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Gisele Bündchen's Biography

Gisele Bündchen's Biography

Gisele Caroline Nonnenmacher Bündchen, (born July 20, 1980), is a Brazilian supermodel. She is recognized as being one of the most successful and highest-paid models in the world. Since her introduction to the fashion scene in the 1990s, she has appeared on many billboards and magazine covers, as well as numerous TV and print ads.

Bündchen is currently the face of more than 20 brands worldwide from countries including the United States, Russia, Brazil, Italy, France, Mexico, Spain, Turkey, South Korea, Germany and Switzerland. According to Forbes, she earned $33 million in 2006, adding to her estimated $150 million fortune. She is currently listed in the Guinness World Records as the "world's richest supermodel".
Family and early life

Gisele was born in the Brazilian town of Três de Maio in Horizontina, Rio Grande do Sul, to Vânia Nonnenmacher Bündchen, a bank clerk pensioner and Valdir Reinoldo 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 in a Southern Brazilian region largely settled by German immigrants. Both of her parents are of German descent with her great-great-grandparents having immigrated to Brazil in the late 19th century). Bündchen's parents are fluent in German, although Gisele herself does not speak it as Portuguese is her native language.

Modeling career

Originally, Gisele 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). An oft-told story of Bündchen's "discovery" is that she was scouted by a modeling agent at the age of fourteen while eating a Big Mac at a local McDonald's.

Gisele Bündchen walking the runway at the 2006 Fashion Rio Inverno.

In 1993, a then-14-year-old Bündchen joined a modeling course with her sisters Patrícia and Gabriela at her mother's insistence. The course, instructed by Dilson Stein, was designed for teenagers aspiring to become models. The following year, Stein took Bündchen, along with some other girls to São Paulo to give them an opportunity to walk in a big city and to be evaluated by Brazilian Elite agents. 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.

Gisele's debut on the cover of the July 1999 issue of Vogue magazine, and the accompanying editorial entitled, "The Return of the Curve" 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".

Since her debut, she has been the face of a variety of advertising campaigns including several seasons of Christian Dior, Balenciaga, Dolce & Gabbana, Missoni, Versace, Céline, Givenchy, Bvlgari, Lanvin, Guerlain, Valentino, Ralph Lauren, Earl Jean, Zara, Chloé, Michael Kors, Louis Vuitton, and Victoria's Secret. Bündchen is also the face of several Brazilian brands like Vivo (Brazil's leading mobile company), Multiplan, Colcci and Credicard. After C&A Brazil hired her and started their television commercials, sales increased by 30%.

In May of 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. 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 due to the success of her shoe line. 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.

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

Bündchen has been on the covers of most of the main fashion magazines including W, Harper's Bazaar, ELLE, Allure, on many of the 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 broader market publications such as Time, Vanity Fair, Forbes, Newsweek, Veja.

On May 1, 2007, it was announced that Bündchen had ended her contract with Victoria's Secret. The New York Post's Page Six reported that Bundchen had left Victoria's Secret because the company wouldn't raise her $5 million-a-year salary.

In July of 2007, earning 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.

According to Claudia Schiffer: "Supermodels, like we once were, don't exist any more." and reckons that Gisele Bundchen is the only one who comes close to earning the supermodel title.

Film career

Regarding a film career, Bündchen has said "I think it would be interesting," but counters "I'm young and I like what I do for now and I understand that everything in life happens for the moment."

She made her movie debut in the 2004 comedy Taxi, alongside Queen Latifah and Jimmy Fallon. She also made a high-profile appearance in the 2006 comedy The Devil Wears Prada.

Also in 2006, she appeared in one of Apple Inc's new "Get a Mac" advertisements. In it, she is the personification of a home movie created using an Apple Mac Computer.

Gisele is rumored to be the front runner for the role of Vittoria Vetra in the upcoming Angels & Demons adaptation, the prequel to the 2006 International smash The Da Vinci Code.

Year Title Role Notes
Vanessa antagonistic main/special participation
The Devil Wears Prada
Serena supporting character/special participation

Personal life

Gisele Bündchen on Fashion Rio Inverno 2006.

When she is not working or traveling the world, Bündchen enjoys spending time with her family, friends and her Yorkshire Terrier, Vida (meaning "life" in Portuguese).

Her first boyfriend in the United States was model Scott Barnhill, though they only dated for six months. After her relationship with Barnhill, she was also linked with hotel tycoon Vikram Chatwal and actor Josh Hartnett, though she never confirmed those rumors.

Bündchen is known for her on/off relationship with actor Leonardo DiCaprio. They met in 2000 and dated for two years. Afterwards, she dated milionaire polo player Ricardihno Mansur for several months. She reunited with Dicaprio in 2003 and accompanied him to the 77th Annual Academy Awards where he was nominated for "Best Actor" for "The Aviator." In November of 2005 her manager officially confirmed their break-up.

She dated surfer Kelly Slater soon after her breakup with DiCaprio, though the two split up by July of 2006. Bündchen was briefly linked to actor Chris Evans of Fantastic Four fame.

She started to date New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady shortly before Christmas of 2006 . The couple was first seen in public in NYC leaving Bündchen's apartment in late January and in February they were widely photographed during a trip in Europe. She was rumored to be pregnant with Tom Brady's baby, but in an interview on the Spanish television show Corazón de Primavera, Bündchen put an end to all of the speculation, stating that she was not pregnant.


John Casablancas

Bündchen's rise to fame has not come without controversy. Like Heidi Klum and several other models, she moved from her original agency Elite Model Management to IMG. John Casablancas, head of Elite, filed a $15 million lawsuit against her and accused Bündchen of being a stoner who slept her way to the top, though he now says he was misquoted.


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 the protest was "unwarranted."

"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."

The fashion show featured only faux fur. After the incident, the producers decided to stop the music and redid Bündchen's segment once the protesters were removed.

Eating disorders

Supermodel Gisele Bundchen added fire to an already heated debate when she said families, not the fashion industry, were to blame for anorexic models. Her comments attracted a swift response from eating disorder experts, who've dismissed the claim as outdated and ill-informed and say there's no scientific evidence that families cause anorexia.

Reaction to The Pope's statement on condom use

Gisele has said "To prohibit condoms is ridiculous, just think of all the diseases transmitted without them", asking "How is it possible to not want people to use condoms and also not have abortions? It's impossible, I'm sorry."

Quick Facts

Nationality: Brazilian
Birthday: July 20, 1980
Born in: Tres de Maio, Horizontina, Rio Grande do Sul
Lives now: New York, NY
Agencies: IMG
Known for: Hair, breasts
Status: Established, sexy girl
Dated: Tom Brady (2006), Leonardo DiCaprio (2000-2005), Chris Evans, Kelly Slater, Josh Hartnett, Vikram Chatwal, Scott Barnhill
Friends with: Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosia, Fernanda Tavares, Karolina Kurkova
Feuding with: Bar Refaeli (over Leonardo DiCaprio 2006)
Model turned… Hotelier (Palladium Executive), designer (Ipanema Gisele Bündchen, with Grendene, 2007), actress (The Devil Wears Prada, 2006; Taxi, 2004)
Interests: Beach volleyball, surfing



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