Adriana Francesca Lima is a Brazilian model known for her work with Victoria’s Secret and Maybelline cosmetics. Lima was discovered at age 13, and entered and finished first in Brazil’s Ford Supermodel of the World competition at 15, finishing second the following year before signing with Elite Model Management in New York City.

Early Life and Family
Lima is of African, Native South American and Swiss descent. She was born in the northeastern coastal town of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil on June 12, 1981. Her father, from whom she was estranged for most of her life, is Nelson Torres. Her mother, Maria da Graça Lima, was a social worker who gave birth to Lima at the age of 18. Lima revealed that her father walked out on her family when she was six months old, but has been making recent attempts to reconcile. In late 2007, Lima revealed on the Hollywood Walk of Fame that although she is her mother’s only child, she has two half brothers, aged 7 and 11, from her father’s second marriage. Coming from a poor family, her first time leaving her country and first time on a plane was when she was 15. She was raised mainly by her mother and grandmother.

Modeling Career
Lima never thought about being a model. However, she had a friend at school who wanted to enter a modeling contest and didn’t want to enter alone, so Lima entered with her. Both sent in pictures, and the contest sponsor soon asked Lima to come out for the competition. Soon after, at the age of 15, she entered and finished in first place in Brazil’s Ford Supermodel of the World Search. She subsequently entered the 1996 Ford Supermodel of the World contest and finished in second place. Three years later, Lima moved to New York City and signed with Elite Model Management. After acquiring representation, Lima’s modeling portfolio began to expand by leaps and bounds, and she appeared in numerous international editions of Vogue and Marie Claire. As for fashion shows, she has walked the catwalks for big-name designers such as Vera Wang, Christian Lacroix, Emanuel Ungaro, Giorgio Armani, Fendi, Ralph Lauren and Valentino, among others. Lima then became a GUESS? girl appearing on GUESS?’ Fall 2000 ad campaign. She also appeared in the book A second decade of Guess? Images.

Lima continued to build upon her portfolio, doing more print work for Maybelline, as well as bebe, Mossimo, Armani, Bulgari, De Beers, FCUK, Intimissimi, Keds, Swatch, Versace, and BCBG. She also appeared on the covers and in the editorials of other fashion magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar, ELLE, Vogue, GQ, Marie Claire, Arena, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, and many more. Her April 2006 GQ cover was the highest-selling issue that magazine for the year. She also appeared in the 2005 Pirelli Calendar and became the face of Italy’s cell phone carrier, Telecom Italia Mobile, a move that earned her the nickname, “the Catherine Zeta-Jones of Italy.”

In February 2008 she was featured on the cover of Esquire magazine, re-creating the classic 1966 Angie Dickinson cover on Esquire’s 75th anniversary along with fellow Victoria’s Secret Angels Karolina Kurkova, Izabel Goulart and Selita Ebanks. featured her at No.3 on the list of the hottest models today. She graced the cover of GQ Magazine April 2008 issue (which brought a record number of web hits for GQ online[citation needed]) and appeared only in shoes, diamonds and gloves for the November 2007 issue of Vanity Fair celebrating 20 years of supermodels with her fellow Angels. Lima was chosen to be a part of People magazine’s 100 most beautiful people in the world, sharing that space with her fellow Angels, with whom she also received a star on the Hollywood “Walk of Fame” prior to the 2007 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. In February 2008 she was chosen to be the face of Mexico’s Liverpool department store chain and launched the partnership with a press conference, runway show, and summer campaign.

Victoria’s Secret
Lima is probably best known for her work with Victoria’s Secret, beginning in 1998. Her first fashion show for the company came a year later, and since being contracted as an Angel in 2000, she has appeared on subsequent shows ever since, with her most notable walk in 2003 as the show opener. Lima has appeared on several television ads for the brand, including the praised and criticized “Angel in Venice” commercial of 2003 with Bob Dylan and her solo Victoria’s Secret’s Super Bowl XLII ad, the single most-seen ad of the game, watched by 103.8 million viewers. 2008 continued for Lima with hosting the “What Is Sexy?” program for the channel E! and a July tour for the BioFit Uplift Bra launch, with stops in Long Island, Boston, and Miami Beach. She will also be the face of the famous Miracle Bra scheduled to launch in November. To top the year off, Lima will wear the “Fantasy Bra” for the 2008 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, In early 2008 Lima renewed her contract with Victoria’s Secret, along with Maybelline for 5 more years.

Lima has always had an interest in acting, but knows she has to study quite a bit before booking any major spots. She plans to take lessons and act full time after her modeling contracts are up, several years from now.

Her first acting role was the wife, alongside Mickey Rourke, Forest Whitaker in The Follow, one of BMW’s short films series titled The Hire, starring Clive Owen. Lima then appeared with her fellow angels in a guest spot playing herself in the series How I Met Your Mother in November of 2007.

In 2008, Lima will make her second television acting appearance, appearing on the American television series “Ugly Betty,” where she will play herself and make friends with the series’ title character, played by America Ferrera. According to her publicist, Liza Anderson, “Adriana has always been a huge fan of Ugly Betty and is thrilled for the opportunity to make a guest star appearance.”

Lima is also a spokesperson for cosmetics giant Maybelline New York. She is the world’s fourth highest paid model as of 2007.

Personal Life
Lima is fluent in Portuguese, English, and French, and also speaks a bit of Italian. In her free time, she loves reading novels by her favorite author, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Although she has appeared in a few commercials with cars, she has admitted that she has yet to learn how to drive and receive her driver’s license.

Lima was shy around boys when she was younger, not receiving her first kiss until she was 17 years old. They were watching a movie during the kiss. Afterwards, he went directly to her mother to ask if he could marry her. In an interview with GQ in the April 2006 issue, Lima told the magazine that she is a devoted Catholic who attends church every Sunday and is a virgin. “Sex is for after marriage,” she explained. “They [men] have to respect that this is my choice. If there’s no respect, that means they don’t want me.” US GQ dubbed her as “The World’s Most Voluptuous Virgin.” When she was younger, she studied to become a nun and often takes a Bible backstage to read.

She works out regularly. She jumps rope, does cardio, and has a custom-tailored boxing routine. Although she admits to eating healthfully and in the past being on low carb diets, her weakness is meat. She has been romantically linked to rocker Lenny Kravitz, Jacob Florez, Prince Wenzeslaus of Liechtenstein, and Denny of Timbalada. She is currently engaged to Serbian basketball player Marko Jarić of the NBA Memphis Grizzlies, with the wedding planned for June 2009. Lima plans on having four children some day.

Her inspirations are Bettie Page and Marilyn Monroe. She often gets inspired by Sophia Loren as well. An adorer of classical music, as well as black and white films, she cites Beethoven as her favorite composer and the piano sonata as her favorite sound.

Since her rise to fame, Lima is often cited by popular media as one of the world’s sexiest women. She ranked 7th on FHM 100 Sexiest Women 2007 On June 13, 2007, she was awarded as “Hottest Girl on the Planet” at the first Spike TV Guys’ Choice Awards but the category was not mentioned in the actual show. Lima was also voted on the Maxim Hot 100 2007 as number 53. She was voted as the Most Desirable Woman in 2005 by visitors of the men’s lifestyle website, (she was placed 4th in 2006, also 4th in 2007 and 10th in 2008).