So just the other day, I read THIS STORY about how model scouts in Brazil continue to search for and export to the runways tall, thin girls with straight hair, white skin and light eyes who hail from a tiny little sliver of a predominantly German/Russian village in this South American country—the apparent standard of beauty despite that most of the rest of us think of Brazil as a country full of brown people who speak Portuguese.
Indeed, brown-skinned Brazilians are so disgusted by the white-is-right/black-get-back beauty standard that local prosecutors are stepping in to make sure that at least 10 percent of the models in São Paulo Fashion Week, the nation’s most important fashion event, are of African or indigenous descent. (In 2008, only 28 of 1,128 models in the event were black. Twenty-eight.)
That means the cops gotta police the doggone runways to make sure designers hire brown girls to show off their wares—in a brown country.
I mean, slap me with a silly stick, but whenever hot Brazilian chicks showed up in rap videos and random vacation shots in my brother’s travel portfolio, I assumed that every woman there looked a lot like the Brazilian model Thais Dos Santos Fernandez...
Indeed, until I read that New York Times article, I had no idea this woman, Giselle Bundchen, was considered the Brazilian ideal….
It just never ceases to amaze me that no matter where you go in the world, somebody is damn-near climbing behind the wheel of the biggest 18-wheel semi and deliberately mowing over brown-skinned, kinky-haired curvy girls trying to get to the nearest blue-eyed blonde.
An even sadder tale, though, is the lengths the scouts go to find the perfect white girl in a sea of brown ones—how babies as young as 12 are picked over and prodded and herded like cattle all in the name of “fashion.” Alisson Chornak, the scout profiled in the story, is so gully that he sets up shop in schoolyards and, with the blessing of the principal, photographs, measures, fluffs, poses and takes notes on little girls he thinks are white enough to make the modeling cut. After one particularly creepy recess foray in which he ogled a bunch of little girls, he actually declared—out loud—“There is nothing special here.”
And heartbreaking, considering that the world is full of little girls—brown, white and every color in between—who think they, too, can be models, thanks to the efforts of supermodels like Tyra Banks, whose hugely-popular “America’s Next Top Model” TV competition works double time to not only diversify the magazine pages, ad space and runways of the fashion world, but assure little girls everywhere that they are special. That no matter their color, their size, their background, their wealth, their whatever, they just might have a shot. Or, at the very least, the right to dream about it.
Not wishing ill on Chornak, but forreal forreal? I’m thinking nobody would be all that broke up if he got bit by some fat, toothy, poisonous, stank, ugly bug out there in those Brazilian bushes.