Why Adriana Lima Is the Greatest Angel of All Time
By: Beverly Abellanosa
One doesn’t have to be a fashion enthusiast to know who Adriana Lima is. The Brazilian model has acted as a merger between the seemingly different worlds of the general public and the high fashion elite since her emergence onto the world stage. She has been one of the leading faces of Victoria’s Secret since her breakout in the 1999 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, causing her to be one of the most recognized models ever.
Through all the changes the company has undergone over the years, avid customers could always rely on Adriana Lima to be the one constant. However, fashion lovers everywhere experienced a moment of heartbreak when the bombshell announced that she would be hanging up her wings after this year’s Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Not only does this symbolize an end to Lima’s career on the VSFS runway but to the end of an era as well
Adriana Lima’s unique beauty is attributed to her Pardo Brazilian, Swiss, Japanese, and West Indian ancestry. She was born on June 12, 1981, to her parents Nelson Torres and Maria das Graç as Lima in Salvador, Brazil. Her mother was a social worker who raised Lima alone after her father left the family when she was six years old.
Initially, the future Victoria’s Secret Angel never planned to be a model despite having won various beauty pageants in elementary school. However, when she was fifteen years old, a friend from school wanted to enter a modeling contest but did not want to enter alone, so Lima entered the contest as well. After sending in pictures, the contest’s sponsor requested her to participate in the competition, leading her to finish first place in Ford’s “Supermodel of Brazil” model search and subsequently finish second place in the 1996 “Ford Models Supermodel of the World” contest. This moment would serve as the catalyst for her groundbreaking career.
Shortly after placing second in the Ford Models Supermodel of the World contest, Lima moved to New York City and signed with Elite Model Management. It was only a matter of time before her portfolio expanded exponentially after appearing on a plethora of international editions of Vogue and Marie Claire.
After only two years, Lima landed her first magazine cover for Marie Claire Brazil’s September 1998 Issue and
her first Vogue cover of many on the 20th Anniversary September 2000 Issue of Italian Vogue.
Nevertheless, what makes Adriana Lima one of the greatest models of all time is her versatility. Not only does she have the talent for editorials, but runways as well. As a runway model, Lima has walked for renowned brands such as Fendi, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Versace, Miu Miu, Givenchy, Balmain, Alexander McQueen, Christian Dior, John Galliano, Vera Wang, Valentino, and countless others.
Lima’s meteoric rise to fame began when she first walked for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in 1999 at the age of 18 and was later contracted as an angel in 2000. Since then, she has walked in every show (except the 2009 show which she missed due to her pregnancy) and has opened the show a record-breaking five times, the fifth time being the most remarkable as she opened the show two months after giving birth to her second child.
In 2008, her solo Super Bowl commercial for Victoria’s Secret garnered 103.7 million viewers, making it the most-watched commercial of the game. Later in the year, Lima wore the “Fantasy Bra” for her eighth appearance on the Victoria’s Secret runway. The bra was created by American jewelry designer Martin Katz and valued at over $5 million USD. She would later go on to wear the Fantasy Bra two more times in 2010 and 2014 each being valued at $2 million USD. In 2017, Lima was declared “the most valuable Victoria’s Secret Angel” according to D’Marie, an analytics company that conducted research that factored in social media likes, followers, sales conversions, and engagement.
Over the span of her astonishing career, Adriana Lima has continued to break record after record. She has ranked at the top of the Forbes Highest Paid Models list for the past thirteen years. Her marketing allure has also caused her magazine covers to sell out at record numbers and attract an unprecedented amount of traffic on company websites.
Lima’s April 2006 cover for GQ was the highest-selling magazine issue of the year as well as one of the all-time best selling issues for the publication. Her next cover for GQ in 2008 would attract an unparalleled amount of visits to the GQ website. Furthermore, she has received a multitude of endorsements with companies such as Donna Karan, Mavi Jeans, Desigual, Maybelline, Marc Jacobs as well as commercial endorsements with Doritos and Telecom Italia Mobile. With a net worth valued at $75 million and a seasoned career, Adriana Lima has cemented herself in fashion history as one of the greatest models in the world and the greatest angel of all time.