On the eve of the World Cup in Rio, supermodel Gisele Bündchen opens up about soccer, style, career and her best health tips.
It’s the day after the Oscars. We’re standing in a photo studio in Los Angeles, and Gisele Bündchen is almost a film unto herself: a larger-than-life knockout in faded grey jeans and her signature mop of hair. She’s chatting enthusiastically about her one-year-old daughter, who is already showing signs of being “dramatic.”
At 33 years old, Bündchen is celebrating 20 years as a model. It has been a faultless journey for the girl from Horizontina, a small town in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, who dreamed of being a professional volleyball player for the national team. That was before Gisele Caroline Nonnenmacher Bündchen was discovered by an Elite Model Look contest and Alexander McQueen.
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You need only glance at the varied shots on her Instagram page (which has over 1.6 million followers) to fully appreciate the breadth of her career. Voted the “world’s most powerful supermodel” by Forbes, Bündchen is the face of brands from Chanel to Pantene, has her own lingerie line and is an active philanthropist. She earns roughly US$40 million a year, which, coupled with the success of her husband, Tom Brady, the handsome quarterback of Boston’s New England Patriots, means that at least a few generations of little Bündchen-Bradys (starting with Benjamin Rein, four, and Vivian Lake, one) will likely be quite comfortable.
Now, Bündchen emerges from the changing room in a bikini and steps in front of the camera, striking her poses efficiently, like a well-oiled machine, while watching her reflection in a mirror. She later shoots a quick glance at the monitor and says she loves the photos—particularly the one in which she’s draped in the Brazilian flag. “Viva o Brasil,” she cries. “We’re going to win!”
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Are you excited that this year’s World Cup is in Brazil?
“Soccer has always been a huge part of the culture of Brazil. People here are all geared up!”
Are you going to attend the matches?
“Well, I would like to score a goal myself. [Laughs] I’m very proud that I was born in Brazil. I love the spirit of the Brazilian people. There’s something magical about it. There’s a viva—there is joy. There is warmth—a sense of welcome. When I first came to America, I was hugging and kissing everyone and people were shocked. Soccer supporters will come from different parts of the world, and they will experience that side of Brazilian life—all that beauty and energy.”
Are you passionate about sports?
“I’ve been athletic since I was little. I was the captain of my volleyball team. I used to jog—even almost naked in winter. I’m Sporty Spice!”
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What is your relationship with your body?
“The body is a temple. I enjoy moving. I don’t play much volleyball anymore, but I ride horses, surf and play beach tennis. I play wherever I am. Kung fu, boxing, yoga, Pilates.... It makes me feel alive. If I don’t move my body, I don’t feel good.”
Gisele Bündchen talks about her diet and modelling career on the next page...