Viva Brazil Or Not: Talking About Vanity Fair

It seems that the September issue of Vanity Fair, with a Brazilian extravaganza photographed by Testino in Rio and Gisele stepping out of a limo on the cover, is causing as much controversy in Brazil as it is on this site.

First of all, there is the much talked about racial issue. For those complaining about the lack of diversity on Testino's pictures, please take note that the picture on the right is of actors Tais Araujo and Camila Pitanga, who are both black, and prominent figures on soaps. Another black ator, Jonathan Haagensen, is also pictured next to Alessandra Ambrosio on page 316, and there are ethnic models throughout the spread. And is there a better example of Brazilian beauty than Adriana Lima?

Testino did not set out to register a realistic portrait of the population of the country. It is a spread on Vanity Fair magazine, meaning that the focus of the story was to capture images of models, designers, actors, artists, and other figures of the society in Rio living large (styled meticulously by Michael Roberts in designer party frocks).

Second, there is the one-page article that introduces the portfolio, which some people in Brazil seem to think misrepresented the country. I finally read it on the plane yesterday, and was not particularly offended by the words of A. A. Gill, which are at times harsh. If the author makes it seem like Brazil is an endless party, it is partially because that is the image the country sells of itself to the world. "Brazilians have the ability t make a party out of nothing, and then make it the most exciting night you've ever had."

Now here is the part that is bothering a few Brazilians: "In Brazil, they feel no pain, no responsibility. All they feel is impending great expectations, and buttocks." It is sad, but ultimately true. As a matter of fact, the beauty of the country lies in its great optimism about a better future. The one big problem is the lack of responsibility to take action, and demand changes.

On a quick note, Terry Richardson was in Rio earlier this year shooting Brazilians for an upcoming book on the city. I am curious to see what his interpretation of the country will look like.


i don't really have an issue with the feature ... it's a FASHION SPREAD photographed by a FASHION PHOTOGRAPHER who likely did the casting as well ... It's not meant to represent the social diversity of the country - it's fiction, it's glamour, it's fun ... people need to perhaps worry less about an article in a celebrity magazine & more on the countries problems - geez!

As for A.A Gill - He's written articles which have upset the British [he's british], the Americans etc etc... he's known for offending & is a really good writer who mocks his own countrymen so big deal - at the end of the day it's one persons opinion. He describes Brazil perfectly - that's how it's viewed by most foreigners ... & "In Brazil, they feel no pain, no responsibility. All they feel is impending great expectations, and buttocks." sums up the country perfectly ... The country is in chaos but as long as we all look good on Ipanema who cares? I love my country but I love visiting but sometimes I'm glad I live in Europe.

Anon's points hit the mark exactly!

I LOVED this spread!Some things are harsh but absolutely true....
I just hate when people pick things out of nothing to make huge, insignificant problems!
Try to see the beauty in life instead of turning everything into "controversy" PEOPLE!!!!!

i agree with you !!!!!!!!!!!!

I read A.A. Gill , and I thought was a perfect description of Brazil . I even put a part of his article in my blog , because it captured so perfectly the country .
And the pictures are beautiful ! I really don't understand why people are complaining !

All countries that are mixed are this way. I am from Greece and I am a model in Europe. Greeks with blond hair are always the norm on television and in fashion. It happens in Italy and in Spain. The same happens in India and in Mexico. If you see Telemundo and see all of the Mexican soaps, they are all 6foot blonds. It's like I thought Mexicans were darker and shorter than that. We just have to deal with it. At least Vanity Fair did something about Brazil which is better than nothing. The black people on the ground looking like Tarzan was a bit ridicoulous though. O' well.


I'm not sure what 'television & fashion' you've been watching but in Spain & Italy you rarely see people with blonde hair ... All the major models from both countries are dark - Italy, Spain & Greece CANNOT be compared to Brasil - Brasil has such a huge ethnically diverse brasilian born population - unlike that of most countries.

P.S - I've yet to see a 'blonde' 'indian' ... I think you perhaps need to travel a bit more b/c your views seem rather warped.

Actually, Caligula's remarks were quite on the mark based on my own experience and observation. Just because you don't like what she says there is no reason to be nasty.

Just because something happens in lots of places doesn't make it a good or correct thing. Racism and homophobia were a lot more acceptable decades ago. That didn't make it okay. Just because there are vestiges of racism today, and just because a preference for non-dark people occurs in several countries, doesn't make it okay. Imagine a gay person on a mostly straight website complaining that there aren't enough out gay characters represented on TV, and being told to shut up and stop complaining because having one or two is better than having nothing at all, or that Russia or Nigeria would never show gays at all, so it's better than nothing. Some of you are ridiculous in your defense of the status quo. If it weren't for people who spoke up and wanted more equal representation decades ago, you'd be closeted and living miserable lives. So stop trying to shut up people who complain about the lack of equal representation today.

Oh, and if you think it's ONLY a fashion spead and it's ONLY fashion, well, tell that to the countless non-blond kids who grow up every day learning to hate themselves because time-warped casting directors and photographers and stylists make decisions every day to present images that signal to them that they are not worthy.

I am from Greece and work in the fashion business. My family comes from Venitian ancestory and I am a member of the Italian House of Savoy. I've been to India and most of Asia and have seen the fashion business first hand. I meant that Indian celebs and VIP's are from the north of the country and have European blood. They look more European. It is obvious that they are not blond. Yet many people with blond hair are born in India, Pakistan, and other eastern countries do to Greek ancestory. As for Greece and Italy the fashion industry is promoted by northerners. Blonds run the television industry. If they are not blond they colour it blond. It is the same in south America. I have worked with Telemundo and Univision and this is the norm. As well as Japan, where they do change there eyes and there hair colour. I run the Hellenic/Dionysos/Zonar's company from Athens and Venice and our PR company continues to represent this ideal around the world.

No one is defending the status quo, just recognising that it exists. Throuhout world history, long before west africans were enslaved by the europeans, and colonialism, in every nation fair skin has been desired, and light hair and eyes has also been desired. In countries where there are great differences in skin colour, light skin has always been desired. It's just the way it has been. Its a simple fact of life. But I do admire all kinds of beauty.

Wow...from magazine article to race issues once again? That's amazing. Fernando, black people looking like Tarzan? Oh my goodness (maybe that's part of the problem?). Unfortunately, I haven't gotten a chance to view that particular issue, but what they did wouldn't surprise me. Brazil is 85-87 percent black but why put that on the cover of any magazine, when you could have blond haired blue eyed (or even dark haired blue eyed) folks instead? Maybe they thought it'd have a bigger impact and draw more readers.
No people, this shouldn't be a race issue, but sadly that's what the world has come to these days, and I don't see things changing for the better.
"Why can't we ALL just get along?"
P.S. Leigh, while you do have a point and I happen to agree with you about that 'status quo' issue, I've come to the conclustion that some people feel if it's not happening to them, why rock the boat? May God have mercy on and HELP us ALL. Thank the Lord race is NOT an issue with Him.
P.S.S. I would have just as well liked to see Reynaldo Gianecchini and Tais Araujo "together" on the cover. They did such as fantastic job in 'Da Cor Do Pecado', that it's still getting rave reviews several years later. Take care people and don't sweat the small stuff.

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