Although she's not leaving modeling entirely, the fact that Gisele made the decision to retire from the runway herself — rather than allowing the fashion industry to dictate her "expiration date" — speaks volumes about the amount of control she's been able to maintain throughout her career. Her particular profession may not be an option for the huge majority of women in the world, but the way she's been able to set her own terms for how she operates within it, her personal life, and her family, and to great success, is inspirational nonetheless.
In the '90s, she was one of the early Brazilian models to find fame internationally, alongside the likes of Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio, and Isabeli Fontana. She parlayed her runway success into all aspects of fashion, including dozens of campaigns for Chanel, Versace, Givenchy, Chloé, and practically every big-name designer you can think of. Perhaps most impressive, though, is Gisele's ability to tread the line between mass-market and high-fashion, proving that it is
to be a Victoria's Secret Angel and the face of Chanel. In so doing, she paved the way for fellow crossover acts Karlie Kloss and Jourdan Dunn.
If '90s stars Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, and Christy Turlington were some of the first supermodels to become household names, then Gisele helped to pioneer turning modeling into a personal brand. She's consistently ranked as the wealthiest model
in the world; she's branched out into design with Ipanema by Gisele Bündchen and Gisele Bündchen intimates, and even dipped into acting with The Devil Wears Prada
. Gisele has shown that becoming a successful model is so much more than just runways and campaign cameos — which is good news for her fans, because she'll have other areas of the business to pursue. As she summed it up perfectly to the Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo,
"Stopping will leave room for other projects I have for myself.” We can't wait to see what's next.