IN PICTURES: The Incredible Life Of Supermodel Gisele Bündchen

gisele bundchen

Photo: AP Images

30 is a wicked number in the modelling industry. For most cover girls, being 30-years-old is tantamount to a modelling death sentence. Gisele Bündchen seems to be the exception to this rule. At 31 years of age, there’s no let-up in sight for the Brazilian bombshell. Between May 2011 and last month, she took in a whopping $45 million, making her the highest paid supermodel in the world, according to Forbes.

Bündchen didn’t win by just a few pennies, either. In comparison, Kate Moss, took in a mere $9 million, according to Forbes. Bündchen simply blew her cohorts off of the runway last year.

This is Bündchen’s second year at the helm. But just how did she transform into an international fashion icon?

In 1994, when she was 14, Gisele is discovered eating a Big Mac at a McDonald's in São Paulo, Brazil by an Elite modelling agent. She soon moves to São Paulo to start a modelling career and places in (but doesn't win) multiple competitions. She is told by some talent scouts that her nose is too big.

In 2000, she begins her five-year relationship with star actor Leonardo DiCaprio. The same year, Gisele also signs a $25 million contract with Victoria's Secret.

Gisele proves to be an economic force in fashion. When she terminates her contract with Victoria's Secret, its parent brand's stock falls 31.5 per cent, according to Vogue. Economist Fred Fuld creates the Gisele Bündchen Stock Index -- a comparative study that concludes brands associated with Gisele's name fair much better than unaffiliated Dow brands.

Gisele begins dating star NFL quarterback Tom Brady in 2007, the same year she tops Forbes's list of the highest-earning models for the first time, taking in an estimated $33 million. She marries Brady in 2009 and gives birth to their son Benjamin Rein later that year.

Charitably, Gisele has given back in many ways. She opened the Luz Foundation to empower young women in 2007 and a launched clean water campaign in Brazil before that. Most famously she was named a U.N. Goodwill Ambassador. She also donated 1.5 million to earthquake relief funds in Haiti.

Gisele, in a publicity frenzy, defends husband Tom Brady from criticisms that he lost the Patriots the 2012 Super Bowl.

Gisele is more than just looks and dollar signs. Forbes also named her the 61st most powerful celebrity in the world in 2012. Ignoring age, she appeared on a record eight Vogue covers in 2012.

2012 has started off with a bang for Gisele. She recently won three spring campaigns with Givenchy, Versace, and Salvatore Ferragamo.

With rivers of money flowing into the Brady-Bündchen residence, it's no surprise they could afford this $20 million, 22,000 square-foot mansion in Brentwood, CA, complete with an six-car garage and an elevator.

A baby is (supposedly) on the way! Sources close to the couple report that Gisele and Brady are expecting their 2nd child.

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