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Gisele Caroline Bündchen, often simply known as Gisele, was born on July 20, 1980 in Três de Maio, near Horizontina, Rio Grande do Sul, in southern Brazil. She is the daughter of Valdir and Vânia Bündchen, both of German descent. Valdir is a well known Brazilian businessman owner of a supermarket chain and reputed billionaire.
Gisele has three sisters: Raquel, Graziela and Rafaela. Rafaela and Gisele are twins.
While in school, Gisele was so thin that her friends used to call her "Olívia Palito" (Portuguese for Olive Oyl, Popeye's skinny friend), "Somaliana" (person from Somalia) and Saracura (kind of bird with long legs). She liked to play volleyball, and had even thought of becoming a professional for Brazilian team Sogipa.
In 1993, Gisele Bündchen, 13 years old, joined the Dilson Stein's mannequin course to correct her posture, with her sisters Patrícia and Gabriela, because her mother insisted. The course was for teenagers who wanted to be a model. In May 1994, Stein took 50 girls to São Paulo to give them a chance to walk in a big city and to let them be evaluated by Brazilian Elite bookers (agents). On August 20, 1993 Gisele was playing volleyball for Sogipa, in Porto Alegre. Elite "kidnapped" her and took her to a contest. Gisele came between the five finalists. Then, she went to São Paulo. She came in second in the national Elite Look of the Year contest - Claudia Menezes, from Bahia, was the one in the first place. In the world contest, in Ibiza, Gisele came in fourth. In another version, she would have come in sixth.
Gisele has done ads and runway shows for various fashion houses including Valentino, Zara, Bvlgari, Tommy Hilfiger, Chloe, Celine, Versace, Christian Dior, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Victoria's Secret, and Dolce & Gabbana. She has also appeared on the covers of Allure, Marie Claire, Vogue USA, Vogue Italia, Harper’s Bazaar, Arena, and Rolling Stone. Her curvaceous figure prompted Vogue to refer to her body of work as the "return of the sexy model", since she seems to have marked the end of a trend of thinner models such as Kate Moss. In 2000 her annual earnings were reportedly $8 million and she commands between $7000 and $15,000 per hour for runway shows.
Gisele has recently received the "Model of the Year" award and has been named "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" by Rolling Stone. She has also hosted the VH1 Fashion Awards and appeared on Late Night with Conan O'Brien.
Gisele has a belly button piercing and a star tattoo on her left wrist. She treasures her dog, Vida, and is currently living with actor Leonardo DiCaprio in Los Angeles. Before Leonardo, she had been romantically linked to male model Scott Barnhill, Brazilian tycoon João Paulo Diniz, Big Joe and actor Josh Hartnett.
Her other homes include an apartment in Manhattan’s Tribeca district and a house near Woodstock, NY. Her debut as an actress came in the 2004 movie Taxi. Gisele Bundchen.
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