Cindy discovers that beauty Brazilian-style is all about sensuality...
What does being beautiful mean to you?
For me, being beautiful means feeling good about yourself and being true and fair to yourself. A beautiful woman is fulfilled; she is much more than just her outward appearance. Modern beauty is all about the joy of inner beauty; we are free of the norms imposed on us by our education and our upbringing. Today’s women are much more authentic, they embrace their contradictions, they know their limits and they don’t lie to themselves. To me, this is pure beauty.
How do Brazilian women express their beauty? Is it very different from your own view of what beauty is?
They express their beauty through their sensuality. Emotions are freely expressed through their body in a very natural and harmonious way. They dance in the street, show their bodies off on the beach, look at each other without shame and they are open to sensations. Brazilian women display a real and authentic sensuality that they don’t overdo: it’s as if their sensuality were ingrained in their genetic makeup. Beauty is also about staying true to your values in every part of your life. We met women who were naturally more beautiful, because they were so confident, and successful in their lives. It was this that we had in common with them: courage, willpower or simply the efforts we make in our adventures. It’s like this that we feel beauty.
What beauty lesson will you take home from this trip?
I learnt that manicures can be more than the simple act of getting your nails done. In Brazil, manicures are the moment when women get together to take care of one another. They use this special time to share their experiences and troubles. They support and advise each other through this beauty ritual.
Did you find beauty in unexpected places?
In Noiva do Cordeiro, the village of women, they have pure, sincere eyes, strong and soft at the same time. We can see in their eyes the burden of their past. We can see their scars but after a short while, we only notice the strength of the expressions that illuminate their faces. These are forms of unique beauty, personalities out of the ordinary that are forged in struggle and action.
Is there a difference between beauty in Rio and beauty in the Amazon rainforest?
Definitely. Women in Rio are more focused on physical beauty, and plastic surgery is in fact a very common practice. This is a conscious decision: they want to match the Western beauty ideal as closely as possible, as the Meninas Black Power explained to us. At the other end of the spectrum, Amazonian women practice beauty rituals that contribute to the preservation and continuation of their cultural heritage. They paint their bodies with ancestral symbols. And that is what makes them feel beautiful…