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An increasingly visible black model on the Brazilian catwalk

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AFP-Relax news

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November 22, 2020

Afro-Brazilian models Shirley Pitta and Gloria Maria Fonseca Siqueira have dreamed of catwalks since they were girls, but in the Brazilian fashion world they are much whiter than the country itself and far from until recently. It remained a fantasy.

As a sign of changing times in Brazil and elsewhere, the pair saw their dreams come true at this year’s Sao Paulo Fashion Week.

One of the industry’s leading events, SPFW has been welcomed by black and indigenous rights activists this year, implementing the requirement that at least half of all label models be of color.

“It took me a long time to think that I was a beautiful person, a person who exists, because I always saw something that wasn’t me on TV,” said Vogue, a major fashion magazine, already in the portfolio21. Says Pitta, aged. Elle and Mary Claire.

She calls herself a “black favela girl from the northeast” and refers to the slums of Brazil’s poorest region.

Her modern Cinderella story has received as much attention as her striking look.

Before being discovered in 2018, she sold grilled kebabs outside her hometown of Salvador’s zoo.

“We were there every day, including Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. We got there in the morning and worked at night,” she prepares Brazil to celebrate Friday’s Black Awareness Day. I told AFP during the gig at SPFW while I was there.

With her short hair, high cheekbones, and sharp gaze, Pitta is confident that she won’t come as easily as it might appear.

“I used to wrap a towel around my head when I was little,” she was ashamed of how her hair looked.

“It’s important to talk about these things because our kids don’t have long, straight hair when they grow up, and they need to know that it doesn’t matter. It’s beautiful. . “

In Brazil, in 1888, the last country in the Americas to abolish slavery, about 55% of the population was identified as black or mixed-race.

However, while whites earn 74% more on average than people of color, national debates about racial inequality have only begun relatively recently.

Due to the long-standing belief among the Brazilian elite that the country is “racist” protected from racism by the fact that most people have black or indigenous ancestry, the conversation is Probably late.

Therefore, when the SPFW, held remotely this year for the coronavirus pandemic, required more comprehensive casting, it was a sign of fundamental change.

It opened the door to Pitta and 17-year-old Siqueira.

“I never do that”

Tall, thin, and full of afro hair, Siqueira takes a long time to realize that there is a future in the fashion world, despite being said to have potential as a model. I say that.

“Never do it,” she recalls when she looked at the model catalog at the age of 15 at Ford Models, one of the industry’s top agencies.

She is currently interviewing from the agency headquarters in São Paulo.

“I wasn’t confident. I thought it wasn’t beautiful enough,” she says.

“But now I know that I can travel the world through this.”

The youngest of seven children in the lower middle class, Siqueira grew up admiring models such as Naomi Campbell and Adut Aketch.

She sees Brazil, home of supermodel Gisele Bundchen, as a country of diversity and wants her to accept the positive side.

“Sometimes people feel less because they are different and try to meet criteria that are not theirs. They are unaware that different things are unique,” ​​she says.

Pitta sees the industry as a turning point.

“We break through. I’m not going to sit there thinking about the past. We’re moving forward,” she says.

Copyright © 2020 AFP-Relax news. all rights reserved.

An increasingly visible black model on the Brazilian catwalk

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