Discovered by a modelling scout in a Brazilian shopping mall at the age of 14, Gisele Bundchen once said that up to that point she had always felt her non-identical twin sister was “hotter” than her.
But in the years since the girl who “hadn’t even had a first kiss” while her twin Patricia already had a boyfriend has become one of the most recognisable faces in the world.
The Brazilian has graced the covers of magazines ranging from Rolling Stone to Time and from Vogue to Forbes and landed big money contracts with a host of leading brands such as Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Victoria’s Secret.
Little wonder that she came to be known by the nickname of ‘The Midas Queen’.
She also has her own line of shoes, named ‘Ipanema Gisele Bundchen’, which have sold more than 100 million pairs since 2001.
Bundchen dated Hollywood star Leonardo Di Caprio and the couple were named by People Magazine as the “Most Beautiful Couple in the World” in 2004.
The relationship did not last but in February 2009 she married Tom Brady, the New England Patriots quarterback, and in December that year she gave birth to their son, Benjamin.
Six weeks later she was back to work, modelling swimwear.
The star sportsman and the supermodel make the perfect couple for glossy magazines and gossip columns and in a recent interview Bundchen called Brady â€“ with whom she has homes in Boston, New York and Los Angeles â€“ “the man of my life”.
But it was discussing her family life in a magazine interview published last August that first caused a wave of controversy around Bundchen.
The catwalk star told Harper’s Bazaar magazine: “I think breastfeeding really helped [me keep my figure]. Some people here [in the US] think they don’t have to breastfeed, and I think ‘Are you going to give chemical food to your child when they are so little?’
“I think there should be a worldwide law, in my opinion, that mothers should breastfeed their babies for six months.”
She was widely criticised for the comments by mothers and experts on maternity and days later used her blog to insist she did not think breastfeeding was an issue for the law and that “as mothers we are all just trying our best,”
Bundchen is a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and regularly writes about environmental issues on her blog.
In 2010 she was named by Forbes magazine as the best paid model in the world for the second year running, with earnings of Â£17m putting her ahead of Heidi Klum (Â£11m) and Kate Moss (Â£6m) in second and third.