Isabeli Bergossi Fontana (who occasionally simply goes by “Isabeli”) was born on July 4, 1983, in Curitiba, in the Paraná region of Brazil. She has two siblings; brothers Harrison and Heric. By the time she was merely 12 years of age, Isabeli told her mother that she wanted to become a model.
In 1996, she was a finalist in an Elite Model Look Contest in São Paulo, and the following year, at the age of only 14, she traveled from her native Brazil to Milan, to start working as a model. This move helped Isabeli see her home as those from other countries see it; “Everyone wants to know about Brazil,” she admits.
In 1999, when she was 16, Isabeli appeared in the Victoria’s Secret catalog. This generated a bit of a stir in the fashion world, since Victoria’s Secret reportedly violated its policy of only hiring models that were 21 or older. But such controversy helped, rather than harmed, Isabeli’s prospects, especially in an industry that worships youth to extremes. A case in point: Isabeli revealed that when she was 16, clients complained that she looked too young; when she was 17, they thought she looked too old. C’est la vie in the world of fashion.
Nevertheless, she landed work with such world-famous labels as Valentino, Versace, bebe, and Ralph Lauren, strutting down fashion runways from New York and Paris to Milan. She appeared in international editions of well-known magazines like Vogue, Marie Claire and Elle, and also worked on a campaign for M. Officer, a hot, up-and-coming desig
n house in Brazil, in which Isabeli was photographed in provocative poses that kept everyone guessing. She was also one of the models to appear in the coveted Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition in 2002 and 2003.
Now a mother of 2 children, Isabeli is having one of her best seasons ever with 5 major campaigns under her belt. 2009 marked her 3rd appearance for the Pirelli Calendar and in June 2012 Isabeli debuted her first line for Faith Connexion’s resort collection.
She has modelled for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, Marie Claire, ELLE and Vogue. She is currently living in Brazil with her new husband, TV actor and model Henri Castelli, after she separated from her former fiancé Alvaro Jacomossi, who is also a model.