Posted on: 04/15/2015

Model Gisele Bundchen announces retirement

Model Gisele Bundchen announces retirement: "My body asked me to stop" At the tender age of 34, the world"s highest paid model, Gisele Bundchen is retiring. The Brazilian said that her body has asked her to stop and step away from the runway. "I don"t see how to continue (modelling on the catwalk)," she told Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper, "and stopping will leave room for other projects I have for myself. "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. The model, who is known for her love of yoga, meditation and healthy living (her pilates instructor insists she eats "a lot"), added that she had "learned to listen to her body". Bundchen made her runway debut at New York Fashion Week in 1996 and since 2002 has been the world"s highest paid model, earning an estimated $61 million in the last year alone. Despite being the biggest model in the world, Bundchen has rejected the supermodel label. "I really don"t feel like that word. It doesn"t resonate for me. It doesn"t define me," she told Harpers Bazaar. Raised in a small town in Brazil, Bundchen has five sisters, one of whom is her fraternal twin. She was spotted by an Elite model agent at a shopping mall, when she was just 13. "I looked like a mosquito then," she told Harper"s Bazaar, adding that by 14 she was living on her own, working full-time as a model. "Maybe if my family had been wealthy, I wouldn"t have done it, but because they weren"t, I decided to go," she said. "I didn"t want to leave my whole family, but my parents were working and I had five sisters, so things were challenging. I figured I could be independent and work. I thought I could take care of myself and it would be one less child for them to worry about." The model, who is nearly 1.83 metres tall and a size 8, might have had early success but it wasn"t a smooth run to the top. "I"ll never forget the day when a woman came up to me and said, "No, you could never be on a magazine cover. Your face features don"t work; your eyes are small, you have a small face but a big nose." I was only 14 and I had never noticed any of that stuff, you know?" Shocked, the model told her father. "He said to me, "Next time that happens, you tell the person that you have a big nose and a big personality to match." Ha!" Bundchen went on to model for the likes of Chanel, Valentino, Versace, Louis Vuitton, Alexander Wang, Balenciaga and Carolina Herrera as well as being a long-time Victoria"s Secret "Angel". She is married to New England Patriots star Tom Brady, and the couple have two young children, Benjamin and Vivian. The popular model, who was Leonardo DiCaprio"s long-term girlfriend, has become a favourite of the world"s top designers. "She is even better in the flesh," says Dior designer John Galliano. "I think it was her first season in Paris when she came to do a fitting. I had heard about Gisele, but when she walked in the room I felt like my fingers had been put into the electrical socket, like, pwoah! Pure electricity." Adds Donatella Versace: "Gisele is one of a kind."