Gisele Bündchen created a "ballsy and risky" persona when she first began modelling
The Brazilian star moved to New York to pursue her career in 1996, but was painfully shy. She found the amount of attention she received hard to cope with, and so began pretending she was someone who was much more confident.
"I was in the fashion shows in Milan, I was 17, I was doing like 100 shows. People were asking, `How does it feel to be the model of the moment?` It was hard for me to answer as myself. I barely spoke English," she explained to the American edition of Vogue magazine. "I thought, `I have to give my best because they trust me with that.` I invented this other person, and she could do everything.
"She wasn`t afraid; she was able to be ballsy and risky and sexy or androgynous. She was bold. I had to believe in myself as this person that was strong, up-front, invincible, and positive, who knew what she was doing, even though I really didn`t."
Gisele insists she still calls on her other personawhen she is working. She is fiercely protective of her private life, and claims no-one really knows anything about her despite her 14-year career.
The 29-year-old gave birth to Benjamin, her first child with her husband Tom Brady, in December, and did all she could to keep her pregnancy private. She did not want anyone to share the experience with her, revealing it had such a profound effect on her she didn-t want to work while expecting. She did have to complete some photo shoots that she was contracted for, but only let her face be pictured.
Gisele admits completing her first shoot after Benjamin`s birth was strange, as she was so unused to it.
"I got to the studio and I felt like I was E.T. - whoa, what`s going on? Hair and make-up? I hadn`t looked at myself in a mirror for a month and a half. I`d been in my house, in a cocoon," she explained. "Usually, as I walk through the door into that atmosphere, I already feel different. There`s a button that goes On. And when I go On, there is almost no me; there is just a character who is doing all this.
"This time it wasn`t like that. I`ve been really inside with my husband and my baby, and everything is changed. But the client still deserves respect and professionalism, and I got a little bit concerned because I wasn`t feeling it. Make-up was done, hair was done, and I looked in the mirror and I still wasn`t seeing the person who`s a model."