Gisele Bündchen has had every model’s dream career, but it wasn’t always an easy road. In an interview for British Vogue’s “Life in Looks,” she reflected on Alexander McQueen’s spring 1998 catwalk, where she walked the runway twice with her breasts exposed. “This was one of the most traumatizing moments,” she said as she looked at the photo of herself in a revealing silver top.
Bündchen shared some insight into how hard she hustled at the start of her career, “I mean I didn’t know English, it was my first show season in London. I did 42 castings,” she explained. “I remember going to all these castings and nobody would even look at my book because it was the heroin chic time and I didn’t look like nothing like the heroin chic, obviously as you can see in this photo,” she quipped. “But when I went to the casting for Alexander McQueen, there was a like a thousand girls around the block. It was the craziest thing. And he was just sitting on this couch and he would go and say, ‘walk’ and he would put you in these impossible shoes,” she recalled.
Once she booked the job, there was no fitting, so she had no idea what she was going to wear. “I didn’t have a fitting, so when I showed up at the show, I was like, ‘What am I wearing?‘” She said, explaining she knew a few words in English and would pretend to understand the rest. “I was like, ‘Is it a T-shirt or something?’ No, it was this. So I started crying. But I had these like feathers attached to my eyelashes so as I was crying they were undoing. The makeup artist was like, ‘please don’t cry,’” she continued.
When she walked down the runway, holding back tears, she thought of her father. “I was walking the whole time thinking, ‘I hope my dad never sees this picture,’” she told British Vogue. “But that’s why I have the memory of this show. All I wanted to do was leave but, you know, it’s one of those things that makes you stronger.”
As noted by Page Six, Bündchen also appeared topless with her torso painted white on the same runway. She wrote about the experience in her 2018 memoir, “Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life.”
“I had no idea what to do,” she wrote. “I thought about leaving, about running away. There was no way in the world I was going out there without a top,” Bündchen continued.
Once Bündchen established herself as a model and found her voice, she rocked the runway on her terms. While reflecting on her final Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in 2006, she explained, “I always made sure that my back was covered, because it just made me uncomfortable walking on a runway with my butt hanging out. Looking from down up, I was like, ‘that’s not going to happen.’”