Brazilian-born model Adriana Francesca Lima is perhaps best-known for being one of the most popular and exotic Victoria’s Secret Angels. The blue-eyed, dark-haired beauty was born on June 12th, 1981 in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. At the age of 16, she moved to New York to pursue her modeling career. She has since graced the covers of the biggest fashion magazines in the world, walked on countless high-fashion runways and is near the top of Forbes’ list of highest earning models. She began flaunting her toned body for Victoria’s Secret lingerie in 1999 and became an Angel in 2000. She has opened the show numerous times and has had the honor of wearing the luxurious Fantasy Bra twice. But there’s so much about Adriana Lima that still remains unknown to many. Here are 10 interesting facts you probably didn’t know.
10 She Didn’t Always Want To Become A Model
As a young child, Adriana did not like to be photographed. Though she won a few beauty pageants, she didn’t seriously think of becoming a model. However, when Adriana was 14, a friend had asked her to enter Ford’s “Supermodel of Brazil” competition with her because she was too nervous to enter alone. Lima ended up winning the competition at the age of 15 and also ended up entering the “Supermodel of the World” competition, in which she won second place. This seems to have been the turning point in Adriana’s life and steered her in the direction of modeling as a career. Just three years later, Adriana would pack her bags and head to the city where dreams come true to sign with Elite modeling and eventually launch into supermodel stardom.
9 She Is Multiracial
The unique combination of light eyes, full lips and dark hair give it away; Adriana is definitely of mixed ethnicities. This makes sense as 80 million Brazilians are, in fact, multiracial. This is a result of the Portuguese colonization which began in the 16th century. Prior to this, the population was Amerindian. The Portuguese also brought slaves from West Africa to the country. These populations all intermixed. Adriana’s surname, “Lima”, is Portuguese. At multiple times, she has claimed to be Native-Brazilian, African-Brazilian, Portuguese, French, and of Caribbean heritage. Interestingly, in one Youtube interview, she even said that she was Japanese! Again, this isn’t too hard to believe as Brazil actually has the largest Japanese population outside of Japan itself. So, Adriana can thank her ancestors, her European father and her mother (who is Brazilian mixed with African, European and Amerindian) for those stunning looks.
8 She Was A Virgin Until Marriage and Is Religious
Adriana has been very vocal about her perspective on sex before marriage. In an interview, she stated that sex was for after marriage (for her). So, she claimed she waited until she was married, at the age of 27, before she lost her virginity to her now ex-husband, Marko Jaric. Even Lenny Kravitz, whom she dated, said after their break-up, without mentioning her name specifically, that he hadn’t had sex in three years (the same amount of time he had been with her). So, it seems like Adriana was serious. Adriana is also reportedly very religious and goes to mass every Sunday. She even reads the Bible before her shows. It makes sense, since the majority of Brazil’s population is Roman Catholic. Now it doesn’t seem so hard to believe that she actually wanted to be a nun when she was a child.
7 She Has Been Criticized For Her Diet Regime
We all know that celebrities undergo extreme diet and exercise plans to achieve the body they want before a big show or movie and Adriana is no exception. The supermodel received criticism when she revealed her unconventional diet regime. Nine days before the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, Lima admits that she eliminates solid food from her diet and consumes only liquids. In addition to this, she doubles her workouts. Twelve hours before the show, Adriana doesn’t consume anything at all, not even water. This diet is not recommended as one most likely will not get all the nutrients they need from it.
6 She Holds A Superbowl Record
No, she didn’t play football, but she appeared in some pretty historic commercials. In 2008, Lima’s solo Victoria’s Secret ad became the most viewed ad of the game, with 103.7 million views. In 2012, Adriana Lima became the first celebrity to appear in two Super Bowl commercials during one game. One commercial was for Kia Motors and another was for the floral services company, Teleflora. The ads sure helped business as Kia saw sales for their Kia Optima, which was promoted during the commercial, increase by 138% from February 2012. It seems like anything with Adriana on it increases sales; the April 2006 issue of GQ magazine which featured Lima on the cover became the highest-selling issue of the year.
5 She Is Huge In Italy
If you think that Adriana Lima is only huge in the Americas, you’re mistaken. This supermodel has been featured on the covers of magazines all around the world but notably, she’s a phenomenon in Italy, of all places. In fact, Lima has earned the nickname of ‘the Catherine-Zeta Jones of Italy ‘ when she became the face of Italy's cell phone carrier, Telecom Italia Mobile in 2005. One of Adriana’s magazine goals came true when she landed her first Vogue Italia cover in June of 2014. She was photographed by Steven Meisel and wore athletic gear such as gloves and headwear in the photo.
4 Before Her First Child, She Never Went To The Gym
Some people really are lucky enough to have good genes on their side. Adriana claimed that before the birth of her first child, she had never been to the gym. Now, she stays active by boxing at least twice a week during 90 minute sessions with her personal trainer, Michael Olajide Jr. He says he trains her as he would a real boxer and ends each session with strength training exercises that focus on the entire body. These sessions ensure that Adriana only needs to do 10-minute jumprope sessions daily to stay fit. It’s safe to say that it has definitely paid off.
3 She Dated Her Favourite Singer And A Prince
American rocker Lenny Kravitz was Adriana’s favourite musician for a long time. So, you can only imagine her delight once they started dating in 2001. The story goes that Kravitz fell in love at first sight (which isn’t hard to believe). He tried to make her his wife when he proposed to her in 2002 and the two began living together. She even starred in his music video, “Yesterday is Gone.” However, the romance eventually ended the following year. In an interview after the break-up, Kravitz admitted that he was a born-again virgin. The reason for their break-up? It was reportedly their incompatible schedules that caused the pair to split. Soon after, Lima began dating Prince Wenzeslaus of Lichtenstein. Sadly, there was no fairy tale ending as their relationship lasted just 3 years.
2 She Aspires To Be A Doctor
Adriana has claimed that she got into the modeling industry too young to really know what she wanted to do with her life. As we now know, it was somewhat accidental that she pursued modeling. So what is it that she really wants to do? In 2006, Adriana Lima reportedly stated in an interview that she would like to become a pediatrician. Ironically, she also said that she doesn’t like kids. However, that may have now changed since she became the mother of two lovely daughters, Sienna and Valentina.
1 She Does A Lot Of Charity Work
Not only does this Angel stay true to her title through her beauty, but she does so through her kind heart, as well. Adriana has done a lot of charity work for the orphanage, Caminhos da Luz, located in her hometown of Salvador, Brazil. She buys clothes for the orphans and donates money to help expand the building. Over the past few years, she has also helped to raise funds for St. Luke’s hospital in Haiti, which gives expecting mothers access to medical services. There are also many other charity events that she has taken part in, including those held for Novak Djokovic’s Foundation and Brazil Foundation.