Gisele Bundchen was born on July 20th, 1980 in Horizontina, Brazil. While Bundchen identifies as Brazilian, and doesn’t actually speak German, her family is of German descent. One of five sisters, Bundchen also has a twin named Patricia.
Though originally interested in sports, Gisele was discovered by Elite Model Management while at a shopping mall in the metropolis of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Shortly after, she placed second in Look of the Year, a competition hosted by Elite Model Management, which helped to kickstart her modeling career.
Soon, Bundchen was off to New York Fashion Week. However, her critical acclaim came in 1998, when she began to make covers like Vogue Paris and British Vogue. In fact, Vogue has since credited Bundchen for singlehandedly ending beauty trends of the 1990s that preferred very thin, pale, and angular models.
Gisele’s long run as a Victoria’s Secret Angel began in 2000, and is associated with the proliferation of a new beauty standard: tan skin and healthy curves. While every beauty standard has its associated pitfalls, it was this career move that landed Bundchen one of the last true ‘supermodel’ careers, characterized by over one thousand magazine covers and associated ‘it girl’ contracts and associations with top fashion brands.
While most women, from Kenya to the Polynesian Islands, would likely recognize a photo of Gisele Bundchen, the ‘it girl’ is also known in the US as the wife of NFL superstar, Tom Brady. While Brady’s new team, the Buccaneers, have good odds in NFC South futures, the move to Tampa Bay from the family’s long-time home in Massachusetts was a big one for the family of four. However, Bundchen has lived on the road intermittently since she first moved to New York City as a young adult, hinting that this supermodel and mother was likely unruffled by the big change.
Additionally, Bundchen isn’t just the world’s last supermodel, nor a mother and wife. In the US in particular, the wives of top athletes tend to enjoy quite a bit of success on their own—but in Bundchen’s case, Tom Brady is more likely to be referred to as Gisele’s husband rather than vice versa. She’s an astute businesswoman and dedicated, passionate environmentalist. Throughout her life, she’s walked the catwalk as an elite model, spoken at the likes of the United Nations, and even recorded a few of her own music singles.
However, while it may seem that Bundchen is a superstar beyond all scopes of ordinary living, she’s only human like the rest of us. Below are some trends associated with the starlet, as well as a few of her most notable crusades that apply to women everywhere.
Yes, Gisele Bundchen has freckles. While they’re no longer visible today, given her crack skincare routine that prohibits tanning her face beneath the sun as well as her affinity for strong makeup looks, Bundchen’s original late 90s shoots featured her freckles.
The freckles were spread across her nose and cheeks, and the model apparently had to fight to keep them visible. Given the elite model’s power starting as early as 2001, Bundchen can be credited with helping to bolster these natural beauty marks and helping to present them to the world as cute attributes that don’t need to be hidden or prevented.
While Bundchen has likely toppled the confidence of women given her superstar body through the decades, her openness to talk about her own struggles with self-image make her not only relatable, but responsible. She’s candidly spoken about being picked on once upon a time for being too tall and thin, but she’s also expounded on her own journey to love her body.
Sure, many women still see Bundchen’s body as ‘perfect’, but the model’s own comments have revealed the amount of pressure she’s consistently lived under. While she lives with the benefits of beauty and worldwide renown, she’s also bound to maintain her body and her beauty if she wants to continue her career and maintain her ‘worth’ in the eyes of others.
In 2015, Bundchen underwent plastic surgery to maintain her physique, but shares the depth of regret that she felt in changing her body not for herself, but for others. Everyone can relate to this journey, and Bundchen should be applauded for not only sharing her journey, but for being honest about the shortcomings within herself and decisions that she regrets.
For many women today, mini and portable curling and straightening irons are quite common. In fact, many carry these products in order to tidy up their look at work or prepare for a last-minute date. While Bundchen certainly didn’t invent or patent the portable curling iron, she is widely associated with the tousled waves that many women apply with curling irons.
Known as ‘the beach wave’, this look was first worn by Bundchen following her contract with Victoria’s Secret. While the company would later finish her hair with more refined curls and a notably darker tint, Bundchen’s original ashy blonde, slightly curled, effortless look remains a staple amongst women today.
Bundchen’s endeavors as an environmentalist are well-known, and should be celebrated as such. However, one of her lesser-known causes is to be open about her struggles with her well-being. Bundchen admits that she was involved in an extremely unhealthy lifestyle in the early 2000s that led her to suffer panic attacks.
While she eventually was medicated, Bundchen instead decided to undertake other alternatives to treat her restlessness. She changed her diet, focusing on plant-based foods, took up meditation, and even began a yoga regime. While this may not work for everyone, Gisele’s honesty about her own journey is what is most inspiring. She doesn’t pretend to have everything figured out, and given that no one can, it’s reassuring to hear about other people’s trials—but most especially from those who, like Gisele Bundchen, seem so removed from the everyday lifestyle of most people.