Gisele Bündchen and Alessandra Ambrosio are just two of many Brazilian beauties that rose to become supermodels.
But if you think that they accidentally stumble into the world of fashion and modeling, you'd be wrong. No, they were discovered by model scouts whose job is to hunt for attractive teens (and even pre-teens) and groom them into the world's next supermodels.
Where do these scouts find beautiful people? Not in the big cities - they concentrate their search in "hotspots" in rural Brazil:
Before setting out in a pink S.U.V. to comb the schoolyards and shopping malls of southern Brazil, Alisson Chornak studies books, maps and Web sites to understand how the towns were colonized and how European their residents might look today.
The goal, he and other model scouts say, is to find the right genetic cocktail of German and Italian ancestry, perhaps with some Russian or other Slavic blood thrown in. Such a mix, they say, helps produce the tall, thin girls with straight hair, fair skin and light eyes that Brazil exports to the runways of New York, Milan and Paris with stunning success.