Adriana Lima has one of the most recognizable faces in the world. She's been a supermodel in the truest sense since the late 1990s, and is the longest-running Victoria’s Secret Angel to date, although she ended her tenure in 2018. Throughout the years, Lima has nestled comfortably into her role as one of the world’s sexiest women. However, as a mother of two daughters, that's certainly not her only role.
Between children and international fame, the Brazilian stunner has obviously learned much more than simply how to work a runway or lens—even though she does those things better than nearly anyone else in the business. So we asked her to take a look back at the most important beauty lessons she's learned throughout her iconic career—because with a 20+ year career, there have been quite a few.
If you're curious to know how the supermodel’s diet and fitness routine has evolved since she first started modeling, her all-time favorite beauty products, or her secret junk food indulgence, we've got the answers here.
On Sun Protection
BYRDIE: With summer coming up, can you talk a bit about your sun protection routine? How did you protect your skin while growing up in Brazil?
ADRIANA LIMA: To be totally honest, I didn’t have the best sun protection habits growing up in Brazil. It wasn't really part of the culture, but now that we're more educated on the effects of harmful sun exposure, [plus] the fact that I have children and live in Miami where it's sunny all year, I’m much more conscious of making sure that we're all applying sunscreen. I actually keep a basket with sunscreen right by the door to make sure we remember to put some on before leaving the house.
BYRDIE: What are your secrets for maintaining such clear, glowy skin? How has your skincare routine evolved since your pre-modeling days?
AL: For glowy skin products, I love a good highlighter. Growing up in Brazil, it was always very hot and sunny, but like I said before, sun protection wasn’t always an important habit of mine. Now, I make it a priority to take care of my skin by wearing sunscreen and keeping my skin moisturized. I also keep it very simple. Less is more when it comes to makeup, because it’s important to let your skin breathe.
On Diet, Fitness, and Confidence
BYRDIE: What is your current philosophy when it comes to nutrition and dieting? How has your attitude toward food evolved over time?
AL: I’m all about portion control. I try to be better about eating small portions every few hours throughout the day, and proteins found in veggies instead of meat. It's easy to eat what you like when you’re younger and then just work out a little, and it all falls off. After two kids, I have to make sure I'm balancing healthy eating habits and exercise.
BYRDIE: What's your favorite guilty junk food indulgence? What was it 10 years ago?
AL: Chocolate molten cake—and chocolate molten cake! [Laughs]
BYRDIE: What's your workout routine of choice this summer? How does your current workout routine compare to when you first started modeling?
AL: I’m a boxer. I’ve been doing it for over 10 years, and it really is my workout of choice. My gym is gritty and hot and no-frills, and I just go in and focus on working hard. My workouts were few and far between before. I might have worked out a few times per week, but now, I’m all about a good sweat.
BYRDIE: How has your attitude toward your own body/self-image evolved since you first started modeling?
AL: I can't say that when I was younger I was totally confident. The industry is hard, and when you're an unknown model, you could either get great jobs or be rejected. Rejection is never easy, but you have to have grit in order to keep going and hold your head high. Becoming an adult and having children has helped me become more confident in who I am as a woman. I’ve become more self-aware and understanding of my strengths on a deeper level, which helps me become more confident on the outside. So my best advice is to forget everything and everyone, and just feel good.
On Makeup and Perfume
BYRDIE: What's your go-to makeup routine for summer? How has your taste in makeup changed over the years?
AL: I’m pretty natural day to day. I put on some mascara and a light lip tint and go about my day. I don't wake up runway-ready, people! I’ve learned how to embrace being more natural on a day-to-day basis instead of pounding on makeup, which is a common mistake young women make.
BYRDIE: What are your favorite scents this summer? What was your favorite perfume in high school?
AL: I really loved the iconic Bombshell fragrance from Victoria's Secret ($78). It's beautiful and fresh for the season. I also think I like it because it’s a fruity floral scent, and there was a really floral perfume in Brazil I used to wear that I can't remember the name of. I remember I’d put so much on I would choke on it, and so would everyone around me! I’ve learned how to cut back on that a little, too.
On Her Best Beauty Advice
BYRDIE: What is your advice for taking the perfect selfie? Has your selfie game changed since you first started taking them?
AL: Lighting and angles: Make them your friends.
BYRDIE: If you could give your 18-year-old self a piece of beauty advice, what would it be? If you could give our 18-something readers a piece of beauty advice, what would it be?
AL: I haven’t changed my mind-set too much in the beauty sense since I was 18—it’s important to take care of yourself, and the best way to do that in beauty is with the mind-set of less is more, and to keep it simple. That would be my best advice to my younger self, and the younger readers here.
Ed. Note: This interview has been edited for clarity.