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You’d never guess it by looking at the newsstands, where Gisele Bündchen is an ever-present covergirl, but the hardest-working model in the business is in the midst of a six-month hiatus. “I’ve been at home for a month-and-a-half, eating my mom’s cooking, hanging out with my sisters and playing volleyball with my friends,” Bündchen said on Wednesday night, after posing with her fellow Victoria’s Secret cohorts during a release party (co-hosted by Interview magazine) for “Sexy,” a book of photographs deemed too steamy for the catalog. While visiting the U.S. for the event, Bündchen, who’s been eating at Nobu every night, also made a side trip to L.A. to visit her dogs.

Of course, the lingerie stars brought a heavy-breathing male contingent to the Maritime Hotel, where the party was held. “I’ve signed like 20,000 of these,” said Daniela Pestova, who pointed out the picture of her bare behind to a friend. With love — or lust — in the air, Drew Barrymore and Strokes member Fabrizio Morreti took the opportunity to lock lips for the camera. Meanwhile, Steven Seagal, who arrived in his traditional Buddhist attire, attempted to keep a low profile in a dark corner. His evasiveness piqued curiosity in the crowd. One young man approached the actor tentatively, then asked, “Are you Jewish?” at which point Seagal turned and left the party.

This story first appeared in the February 14, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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