News that Gisele Bundchen - or at least her twin sister and manager, Patricia - has insisted that Pantene pay the model in euros not dollars to represent the brand was duly plastered all over the press last week, not least because it provided picture editors (mostly male) with the opportunity to break up any hard news with this utterly gorgeous woman's image once again. And who can blame them?
Of course, the press, and the British press in particular, wouldn't be living up to its proudly Protestant reputation were it not to relate this story with just the hint of a sneer."When you're only earning $30m a year, every cent counts,"read one report. Opined another, upon hearing that Ms Bundchen was unavailable for comment,"Perhaps she was too busy reading the Financial Times."Well, perhaps she was. Stranger things have happened than a model picking up a newspaper, surely.
The Brazilian-born Bundchen was discovered in her home country in 1994 at 14. But it wasn't until around five years later that she became widely known outside fashion circles. Hailed as heading up a new wave of model that took its lead from the original supers - Linda, Christy, Cindy et al - Bundchen was conventionally glamorous, as opposed to girl-next-door approachable. While there are those who might identify with the good looks of Kate Moss, so the argument goes, and perhaps even attempt to emulate them, Bundchen's beauty is less easy to live up to. Her body, meanwhile, is spectacular to the point where the mere sight of it is enough to make we lesser mortals give up entirely: may as well make straight for the chip shop, pile on the pounds and leave it to those whose appearance is blessed above and beyond the strictly necessary to stalk the runways instead.
Over the past decade, Gisele, as she is now always known (this has long been a sign of fashion greatness, incidentally - think Manolo, think Yohji), has graced the covers of every magazine from Time and Forbes to Vogue and i-D. She has worked for Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Dolce&Gabbana... the list goes on.
She is the most highly paid model in the world and, as someone who has experienced her might at close hand, it is safe to say that - well, that she's worth it, to quote Pantene's rival in the hair-care product market, L'Oreal. In a world that continues to pride itself on celebrity culture (Sienna Miller on the cover of December's Vogue for the third time, anyone?), the sheer hauteur of Gisele Bundchen is truly a sight for sore eyes.