Gisele has gone from being Olive Oyl and Saracura, which is a bird with really skinny long legs, to the world's most successful supermodel, worth an estimated $150 million. Gisele hasn't stopped there.
In this month's Vanity Fair magazine, Gisele reflects on the big picture: her recent marriage to star quarterback Tom Brady, her adoring relationship with Tom's baby son, and her quest for higher enlightenment.
Excerpts from Vanity Fair's . . . And God Created Gisele; photography Mario Testino
In the beginning I had no idea what I was doing,” Gisele admits. “I had no idea what modeling was. I didn’t know it’s about becoming something—embodying something. It’s not you. I didn’t understand that. I was like this!” She bares her teeth in a horrible rigor-mortis grin. “I wasn’t aware of my body. All my life I felt awkward about myself.” But the idea that somebody had found her attractive was intoxicating. “Out of those 50 girls, that guy thought I was pretty,” she recalls, a dreamy look softening her face. “People weren’t calling me Olive Oyl. It was a different standard of beauty.”
Exercise was never a problem; ever since childhood, she has displayed an alarming appetite for extreme sports. “If somebody had something broken, it was me,” she admits. “I did skydiving, bungee-jumping, kayaking, surfing, jumping horses—my horse was 18 hands and it stepped on my foot and I couldn’t walk. Everything I’ve ever been afraid of, I’ve tried to overcome. I was always on planes, and I always used to be apprehensive, so I thought, I’ve got to find a way to not be afraid. So I started jumping out of planes.”
“I’m really happy with the way I’ve lived my life,” she says. “I’m an honorable person. I’m proud of the way I’ve done things. I’ve never in my life acted in any way that wasn’t of the highest integrity that I was raised with. I’m the same person—with different life experience, but the things that make me happy are the same things. Having barbecue with my family, hanging out with my friends, being with animals, riding bikes—that’s what made me happy all my life. I feel really good about that. I want to finish this life and say, ‘I did the best I could. I lived my values. I kept my integrity.’”