"I never enjoyed partying much and rarely went out," she tells PEOPLE

By Charlotte Triggs
Updated April 28, 2016 11:50 AM
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Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

These days, Gisele Bündchen lives an impossibly glamorous life, modeling when she feels like it (she’s retired from the runway) and raising her two children, Benjamin, 6, and Vivian, 3, with her husband, Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady.

But when she was first starting out, Bündchen, 35, says she was a bit of a loner.

“I never enjoyed partying much and rarely went out, so I wasn’t the most popular girl,” Bündchen tells PEOPLE in its new issue, on stands Friday.

“I had very few friends but the ones I had were so supportive and loyal. We were all young and from different parts of the world trying to make it in the big city. Since none of us had much money at the time we would meet at each other’s houses for dinner, order cheap food, and split the bill. They became my family away from home and to this day they are dear friends.”

More frequently, Bündchen, who is promoting her new Taschen photo book, Gisele, out May 10, hung out with her sisters, fraternal twin Patricia, Raquel, Gabriela, Rafaela and Graziela.

“I love my sisters and we have always been supportive of each other,” Bündchen says. “Every other year, a different one of my sisters would come and spend time with me when they were on school break. It was so special to get to experience this time with them; we got to travel and have memorable times together.”

For more from Bündchen, including how she juggles modeling, motherhood and her marriage to Tom Brady, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newstands FridayShe also hooked them up with free fashion.

“When I did shows and designers would give me clothes, bags and shoes, I would always share with them,” she says. “We shared our entire life and I wasn’t stopping now.”

Once she landed her high-profile Victoria’s Secret contract in 2000, and began racking up jobs (which would eventually make her the world’s highest paid supermodel), “For years of my life I didn’t know what a weekend was, I was moving so fast,” Bündchen says.

“I am grateful that I always had my family to keep me grounded.”