Adriana Lima was born in Salvador, Brazil on June 12, 1981 of French, Brazilian and Portuguese heritage, where she was known by the affectionate nickname of “Lima Bean”. Her early life was anything but glamorous - her modeling career had its modest beginnings when she was discovered at a local shopping mall at the age of thirteen.
A couple of years later she had her first major success by winning a national model search competition, sponsored by Ford cars. She quickly followed that by finishing in second place in the 1996 Ford World Supermodel contest.
Shortly after winning that competition, she moved to New York and signed on with the Elite Model Management Company. Here she worked alongside some of the world’s top photographers and also starred in a successful campaign for the fashion label Anna Molinari.
Her first major break certainly got her noticed – she appeared on a huge billboard advertising underwear in New York’s Times Square. Soon after this, she was chosen as one of the spokesmodels for Guess Jeans; and later for Armani.
Like many other models and celebrities, despite her busy and successful modeling career, Adriana finds time to contribute to charity and help those less fortunate. She has contributed her time and money to the building of an orphanage in her home town and also buys much needed clothing for the children.
In her spare time, she keeps fit by practicing a Brazilian martial art combining music, dance and fighting known as Capoeira. Aside from modeling and acting, she is also fluent in three languages – English, Portuguese and Spanish - and she also enjoys the traveling that has become an essential part of her career.
In the last few years Adriana has appeared in several small roles on film and TV. In 2001, she starred in the short film “The Hire” along with Mickey Rourke and Clive Owen. She has also appeared on various TV channels such as E! Entertainment and the Travel Channel.
But it’s for her work in for the lingerie company, Victoria’s Secret that Adriana has become noticed in the last few years, being considered one of their “perfect 10” models. She has appeared in several of the popular Victoria’s Secret TV specials – and had the distinction of being the show’s opening model in 2003. And she has also portrayed an angel in the same company’s extremely successful series of TV advertisements.
But perhaps one of the most intriguing aspects of this versatile model is her rather unusual views on sex before marriage. Despite being previously engaged to rock star Lenny Kravitz, Adriana has publicly stated that she intends to remain a virgin until she is married.
And she may have to disappoint many of her male admirers – according to recent reports, she has met someone and is ready to settle down.