How Gisele Bundchen Transformed From An Awkward Teenager To A Global Powerhouse

Gisele Bündchen was just named the highest-paid supermodel by Forbes.

Bündchen, known in the industry as simply "Gisele," has held the title for the past seven years.

She earned a stunning $42 million last year. That's way ahead of second highest-paid model Miranda Kerr, who raked in $7.2 million.

But before she was a one-woman empire, Gisele was an awkward teenager in Brazil with modest aspirations.

We chronicled how she broke into the scene and became a legend.

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Gisele was born in Brazil, but her parents are of German descent. Here she's pictured (center) with her fraternal twin, Patricia, and another sister, Gabi.

Gisele was born in Brazil, but her parents are of German descent. Here she's pictured (center) with her fraternal twin, Patricia, and another sister, Gabi.

Source: Instagram 

Gisele was discovered by a modeling scout in Brazil while eating a Big Mac. Her childhood nickname was "Olive Oyl," a reference to cartoon Popeye's gangly wife. She won a contest and was sent to Sao Paulo. Here she's pictured in a 1995 interview telling the station about how she hoped to break into the business.

Gisele was discovered by a modeling scout in Brazil while eating a Big Mac. Her childhood nickname was "Olive Oyl," a reference to cartoon Popeye's gangly wife. She won a contest and was sent to Sao Paulo. Here she's pictured in a 1995 interview telling the station about how she hoped to break into the business.

Source: YouTube 

At age 16, she appeared on the cover of a Brazilian teen magazine with the headline "Gisele Bundchen, 16 years old, has gone to the top."

At age 16, she appeared on the cover of a Brazilian teen magazine with the headline "Gisele Bundchen, 16 years old, has gone to the top."

Source: SCStyleCaster

Her early modeling shots got her noticed, and by 1996 she was flying to New York for Fashion Week.

Her early modeling shots got her noticed, and by 1996 she was flying to New York for Fashion Week.

Source: YouTube 

Her big break-out came in 1998, when she walked in Alexander McQueen's famous"Rain" show. McQueen dubbed 18-year-old Gisele "The Body."

Her big break-out came in 1998, when she walked in Alexander McQueen's famous"Rain" show. McQueen dubbed 18-year-old Gisele "The Body."

Source: Fashion TV

Later that year, she was selected to pose in a Versace ad. She also did campaigns for Chloe, Missoni, and Valentino.

Later that year, she was selected to pose in a Versace ad. She also did campaigns for Chloe, Missoni, and Valentino.

Source: FashionExplorer.com

Two years after moving to the U.S., Gisele was on of the most in-demand models. By the end of 1999, she had three Vogue covers under her belt.

Two years after moving to the U.S., Gisele was on of the most in-demand models. By the end of 1999, she had three Vogue covers under her belt.

Source: Voguepedia

In 2000, Gisele had her biggest career moment yet, signing a record-breaking $25 million contract with lingerie powerhouse Victoria's Secret. She walked in the televised fashion show and soon became synonymous with the brand.

In 2000, Gisele had her biggest career moment yet, signing a record-breaking $25 million contract with lingerie powerhouse Victoria's Secret. She walked in the televised fashion show and soon became synonymous with the brand.

Source: Elite Model Look

She also made tabloids for her relationship with actor Leonardo DiCaprio in 2000. Their 5-year relationship solidified her status as a household name.

She also made tabloids for her relationship with actor Leonardo DiCaprio in 2000. Their 5-year relationship solidified her status as a household name.

Source: Celebuzz

In 2004, Gisele made her acting debut in "Taxi" starring Queen Latifah and Jimmy Fallon. She'd also appear in "The Devil Wears Prada" in 2006.

In 2004, Gisele made her acting debut in "Taxi" starring Queen Latifah and Jimmy Fallon. She'd also appear in "The Devil Wears Prada" in 2006.

Source: IMDB

In late 2006, Gisele began dating her now-husband, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. The pair now has two children.

In late 2006, Gisele began dating her now-husband, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. The pair now has two children.

In 2007, Gisele announced she was leaving Victoria's Secret, leading to industry speculation about her future. She had become the most famous Victoria's Secret model, and it was difficult to imagine her as anything else.

In 2007, Gisele announced she was leaving Victoria's Secret, leading to industry speculation about her future. She had become the most famous Victoria's Secret model, and it was difficult to imagine her as anything else.

Source: People

Gisele continued walking fashion runways and posing for magazine covers. Her 2007 Vanity Fair Style Issue cover was one of the best-selling of all time.

Gisele continued walking fashion runways and posing for magazine covers. Her 2007 Vanity Fair Style Issue cover was one of the best-selling of all time.

Source: Vanity Fair

In 2010, Gisele signed a contract to represent Dutch brand C&A in Brazil. After Gisele's commercials aired, sales soared 30%.

In 2010, Gisele signed a contract to represent Dutch brand C&A in Brazil. After Gisele's commercials aired, sales soared 30%.

Source: Racked

She also has her own highly successful flip flop line with Ipanema. The shoes sell for $7 and are responsible for doubling the company's share price.

She also has her own highly successful flip flop line with Ipanema. The shoes sell for $7 and are responsible for doubling the company's share price.

Source: Bloomberg

In 2012, luxury jeweler David Yurman reportedly fired Kate Moss to hire Gisele. She also raked in cash from international campaigns with Oral-B and Pantene.

In 2012, luxury jeweler David Yurman reportedly fired Kate Moss to hire Gisele. She also raked in cash from international campaigns with Oral-B and Pantene.

Source: Huffington Post

Gisele's career shows no signs of stopping. This year, she's appearing as the face of Chanel's new makeup line, Les Beiges. Fashion legend Karl Lagerfeld reportedly selected her himself, showing that she's still highly desirable in the industry.

Gisele's career shows no signs of stopping. This year, she's appearing as the face of Chanel's new makeup line, Les Beiges. Fashion legend Karl Lagerfeld reportedly selected her himself, showing that she's still highly desirable in the industry.

Source: Hello! 

You've seen Gisele's rise to fame...

You've seen Gisele's rise to fame...

Now check out the model Victoria's Secret is grooming to take over the brand >

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