It takes much more than a pretty face to make history in the fashion industry, and Gisele Bundchen knows that. According to Forbes, the Brazilian model has a US$ 427 million fortune and is also one of the most influential Brazilians today, right behind Pelé, Paulo Coelho, and Neymar.
Gisele seems to be one of those few people who have it all: she has built a multimillion dollars emperor, is happily married and has two adorable children! Of course, the success in her career was a combination of beauty, talent, charisma and an outstanding ability to manage her career and business. Ben and Vivian, her children with Tom Brady, have a great example to follow.
The Brazilian beauty managed to be the highest-paid model in the world for 15 years. Gisele just lost her title, in 2017, to Kendall Jenner. But, her life probably would be completely different if she had followed her dream and became a professional volleyball player.
Despite all her fame, she managed to have a very discreet personal life. Gisele also managed to have a secret wedding and keep her children away from the spotlight. She has many other talents besides walking the catwalk and posing for pictures. Actually, there are many details about her life that might surprise the public.
20 Gisele Was Born In A Small Village
Everybody knows Gisele comes from Brazil, but they probably think she comes from a big city like Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo. However, the woman who would become one of the most famous names in the fashion industry was born in Horizontina, a town with 19 thousand residents, in Rio Grande do Sul.
“There were no buses, no subway—there’s not even a traffic light in my village,”
Gisele said in an interview with Vanity Fair.
Despite the village being so small, the city holds a reputation of having some of the most beautiful women in the country. Gisele is a great example of what people can expect from Horizontina. And it there that everything has started with our girl, Gisele.
When Gisele was just a child, she and other friends wanted to take a modeling course. After that, the coach talked to her parents and said that Gisele had great potential.
Some members of the Bundchen family are still living in Horizontina. In 2009, Gisele went back to celebrate her grandfather's birthday and brought Tom Brady to meet the entire family.
Like most families in the city, the Bundchen's are descendants of Germans who migrated to Brazil last century. They had chosen Horizontina because the weather was similar to what they were used to in Germany. In some schools in Horizontina, children learn German at school. Although Gisele’s parents are fluent in the language, the model can only speak a few words.
19 Gisele Has A Twin Sister
Can you imagine if there were two Gisele Bundchen in the world? Well, it almost happened. Gisele has a non-identical twin sister, who is just 7 minutes younger. Patricia, who is also stunningly beautiful, also signed up for the same modeling course Gisele did. Patricia didn’t follow the profession, but she remains very close to her sister and works as her manager.
In many interviews, Gisele says that Patricia was the one who was considered the beautiful one at school, while she suffered bullying for being too skinny and tall.
They have other four sisters: Gabriela, who works as Gisele’s lawyer, Rafaela, who manages Gisele’s website, Raquel, who is an accountant and Graziela who is a judge in Brazil.
Gisele has a very close relationship with all her sisters and she sometimes shares pictures of them on Instagram. On her birthday, she chose to take herself away from the spotlight and made a post for her twin sister:
“Happy birthday super Pati! Thank you for being always there for me, since the very beginning. I love you so much.”
It’s lovely to see that the model keeps close to her family and we hope Benjamin and Vivian have the same type of love when they grow up. Both have a great family role model to follow.
18 Gisele Was The Black Sheep And Suffered Bullying
Today Gisele is considered one of the most beautiful women in the world, but it was not always like that. When she was a teenager, she suffered a lot of bullying at school because she was too tall and skinny. Among many mean nicknames, she was called “Olive Oyl,” from the cartoon Popeye, and tooth stick.
Vogue interviewed some of her classmates and they confirmed the bullying. According to them, Gisele used to wear two pants at the same time to look less thin. In the article, some childhood friends said that people didn’t seem to pay attention to Gisele at parties and she was often left alone. Ironically, today all the eyes are at the model the moment she enters a room.
The school wasn't the only place where people were mean to Gisele.
When the model was 14, she suffered a lot of rejection from agencies. “ Back at that time, everybody said that my eyes were too small, my nose was too big and I would never be the cover of a magazine,” revealed the model.
Can you imagine the regret of those agencies now? They missed the chance to say they gave one of the most celebrated models in the world her first job.
17 Gisele Was Part Of A Cover Band
We all had that one childhood idol we loved to copy. Gisele was no different. In the early 90’s, the model was a fan of a Brazilian TV host named Xuxa, and in love with her band, Paquitas. Before earning millions walking the runway, Gisele was happy to perform in a cover band, copy the choreographies and receiving just a piece of cake in exchange.
“I loved Xuxa when I was a little girl, we had a cover group from Paquitas, that used to perform on birthdays. We didn’t get money from it, and our payment was staying in the party and eating cake. It was very cool. We formed a group with me, my twin sister and two neighbors. I was 10 and the group last for about two years. We had the clothes, the microphones...It was fun!”, said Gisele in an interview for television.
In this picture, we can see Gisele and her group ready to perform! Who could tell that this little girl would achieve so much in life and become way more famous than her idol? Life can be funny.
After becoming a famous model, Gisele met Xuxa, and they have a close relationship. They are often interacting on social media and commenting each other's pictures.
16 Gisele Almost Became A Professional Volleyball Player
Tom Brady is not the only gifted athlete in the house. Gisele, besides being a straight-A student, wanted to become a professional volleyball player. In fact, the model was so talented as a player that she became the captain of her school team in Horizontina. Since Gisele is a perfectionist, it wouldn't be a surprise if she did become a famous name playing sports as well. Gisele said,
“Modelling was never a dream for me; it was an opportunity, something that happened. I wanted to become a volleyball player or a veterinarian,”
When she was 15-year-old, Gisele had to choose between modeling and sports - and we all know what she decided. But, she still has a very close relationship with sports. Gisele is not only married to a football player and very supportive during the championships, but she is also very enthusiastic when the Brazilian volleyball team is playing.
In 2016, Gisele was very excited when she was invited to be part of the opening of Olympic Games in Brazil. “ It is such an honor! I can’t even believe. It is the only event I follow, and we have to wait four years for it. I dreamed of being Ana Moser (a volleyball player) when I was a child. My favorite sport is volley”, affirmed the model.
Who knows, Benjamin or Vivian may also become talented sports players? If it's part of their DNA, they could have inherited it from their mother or father.
15 Gisele Can’t Resist Junk Food
Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady follow a strict diet and even have a personal chef available to them, who makes sure all the food they eat is healthy and organic. The model used to prepare her children’s breakfast which usually consisted of scrambled eggs and gluten-free toast, with avocado or coconut yogurt, and the occasional gluten-free pancake. Açaí berries and bananas are also part of the meal.
“We use the food from our garden daily. Winter in New England is very cold, so we can’t grow the same amount of food year-round,” Bundchen explains. “During the growing season, we love our salads made from the spinach, kale, arugula, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchinis, squash and the other delicious things from our garden," adds the model.
We imagine that Gisele keeps her healthy diet most of the time. But, just like other mortals, she also loves some junk food! In rare moments, we can catch the model enjoying herself eating pizza or hamburgers - and not looking guilty at all. In an interview, Gisele also revealed that she can’t resist Dunkin’ Donuts, especially their Munchkins.
“Do you know those things called Munchkins?'' she asked during an interview to Wall Street Journal. “Oh, my God," she continued. "I cannot have one [Munchkin]. I have to have, like, 10. They're so tiny ... it’s a guilty pleasure”, said.
We can understand her.
14 Gisele Met Tom Bradley On A Blind Date
Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady have been married since 2009. The couple met in 2006 when a common friend told Tom that Gisele was his female version and that they would be perfect to each other. The friend arranged a blind date and, according to Gisele, it was love at first sight.
"I knew right way—the first time I saw him ..."
She continues, "We met through a friend. The moment I saw him, he smiled and I was like, That is the most beautiful, charismatic smile I’ve ever seen! We sat and talked for three hours. I had to go home for Christmas, but I didn’t want to leave. You know that feeling of, like, you can’t get enough? From the first day we met, we’ve never spent one day without speaking to each other.” the famous model gushed on her husband.
Right after they started dating, Tom’s ex-girlfriend, Bridget Moynahan, revealed that she was pregnant. The couple decided to stay together, and Gisele has a great relationship with John, treats him like he was her own child.
There is no doubt their friend was right about the couple. Gisele and Tom are not only perfect for each other, but they look very much alike physically!
13 Gisele Used To Have A Pet Iguana
In 2000, Gisele was already one of the most important models in the world. She grew up very close to a farm and has a close relationship with nature and animals. "My earliest memory was going to my grandma's house, milking the cows and collecting the eggs from the chickens”, she said.
So it is no surprise that she wanted to have pets while she was living in New York. During an interview that same year, she said she shared her apartment with a Yorkshire Terrier, some fish and...an iguana! Although we don’t have pictures of her with her exotic pet, Gisele often carried her dog Vida (that means Life, in Portuguese) during her trips around the world.
"If I could choose, I'd be bare feet, with animals all around me and living in a tree house like Tarzan and Jane, that's my dream. I'm at my happiest around nature", said the model during an interview.
Although we don’t buy the idea of Gisele leaving her eco-friendly luxurious life to live in a treehouse, it’s true that she loves animals. Currently, the model has a hen house in one of her mansions and she also has other dogs: a pitbull name Lua, and a stray dog named Hazel.
12 Not Just A Pretty Face, Gisele Rocks A Business
You don’t build a US$ 427 million dollars empire purely on luck and looks. “My career was never based on pretty,” said Gisele, in an interview with The New York Times, in 2016. “I always knew that, even if I was not the most beautiful girl, I’d be the most energetic and hard-working,” the model said. “If you want to know the truth, that’s the reason for my success.”
“She always understood that ‘Gisele Bundchen’ could be a business, too. And, though I loathe the word branding, that’s exactly what she’s always been aware of”, said Joe McKenna, a stylist behind some of the more influential fashion campaigns of recent decades.
Gisele is also well known for being very professional, always arrives on time for work and in a good mood.
But, how she makes do much money? The answer is simple: having her face in a campaign is a good investment. In 2016, Under Armor had signed a ten-year contract with the model and their stock market share had a 4% increase.
Fred Fuld, a finance specialist, has created the Gisele Stock Index and concluded that companies that hired Gisele between 2007 and 2014 had a 105% increase in their shares. That explains why we see her face in so many campaigns.
11 Becoming A Mother Changed Her Life
Indeed, Gisele has numerous achievements in her life. But having children was a life-changing experience for her and makes her feel really powerful.
"After I had my two kids at home, I realized there is nothing in this world I cannot do! I think, if I can do this, I can do anything!", said in an interview to Daily Telegraph in 2015.
Despite her busy schedule, Gisele tries her best to be a present mother in her children’s lives, and she takes the idea of “quality time” very seriously. "When I'm with my kids, I'm not on the phone, I wake up and make them breakfast," she said.
"I'm very nurturing, I come from a large family and my parents were loving. But the most important thing for me as a mum is to keep my word”, added the model.
After becoming a mother, Gisele also had some controversial opinions about motherhood. In 2006, she said that not breastfeeding a child for its' first six months should be illegal. Unsurprisingly, the sentence caused a lot of discussions and Gisele had to explain herself.
"I understand that everyone has their own experience and opinions and I am not here to judge. I believe that bringing a life into this world is the single most important thing a person can undertake, and it can also be the most challenging," she wrote.
10 She moved to the United States, but she didn’t speak English
Gisele was just 14-year-old when she moved to the United States to pursue her dream of modeling, but there was one slight problem: Gisele didn’t speak English at all.
We can only imagine the challenges someone who leaves the parents home so early to live in a new country will face!
She talked about it during Jimmy Fallon Show in 2014. How did you learn?" Fallon asked. "Did you do Rosetta Stone?" The Brazilian beauty replied,
"My wonderful cassette tapes, Boyz II Men and Mariah Carey, saved my life,"
They were great teachers, so I have to thank them one day if I ever meet them in person. They were very inspiring."
There are no doubts they were excellent teachers since Gisele speaks very well. However, she only speaks Portuguese to her children.
Tom Brady commented on that. “We have a lot of Portuguese books in the house, and those are … funny!” he says. “My kids can [speak Portuguese], but I can’t read it, so I probably screw up half the words. If they want to pick one of those books, they can, and that’s one of the ones that I read. It’s hard.”
Besides Portuguese, her mother language, Gisele can speak English, Spanish, Italian some German and French.
9 Gisele Is Not The Only Model In The Family
When we look at Gisele and her sisters, we can conclude that beauty runs in their DNA. It is no surprise that Gisele is not the only model in her family. Duda Bundchen, her niece, is following her famous aunt's footsteps.
Duda, who has the same flawless hair as her aunt, is only ten years old and has been working as a model since she was 5. The little girl has a portfolio that would make any VS model jealous. Besides the busy runway busy schedule, the young girl collects advertising campaigns and even has her jewelry line, Duda Bündchen Charms Collection. Of course, she had to throw the family name in there to be known. In addition, Duda also has a strong presence on Instagram.
“Gisele is my greatest inspiration. She is my example of success”, says the girl. “ it is very nice to work as a model. I really enjoy it. I like being walking down the runway and being part of photo shoots,” she adds.
Duda also says she hardly speaks about work with her aunt. “ But if I need advice, she gives me. She is very nice to me.”
Like Gisele, the young girl also loves sports. Duda is very passionate about Olympic gymnastics, while Gisele was a talented volleyball player. Don’t be surprised to hear the name Duda in the coming years, as yet another Bundchen takes over the fashion (and maybe sporting) industry.
8 Gisele Embraces The PDA With Her Soulmate
Gisele and Tom have been married for almost a decade and are still very much in love. The couple often shares PDA pictures on Instagram. Unlike many celeb couples, there are very few rumors or scandals surrounding the couple, and they seem to have a genuine relationship.
Of course, both schedules are challenging, since each of them is part of the elite of their professions. But Gisele makes a point of having at least one night per week of just her and Tom, and she focuses on their relationship.
“We have at least one night per week together."
She continues, "The children go to bed around 7:30 pm and, if Tom is home, we have time to talk. You need to make time for your relationship,” explains Gisele.
It seems that her efforts are working. "I'm a lucky man. I've been very blessed with support from my family and certainly her, and there's no bigger supporter that I have than her and vice versa. I've been very blessed to have an incredible relationship with my life partner, and I don't think anything will ever get in the way of that”, said Tom.
We hope they remain like that for many years. They had built a gorgeous family!
7 Gisele Is Not A Diva When She Is Working
When you think of one of the highest-paid models in the world, you might imagine that working with her comes with a lot of unreasonable demand or that she may give her staff a hard time, right? Well, many celebs can behave like that, but not Gisele. She makes simple requests for her dressing room: water, coconut water, and some fruits.
Gisele is also famous for being very professional and committed to her work. “ I’ve never been late to a job. Really”, said the model. She also doesn’t complain when the task is not easy. Like when she had to shoot a winter collection in Death Valley under 100-degree heat. Nor does she complain when the photographer is too demanding.
“I focus on what is positive here, how to make something good out of this,” says Gisele.
“Gisele always struck me as being super-professional and likable, but with an understanding of her role that went beyond merely turning up and delivering the goods,” said her stylist Joe McKenna.
It seems to be most people's opinion who have ever had the chance of working with Gisele. No wonder she became the favorite model of so many stylists and photographers in the industry since she started working more than 20 years ago.
6 Gisele Supports Ambiental Causes
Gisele Bundchen is very concerned about social and Ambiental causes. In 2008, she went back to Brazil to implement the project “Agua Limpa” (clean water,) together, with her father. The projected idea was to implement sustainable environmental management and to promote the recovery of riparian vegetation and the region's micro basins. The project has planted around 40,000 native forest saplings. The model
“The environment has always been my passion. Mother Earth is our fundamental life-support system, and by becoming aware and responsible now, we can assist in preserving the planet,”
Harvard Medical School had recognized Gisele's efforts, where she had received the Global Environmental Citizen Award. The model was also honored with the title of Best Green International Celebrity Award by the Green Awards.
In 2016, Gisele also released a documentary “Years of Living Dangerously,” produced by National Geographic, where she flies over the Amazon forest and shows the devastation.
She brings her concerns about nature to the red carpet as well. During the MET Gala 2018, the model walked the red carpet using a 100% eco-sustainable dress.
“When we all unite our unique abilities in service of a common good, we can create a better world,” says the Brazilian beauty.
5 Gisele And Tom Planned Their Wedding In 10 Days
If you ever planned a wedding, you might know how time and energy consuming it is. Choosing the dress, picking a date, trying to book photographer, buffet, band and the remaining services for a reasonable price, can take a couple months.
But, if you have some millions of dollars in your bank account, you can plan it in....10 days! After dating for three years, Gisele and Tom decided it was time they get married. After a short engagement, they had a ceremony in February 2009, and only 20 people were present.
"We planned it in like ten days, and it was perfect," Brady claimed, in an interview to GQ in 2009.
Two months later, the couple hosted a second ceremony in Costa Rica for 25 people. Although both are world-wide famous members of society, the couple managed to keep the details of the wedding day just for them and selected guests. Gisele shared some pictures of the day years later when we could take a look at the silk slip dress she chose for the special night.
Earlier this year, Gisele shared a picture of the ceremony. "What a ride these past nine years have been. I love learning and growing with you. Happy anniversary love of my life!" she wrote in the caption.
4 Gisele Has A Cleaning Obsession
Although Gisele has more than enough money to pay someone to clean her house, she loves doing it herself and believes she can do it better. During an interview in 2009, she said, “ I clean the house, do the laundry and cook. There is someone who comes to clean the house once a week, but I do it all over again when she leaves. I’m very perfectionist. A clean house means a clean mind,” said the model.
After having her first son, Benjamin, she was even more enthusiastic about it.
“I love it. Cleaning the house is actually very therapeutic for me. Becoming a parent has given me a whole new perspective on life. I can't put into words how much I love it.”
Gisele was not joking. Aside from the glamour of red carpets and photoshoots, Gisele appeared in a video, released in 2011, in a way we have never seen her before: wearing a simple dress as the model is seen cleaning the floor while singing a song in Portuguese.
We love Gisele, but let's be honest: it might be quite a pressure working cleaning her house and knowing she would do it all over again after you leave. Not really motivating.
3 Gisele Was The Highest Paid Model For 15 Years
According to Forbes, Gisele Bundchen was the best-paid model in the world from 2002 until 2017, and it was a record. She recently lost her title to Kendall Jenner, who made US$ 22 million, while Gisele “only” generated US$ 17.5 million. In 2016, Gisele made over US$ 30 million.
It is important to note that Gisele came in second place after retiring from the runways, in 2016. Kendal represents a new generation of models, that is entirely aware of the power of social media (especially Instagram) when it comes to business. Jenner has almost 90 million followers and she knows how to make money off it! She also has contracts with brands like Estée Lauder, Adidas, and La Perla.
But, it is incredible that in a fast-pacing industry a model stays at the top for so long! It's unlikely another name will repeat this achievement, especially if you consider how demanding this business is about age and appearance.
Kendal has already highlighted how much she admires Gisele during an interview with W Magazine. "I was like ten when I started thinking models were the coolest people in the world. My favorite model when I was ten was Gisele. Didn't know what I was talking about, and I think that was the only name I knew."
2 Gisele Can Sing Very Well
It seems there is nothing Gisele can’t do! In a video she posted on her Instagram account in 2017, she is playing the guitar and singing. And, yes, she has a good voice too, of course. In the video, we can see Gisele wearing a white beach blouse with a flower in her hair. The image is framed by a perfect sunset in Costa Rica, where she has a beach house. The model is playing the song “ Trem Bala,” from the Brazilian singer and composer Ana Vilela.
The video went viral and Gisele received many compliments for her voice.
She was even invited to sing in “Rock In Rio,” the most important Brazilian festival. She shared the stage with Ivete Sangalo and sang John Lennon's Imagine. She was visibly sensitive and made a speech about the Amazon.
“I believe it’s possible to live differently. I believe one day we and Mother Earth will live in harmony, and we will be grateful for everything she can give us”, commented Gisele.
It seems Gisele will never cease to surprise us with her talents. Perhaps now that she has retired from the runway, Gisele will start a new career as a singer. What do you think?
1 Gisele Has Also Appeared In Movies
Model, former athlete, singer….and actress! It seems Gisele knows no limits. The model made her debut for Hollywood in the movie Taxi, in 2004, when she was at the peak of her career as a model. Gisele plays Vanessa, the leader of a group of bank robbers. The movie had received harsh criticism and, well, we can’t defend her.
“I’m a girl who takes pictures. Acting was just a fun thing,” said the model back in 2004. “I’m a model, and people have this thing about models becoming actresses, which I think is so [...] because Cameron Diaz was a model, Charlize Theron was a model, Uma Thurman was a model. And then I thought, ‘I don’t care what anyone thinks, because I really needed a challenge in my life.”
Perhaps she received support from Leonardo DiCaprio, whom she used to date in 2004, and possibly he even gave her some acting tips. An Oscar-winning actor is the best coach a junior actor can dream about!
Gisele made another short appearance in The Devil Wears Prada, where she played Serena, a model who doesn’t like Andy (Anne Hathaway). But it seems that acting is not her thing, and she did it just for fun.
References: eonline.com, gshow.globo.com, vogue.globo.com, vogue.globo.com, nytimes.com, unenvironment.org, marieclaire.com, us.hellomagazine.com, spokesman.com, vanityfair.com, dailymail.co.uk, people.com, instyle.com