Of everything that Gisele Bündchen has said over the course of her legendary, decades-long career, only one seems to have been dishonest: “I’m a very boring person,” the supermodel told a crowd of reporters seven years into her all-star career, in 2005.
Of course, in actuality, Bündchen is anything but. The supermodel, who turns 39 on Saturday, has revolutionized the modeling industry and created some of the most legendary images in fashion history. She’s also spent the past decade being brazenly candid—almost to the point of absurdity, and most definitely to the point that she’s had to walk some of her statements back. (See: that time she called sunscreen “poison,” or that time she blamed models’ eating disorders on their parents.)
And yet, those controversies have never dogged her; in fact, they’ve even been celebrated as part of what makes Gisele so distinctly, and delightfully, Gisele. In celebration of her 39th birthday, revisit some of her most memorable quotes, here.
On breastmilk: “My kids never got sick when I was breastfeeding. If they had something in their eyes, I’d put milk in their eyes. Before their flight, I would get a dropper and put milk up their nose … to [ward off] the bacteria on the plane.” – in People
On reportedly making $35 million in a single year: “Do you think [salary]’s important to me? Look, this is my job. I take pictures. There is no big deal. I would like to know who this reporter is finding out all of these amounts. I would like him to talk to my accountant and figure out where is the cash that’s missing. Because I haven’t seen it.” – in GQ
On why she once didn’t leave her apartment for six weeks: “Too cold.” – in Vogue
On naming her son: “I wanted him to be called River because I wanted something always flowing, immortal. My husband said, ‘There’s no way we’re going to call him River.'” – in Vogue
On human garbage disposals: “I think a lot of people get pregnant and decide they can turn into garbage disposals. I was mindful about what I ate, and I gained only 30 pounds.” – in Vogue
On meditating in the backseat of a taxi: “The back of the taxi seems [an] unusual [spot] to meditate, but sitting in traffic while rushing around the city is the perfect time to center yourself, because it makes the ride better.” – at the David Lynch Foundation’s Women of Vision Humanitarian Awards
On the powers of mud: “When I was a teenager, I had pimples—oh, God, every time someone looked at my face I thought they were looking at my pimples. I put mud on my face to dry them out, and it worked.” – in Vogue
On staying active: “My secret is that I watch TV maybe twice a year. I’m not a potato sack; I’ve never sat on my couch. If I’m home, I’m cleaning, feeding my dogs, doing stuff. Life is too precious to waste time.” – in Elle
On wishing her life were more like Tarzan’s: “My earliest memory was going to my grandma’s house, milking the cows and collecting the eggs from the chickens. If I could choose, I’d be bare feet, with animals all around me and living in a tree house. Like Tarzan and Jane, that’s my dream.” – in Vogue UK
Gisele Forever: A Supermodel’s Career in Pictures
Gisele Bündchen for Vanity Fair, 2009. Photo © Mario Testino / Taschen.
Gisele Bündchen in “Hothouse Flower,” photographed by Juergen Teller, styled by Jane How; W magazine June 2005.
Gisele Bündchen photographed by Juergen Teller for a Sonia Rykiel campaign, 2014. Photo © Juergen Teller / Taschen.
Gisele Bündchen for Vogue Brasil, 2015. Photo © Paulo Vainer / Taschen.
Gisele Bündchen for V Magazine, 2004. Photo © Inez and Vinoodh / Taschen.
Gisele Bündchen photographed by Mario de Janeiro Testino, 2001. Photo © Mario Testino / Taschen.
Gisele Bündchen for Pirelli Calendar, 2006. Photo © Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott / Taschen.
Gisele Bündchen in “Kiss the Sky,” photographed by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, styled by Alex White; W magazine August 2008.
Gisele Bündchen, 2016. Photo © Taschen.
Gisele Bündchen, 2016. Photo © Taschen.
On her children’s diets: “I haven’t drank soda in 10 years. My kids eat what I eat. The first (solid) food my son had was papaya and then avocado … He loves garlic because we eat a lot of garlic in our house. Even my little daughter … She will not eat anything unless there’s garlic.” – in People
On her children’s Halloween candy: “We don’t really have that a kind of sugar in our house. I let them try one [piece], but they really only had one bite and then they didn’t want it anymore. So I told them if they didn’t like it I was going to give it away to other kids and they actually let me give their candy away,” – in People
On Tom Brady, long before he was her husband: “He’s the most eligible bachelor. But he has a girlfriend, right? He’s cute, but if he has a girlfriend, he’s gay to me. There are too many men in the world to go after a man who has a woman. Life is too short.” – in the Boston Herald
On giving the above quote about her now husband: “Look, I’m Brazilian. I had never seen football before. I’m freezing, and all I’m thinking is, When can I go back to New York City? I didn’t understand why they were all hitting each other. Now I do, but I didn’t. I just wanted to get out of there, so I’m just gonna say what you say to get out of a conversation.” – in GQ
On whether or not she’s ever given her husband modeling advice: “Oh, my God. I want you to tell your editor that that’s a very stupid question. It’s private. And—nah.” – in GQ
On not showing her booty: “I make a point about that because I don’t want my booty [on show]. I can’t wear like a nun outfit, or something like that, but I make sure that they understand that my booty has to be covered. It’s my booty and I feel like… when you’re walking on the runway, God knows where they’re looking. You’re walking and all those people are there and the runway is higher. It’s not that I feel self-conscious, it’s that I feel like my booty should be shown on special occasions, for special people.” – in Vogue UK
On being shown a chest tattoo of herself: “I wasn’t stopping to pay attention to it because I thought he was maybe a psycho or something… I got really scared.” – in Vogue UK
A Tribute to Gisele Bündchen, 12-Time W Magazine Cover Star
Gisele Bündchen on the cover of W Magazine, photograph by Michael Thompson, January 1999.
Gisele Bündchen on the cover of W Magazine, photographed by Michael Thompson, May 1999.
Gisele Bündchen on the cover of W Magazine, photographed by Michael Thompson, January 2000.
Gisele Bündchen on the cover of W Magazine, photographed by Michael Thompson, March 2001.
Gisele Bündchen on cover of W Magazine, photographed by Michael Thompson, October 2001.
Gisele Bündchen on the cover of W Magazine, photographed by Michael Thompson, February 2002.
Gisele Bündchen on the cover of W Magazine with Travis Fimmel, photographed by Michael Thompson, November 2002.
Gisele Bündchen on the cover of W Magazine between Patti Hanson (left) and Cindy Crawford (right), photographed by Michael Thompson, August 2002.
Gisele Bündchen on the cover of W Magazine, photograph by Michael Thompson, March 2003.
Gisele Bündchen on the cover of W Magazine, photograph by Michael Thompson, June 2005.
Gisele Bündchen on the cover of W Magazine, photographed by Craig McDean, January 2004.
Gisele Bündchen on the cover of W Magazine, photographed by Michael Thompson, July 2007.
On her flip-flop line: “I am very inspired by nature and like to use that for my ideas, but actually designing them—no way. I would be a disaster.” – in WWD
On watching football: “At night if my husband is watching TV and watching football, I have my little book and I put something in my ears so I don’t hear it and I put my light [on] and have my book and I’m like, ‘Ohhh.’ He’s feeding his soul and that’s important to him to watch football. I only want to watch if I’m watching him.” – in the AP
On looking like hamsters and fish: “If you’re wearing smoky eye makeup, a little beige or gold pencil on the inner eye corners will open up the area, but you only want to do it if the shadow is really dark. Otherwise, light pencil makes your eyes look too far apart, like a fish. And I put black mascara on my top and bottom lashes because I have tiny little hamster eyes. With mascara, they seem larger.” – in Elle
On international regulations: “There should be a worldwide law, in my opinion, that mothers should breastfeed their babies for six months.” – Harper’s Bazaar UK
On having to pee: “No matter how many shows I’ve done, as soon as they say it’s time to start, I get that nervous sensation and feel like I have to pee. So that’s where my mind is. That and making it to the end of the runway and back as fast as I can.” – in Elle
On why she lives in Boston: “Why do I live here? It’s called love. I love my husband. My kids were born here, in our old apartment on Beacon Street. They’re little Bostonians, and they love the weather. But I’m not going to lie. Cold is not my flavor. I’m Brazilian. I’d rather live barefoot in a hut in the middle of the forest somewhere.” – in Vogue
On unacceptable hours to take photos: “It’s all about the light. Always face it, because that’s how you give your face good angles. If you’re outside when the sun is overhead, you’re going to have dark circles from the sun creating shadows on your face. So no outdoor pictures between 12 and two!” – in Elle
On her availability: “If I’m with my kids, I’m not answering my phone. You can’t reach me. With my husband, too. If I’m at work, then I’m at work. If I’m with you, I’m with you. I am in that moment, and there is nothing else.” – in the Wall Street Journal