thin female character in the popular cartoon show, “Popeye the Sailor Man.” However, this did not put Gisele down. Instead, she engaged in volleyball to make use of her height to her advantage.
At an early age of 13, Gisele, together with her sisters, took a modelling course. A year after that, she went to Sao Paolo on a school trip for a modelling exercise in the city. While she was eating with friends at McDonald’s, Gisele, then 14 years old, was spotted by a modelling agent from Elite ModellingManagement and asked her if she wanted to become a model. The hesitant stunner said “no” at first but eventually agreed to give it a try after putting some thought to it. She then competed in global modelling contests where she decently placed and then moved to Sao Paolo to start her modelling career. It was in 1996 that she flew to New York for the annual Fashion Week. There, she would be noticed by two top fashion photographers, Mario Testino and Steven Meisel. Her career took off from there.
In 1997, Gisele went to London and booked 42 shows. Here, she got the chance to walk for famed fashion designer, Alexander McQueen for the brand’s “rain” ready to wear fashion show. Models had to walk in towering heels and on a slippery wet runway at that. After pulling the catwalk off her sleeve, the fashion designer acknowledged Gisele, and dubbed her “the body”, a label formerly given to a famous supermodel in the past.
At the time when Gisele entered the fashion industry and the modelling world, the dominant wave was the waif look or the “heroin chic” popularized by supermodel Kate Moss. In this era, women had to be ultra thin to book fashion shows. But when Gisele commenced booking shows and started making buzz, the era faltered down and came to an end which gave rise to what Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief, AnnaWintour called as, “The Return of the Sexy Model.”Gisele is credited to have changed the course of the modelling trend singlehandedly. Immediately thereafter, Vogue and VH1 named her Model of the Year. She would then grace different magazine covers as in 2001 where she was made the cover of nine (9) Vogue magazines.
In 2000, Gisele signed with lingerie giant, Victoria’s Secret which catapulted her career to superstardom, more than the popularity that she already enjoyed at that time. She became a household name and a phenomenon. She was joined with fellow supermodels, Tyra Banks, Heidi Klum, and eventually Naomi Campbell and other Brazilian imports. The year culminated for Gisele with Rolling Stone magazine naming her as, “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World.”
Gisele also experimented with making films. In 2004, she made her debut with the film, Taxi. The film, however was flopped at the box office. In 2006, she appeared in “The Devil Wears Prada” despite the running threat that anyone who would grace the film would no longer appear in the spreads of Vogue.
Gisele’s romantic involvements did not escape the public eye. In 2000, she engaged in a romantic relationship with Hollywood A-lister, Leonardo DiCaprio. Their relationship lasted for 5 years. In 2006, she started dating her now hubby Tom Brady who she married in 2009.
In 2007, Gisele was declared as the highest paid supermodel in the world. In the same year, she announced that she’d be ending contract with Victoria’s Secret. At present, she is enjoying her family life and struggles to make it the business world. She is also using her popularity at present to help people be aware of environmental problems. In 2008, she, together with her family and friends, launched “ProjetoÁguaLimpa” (Clean Water Project) in her hometown of Horizontina, Brazil.Recently, she has been given the title of ambassador of goodwill for the UN Environmental Programme.
Surely, it is not difficult to recognize such a successful supermodel. But as for me, what make Gisele super are not only her physical gifts but ultimately her kind deeds and charitable heart.