Why Brazilians are really going to miss supermodel Gisele

April 28, 2015

Dom Phillips – The Washington Post, 4/27/2015

At first glance, the glittering career of Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen is not very Brazilian. The supermodel, who retired from the catwalks at age 34 on April 15 in a blizzard of publicity, has pursued her profession with a Teutonic single-mindedness and efficiency, as befits her family’s German roots.

Friends, industry professionals and colleagues used terms such as “punctual,” “secure investment” and “well educated” to describe her — terms rarely associated with models, fashion or, indeed, tropical, impulsive Brazil, where she is often described as an über-model, rather than a supermodel.

Nonetheless, Brazilians can claim her as their own. “Gisele is what most represents Brazil abroad. It is Pelé, carnival and Gisele,” said Fernanda Tavares, a New York-based Brazilian model who has been her friend since they started their careers together 20 years ago, at age 14. Tavares was among those who suggested that Bündchen will still do select catwalk shows, as well as her advertising contracts.

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A bold and beautiful portrait of Brazil

April 22, 2015

Nicole Crowder – The Washington Post, 04/22/2015

Ahead of the upcoming 2016 Olympics to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Washington Post staff photographer Bonnie Jo Mount traveled to Piquiá de Baixo to document a community of residents in clay-brick and wooden houses suffering from the heavy pollution from nearby pig iron factories and the noisy Carajás railway that runs through the Amazon region transporting ore.

Away from the busy rail tracks and gathering dust, Mount documented a more personal portrait of the country via her Instagram, one that reflects a serene, even majestic Brazil. Vibrant tiles jut out from a red wall near contrasting green glass window shutters in Rio. A young man walks past a facade of wooden blue doors and iron balconies, oxidized over time by the elements in the historic district of São Luís. And while the southern coastal region of the country has suffered one of its most severe droughts in nearly 80 years, Mount’s vignettes are able to capture the soul and beauty of Brazilian landscapes, from its energetic beaches of Ipanema to aerials of the Amazon rainforest.

View images here…


On Black Women and Feminism in Brazil

April 7, 2015

Bianca Santana – Huffington Post, 4/6/2015

Gender, race and class are all intimately intertwined in Brazil. Using the needs of black women as my starting point, I’ll try to draft an overview, however simplified, of the disparities within Brazilian feminism.

Brazil has over 200 million people, of which 50 percent are women. Though our president is a woman, running for reelection against another woman, we are still underrepresented in politics. In our House of Representatives, less than 9 percent of the deputies are women.

Fifty percent of all Brazilian women are black, which means there are 50 million black women in the country — 10 times the population of Norway.

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Brazil brewery creates ‘feminist beer’

March 27, 2015

Saffron Alexander – The Telegraph, 3/27/2015

A brewery in Brazil is attempting to challenge the negative stereotypes associated with beer with Cerveja Feminista – a “feminist” beer.

The label features the symbol for gender equality and has been designed to get the advertising industry discussing the way women are portrayed and the lack of female art directors in Brazil.

The company behind the beer is activism group 65|10 – named because 65 per cent of women in Brazil feel underrepresented in adverts and only 10 per cent of those working in advertising are female.

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Sebastião Salgado’s Journey From Brazil to the World

March 23, 2015

Larry Rhoter – The New York Times, 3/23/2015

Sebastião Salgado has won every major prize a photographer can receive, with his crisp, compassionate black-and-white images, many of them from war zones and other locations of human suffering, hanging on the walls of museums, galleries and private collections around the world. His books, including “Workers,” “Migrations,” “Sahel” and, most recently, the nature-oriented “Genesis,” have consistently met with commercial and critical success.

Now, as if to complete the picture, a documentary film about Mr. Salgado, 71, and his work is about to opens in theaters across the United States. “The Salt of the Earth,” a collaborative effort between the German director Wim Wenders, who is also a photographer, and Mr. Salgado’s son Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, was nominated for the Oscar for best documentary film, won a prize at the Cannes Film Festival last spring and last month was also awarded a César, the French equivalent of an Academy Award.

The documentary features Mr. Salgado explaining, in French and Portuguese, how he came to take some of his best-known images, such as those from the Serra Pelada series shot in a gold mine in the Amazon 30 years ago. But it also makes clear that his path to becoming a renowned photographer was arduous: He was born deep in the isolated Brazilian interior, scrimped to get an economics degree, left his country and took refuge in France after a military dictatorship seized power in Brazil, and in the mid-1990s suffered what he called “a deep psychological crisis” after covering the genocidal civil wars in Rwanda and Bosnia and had to recalibrate the focus of his work.

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Neymarketing: The one-man brand from Brazil

March 6, 2015

Ben Lyttleton – Goal, 3/5/2015

There are six players in the Rich List Top 20 who are under 30, but only one under 26. That man is Neymar, 23, who comes in third with an estimated net worth of 135 million euros ($149 million). That huge figure is not just a reflection of his football talent – although Brazilians see him as the best player in the world already, his confirmation of that status might be a few years away – but rather a perfect storm of contributing factors to create the optimal earning template.

Timing is the most important element of the ‘Neymarketing’ success story. His talent developed and blossomed at a period in Brazil’s history when its economy was on the up, increasing by four percent a year between 2002 and 2010. That allowed him to stay at Santos, his club in Brazil, for longer than other Brazilians normally would before moving to Europe. Neymar’s commercial pull encouraged sponsors to pay his Santos salary, and he only moved in 2013 because it was felt he needed a season facing European opposition to prepare for the challenge of the 2014 World Cup on home soil.

That was the other significant factor of timing for Neymar: the World Cup. Every company wanted to be part of the biggest competition in the world, and it so happened that the home side’s best player and star turn was an advertisers’ dream. Even if the economy was not as strong as it had been, Brazil is a country of over 200 million people and they all need toothpaste, a bank, deodorant or car batteries (he was the face of all those products).

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Schumpeter: Brazil’s business Belindia

February 26, 2015

The Economist (print edition), 2/28/2015

BRAZILIANS make up almost 3% of the planet’s population and produce about 3% of its output. Yet of the firms in Fortune magazine’s 2014 “Global 500” ranking of the biggest companies by revenue only seven, or 1.4%, were from Brazil, down from eight in 2013. And on Forbes’s list of the 2,000 most highly valued firms worldwide just 25, or 1.3%, were Brazilian. The country’s biggest corporate “star”, Petrobras, is mired in scandals, its debt downgraded to junk status. In 1974 Edmar Bacha, an economist, described its economy as “Belindia”, a Belgium-sized island of prosperity in a sea of India-like poverty. Since then Brazil has done far better than India in alleviating poverty, but in business terms it still has a Belindia problem: a handful of world-class enterprises in a sea of poorly run ones.

Brazilian businesses face a litany of obstacles: bureaucracy, complex tax rules, shoddy infrastructure and a shortage of skilled workers—to say nothing of a stagnant economy (see article). But a big reason for Brazilian firms’ underperformance is less well rehearsed: poor management. Since 2004 John van Reenen of the London School of Economics and his colleagues have surveyed 11,300 midsized firms in 34 countries, grading them on a five-point scale based on how well they monitor their operations, set targets and reward performance. Brazilian firms’ average score, at 2.7, is similar to that of China’s and a bit above that of India’s. But Brazil ranks below Chile (2.8) and Mexico (2.9); America leads the pack with 3.3. The best Brazilian firms score as well as the best American ones, but its long tail of badly run ones is fatter.

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