Gisele Caroline Bündchen (born 20 July 1980) is a Brazilian fashion model, occasional film actress and goodwill ambassador for the UN Environment Programme.
In the late 1990s, Bündchen became the first in a wave of Brazilian models to find international success. In 1999, Vogue magazine dubbed her "The Return of the Sexy Model" and she was credited with ending the "heroin chic" era of modeling.
Bündchen was one of Victoria's Secret Angels from 2000 until 2006. Since 2004, she has been the highest-paid model in the world and the sixteenth richest woman in the entertainment industry (as of 2007) with an estimated $70 million fortune. Models Claudia Schiffer and Naomi Campbell have argued that Bündchen is the only true remaining "supermodel" and according to Forbes she may become the world's first ever billionaire supermodel. In June 2011, Forbes magazine estimated that Bundchen's total earnings over the last 10 years have passed the $250 million mark.
As an occasional actress, she had supporting roles in Taxi (2004) and The Devil Wears Prada (2006).
From 2000 to 2005, Bündchen was in a much-publicized relationship with American actor Leonardo DiCaprio. She married New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in 2009.
Bündchen 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, Bündchen 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. Then she moved to São Paulo to launch a very successful modeling career and become one of the best paid models in Brazil. By 1995 she had already started traveling abroad for her first international assignments. In 1996, Bündchen had her first important New York City break at Fashion
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.
Bündchen pioneered the "horse walk", a stomping movement created when a model picks her knees up high and kicks her feet out in front.