She's the highest-paid model in the world [Forbes estimates her income at about $25 million], the wife of a famous NFL quarterback, a stepmom to his son, John [with actress Bridget Moynahan], and a new mother to son Benjamin.
This photo just made me realize how much they look alike
Like a lot of teenage girls, I grew up admiring Gisele. For me, it wasn't the unhealthy-body-image-supermodel-worship thing, though. I have always respected her because she is intelligent, confident, and completely unlike most celebrities. I had every reason to hate her, too, because for years she dated my adolescent love interest, Leonardo DiCaprio.
|Photo via MTV|
Despite all of her fame and success as an internationally-desired supermodel, she manages to come across [to me] as a genuine person. Maybe part of it was her less-than-glamorous upbringing: She grew up in Brazil with her parents and 5 sisters. She grew up speaking Portuguese and German and now knows Spanish and English as well [I'm not sure if there are even more languages but that's impressive!]. While she had taken a modeling class at her mother and sister's insistence, she was first discovered while eating at a McDonald's.
Gisele has made controversial comments when discussing natural birth, breastfeeding, [unnatural] sunscreen, her stepson, and I'm sure other things. Sometimes I wonder if it's because people don't like her so they want to find something wrong with what she says. I can't really have an opinion about it, though, because I have similar views.
I'd like to cut in and mention Benjamin's name while I'm thinking of it. Gisele said she wanted to name her son River but Tom Brady didn't go for it. Instead, they settled on the first name Benjamin and his middle name, Rein, is the first part of Gisele's father's name [Reinaldo] and has the water connection she wanted. I don't think I'd let S veto my favorite name unless he just absolutely hated it but whatever. Benjamin and John go together anyway.
Wearing Benjamin in the Ergo
Anyway, I do respect that she continues to speak out about things she believes in despite criticism. She is one of the few celebrities who has had a home birth [or natural birth in general, as far as I know] and I think it's good to put that out there so that women realize it is an option. I personally had a natural birth in a hospital and was amazed at how many people told me I wouldn't be able to do it that way, that I was being ridiculous, or were just shocked that anyone would ever even choose to do so. The more women realize that birth is not the way they portray it in movies and television, the better. It may not be for everyone, but no one should be discouraged from having the birth she wants.
People seemed genuinely outraged at Gisele's insistence that her birth at home in her bathtub was free of pain. I'm sure it's difficult for people to believe [and I did have some pain but it definitely is NOT as bad as I had always heard] but I have read a lot of similar birth stories. I have also seen videos of women who gave birth without making a sound so I certainly believe that it happens. One thing that does upset me is that celebrities who have natural births never seem to get the press that others do. Before Gisele, I thought it was because they normally weren't well-known so nobody cared but now it seems like people just want to ignore it.
As far as her opinion that every mother should breastfeed [if she's able, obviously, which nearly all women are], I can't say I disagree. Clearly in our society, women have a lot of pressure on them in other areas of their lives so it doesn't always work out but I think that even if you're able to nurse for a few weeks or months, that's just such a great advantage to give to your child. I think doctors are not as supportive of breastfeeding and of mothers in general that women often give up before they would with support. I also don't think that OBs should give advice about it when it's not their area of expertise. I tend to over-research everything but not everyone does or has the time and the last thing we need are doctors discouraging what we feel is right for our children.
I haven't seen many photos of Gisele or Benjamin since he was born so she must be taking a lot of time off from work to spend with him. I hope that women will be encouraged and inspired by her. It's never a bad thing to be informed and think about why we do things before making decisions. We don't all have to make the same ones but it's good to start out with everything on the table. This is already way more information than I planned to write so I will just leave this link to a Vogue interview Gisele did last year. I recommend it to anyone who is a fan of hers. Oh and by the way, her name is pronounced like Gis-ellie, not Gis-elle. I don't have a good Portuguese accent so it's probably not exact but that's the way I've heard her say it is supposed to be pronounced.