Gisele Caroline Nonnenmacher Bündchen (new name is Paim Beri) (born July 20, 1980) is a Brazilian supermodel who is arguably regarded as the most famous and the highest-paid model in the world. Since her introduction on the fashion scene in the ’90s she appeared in countless billboards and magazine covers, as well as numerous TV and print ads. Gisele is currently the face of more than 20 brands from different countries such as United States, Russia, Brazil, Italy, France, Mexico, Spain, Turkey, Korea, Germany and Switzerland. According to Forbes, Gisele made $30 million between June of 2005 and June of 2006. She also appears in Guinness World Records as the “world’s richest supermodel”, with a net worth of $150 million.
Early life and career
Gisele was born in the southern Brazilian town of Três de Maio in Horizontina, Rio Grande do Sul. Her parents are Valdir and Vânia Bündchen, both of German descent. She has five sisters - Raquel, Graziela, Gabriela, Rafaela and her fraternal twin Patrícia (Gisele’s junior by five minutes).
Originally, she 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 age fourteen while eating a Big Mac at a local McDonald’s.
Prior to that, in 1993, a then-13-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 Bündchen walking the runway at the 2006 Fashion Rio Inverno. Gisele’s debut on the cover the July 1999 edition of Vogue Magazine, and the accompanying editorial entitled, “The Return of the Curve” is widely viewed as marking the end of the”heroin chic” era. She would grace the cover again in November and December on her way to winning the VH1/Vogue Model of the Year for 1999, and a January 2000 cover shot would give her the rare honor of three consecutive Vogue covers in a row. In 2000 she was the fourth model in history to grace the cover of Rolling Stone, 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 shoes company Grendene, called Ipanema Gisele Bündchen, which have sold more than 100 million pairs since 2001. She is also the owner of a hotel in the south of Brazil, the Palladium Executive.
Bündchen consistently works with photographers, like 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.
Bündchen has also been on the covers of most of the main fashion magazines around the globe like, W, Harper’s Bazaar, ELLE, Allure and many international editions of Vogue, as well as style and lifestyle publications like 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.
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 Incs 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 sequel to the 2006 International smash The Da Vinci Code.
When she is not working or traveling the world, Bündchen enjoys spending time with her family, friends and her dog Vida (meaning “life” in Portuguese), a Yorkshire Terrier. Her first boyfriend in the United States was model Scott Barnhill, but they dated for only six months. After Scott she was also linked with hotel tycoon Vikram Chatwal and Josh Hartnett, but she never confirmed the rumors about these two.
Bündchen’s most famous romance was her on/off relationship with actor Leonardo DiCaprio. They met in 2000 during a fashion party in Los Angeles. On the next day DiCaprio sent flowers to Bündchen and invited her to dinner, but she refused. A month later he finally had the opportunity to take her on a date, but their first public appearance did not occur until in 2005 at the 77th Annual Academy Awards. In November 2005, they broke up.
Bündchen began dating surfer Kelly Slater soon after her breakup with DiCaprio, but the two broke up by July 2006. Bündchen was briefly linked to actor Chris Evans of Fantastic Four fame. She started to date New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady before Christmas of 2006. The couple were first seen in public in NYC leaving Bündchen’s apartment in late January.
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, accused Bündchen of being a stoner who slept her way to the top, though he has now stated that he was misquoted. Casablancas also filed a $15 million lawsuit against her.
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 fur designing company. When Bündchen was on the stage, four women jumped into 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. After the incident, the producers decided to stop the music and redid Bündchen’s segment after the protesters were removed.