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… And God Created Gisele

Leslie Bennetts Vanity Fair
Photographed at the Plaza hotel, in New York City, by Mario Testino for the May 2009 issue.  Styled by Sarajane Hoare.

Photographed at the Plaza hotel, in New York City, by Mario Testino for the May 2009 issue. Styled by Sarajane Hoare.


How does the world’s most successful supermodel—darling of the cameras, advertisers, and tabloids, and worth an estimated $150 million—make her life even more fabulous? By marrying star quarterback Tom Brady, then setting her sights on a higher consciousness. As Gisele Bündchen embarks on her next chapter, the exuberant 28-year-old beauty tells about her secret engagement, the shock of finding out Brady’s ex-girlfriend was pregnant with his baby, and how they’re working out the bi-coastal routine of a new family.



Bounding down the stairs of her Greenwich Village town house to greet a visitor, Gisele Bündchen commands the shock value of a close encounter with a giraffe: you can hardly believe an earthly creature is built this way.


G
isele poses above the New York City skyline on the Plaza hotel’s Royal Terrace Suite balcony. Photographs by Mario Testino; styled by Sarajane Hoare.

Everything about her is so elongated and slender—those impossibly attenuated limbs! the swanlike neck!—that she seems almost preposterous, like a cartoon figure. Nearly six feet tall by the age of 13, she spent her childhood being teased by classmates who called her Olive Oyl.

But Popeye’s rail-thin girlfriend never tantalized anyone with the luscious curves that catapulted Gisele to stardom in her late teens, replacing the pale, wasted “heroin chic” of that era with “the return of the sexy model.” Since then, the tanned, athletic Brazilian beach babe who seemed born to wear a bikini has become the world’s most successful supermodel, amassing a fortune estimated at $150 million; last year alone, according to Forbes, Gisele earned $35 million. The 16th-richest woman in the entertainment industry, she has been featured on more magazine covers than any other model and has appeared as the face of more than 20 brands internationally, with current contracts including Dior, Versace, Max Factor, Ebel watches, and the Dolce & Gabbana fragrance The One. 



At 28, Gisele has already spent 14 years in front of the cameras, not to mention in the gossip columns—and now she’s begun a whole new chapter of her life. On February 26, seven days after our cover was shot, she married New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in a private twilight ceremony at a Catholic church in Santa Monica that was followed by a small gathering at the couple’s home in Brentwood.

Although the union had the iconic inevitability of typecasting, all-American-style—“the jock marries the prom queen,” as one Web site put it—the news surprised even their friends. Earlier the same week, Gisele had been partying at Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, where she made an appearance for Pantene hair-care products that was widely photographed—and then she suddenly turned up married in Los Angeles. But Gisele, who once described her ideal wedding as “a simple ceremony,” always knew she didn’t want an enormous extravaganza. “I don’t like parties. I prefer something more intimate, just for the closest people.”



Which was precisely what she got. Crestfallen, the paparazzi press had to settle for an after-the-fact description of Gisele’s attire: “The bride, 28, 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.

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