Who is Adriana Lima? The supermodel appointed as FIFA's Global Fan Ambassador

Adriana Lima FIFA
GOAL tells you everything you need to know about Adriana Lima, the supermodel brand ambassador of FIFA.

FIFA has recently announced Brazilian supermodel Adriana Lima as the organisation’s first FIFA Global Fan Ambassador.

She is expected to "develop, promote and participate in global initiatives involving fans from all over the world" before the FIFA Women's World Cup, which starts on July 20 in Australia and New Zealand.

Lima was even present at The Best FIFA Football Awards held in Paris on February 27, where she presented the FIFA Fan Award.

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GOAL tells you everything you need to know about the 41-year-old supermodel.

Who is Adriana Lima & why is she famous?

Date of Birth:June 12, 1981
Place of Birth:Salvador, Bahia, Brazil.
Occupation: Model
Spouse:Marko Janic (m 2009; div 2016)

Lima was born in Salvador, Brazil, in a humble background to parents Nelson Torres, a carpenter, and Maria das Gracas, a social worker.

However, she had an unfortunate childhood with her father leaving the family when she was just six months old, leaving her to be raised by her mother. She wanted to be a paediatrician if she hadn't chosen modelling for her career.

In fact, Lima becoming a model was quite fortuitous. A friend of hers did not want to participate alone in a modelling contest and she tagged along. At 15, she was already grabbing eyeballs as she finished first in Ford's 'Supermodel of Brazil' model search and stood second in the Ford 'Supermodel of the World' competition a year later.

In 1997, Lima made her runway debut at Anna Sui's New York Fashion Week, which was a turning point in her career. From 1999-2018 she was a Victoria's Secret Angel and was even named "the most valuable Victoria's Secret Angel" in 2017. After 18 catwalks she finally left the brand in November 2018.

Apart from modelling, she has tried her hands at acting as well. She made her acting debut alongside Mickey Rourke and Forest Whitaker, in The Follow (2001), and made a cameo appearance in the Hollywood blockbuster Ocean's 8.

Lima also appeared in Super Bowl advertisements and her 2008 solo Victoria's Secret's Super Bowl XLII commercial was the single most-seen ad of the game, watched by 103.7 million viewers. Moreover, in 2012, she became the only celebrity to ever star in two Super Bowl commercials in one game.

She is reported to have a net worth of $91 million (£75.5m), according to Celebrity Net Worth.

Adriana Lima's relationships and personal life

In 2001, it was reported that Lima started a relationship with American singer Lenny Kravitz. She even featured in a music video for Kravitz in 2002 named "Yesterday Is Gone (My Dear Kay)".

In 2009, she got married to Serbian NBA player Marko Jaric on Valentine's Day. The couple have two daughters. However, in May 2014, they announced their separation, which was finalized in March 2016.

Currently, it is believed that Lima is dating producer Andre Lemmers since 2021.

What is a FIFA Global Fan Ambassador?

Lima made history after being named the first FIFA Global Fan Ambassador.

As a fan ambassador, she will travel across the world promoting the sport among fans, especially ahead of the FIFA Women's World Cup.

“When you get to meet Adriana, you feel right away her warmth, kindness, and how approachable and passionate she is about our game,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino after her appointment.

“She lives and breathes ‘futebol’ and that is also why she can be an excellent link between FIFA and fans worldwide.”

Why is Adriana Lima's appointment controversial?

FIFA's decision to appoint Lima as the Fan Ambassador has received flak from former footballers, gender equality campaigners and administrators.

Moya Dodd, one-time vice-captain of the Australian women’s team, has labelled the step as 'tone deaf' and 'unnecessary'.

Dodd has criticised the move, highlighting that Lima starved herself for nine days before fashion shows and called abortion 'a crime' in a 2006 interview with GQ magazine. She questioned the message FIFA was trying to send to aspirational female footballers who view themselves at par with their male counterparts.

“What will this ambassador represent to the large and growing population of aspirational women football players and fans who love the game because it shows us what empowerment and equality can look like?” Dodd asked.

“Because when a girl plays football, the world sees her differently. Instead of being complimented on her nice looks or her pretty dress, she is valued for her game-saving tackles and brilliant goal-scoring," she added.

"She’s admired for what she can do, rather than how she looks, putting her on a more equal footing with her brothers in a way that can alter the whole trajectory of her life’s ambitions.

"In a FIFA World Cup year, that's the message that should be ringing loud and true around the world. Where a supermodel fits into this is truly baffling. I asked whether the FIFA ambassador will be delivering messages on body image, well-being and healthy eating."

Women Sport Australia president Gen Dohrmann, has questioned why footballing legends like Megan Rapinoe or Sam Kerr were not invited to take the role.

“It’s definitely a different approach to the men’s game," she added. "You would see Cristiano Ronaldo as the poster boy of the men’s World Cup, so why do we need a supermodel when we could choose Meg Rapinoe, or Sam Kerr, or someone who has international accolades in the sport we are actually promoting?

"That is the type of role model who should be at the front of this campaign."

Meanwhile, Benita Mersiades, a former head of corporate affairs at Football Australia, slammed the apex governing body of the sport by calling it 'out of touch' with the fans.

“Fifa’s engagement of Ms Lima as their global fan ambassador demonstrates just how out of touch Fifa is with football’s fanbase and just how much Fifa hasn’t changed,” Mersiades said.

“While Ms Lima might be a welcome choice for some fans, she is nonetheless irrelevant to other fans, and particularly in the context of the Women’s World Cup to be co-hosted in Australia and New Zealand later this year.”

Lima's publicist Laurent Boye has come out in defence of the model and insisted that her perspective on several social issues has evolved over the years.

"We can proudly say that Ms Lima has been promoting a healthy lifestyle for several years and like many people, her position on many LGBTQIA+ and women issues has evolved and she is considered an ally," Boye stated.

"We are proud of Adriana from walking the Cannes Film Festival red carpet while pregnant last year to the Carine Roitfeld's fashion show she did shortly after delivering her baby, we believe these moments showcased body-positivity.

"We welcome positive feedback and ideas of what could be done to empower the younger generation as a Fifa global fan ambassador, the door will always be open."