updated 24 Dec 2010, 10:23
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Sun, Jun 06, 2010
Urban, The Straits Times
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Earth angel
by Karen Tee

Sexy is hardly the first adjective people would use to describe slippers. Unless the flip-flops dangle from the lithe limbs of one of the world's most famous supermodels, that is.

And so, sexy is exactly what Brazilian bombshell Gisele Bundchen has made Ipanema, a Brazilian brand of slippers.

In one particularly memorable ad campaign for the brand, she wears nothing more than a see-through liquid dress and slippers.

Bundchen, 29, may be remembered by many either as a Victoria's Secret Angel or actor Leonardo DiCaprio's one-time squeeze.

However, these days, it is her annual collaboration with Ipanema to raise funds for environmental causes that she is most closely associated with.

For someone who is the world's highest paid model - according to Forbes, she earned US$25 million ($35.2 million) last year - her heart is in the right place.

'Famous people pique interest and are constantly watched, so I think it's great being able to use this visibility to raise awareness about important causes,' Bundchen tells Urban in an e-mail interview.

She has been working with Ipanema since 2002.

'When big companies and personalities come together in support of these causes and work to promote them, people generally pay more attention.'

This year, funds raised through the sales of the slippers globally will go to the Tamar Project, an initiative that researches and protects five species of sea turtles native to the Brazilian coast.

In Singapore, a portion of the proceeds will go to the Marine Conservation Group, a part of the Nature Society of Singapore.

'I like knowing a little about the trends that inspire the collection, the social and environmental projects we support and, obviously, if the products are attractive,' she says of her involvement with Ipanema. As for the slipper designs, she leaves them to the in-house designers.

The slippers, which range in price from $33.90 to $43.90, are available at Stadium and selected Royal Sporting House stores.

A new mother to six-month-old Benjamin Rein Brady - she married American football quarterback Tom Brady last year - she says motherhood has 'increased my concern about the future of our planet'.

Offering an insight into what motivates this eco-warrior, she says: 'In addition to passing on the values I have learnt to my son, I want him to have the chance of having contact with nature, to drink clean water, to play outside in the sand, to see animals in their natural habitat and to enjoy all the wonders our world has to offer.'

She adds that some simple changes that any person can incorporate into his daily life to help conserve the environment include choosing products from green companies, recycling garbage and cutting down on water usage.

She acknowledges that it can be challenging but that does not mean that people should throw in the towel. 'We have to face up to these issues with a positive attitude,' she says. 'We should strive to consume in a more conscious way, without creating so much waste.'

This article was first published in Urban, The Straits Times.

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