Modeling started early for Gisele Bundchen, although in many ways accidentally. At the age of twelve Gisele’s mother encouraged her and two of her sisters to take a modeling course in their home town, believing this would increase their confidence.
A year later in 1994, while on a school trip to Sao Paulo, Gisele and her school friends, all of whom were wearing school uniforms, were spotted by a talent scout working for Elite in the food court of a shopping center. Gisele later confessed to eating a McDonald’s Big Mac when she was approached, saying that it was all she could afford.
Elite were looking for a new and exciting face that was different and would capture the imagination of the fashion industry, and in Gisele they found their new star. Later that year Gisele competed in her first modeling contest, Elite’s Look of the Year, and despite fierce competition from all over Brazil, Gisele closed second, earning her the right to enter the world competition in Ibiza, Spain, in which she finished fourth.
The success Gisele enjoyed at the Look of the Year competitions inspired her to relocate to New York at the age of 16, where she quickly found work during fashion week, leading to Milan and Paris working the runway for Dolce & Gabbana, Alexander McQueen, and Giorgio Armani.
Several years of walking the runway at various high profile fashion shows perfected Gisele’s often commented on walk, and cemented her reputation as a hard working model. Gisele gained a reputation for being easy to work with, and became a favorite for many top designers.
August 1998, and the front cover a Britain’s Vogue magazine was the beginning of Gisele’s modeling career superstardom. By December she scooped the cover of i-D, and by January of 1999 appeared on the front cover of W magazine, and later the same year featured on the covers of Harper’s Bazaar, and the British and French Vogue magazines.
In the same year Gisele Bundchen star had risen so far she was called on to open for Carolina Herrera and Yves Saint Laurent in their Spring Paris and New York shows, and also closes for Prada, Valentino, and Calvin Klein in New York, Paris, and Milan.
Gisele’s body shape became the topic of several articles and news stories in 1999, particularly after Vogue magazine described her in the context of the return of the sexy model, and in complete contrast to the waif like models of previous years. By the middle of 2000, Rolling Stone magazine had crowned Gisele the most beautiful woman in the world. Gisele’s proportions are 34-24-24 and she is 5 feet 11 inches tall.
In 2000, Gisele signed a contract with Victoria’s Secret becoming one of their top models, and in 2003 became the face of Christian Dior. By 2005 her celebrity model status had catapulted Gisele to the very top of the supermodel world, being one of the most recognized models, and one of the highest earning. In the following year Gisele Bundchen became the face of Louis Vuitton, and the face of Vogue’s eyewear division featuring in a photoshoot that headlined as “Gisele plays with Vogue”.
After several years with Elite, Gisele signed with IMG Model Management in 2000, a strategic move that caused shock waves through the industry at the time. John Casablancas, CEO of Elite started legal proceedings against Gisele and several other models who defected, even resorting to name calling, notably when he described Gisele as a “monster of selfishness”, a charge Gisele’s friends all contradict, citing her willingness to share her income and fortune with her family.
Aside from modeling, Gisele has begun to develop an acting career, having appeared in Taxi (2004) playing the role of a bank robber, and then in 2006 playing a Vogue editor in the blockbuster film The Devil Wears Prada. Gisele has also appeared in a U2 video.
During her thirteen year career in modeling Gisele has appeared on the covers of almost every fashion magazine, and represented several of the major fashion, jewelry, and cosmetics houses. Vogue magazine referred to Gisele as the “return of the sexy model”, whilst Naomi Campbell and Claudia Schiffer both agreed, in the 21st century, Gisele Bundchen is possibly the only supermodel.