Gisele Bündchen

Gisele Caroline Bündchen (born July 20, 1980) is a Brazilian model. According to Forbes, she is the highest-paid model in the world and also the sixteenth richest woman in the entertainment world, having earned $33 million in 2007 and $35 million in 2008 alone, adding to her estimated $150 million fortune. She is also listed on Guinness Book of World Records as the world's richest supermodel. Bündchen has been the face of more than 20 brands internationally, and has appeared on more magazine covers than any other supermodel.


Family and early life

Gisele Bündchen was born in the Brazilian town of Três de Maio and grew up in Horizontina, Rio Grande do Sul, to Vânia Nonnenmacher, a bank clerk pensioner, and Valdir Bündchen, a university teacher and writer. She has five sisters — Raquel, Graziela, Gabriela, Rafaela and her fraternal twin Patrícia, Gisele's junior by five minutes. Bündchen was raised as a Roman Catholic, speaks Portuguese as her native language and English as a second language.

She is from Southern Brazil, a region whose population is largely composed of Brazilians of German descent. Bündchen is of distant German ancestry from both sides of her family: her great-great-grandparents immigrated to Brazil from Germany. In regards to her ethnic background, Bündchen was quoted:

I was born in Horizontina, a town in the backcountry of (Brazilian) state Rio Grande do Sul. The town was once mainly colonized by Germans. In the school which I attended, learning German was actually obligatory from third grade on. But being out of touch with the language for such a long time, I unfortunately forgot it. (...) I belong to the sixth generation of my family in Brazil.

Modeling career

Originally, Bündchen wanted to be a professional volleyball player and considered playing for the Brazilian team, Sogipa. While in school, Bündchen was so thin that her friends used to call her "Olívia Palito" (Portuguese for Olive Oyl, Popeye's skinny girlfriend) and "Saracura" (a type of Brazilian shorebird).

In 1993, a then-13-year-old Bündchen joined a modeling course with her sisters Patrícia and Gabriela at her mother's insistence. The following year, Bündchen went to São Paulo on a school excursion to give them an opportunity to walk in a big city. In a shopping mall, Bündchen was discovered by a modeling agency. She was subsequently selected for a national contest, Elite Look of the Year, in which she placed second—Claudia Menezes, from Bahia, took first place. Bündchen placed fourth in the world contest, held in Ibiza, Spain. In 1996, Bündchen moved to New York City to begin her modeling career, debuting at Fashion Week.

Her debut on the cover of the July 1999 issue of Vogue magazine, and the accompanying editorial entitled, "The Return of the Sexy Model", is widely viewed as marking the end of the fashion's "heroin chic" era. She graced the cover again in November and December of that year. She won the VH1/Vogue Model of the Year for 1999, and a January 2000 cover gave her the rare honor of three consecutive Vogue covers. In 2000, she was the fourth model in history to grace the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, when she was named "the most beautiful girl in the world". Bündchen has been on the covers of many top fashion magazines including W, Harper's Bazaar, ELLE, Allure, international editions of Vogue, as well as style and lifestyle publications such as i-D, The Face, Arena, Citizen K, Flair, GQ, Esquire, and Marie Claire. She has also been featured in the Pirelli calendar 2001 and 2006 as well as in broader market publications such as Time, Vanity Fair, Forbes, Newsweek, and Veja, totaling more than 500 magazine covers throughout the world.

Bündchen consistently works with acclaimed photographers such as Mario Testino, Steven Meisel, Nick Knight, Mert and Marcus, Rankin, Annie Leibovitz, Karl Lagerfeld, Peter Lindbergh, David LaChapelle, Mario Sorrenti, and Patrick Demarchelier, among others, and with renowned directors such as Jean Baptiste Mondino and Bruno Aveillan.

Claudia Schiffer said, "Supermodels, like we once were, don't exist any more" and reckoned that Gisele Bündchen was the only one close to earning the supermodel title.

Her measurements are 36-23.5-35, but it will be often given as 34-24-34, same to Heidi Klum, to fit the coherence of the numbers.

Endorsements and earnings

Since her debut, Bündchen has been the face of a variety of advertising campaigns including several seasons of Christian Dior, Balenciaga, Mervyn's, Dolce & Gabbana, Missoni, Versace, Céline, Givenchy, Bvlgari, Lanvin, Guerlain, Valentino, Ralph Lauren, Earl Jean, Zara, Chloé, Michael Kors, Louis Vuitton, and Victoria's Secret. She has appeared in advertisements for Nivea lotion and is the face of several Brazilian brands including Vivo, Multiplan (Shopping Malls), Colcci, Credicard (Citibank), and Volkswagen do Brasil. After C&A Brazil hired Bündchen as a spokesmodel and began airing television commercials, sales increased by 30%.

In May 2006, Bündchen signed another multi-million dollar deal, this time with American giant Apple Computer. She starred in an advertising campaign to promote the new Macintosh line through the Get a Mac advertisements. Also in 2006, Bündchen became the new face of Swiss luxury watchmaker Ebel.

She has her own line of sandals with footwear company Grendene called Ipanema Gisele Bündchen. Forbes puts her 53rd on their list of the most powerful celebrities of 2007 because of the international success of her shoe line, making the brand Ipanema the most sold Brazilian flip-flop in the world. Custom Ipanema flip-flops sell for as much as $230 a pair. She is also the owner of a hotel in the south of Brazil, the Palladium Executive.

On May 01, 2007, it was announced that Bündchen had ended her contract with Victoria's Secret. The New York Post's Page Six reported that Bündchen had left Victoria's Secret because she just wanted to move on, not because she didn't get paid enough.

In July 2007, having earned an estimated total of $33 million in the past 12 months, Forbes magazine named her the world's top-earning model in the list of the World's 15 Top-Earning Supermodels.

Gisele as one of the reasons to love New York

In the December 2005 issue, New York magazine chose—and publicized a list of—123 reasons to love New York City, and reason number 43 was because Gisele Bündchen lives there.

Gisele Bündchen Stock Index

An American economist named Fred Fuld developed a stock index to measure the profit performance improvement of companies represented by Bündchen compared with the Dow Jones Industrial Average. According to Fuld, the Gisele Bündchen Stock Index was up 15% between May and July 2007, substantially surpassing the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which was up just 8.2%.

Tribute to Gisele (song)

As an homage to Gisele, Brazilian singer and songwriter Gabriel Guerra, along with Pedro Cezar, another musician, wrote the song Tributo a Gisele (Tribute to Gisele in English),, which is currently the theme of the supermodel's official website. In January 2008, she met Gabriel Guerra at Copacabana Palace Hotel in Rio de Janeiro, where she was a guest at the time.

Her image as inspiration for aesthetic plastic surgeries

A result of research was publicized in February 2008 by The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS) to reveal how world celebrity images, which overwhelm popular media, influence people's choices and decisions to undergo plastic surgery. The question asked was, What influences do celebrities have on the decisions patients make?. The survey was sent to more than 20,000 plastic surgeons in 84 countries.

Gisele Bündchen, Angelina Jolie, Nicole Kidman, Pamela Anderson, Sophia Loren, Brad Pitt, and George Clooney were the most frequently mentioned celebrities. Gisele won the abdomen and hair categories and took second place in the breasts category.

Nude photography auctioned for US$193,000 (£96,000)

On April 11, 2008, a black-and-white photo of Bündchen, shot by Irving Penn, was auctioned for US$193,000 (£96,000). The picture was one of dozens from the collection of Gert Elfering that were sold at Christie's International in New York. In all, the auction tallied US$ 4.27 million and included pictures of Brigitte Bardot, Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, and Carla Bruni. Bündchen's picture reached the highest price in comparison with the others. Bardot was the second with US$181,000 (£90,000).

Her power in the fashion world

On August 26, 2008, in a list published by the NY Daily News, Gisele Bündchen was chosen as the fourth-most-powerful person in the fashion world, among such names of great notoriety as designer Marc Jacobs and Vogue's editor and chief Anna Wintour..

Social work

Bündchen lends her support and image to a number of charities and humanitarian causes, such as the I am African campaign, in which she painted her face to protest against the lack of attention given to Africa's HIV/AIDS victims. And, without receiving payment, Bündchen was the face of American Express Red Card, an initiative launched by U2 front man Bono and Bobby Shriver to send a percentage of monies earned from the financial transactions of this credit card to Africa's HIV/AIDS victims.

She designed a limited necklace edition for Harper’s Bazaar, crafted by jewelers Gumuchian Fils. These necklaces were sold to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Hospital, which specializes in cancer treatment. She served as the spokesperson and campaign model for Fashion Targets Breast Cancer.

Bündchen already gave a São Paulo Fashion Week's payment check for Zero Hunger (in Portuguese: Fome Zero), a Brazilian-government program introduced by Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in 2003. Currently, her main social activism is to help protect the Brazilian Atlantic Forest and Amazon Rainforest water sources, donating to this cause a percentage of profits from her line of sandals named Ipanema Gisele Bündchen. Also, Bündchen helps projects such as Florestas do Futuro, Nascentes do Brasil, ISA, Y Ikatu Xingu, and De Olho nos Mananciais.

Gisele Bündchen Forest

Bündchen and Grendene, the company that produces and disseminates her line of sandals, joined the Forests of the Future project for the reforestation of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. The new forest, named for Gisele Bündchen Sementes, starts with 25,500 shoots of 100 different species, enough to revitalize an area of 15 hectares. The model and the company found a place near headwaters of rivers and that the quality of local water were also monitored. The project Forests of the Future (in Portuguese: Florestas do Futuro) was created by the NGO named SOS Atlantic Forest in 2004. Until October 2007, 800,000 seedlings of trees had been planted. And as soon as sometime in 2008, that number should reach 1,133,000. In the Forests of the Future, SOS Atlantic Forest captures the appeal; the company hires the technicians. If an owner has an area of importance as a corridor, but has not invested—or does not want to invest—financially in trees, the NGO encourages the person or enterprise to donate that area to hold the plantation without spending anything, simply ceding the land and then leaving it to others to make use of. They support the planting for a period of five years, and then the land is turned over to Nature.

Personal relationships

Bündchen has dated Leonardo DiCaprio and Kelly Slater. She is currently dating New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Since they started their relationship, there are rumors that she is pregnant with his baby. The magazine In Touch Weekly reported, on May 4, 2008, that Brady wants to propose to Gisele.


Year Title Roles Notes
2006 The Devil Wears Prada Serena supporting character/special appearance
2004 Taxi Vanessa main antagonist


PETA "anti-fur" target

In 2002, during the taping of the annual Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, Bündchen was the target of a protest made by four members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals because she was signed to be the new face of Blackglama, a trademark of a fur-farming cooperative. When Bündchen was on stage, four women jumped onto the runway holding posters that read "Gisele: Fur Scum" and included the logo for PETA. Bündchen tried to ignore them while several security guards detained the protesters. Bündchen told CNN that the protest was "unwarranted" because the fashion show featured only faux (fake) fur. After the incident, the producers decided to stop the music, and they redid Bündchen's segment once the protesters were removed.

"I'm the biggest animal lover in the world!!" she said backstage after the show. "I was just doing my job as a model. I don't even wear fur. They just want attention. Despite her comments that PETA had acted 'inappropriately', Bündchen later announced that "it was a bad decision on my part," explaining that she no longer "wears any fur". But she appeared on the October 2005 China Vogue Cover wearing fox.

The euro preference rumour

When Bündchen signed a contract in August 2007 to represent Pantene hair products in Brazil for Procter & Gamble, it was reported that the model demanded payment in euros, according to Veja, the biggest weekly Brazilian magazine. She was also rumoured by Veja to be paid in euros for the last deal reached with the Italian brand Dolce & Gabbana to promote the fragrance The One. The American dollar's devaluation in international markets was the trigger for the rumour, and Bündchen was written about in many financial publications, a rarity for someone in the fashion world.

Her sister and manager Patrícia Bündchen denied these contract details on her official web site after much criticism.

Vogue America cover with LeBron James

The cover of the April 2008 Vogue, shot by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz, was the first time a black man had been on the cover. Criticism was immediate from many quarters for what was perceived as a racist depiction of LeBron James, putting the basketball superstar and the much smaller model in a pose reminiscent of King Kong carrying off Fay Wray.


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