The Stunning Transformation Of Adriana Lima

Unlike many models, Adriana Lima was not scouted at a fast food restaurant or at a local mall. The beauty actually got her start in the modeling world after she entered a modeling competition and won. And it wasn't long until Lima took the fashion industry by storm. The once-shy young woman soon became one of the most sought after and highest-paid supermodels in the world.

But Adriana Lima is not just a beauty. Besides being able to speak Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, and English (via Vogue Italia), she's a hands-on mom to daughters Valentina and Sienna. While the always-humble Lima rose to fame as a stunning Victoria's Secret Angel, it can be argued that she's best known for never being afraid to share her values while encouraging others to do the same. Here's the bold and stunning transformation of Adriana Lima, who went from being a child in Brazil to a world-renowned supermodel.

Adriana Lima grew up in Brazil

Adriana Lima was born in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, as she shared in a 2010 video with Victoria's Secret. Notably, Lima was always very close to her grandmother, Julia, whom she's frequently referred to as her "soulmate." In an Instagram post on her grandmother's 98th birthday in 2017, Lima gushed, "My love, my life, my heart, my soulmate. The most inspirational woman in my world, the one that [taught] me to be honest, positive, always forgive and smile always."

While Adriana Lima was presumably always beautiful, she wasn't always so into modeling. She told E! News during her first Victoria's Secret shoot at 18 that she used to be "really scared of ... cameras." Speaking with Victoria's Secret, she shared, "I was a very shy kid," noting, "I always wanted to do everything that the boys [were] doing. Playing football, climbing on trees, playing with cars."

Adriana Lima wanted to pursue this career path as a kid

Adriana Lima always had the modeling trifecta — good looks, the right height, and the perfect build — yet a career in modeling wasn't always her plan. Rather, she had her sights set on becoming a pediatrician. Describing herself as quite the bookworm in her younger years, she told Victoria's Secret in a 2010 video, "I was literally all day into the books — studying, studying, studying non-stop," adding, "I thought I was going to be a pediatrician, and that's what I wanted. I wanted to be a doctor."

And despite wanting to work in medicine with kids, Lima wasn't always a fan of them. When asked if she liked children by GQ in 2006, after dishing on her medical career pursuits, she said she only liked those that were well-behaved. "Not really. Depends. If they act well behaved, yes," she explained. "When they start screaming, I don't like them." But things appeared to have changed later. Speaking to Ocean Drive in 2017, she stated, "I love children. Spending time with them makes me happy."

How Adriana Lima was discovered

Modeling came to Adriana Lima as a surprise. When she was a teen — 15 years old, according to Vogue Arabia — she submitted a photo of herself for a modeling contest solely to support her friend who didn't want to enter alone, as reported by The Sun. Speaking with E! News, she revealed that her friends had encouraged her to become a model since she was "so thin," "beautiful," and "tall." So, she did. Her newfound drive saw her go on to enter the Ford Models Supermodel of Brazil competition, where she placed first. Lima went on to place second in Ford Models Supermodel of the World contest, according to Vogue Arabia.

From that moment forward, it was only up for Lima. She was signed to Elite Model Management and made the brave move to New York City. And more was to come for the then-future supermodel!

Adriana Lima's modeling career started taking off

Unlike many aspiring models, Adriana Lima experienced a fast-moving career very quickly. Her first cover was for an international September issue of Marie Claire in 1998, according to Insider. Two years later, she was on the Vogue Italia September cover for their 20th anniversary issue. The following month, she graced the cover of Vogue Brazil. One of Lima's first notable fashion collaborations was in 2000, when she was named one of the official GUESS? girls. 

And while Lima's career was booming, she was still that young shy girl who was lacking in self-confidence and was facing rejection. "I can't say that when I was younger I was totally confident," she told Byrdie in 2019. "The industry is hard, and when you're an unknown model, you could either get great jobs or be rejected. Rejection is never easy, but you have to have grit in order to keep going and hold your head high."

Adriana Lima started working for Victoria's Secret

Victoria's Secret came knocking on Adriana Lima's door in 1999. "It was a cotton commercial. It was so cold. We were outside, shooting in this Long Island mansion," she said while reminiscing with Victoria's Secret years later.

And the Brazilian beauty must have made a good impression, as she was cast in the company's 1999 Fashion Show, as noted by Byrdie. An executive for Victoria's Secret's parent company, L Brands, Ed Razek labeled Lima a model to watch. "She said that, for her, it was her first day as a woman," he told E! News shortly after the show, adding, "She's just gotten to be a very hot model in a very short amount of time." Lima herself was in awe at getting to work with the company, telling the publication that it's a "dream" for many girls to work with the brand and she found it hard to believe that they had called her. 

The following year, Lima was named one of the coveted Angels, according to Insider.

Adriana Lima got engaged to this rockstar

While Adriana Lima's professional life continued to boom, so did her personal life. She started dating rocker Lenny Kravitz in 2001, as noted by PopSugar. Lima and Kravitz kept much of their romance under wraps and out of the spotlight, though the model made an appearance in the musician's music video for "Yesterday Is Gone (My Dear Kay)." The pair got engaged in 2002.

But unfortunately, their love came to an end. Kravitz later revealed he was suffering from depression during the time that their relationship broke down. In 2004, he told Rolling Stone that he would "lock himself in his hotel room all day and dwell on his flaws" while on tour. He added, "I was engaged to this girl [Adriana], it didn't work out — this was all the same time."

Notably, Kravitz's daughter, actress Zoë Kravitz, is only seven years younger than the model. She recalled the time her dad dated Lima to Elle in 2018, saying, "I was short and brown, surrounded by tall girls with boobs and blonde hair." She added, "And my dad was dating supermodels, so I was waking up to Adriana Lima."

In 2006, Adriana Lima revealed her thoughts on sex to the world

The year 2006 saw fans across the world shocked to learn one of the world's sexiest models had remained abstinent throughout her engagement to rockstar Lenny Kravitz.

In an interview with GQ, Adriana Lima, a devout Catholic, confessed that she was saving herself until marriage. "Sex is just for after marriage," she said. To the shock of the reporter, she continued to clarify that she'd not yet had sex. Lima was then pressed on how men responded to her request to wait. "I don't care. They have to respect that this is my choice. If there's no respect, that means they don't want me," she said. 

In 2013, Lima was pressed by HuffPost about her celibacy and being called "The World's Most Voluptuous Virgin" by GQ. After making it clear that she was uncomfortable with the line of questioning, she said, "You have to stick up for your beliefs. It's about what makes you comfortable."

Adriana Lima got engaged again

Following her breakups from Lenny Kravitz and Prince Wenzeslaus of Liechtenstein (via Page Six), Adriana Lima found love with NBA star Marko Jaric, and the Minnesota Timberwolves player proposed to the Victoria's Secret Angel after about nine months of dating. "He asked and she said yes. They are both incredibly happy and couldn't be more in love," the basketball player's publicist told People at the time. The proposal took place on Lima's 27 birthday in 2008.

The happy couple, who met through a mutual friend in Los Angeles, went on to marry on Valentine's Day in 2009, as reported by The Cut.

In 2013, Lima gushed about her husband, saying she was most attracted to his brains and humor. "He's smart, and he makes me laugh. He's very funny, and he's very athletic," she told HuffPost. In 2009, the pair welcomed their first daughter, Valentina. In 2012, Lima gave birth to daughter Sienna.

In 2011, Adriana Lima received backlash after revealing this about her diet

In 2011, Adriana Lima caused much backlash after The Telegraph reported that she didn't eat any solid foods starting nine days before the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. The publication noted she only had protein shakes — "no solids" — and, two days prior, she would stop her daily gallon of water and "just drink normally." Then she would "stop drinking entirely" 12 hours before. Lima was quoted as saying, "No liquids at all so you dry out, sometimes you can lose up to eight pounds just from that."

However, Lima later clarified that she didn't follow the diet yearround. She told E! News at the time that it was something she only did for the Victoria's Secret show, saying, "I know it's very intense but... I just have an athlete's mind and I appreciate doing this thing."

The year 2012 saw her personal trainer share her diet ahead of the show. Trainer Michael Olajide, Jr. told Shape she ate "really plain with no sauces" with portion control as a major component. Her diet consisted of steamed meats and vegetables. 

In 2012, Adriana Lima walked the runway just eight weeks after giving birth

In 2012, Adriana Lima had everybody talking. The Angel opened the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show less than eight weeks after giving birth to her second daughter, Sienna.

To get in shape, Lima worked closely with her trainer, Michael Olajide, Jr. "Her work ethic is out of control! When she gets in her mind she wants to get something done, she does it," he told Shape. Olajide added that she endured 14 sessions a week for her results. "We only had five weeks to do it, so we were working out twice a day, seven days a week, for two to three hours per session." The workouts would reportedly start at 9 a.m. and finish around midday. Lima then returned to the gym around 5:30 p.m. for a few more hours. 

Clearly, Adriana Lima isn't afraid of hard work!

Adriana Lima and Marko Jaric filed for divorce

Unfortunately, love didn't last for Adriana Lima and her basketball beau, Marko Jaric, with the pair announcing their separation in May 2014, after five years of marriage.

"After long and careful consideration, we have decided to separate after five years of marriage," the two said in a statement to Us Weekly. "We are grateful to be the parents of two incredible young daughters that we will continue to co-parent. We would greatly appreciate your respect for our family's privacy as we begin this delicate next chapter for all members of our family." Their divorce was finalized in March 2016. 

Notably, Lima had previously dished on her love to Jaric, confessing it wasn't love at first sight but a work in progress. "It takes time for you to know ... it's not like ... you meet a person and click and there it is, you fall in love," she told HuffPost. "You have to meet the person and step by step you start to know their [goods] and their bads."

Adriana Lima was named the Most Valuable Angel

Adriana Lima was named the "Most Valuable Angel" in 2017. According to InStyle, analytics company D'Marie had looked into factors such as social media likes, followers, sale conversions, and engagement to come up with their results. At that time, the model was one of the longest-running Victoria's Secret Angels walking the show along with Alessandra Ambrosio. The other top five most valuable angels included Alessandra, Taylor Hill, Josephine Skriver, and Lily Aldridge.

By 2017, Lima was at the pinnacle of her career in terms of earning, as noted by Forbeslist of the highest-paid models, having snagged runway and campaign gigs. She took home $10.5 million in 2017, landing in the fourth spot behind Chrissy Teigen, Gisele Bündchen, and Kendall Jenner.

Curious as to how much she's worth? Lima is estimated to have a net worth of $95 million, as of this writing, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

Adriana Lima hung up her wings after 19 years

After walking in the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show every year since 1999 (except for 2009 when she was pregnant with her first child, according to Byrdie), Adriana Lima strutted down the runway for the final time in 2018, when she was 37 years old, as reported by Vogue. As of this writing, Lima continues to hold the crown of the longest-running Victoria's Secret Angel, according to Forbes.

She had previously hinted at a possible retirement in December 2017, when she vowed on social media to "not take [off] my clothes anymore for [an] empty cause." In a post, the model shared, "I am tired of the impositions, we 'as woman' can't be continuing living in a world with such superficial values." She called it unfair, adding, "It's physically and mentally not healthy what society is imposing 'us' to be, to behave, to look."

Adriana Lima doesn't just model clothes... she also helps design them

Adriana Lima loves fashion, but she hasn't limited herself to sporting clothes other people designed. She's also branched out to creating her own clothing. In 2019, she launched an activewear line in collaboration with PUMA. She told Hollywood Life that it was her goal with the line to make activewear that was gorgeous while also functional. "I need to feel sexy in it," she said.

In 2020, Lima came out with a sunglasses line with Privé Revaux and announced that she had big plans for other lines that branch out beyond clothing and accessories. In an interview with Women's Wear Daily (via Fashion), Lima revealed that she also had plans to launch a lingerie line, a skincare line, and perhaps eventually "apparel and shoes or jewelry."

Branching out is about more than just exploring a love for design. As Lima explained to Refinery29, she wants to be seen as more than "just a pretty face." Instead, she wants to be remembered for her work ethic and her kindness, as well as for being "a good businesswoman."

Adriana Lima has zero plans to retire from modeling

While Adriana Lima may have retired from Victoria's Secret, she has no plans of retiring from modeling any time soon. In a 2019 interview with Entertainment Tonight after she was awarded the Fashion Icon of the Year Award at the Daily Front Row Fashion LA Awards, Lima marveled at her decades-long career. "I never thought that I would be standing here today," she said. While she admitted to being surprised at how long and successful her career has been, she said that she has no intent of ending it. "It isn't over yet," she said.

Since hanging up her wings, Lima has modeled for a number of brands and publications, including BCBGMAXAZRIA, Vogue Arabia, and Vogue Spain. As noted by People, she also starred in a 2019 commercial for Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.

One of the major reasons Lima wants to continue modeling is "to show the world that a powerful woman can be beautiful as a mature woman and as a mom," as she told The Daily Front Row. Women are beautiful at any age, and Lima knows it. "Age is not important," she said. "It's all about how you carry yourself."