Born in 1980 in Brazil, model Gisele Bündchen began her career as a teenager. She moved to New York City in 1997, and quickly became popular among fashion magazines and top designers. In 2000, Bündchen signed a $25 million deal with Victoria's Secret, and became one of the highest-paid models in the world. In 2009, Bündchen married professional football player Tom Brady. She gave birth to their son later that year.
Early Life and Career
Known for her high cheekbones, golden hair and shapely curves, Gisele Bündchen is one of the world's most famous models. She is one of five sisters, arriving into the world just minutes ahead of her fraternal twin sister, on July 20, 1980. Growing up, Bündchen was teased for being tall and skinny, but these attributes would eventually help her launch her modeling career.
Bündchen was spotted by a modeling agent at a fast-food restaurant. After some initial resistance, the teenage beauty decided to try modeling. She started out working in Brazil, and debuted on the catwalk at New York City's fashion week in 1996. The following year, she moved to New York City. Bündchen caught one of her first big breaks around this time, when designer Alexander McQueen chose her for his runway show.
By the late 1990s, Bündchen had become an in-demand model, gracing the covers of Vogue and other fashion magazines around the world. She worked for such leading designers as Dolce & Gabbana. Bündchen made headlines in 2000, when she landed an impressive $25 million contract with Victoria's Secret, the popular lingerie company. That same year, Bündchen was named "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" by Rolling Stone magazine.
By 2004, Bündchen had become the highest-paid model in the world, according to Forbes magazine. She made an attempt at a film career around this time, appearing in the comedy flop Taxi with Queen Latifah and Jimmy Fallon. Two years later, Bündchen fared better with a small role in the fashion dramedy The Devil Wears Prada, starring Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway.
Bündchen decided to end her relationship with Victoria's Secret in 2007, but she continued to be a sought-after model. In fact, she once again topped the Forbes list, beating out such other established models as Heidi Klum.
Bündchen has sometimes found herself in the midst of controversy, as she did in 2011 for a series of TV spots that ran in Brazil. Bündchen strutted her stuff in these lingerie ads, which encouraged women to use their sex appeal to get out of several difficult situations. A government department dedicated to women's issues called for the ads to be pulled, saying "the campaign promotes the misguided stereotype of a woman as a sexual object," according to Marie Claire magazine.
In 2012, Bündchen again made waves by appearing nude in Vogue Paris magazine, showing the world that she was still one of the sexiest models working today.
A former girlfriend of actor Leonardo DiCaprio, Bündchen married professional football player Tom Brady in 2009. Later that year, the couple welcomed their first child together, a son named Benjamin Rein Brady. Bündchen gave birth to their second child, daughter Vivian, in 2012.
Outside of modeling, Bündchen is a supporter of numerous charities and causes. She has a line of sandals and uses some proceeds from sales for the Gisele Bündchen Forest in Brazil. In 2008, Bündchen launched a water conservation and plant recovery effort called Agua Limpa in her home state of Rio Grande do Sul. She has also served as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme.
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