Gisele Caroline BŁndchen (born July
20, 1980) is a Brazilian model and occasional film actress. According to
Forbes, she is the highest-paid model in the world and also the sixteenth
richest woman in the entertainment world, with an estimated $70 million
fortune. BŁndchen also acts as a goodwill ambassador for the United
Nations Environment Programme.
BŁndchen was born in the Brazilian town of TrÍs de Maio and grew up in
Horizontina, Rio Grande do Sul, to V‚nia Nonnenmacher, a bank clerk
pensioner, and Valdir BŁndchen, a university teacher and writer. She has
five sisters ó Raquel, Graziela, Gabriela, Rafaela and her fraternal twin
PatrŪcia, Gisele's junior by five minutes. BŁndchen is Roman Catholic and
speaks Portuguese as her native language. She also speaks Spanish and
ď 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.
Originally, BŁndchen wanted to be a professional volleyball player and
considered playing for the Brazilian team, Sogipa. While in school,
BŁndchen was so thin that her friends used to call her "OlŪvia Palito"
(Portuguese for Olive Oyl, Popeye's skinny girlfriend) and "Saracura" (a
type of Brazilian shorebird).
In 1993, a then-13-year-old BŁndchen joined a modeling course with her
sisters PatrŪcia and Gabriela at her mother's insistence. The following
year, BŁndchen went to S„o Paulo on a school excursion to give them an
opportunity to walk in a big city. In a shopping mall, while eating at
McDonald's with her friends, BŁndchen was discovered by a modeling agency.
She was subsequently selected for a national contest, Elite Look of the
Year, in which she placed second ó Claudia Menezes, from Bahia, took first
place. BŁndchen placed fourth in the world contest, held in Ibiza, Spain.
In 1996, BŁndchen moved to New York City to begin her modeling career,
debuting at Fashion Week.
Gisele BŁndchen on the Fashion Rio Inverno 2006, January 30, 2006She
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 became the
fourth model to appear on the cover of the music magazine Rolling Stone,
when she was named "the most beautiful girl in the world." BŁndchen 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 been featured both in the Pirelli
Calendar 2001 and 2006 and in broader market publications such as Time,
Vanity Fair, Forbes, Newsweek and Veja, more than 500 magazine covers
throughout the world.
BŁndchen 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, Nino Munoz and Patrick Demarchelier, 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 BŁndchen was the only one close to earning
the supermodel title.
Naomi Campbell said: "Models need to earn their stripes - I just think the
term is used a little too loosely. Kate Moss is obviously a supermodel
but, after Gisele, I donít think thereís been one."
On August 26, 2008, the New York Daily News, in a list, named BŁndchen the
fourth-most-powerful person in the fashion world.
On May 12, 2009, The Independent, called her the biggest star in fashion
Since her debut, BŁndchen has been the face of a variety of advertising
campaigns including several seasons of Christian Dior, Balenciaga,
Mervyn's, Dolce & Gabbana, Missoni, Versace, Givenchy, Bvlgari, Lanvin,
Guerlain, Valentino, Ralph Lauren, Earl Jean, Zara, Chloť, 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 BŁndchen as a spokesmodel and
began airing television commercials, sales increased by 30%.
In May 2006, BŁndchen signed another multi-million dollar deal, this time
with American giant Apple Inc.. She starred in an advertising campaign to
promote the new Macintosh line through the Get a Mac advertisements. Also
in 2006, BŁndchen became the new face of Swiss luxury watchmaker Ebel.
She has her own line of sandals with footwear company Grendene called
Ipanema Gisele BŁndchen. 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, surpassing the legendary Havaianas. 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 1, 2007, it was announced that BŁndchen had ended her contract with
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.
An American economist named Fred Fuld developed a stock index to measure
the profit performance improvement of companies represented by BŁndchen
compared with the Dow Jones Industrial Average. According to Fuld, the
Gisele BŁndchen Stock Index was up 15% between May and July 2007,
substantially surpassing the Dow Jones Industrial Average which was up
After relationships with actor Leonardo DiCaprio and professional surfer
Kelly Slater, in late 2006 BŁndchen began dating New England Patriots
quarterback Tom Brady.
On Thursday, February 26, 2009, BŁndchen married Brady in a small Catholic
ceremony in Los Angeles. On April 5, 2009, the couple remarried in a
larger ceremony in Costa Rica, with Brady's son with actress Bridget
Moynahan present. For the April ceremony, BŁndchen wore a dress and veil
designed by John Galliano.
On June 19, 2009, People magazine reported that Gisele was pregnant with
her first child with Brady, and that the baby was due on December 14. On
December 8, 2009, BŁndchen gave birth to a boy in Boston, but they had
trouble choosing a name. On December 18, 2009, she posted a message on her
website indicating that their new son's name is Benjamin.[
As an homage to BŁndchen, Brazilian singer and songwriter Gabriel Guerra,
along with musician Pedro Cezar, wrote the song Tributo a Gisele (Tribute
to Gisele in English), which is currently the theme of the model's
official website. In January 2008, BŁndchen met Gabriel Guerra at
Copacabana Palace Hotel in Rio de Janeiro.[
On April 11, 2008, a black-and-white photo of BŁndchen, 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. BŁndchen's picture reached the highest price
in comparison with the others. Bardot was the second with US$181,000
In 2009, Gisele was featured, in an artistic nude pose, on cover of the
work retrospective book of Australian photographer Russell James.
In 2006, Elle magazine bosses surveyed the American leading stylists and
asked them to name the star whose hair is a favourite for their clients.
More than 50 percent gave Gisele the title of best hair in Hollywood,
followed by Sienna Miller in at second place and Nicole Richie in at third
In February 2008, a result of research was publicized 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 BŁndchen, Jennifer Lopez, 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.