Finding Supermodels in Rural Brazil

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.

Alexei Barrionuevo of the New York Times has a fascinating look at the industry that hunts for the world's next supermodel: Link | Video Clip (Photo: João Pina for The New York Times)

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European descendants concentrated in the south of Brazil. So if you are either in rural or urban areas. the chance to find the next supermodel is the same.

But you go to the North and Northeast of Brazil wich is essentially rural, the population is very much average looking, if not uglier than the rest of the country.
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Sordid business, to say the least. I really feel sorry for most of the models; it does something to a person's psyche to be treated literally as an object, not to mention being constantly surrounded and preyed upon by creepy pervs. Not just for the women, either, it's the same thing or worse for the young male models. Most of the fashion designers being gay is a small benefit to the females.

A much easier and safer way than being 'discovered' is to walk into any top fashion agency and see what they think. If you've 'got it' they will sign you on the spot. If not, you are not going to be very successful at being a fashion model no matter what you do. There is nothing a model scout can do for you that you can't accomplish more quickly and with less creepitude by going straight to the modeling agency in the first place.
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Vogue magazine has been warning about peak super model production in Europe and the States for years and years, saying that demand would soon far exceed the supply.

It's good to see that deep country drilling has finally found another super model supply that will push back the crisis for a few years (maybe even a decade depending on who's predictions you believe).
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