The iconic Brazilian supermodel Adriana Lima turns 42 years old in 2023. Lima has enjoyed an unparalleled career in the modeling world, serving as a Victoria‘s Secret Angel for nearly two decades and becoming one of the most recognizable faces in fashion. But how old exactly is Adriana Lima? When did her modeling journey begin?
Let‘s take a closer look at Adriana‘s age and her remarkable life story so far.
Early Life and Childhood in Brazil
Adriana Lima was born on June 12, 1981 in Salvador, Brazil. She grew up in a modest home with her parents and three sisters. Even as a young girl, Lima knew she wanted to be a model one day.
At age 6, she was so fixated on this dream that her friends actually nicknamed her "LimaCat" – a portmanteau of Lima and catwalk. Though economically challenged, her family supported her ambition.
By age 15, the tall, slender teenager decided to enter the 1996 Ford Supermodel of Brazil model search. Though lacking professional training, her natural beauty and grace impressed the judges. Up against over 3,000 hopefuls, Lima ultimately claimed 1st place.
Winning this coveted competition laid the foundations for her meteoric rise. With her confidence boosted, the small-town girl took the leap and moved to New York City at age 16 to pursue her dreams.
The Age When Her Career Took Off – Teen Modeling Success
Shortly after arriving in New York in 1997, Lima signed with Elite Model Management. This marked the start of her whirlwind career.
She immediately landed gigs modeling for big name brands like Anna Molinari, Mossimo, and Vassarette. The following year at age 17, she graced the covers of major international fashion magazines, including Marie Claire and Vogue.
By 18, Lima walked the runway for designers like Emanuel Ungaro and Valentino. At 19, she became a GUESS? girl appearing in the brand‘s international campaigns.
But Lima‘s big break came in 1999 at age 18 when she walked in her first Victoria‘s Secret Fashion Show. The next year, at just 19 years old, she earned her angel wings, cementing her status as a supermodel.
Reaching Supermodel Status – The Victoria‘s Secret Years
Lima attained worldwide recognition during her 18 years as a Victoria‘s Secret Angel from 2000 to 2018. She holds several notable records:
- Appeared in 18 consecutive Victoria‘s Secret Fashion Shows
- Longest running Victoria’s Secret Angel in history
- Wore the coveted Fantasy Bra twice, in 2008 and 2010
- Had exclusive VS contracts preventing her from working for other lingerie brands
She also built a special camaraderie with her “Angel sisters” like Heidi Klum, Tyra Banks, and Gisele Bündchen.
Though she retired from Angel duties in 2018 at age 37, she made a welcome return in 2023 at age 42 to model for the company‘s new Icon collection. This current role shows her lasting power even in her 40s.
Modeling Across Decades – Continued Success in Her 40s
Lima‘s career has spanned generations of fashion. While some models peak early, her popularity remains through her 40s thanks to a diverse portfolio beyond Victoria‘s Secret.
Some highlights include:
- Appeared in ad campaigns for brands like Maybelline, Balmain, Sportmax, and BMW
- Walked the runway for Chanel, Versace, Louis Vuitton, and countless others
- Appeared on 200+ international magazine covers, like Vogue, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, and Esquire
- Served as brand ambassador for Desigual starting in 2022
- Launched brand collaborations with footwear label Schutz and denim brand Joie
This diversity has allowed her to smoothly transition between eras from 90s supermodel to today‘s social media sensation.
In 2022 at age 41, she shared her secret for longevity: “Passion and working hard. No matter at what stage you’re at or how old you are, if you have a dream and passion, just keep going for it.”
Balancing Motherhood with Modeling
Though busy with modeling commitments, Lima has also devoted time to raising three children:
- Daughter Valentina Lima Jarić, born November 2009 when Lima was 28
- Daughter Sienna Lima Jarić, born September 2012 when Lima was 31
- Son Cyan Lima Lemmers, born August 2022 when Lima was 41
She shares Valentina and Sienna with ex-husband Marko Jarić. At 41, she welcomed son Cyan with partner Metin Hara.
Lima has opened up about learning to juggle career ambitions with motherhood over the years. Though challenging, she credits her kids with grounding her.
In 2012 after giving birth to Sienna, she told Vogue: “It‘s been busy but I couldn‘t live without doing all the things I‘m doing. I‘m really enjoying motherhood. When I‘m home, I don‘t do anything else. It‘s all about them."
Giving Back – Philanthropy and Social Causes
When she’s not on photo shoots, Lima dedicates time to philanthropy and social causes. She served as a National Ambassador Against Hunger for the UN‘s World Food Programme starting in 2012.
She partnered with the Chrysler brand to raise over $2 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. She also supports organizations like the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Project Sunshine.
Most recently in 2022, she co-designed a limited-edition handbag to benefit the Woman Cancer Foundation.
Behind the Scenes – Her Personality and Work Ethic
Despite her fame, those who work with Lima describe her as warm, funny, and professional. Photographer Nigel Barker recalled:
“Adriana is one of the sweetest, most gentle, best models I ever worked with. She also lit up the camera like no one I ever photographed. She is the perfect model – an absolutely incredible girl.”
Makeup artist Tom Pecheux added: "She‘s reliable, patient and goes to any length to make sure you have everything you need as an artist.”
This reputation has helped her win over younger generations of fans on social media who are inspired by her strong work ethic.
Adriana Lima – The Inspiration in Her 40s
At 42 in 2023, Adriana Lima has enjoyed one of the longest and most successful modeling careers in history. She plans to continue working, while empowering new models and mothers in the process.
As she recently told People, “You need to embrace growing older because we all want to live our best lives at every age.”
For millions around the world, Adriana will always be remembered for her beauty inside and out. She is a role model who broke barriers and redefined age limits. Her ambition, resilience and commitment to causes beyond herself will continue inspiring for decades to come.