Family and early life
Gisele Bundchen was born in the Brazilian town of Três de Maio and grew up in Horizontina, Rio Grande do Sul. She is of German heritage from both her parents, Vânia Nonnenmacher, a bank clerk pensioner, and Valdir Bündchen, a university teacher and writer. She has five sisters – Raquel, Graziela, Gabriela, Rafaela and her fraternal twin Patrícia, Bündchen's junior by five minutes. Bündchen speaks Portuguese as her native language. She also speaks Spanish and English. She commented "I was born in Horizontina, a town in the back-country 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, Gisele Bundchen 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).
In 1993, a then-13-year-old Bündchen joined a modeling course with her sisters Patrícia and Gabriela at her mother's insistence. The following year, Bündchen went to São Paulo on a school excursion to give them an opportunity to walk in a big city. In a shopping mall, with her friends, Bündchen was discovered by a modeling agency. 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, Gisele Bundchen moved to New York City to begin her modeling career, debuting at Fashion Week.
Vogue editor Anna Wintour crowned her the "model of the millennium," that same year Vogue called her "The return of the sexy model". Rolling Stone declared her "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" in 2000 and Vanity Fair published an article titled . "And God Created Gisele...," in 2009.
Gisele Bundchen pioneered the "horse walk", a stomping movement created when a model picks her knees up high and kicks her feet out in front.
In 1997 Bündchen traveled to London, where she auditioned for 42 shows. She got her big break when chosen for her ability to walk in towering heels—on a slippery runway—for Alexander McQueen’s memorable spring 1998 “rain” ready-to-wear show. Echoing similar accolades for Elle Macpherson a decade earlier, McQueen dubbed Gisele Bundchen "the Body", immediately boosting her bookings.
In 1998 She poses for Missoni, Chloé, Dolce & Gabbana, Valentino, Gianfranco Ferré, Ralph Lauren, and Versace campaigns. Makes the cover of French Vogue. Cult fashion magazine i-D also puts her on its cover, profiling "A Girl Called Gisele."
Gisele Bundchen is the fourth model in history to grace the cover of Rolling Stone, in which she was named "the most beautiful girl in the world", in 2000. Also that year "Time magazine says she's "one of the few runway models whom straight men can name."
Gisele Bundchen appeared on the cover of Vogue in July, November and December 1999. She won the VH1/Vogue Model of the Year for 1999, and a January 2000 cover gave her three consecutive Vogue covers and in December 2009 she appeared alongside of her husband Tom Brady on the cover of book The World in Vogue – People, Parties, Places. 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." Gisele Bundchen 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 600 magazine covers throughout the world. A total that is only second to Princess Diana's.
By 2000, her record breaking $25 million contract with Victoria's Secret helped solidify her status as the world's top model. She has been on numerous book covers such as "MaRIO DE JANEIRO" by Mario Testino and Russell James Retrospective book.
In 2000 She also opens the spring Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Dolce & Gabbana, Christian Dior, and Valentino shows in New York, Milan, and Paris. From 1998–2003 Gisele Bundchen was in every Dolce & Gabbana fashion campaign, totaling 11 consecutive campaigns with the brand. In 2006–2009, she returned as the face of the brand's fragrance titled "Dolce & Gabbana The One".
Gisele Bundchen was invited to host the Brazilian version of the reality-show "America's Next Top Model" in (2003), but she refused. According to her sister and public relations manager, Patricia Bündchen, she doesn't want to pursue a career on television.
Photographed by Steven Meisel, she was presented on the September 2004 cover of American Vogue as one of the "Models of the Moment". In the December 2005 issue, New York magazine chose and publicized a list of 123 reasons to love New York City with reason number 43 being that Bündchen lived there.
In February 2007 Gisele Bundchen returned to the Milan runway by opening and closing Dolce & Gabbana’s show. She was chosen by Time magazine in 2007 as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. September 2007 Bündchen was featured on the cover of Vanity Fair’s style issue, photographed by Mario Testino being one of the best sellers that year.
Gisele Bundchen is ranked No.1 as the Top Model Icon of All Time at models.com. She is also No.1 on the Money Girls list and #2 on The Sexiest Models list. In 2011, CEOWORLD Magazine ranked her among their Top Accomplished Women Entertainers. She was also ranked number 95 in FHM magazines 100 Sexiest Women in the World 2011.
In 2007, Gisele Bundchen was named "The World's Richest Supermodel". She ranked #45 in the 2011 FHM Australia list of "100 Sexiest Women in the World". October 2011 Gisele made a surprise runway appearance during Paris Fashion Week, closing the Givenchy spring-summer 2012 fashion show. In 2011 she graced a total of eight Vogue covers, more than any other model or celebrity that year.