It was the moment that started it all--but it almost didn't happen.
Supermodel Gisele Bündchen has written a new memoir, titled Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life. In it, she discusses the life-changing career opportunity that put her on the path to iconic stardom, one she very nearly walked away from.
It happened in Alexander McQueen's famous "Golden Shower" Spring collection show in 1998, when Bündchen was 18, barely spoke English, and was still very new to the world of modeling. "This was my first big international show, and I had no idea how it worked," she writes in the book.
Gisele was hired to model three looks in the show, the first two of which she walked in "without any problem," although, "it was definitely fewer clothes than I'd ever worn on any runway." But it was the final look that nearly made her run away--literally. "I thought about leaving, about running away," she writes. Why? Because, as she found out just moments before she was due on the runway, she realized the third look required her to go topless. When she was handed a skirt and nothing else, she recalls in the book asking for her top, only to be told, "There is no top."
Detailing how she'd often felt embarrassed by her body, Bündchen was also afraid of her parents' reaction, writing that she was "gripped by the fear that my family would feel so embarrassed they would never speak to me again."
Thankfully, legendary make-up artist Val Garland swooped in to paint her with white makeup that gave the illusion of a top. "If Val hadn't shown up just then, I seriously doubt I could have walked the runway," she writes. The show also included an effect where water poured down onto the runway to mimic rain, which hid Gisele's tears.
On social media, though, people were anything but sympathetic:
@people Forced as in like they held a gun to her head?— Aaron Vannoy (@Aaron Vannoy)1538695313.0
@people Girl please!!— Stephanie (@Stephanie)1538693722.0
@people but then she cashed that check...#RichPeopleProblems— RonnieTheOneandOnly (@RonnieTheOneandOnly)1538690327.0
@nypost So, why do it? Life is full of making choices. You know you made the wrong one when you feel like crying over it.— cathy church (@cathy church)1538757895.0
@nypost Why is she saying this now?— The Rational King (@The Rational King)1538755876.0
@nypost Then why do it...Say NO!!!— Michael J (@Michael J)1538753236.0
But Gisele was not without her supporters:
@nypost Vile responses to this tweet and so many of them by women. Maybe the term "forced" feels far-fetched for yo… https://t.co/4qZU0AGoNq— rhe (@rhe)1538704748.0
@nypost ... it paid off, because she didn't quit...— alexandra (@alexandra)1538700574.0
@nypost Bravo @giseleofficial for always knowing right from wrong. You're beautiful in more ways than just one.— Lesley Zant (@Lesley Zant)1538700444.0
And many other were moved by some of the other revelations in the book, such as her struggles with with mental health issues:
Beautiful model Gisele Bündchen revealed in her new memoir Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life she suffered pani… https://t.co/DPJqOfsShU— Sybil Danning (@Sybil Danning)1538155922.0
Supermodel Gisele Bündchen releases her new book "Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life" on Oct. 2nd. In it, she re… https://t.co/MwXffdeFhb— Kelly Anne Beile🐬 (@Kelly Anne Beile🐬)1538056473.0
Despite her difficult experiences, though, Gisele says it's all been worth it. "Everything I've lived through, I would never change," she told People, "because I think I am who I am because of those experiences."
Hard to argue with that!