Giselle Bündchen has topped the list of supermodel moneymakers in what Forbes magazine describes as a “genetic lottery“. Her gross estimate between June 2014 and June 2015 is $44 million.
At the tail end of the Forbes list is a relative newcomer to the scene, Kendall Jenner who earned $4 million before taxes for the same period. The 19-year-old model is the daughter of former Olympic decathlete Bruce Jenner (now Caitlyn) and television personality Kris Jenner (ex-wife of the late Robert Kardashian, the lawyer who represented O.J. Simpson).
Bündchen, 35, who quit the catwalk in April, earns close to $120,547 a day, according to Forbes, and has grossed over $430 million since the start of her career.
Two men who have figured prominently in her life are actor Leonardo DiCaprio (their affair lasting from 2000 to 2005) and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady whom she married in 2009.
A sixth generation German-Brazilian, she was born Gisele Caroline Bündchen in Três de Maio, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, on July 20, 1980. Her parents, both of German descent are Valdir Bündchen and Vânia Nonnenmacher. Bündchen spent her early years in Horizontina, southern Brazil, known for its large German population.
Having taken a modeling course when she was 13, Bündchen was spotted at a shopping mall in São Paolo by the Elite modeling agency when she was 14 and signed on for the Elite Look of the Year national contest in which she placed second. By 1996, she was getting into high gear at the New York Fashion Week, followed by a trip to London in 1997. She got on Alexander McQueen’s spring 1998 rain-ready show, by way of her ability to negotiate a slippery catwalk, on extra high heels.
Her crowning achievement came in 2000 when Victoria’s Secret hired her, making her the world’s top model. Rolling Stone got her on its cover that same year and crowned her “the most beautiful girl in the world” for 2000.
Toronto Sun reports that her beauty and fashion endorsements keep her in the limelight with such high-profile brands as Chanel, Carolina Herrera and Balenciaga.
International Business Times quotes her making the following comment to Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo on her April retirement from the catwalk.
“Automatically my body tells me if what I do is worth it, and it asked to stop. I respect my body, it’s a privilege to be able to stop.”
A timely arrival at Bündchen’s heels is Kendall Jenner, reality celebrity Kim Kardashian West’s little sister. Kendall reinforced the Kardashian penchant for money in her debut year as a Forbes-listed model. Her vaunted $4 million came from work with Marc Jacobs, Givenchy, Fendi, Calvin Klein, Topshop and Balmain.
Standing 5 feet 10 inches tall and still growing, Kendall Jenner is a statuesque beauty aiming for the 5-foot-11-inch prominence of a Giselle Bündchen.
[Photo by Fernanda Calfat/Getty Images]