In early 2007, when she was asked about women and eating disorders, Gisele said, "I never suffered from this problem because I had a very strong family base. Parents are responsible, not the fashion industry.' A s---storm ensued, with media across the globe condemning her for the icy hauteur of her remarks. "Excuse me," she'd said, "there are people born with the right genes for this profession."
Do you stand by those comments today?
If they have a problem, they have to talk to my parents. Because they're the ones who made me. Look, I've never met anyone who has it.
Really? In ten years in your industry, you've never crossed paths with anyone who—
Not that I've seen. I don't think it's something that people go around talking about. I do think what saved me is that I've been very athletic since I was very young. I think your body has muscle memory.
(In their willful obliviousness, her remarks remind me acutely of something, and after a minute I've got it: Talking with Gisele Bündchen about eating disorders is like talking with a pro athlete about steroids.)
This might sound like a bizarre question, but it seems to me that your photos express something very different from the photos of, say, Kate Moss. They're not very self-revealing. If they express any longing or need, it's for luxury goods.
[laughs] Because that's what they're selling!
I wondered if something deeper might be going on, though. Why do you never look vulnerable in photos? Do you consciously avoid this?
I think I am actually so much more that.
I am so that.
So vulnerable, you mean?
But I just don't show that. When you are out there with the wolves, you gotta play with the wolves, you know? In the beginning, maybe I was a lot more like that, but I learned pretty quickly. I burned myself.
How did you burn yourself?
I'm not gonna—I think it's very personal, but I went through things in my life. I choose not to show that side, because how many people would try to take advantage of you if they think you're vulnerable?
Can you remember the last time someone took advantage of you?
Look, I know who I am, and I know where I come from. I think there is danger obviously when you're really young and they make you all glamorous and you start thinking you are that. I have been here for a while, and I do see girls.… You're playing a role. The important thing for me that helped save me is that I never believed… This is exactly how I would describe my work: I get there, I put on the clothes, I leave it on the hanger, and I go home. And that's what I do.
The July issue of GQ goes on sale on June 24, 2008.