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:
But Gisele was not without her supporters:
And many other were moved by some of the other revelations in the book, such as her struggles with with mental health issues:
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!