Adriana Lima is a Brazilian supermodel and actress who is best known as a Victoria’s Secret Angel since 2000, and as a spokesmodel for Maybelline cosmetics from 2003 to 2009. At the age of 15, Lima finished first in Ford’s “Supermodel of Brazil” competition, and took second place the following year in the Ford “Supermodel of the World” competition before signing with Elite Model Management in New York City. In 2012, she came in 4th on the Forbes top-earning models list, estimated to have earned $7.3 million in one year. In 2013, she came in 3rd place and in 2014 she came in 2nd place with earnings of $8 million.
Adriana Lima was born on June 12, 1981 in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. Lima is multiracial, of Caribbean, Swiss, Japanese, Portuguese, Native American, and African heritage. Her surname, “Lima”, is of Portuguese origin.
Lima never thought about being a model, although she had won many beauty pageants in elementary school. However, she had a friend at school who wanted to enter a modeling contest and did not want to enter alone, so Lima entered with her. Both sent in pictures, and the contest sponsor soon asked Lima to come out for the competition. Soon after, at the age of 15, she entered and finished in first place in Ford’s “Supermodel of Brazil” model search. She subsequently entered the 1996 Ford “Supermodel of the World” contest and finished in second place. Three years later, Lima moved to New York City and signed with Elite Model Management. After acquiring representation, Lima’s modeling portfolio quickly began to expand, and she appeared in numerous international editions of Vogue and Marie Claire. As a runway model, she has walked the catwalks for designers such as Vera Wang,Giorgio Armani and Valentino, among others. Lima became a GUESS? girl in 2000, appearing in that year’s fall ad campaign. She also appeared in the book A Second Decade of Guess? Images.
Lima continued to build upon her portfolio, doing more print work for Maybelline, for whom she worked as a spokesmodel from 2003 until 2009, the same year she appeared in the company’s first calendar. She did an ad campaign for Swatch Lima has also worked for notable fashion brands bebe, Armani, Versace, BCBG and Louis Vuitton. She also appeared on the covers and in the editorials of other fashion magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar, ELLE, GQ, Arena, Vogue, V, Esquire and French Revue des Modes. Her April 2006GQ cover was the highest-selling issue that magazine for the year. It is also one of the biggest selling issues of the publication ever. The magazine named her “The World’s Most Voluptuous Virgin”.In 2006, Lima ranked as the fifth highest paid supermodel. In 2007 and 2008, she ranked as the world’s fourth highest paid supermodel by Forbes Magazine.
In 2008, she again fronted the cover of GQ, this time, attracting a record number of visits to the publication’s website.She also appeared in the 2005 Pirelli Calendarand became the face of Italy’s cell phone carrier, Telecom Italia Mobile, a move that earned her the nickname, “the Catherine Zeta-Jones of Italy.”
In February 2008, Lima was featured on the cover of Esquire, re-creating the classic 1966 Angie Dickinson cover on Esquire’s 75th anniversary. She appeared only in shoes, diamonds and gloves for the November 2007 issue of Vanity Fair celebrating 20 years of supermodels with her fellow Angels. In February 2008, she was chosen to be the face of Mexico’s Liverpool department store chain and launched the partnership with a press conference, runway show, and summer campaign. Lima returned to the high fashion runway in 2009, walking for Givenchy. That same year, after visiting Turkey, Lima signed a contract with Doritos to appear in print campaigns and commercials which began airing in Turkey that April. She was also one of the faces of Givenchy for the Fall/Winter 2009 season. Lima is one of the two faces of Blumarine‘s Fall/Winter 2011 season.
In 2011, Lima signed a deal as a spokeswoman for Megacity by Votsu, a Brazilian social gaming company, to appear in their commercials. She also became the face of Brazilian luxury brand, Forum for their F/W and S/S seasons. Lima has worked with the most established photographers in fashion such as Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matidin, Vincent Peters, Mario Sorrenti, Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott David Sims and Mario Testino. She became the face of Donna Karan‘s spring 2012 advertising campaign, which was accused of having racist undertones due to a photo featuring Lima posing in front of huddled local Haitians.
In early 2012, Turkish clothing company Mavi Jeans, made a contract with Lima to be the face and spokesmodel for the brand. In the first quarter of 2012, her advertisement campaign increased sales to 50%, the highest increase in products sales. It also provided 20% increase in stores and online traffic. Furthermore, her television commercial which was watched by 28 million people became a trending topic at Twitter and the number of people now on Mavi’s Facebook page have increased by 20%. Store officials at Mavi say the clothing Lima wore in the ad campaigns were met with so much demand that, they ran out of stock. Due to her success rate with the company, the European and Russian branch of Mavi decided to make her the global face of the brand.
Lima was photographed by artist Richard Phillips on the famed Copacabana sidewalk in Brazil for Visionaire no. 62 which was released in mid-2012. Lima is the subject of a painting by Phillips at Gagosian Gallery’s 24th Street Gallery in New York.
In an interview, Phillips talks about Lima: “She’s so powerful,really an entity, in a way”. Then added: “You meet her and there’s a generosity of spirit and very friendly and easy manner, and then all of sudden, the lights go on, and you realize you’re working with this absolutely extraordinary person who’s capable of creating these powerful images.”
She is – for the second time – featured in the Pirelli calendar by setting a record of being the first pregnant woman to be ever featured in the calendar for the 2013 edition.
In 2013, she ranked as the third highest paid supermodel according to Forbes. In 2014, she ranked as the world’s second highest paid supermodel with earnings of $8 million.