Alessandra Ambrosio was born in the small Brazilian town Erechim, to gas station-owning parents.At the age of 11, Ambrosio fixed her biggest insecurity and had her ears pinned back.
After that, it wasn’t long before the Brazlian beauty landed a modelling contract with one of the largest agencies in the world.
One of the first Victoria’s Secret models, Ambrosio is still strutting her stuff at age 31 during the retailer’s annual holiday show, with her two young children cheering her on from the front row.
Earlier this month, the model donned a $2.5 million bra to strut her stuff down the famed runway.
After being a Victoria’s Secret spokeswoman for the past 10 years and appearing on over 70 international magazine covers, Ambrosio has earned a spot as the sixth wealthiest model in the world.
April 11, 1981: Alessandra Corine Ambrosio was born in Erechim, Brazil. Her parents, who are of Italian and Polish Brazilian descent, owned a gas station.
1992: Alessandra, who was always insecure about her large ears, had cosmetic surgery at agee 11 to get her ears pinned back.
1993: At age 12, she enrolled in modelling class and by age 14, she was one of 20 finalists for an Elite modelling competition in Brazil.
Elite passed along some of her Polaroids to Guess, which led her booking the Millennium GUESS? campaign.
2004: The model launched her line of swimwear called Alessandra Ambrosio by Sais, a division of Rosa Chá. It sold 10,000 units in its first month on the market.
2005: She walked the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show runway wearing lingerie made entirely out of candy.
2008: Alessandra becomes a mother to daughter, Anja, and walked the runway in the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show just three months after giving birth.
Ambrosio had another brush with Hollywood when she became the face of Brazilian sportswear brand Colcci, costarring with Ashton Kutcher in a steamy denim ad.
2010: Alessandra is ranked ranked No. 5 on Forbes' The World's Top-Earning Models list, with estimated earnings of $5 million that year alone.
2011: Ambrosio became Vogue's blogger, commenting on her wardrobe by posting one photo of herself each day for a month. The same year, she wore the heaviest Victoria's Secret Fashion Show wings ever (30 lb) to walk the runway.
2012: Alessandra came in 6th on the Forbes top-earning models list, estimated to have earned $6.6 million in one year and she appeared in the London 2012 Olympic Closing Ceremony as part of Rio de Janeiro's Handover show.
She has been the face of GUESS, Revlon, Christian Dior, Giorgio Armani, Rolex, Escada, Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren.
But before she was a popular, wealthy model, Alessandra was just an energetic tomboy growing up in Brazil:
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.