Published June 26, 2012
It pays to be beautiful. But what makes one model stand out so much from the rest?
For the fifth consecutive year, Forbes Magazine named Gisele Bundchen the highest-earning supermodel in the world. The Brazilian-born beauty is estimated to have earned $45 million over the last year alone, with an assumed net worth of $250 million.
Coming in at a very distant second place was prominent supermodel Kate Moss, reported to have earned $9.2 million in the past year, followed by Natalia Vodianova at $8.6 million, and Adriana Lima at $7.3 million.
So what makes Bundchen, who has lucrative contracts with the likes of Versace, Esprit and Pantene, such a goldmine in her field?
“Gisele is not just a model, she is an intelligent business woman and you can see that in the diversity of brands she has worked with. She can play to both the high-end fashion audience and the mass consumer,” said Liane Mullin, co-founder of the model-devoted website, Modelina.com. “She is stunningly beautiful, but also has a very natural look to her. Women aspire to have her carefree beach waves and jeans & T-shirt style.”
And the bucks dished out to have Bundchen attached to a brand have proven to be well worth it.
After C&A Brazil hired Bündchen as a spokesmodel and began airing television commercials, their sales increased by 30 percent, and the lingerie brand HOPE claimed its turnover had increased 40 percent since bringing Bundchen onboard.
As a brand owner and consumer, Emily Rabinowitz of Blessed Charm Jewels added that it is the 31-year-old’s easygoing attitude and au naturel look that keeps her ahead of all others.
“There is no one like her look right now; she is in a league of her own. Gisele is able to pull off any type of pose or look with her figure,” she said. “She makes it look effortless to be in front of the camera while being fit and being a mom. She seems like the type of model who walks into the shoot and doesn't need a sense of direction on how to photograph.”
And according to at least one person who worked with this well-paid model a few years ago on shoots, Bundchen had natural charisma and ease and didn’t have diva demands. That made her a favorite among photographers, stylists and labels, who became eager to work with her again and again.
“Gisele came across as just very normal,” the fashion industry insider recalled at the time. “She was encouraging everyone to try the chocolate she was eating!”
But in addition to looks and labels, Bundchen's personal life seems to attract quite a bit of media attention as well. In 2000, she shot to the spotlight when it was revealed that she was dating Hollywood heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio.
And her marriage to NFL star Tom Brady has only increased her worth. Last year, Bundchen and Brady -- who are currently expecting their second child together -- topped Forbes’ list for the highest-earning couple, with their joint income coming in at around a cool $76 million.
“The marketing value of celebrities always goes up a notch when they couple with another famous face,” said fashion writer and television personality Ariane Sommer. “In Gisele’s case this was no different. It added some different dimensions to her already very strong brand. People now not only look up to her as an icon of beauty and fashion, but can identify with her as a mother and wife type of figure.”
“Gisele will dominate as long as she wants to continue to work,” added Mullin. “We don't expect baby No. 2 to slow her down.”