The Smashing Success of Gisele Bundchen
If you thought that Sean O’Pry’s $1.5 million earned over a one-year period is already a lot, you should see what Brazilian model Gisele Bundchen hauled in over a similar span: a cool $42 million based on the Forbes list, ahead of even the annual earnings of top athletes like soccer’s Lionel Messi, the NFL’s Tom Brady (to whom she got married in 2009), and the NBA’s Kevin Durant.
Of course, that figure is apart from her earnings as a model, as Gisele also has a bunch of endorsement contracts along with some other business ventures. Let’s take a quick look at Gisele’s career, shall we?
Gisele Bundchen got her big break in 1997, after some 40-plus auditions in London. She got the nod to be in an Alexander McQueen show. The show was for the big-name designer’s “rain" show for spring 1998, so it was important that models were able to walk on a slippery runway. Bundchen passed this test with flying colors, in very high heels nonetheless.
That break launched Gisele’s career, especially when McQueen gave her the title “the Body." According to Harper’s Bazaar booking editor James Scully, Gisele had “breasts and hips and great hair." It was evident that Gisele had unprecedented appeal and generational talent; she threw off the supermodel stereotype with her fuller body. As a testament to her appeal, she is constantly in world’s most beautiful lists since she came on to the scene.
Bundchen would continue on her inexorable path to success. She grabbed the top model title as early as 2000 thanks to her lucrative Victoria’s Secret contract on top of a wide variety of other endorsements, gigs, and magazine cover appearances. In less than four years, she would go on to grace the cover of Vogue magazine 10 times after getting her first one for the British edition in 1998.
In May 2009, she was hailed as the biggest star in fashion history by The Independent, and she was also named to the Harper’s Bazaar 26 greatest models of all time in the same year. If there’s a top model list, top earner list, sexiest women list, chances are she’s been there or is still there.
Gisele is an inspiration to many women, not only for her achievements, but also for her charitable activities and noted environmental work. Considering how she also juggles all these activities with her family life with her husband, Tom Brady, the NFL star and their kids, it’s an amazing feat.
The end is not in sight for 31-year-old Bundchen. Even if her earnings dipped a bit in the one-year period used by Forbes, it was ‘only’ by a meager $3 million and she still emerged way ahead of the pack in terms of total earnings. By comparison, second-placer Miranda Kerr took home an estimated $7.2 million.
Bundchen was among the muses selected by Marc Jacobs for his last Louis Vuitton collection for spring/summer 2014, and just last December, Pantene North America chose Bundchen as the brand’s new ambassador, although she had been representing the brand in Brazil for some time now.