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Not Your Average Brazilian Model

Jan 16, 2018 | 831 videos
Video by Geoff Levy

“When we tell people we’re from the favela, they automatically think of danger, violence, mess, or worthlessness,” says Caio Guimaraes, a model featured in Geoff Levy’s short film, Rio's Different Face of Fashion. “Of course, there are bad things, but there are a lot of great things, too. It’s a magical world.”

Jacarezinho, one of the largest favelas in Rio de Janeiro, is home to a modeling agency that aims to challenge stereotypes and galvanize the community. Levy’s vibrant and kinetic documentary profiles Jacaré Moda’s rising models. More than just an economic opportunity—Guimaraes had less than a dollar to his name before he began attending casting calls—fashion, for these underserved youth, is a chance to bolster self-esteem, cultivate creativity, and achieve a purpose. It is a portal to self-actualization.

Many of the young models embrace their community’s resourceful ethos. “I improvise with all I have,” says model Natalia Sant’Anna. “Even if it’s disposable, it can be used—and used well. In the favela, you see things and you think, ‘Wow, look what they came up with.’ This is creativity.”

“Working as a model is an affirmation of my identity,” says Camila Reis, another model in the film. “Growing up, I always thought, ‘ Why am I not represented in media that tries to connect with the masses?’ We now have the opportunity to tell our story our way—through the eyes of the people who live in the favela.”

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Author: Emily Buder

About This Series

A showcase of cinematic short documentary films, curated by The Atlantic.