updated 12/16/2013 AT 9:00 AM ET
•originally published 12/16/2013 AT 5:35 PM ET
Alessandra Ambrésio isn’t exactly known for keeping her fabulous figure covered up.
Her ears, however, are a whole different story.
In hopes of fulfilling her modeling dreams, Ambrésio underwent surgery at the age of 11 in an attempt to pin them back.
“I always knew I wanted to be a model so I decided to have my ears pinned back because they stuck out a bit,” Ambrésio, 32, says in Net-a-Porter magazine’s December issue.
“I found this doctor in my hometown [of Erechim] in Brazil who had only done it once before, so I was a guinea pig.”
She recalls, “The first few nights, it felt like someone had cut off my ears. For a year, I had to go back for mini surgeries.”
Doctors have since assured Ambrésio they can correct the procedure, but the botched surgery has left her hesitant to go back under the knife. “Cosmetic surgery freaks me out now,” she says. “I’m afraid of having anything done … there’s too much of that in L.A.”
In lieu of fast surgical solutions, Ambrésio instead works hard to maintain her famous physique – a challenge that first arose following the birth of her daughter Anja, now 5.
“People kept telling me that I would bounce back straight away, but a week after giving birth, I still had that balloon belly,” the supermodel, who gained 60 pounds during her first pregnancy, says.