South America Cruise Guide: Where Supermodels Come From – Brazil

Where in Brazil do the Supermodels Come From

South America Cruise Guide: Where in Brazil do the Supermodels Come From - Bahia
Elevador Lacerda, Salvador, Bahia

South America Cruise Guide

Welcome to South America Cruise Guide: Where Supermodels Come From – Bahia edition! Therefore, here’s another one of our series showcasing a famous Brazilian export: Supermodels! Beauty can come from anywhere and it can take many different looks, as you will see all over Brazil. Get ready for the most beautiful geography lesson you’ll ever take. A study of some Brazilian states, and the supermodels they produced.

Adriana Lima – Bahia

South America Cruise Guide: Where in Brazil do the Supermodels Come From - Bahia
Adriana Lima

First of all, this is a vibrant melting pot of a state, Bahia is known for its African heritage, slave history, and laid-back modern-day beach culture. International travelers come to Brazil lured by Rio. But they generally end up putting Bahia on their lifetime travel bucket list. Hence, Adriana Lima hails from Salvador, the capital of Bahia. She personifies the whole spectrum of races that co-exist in the state. Finally, her exotic and extraordinary looks are a product of Portuguese, Swiss, African, Japanese and Native blood.

Exotic Bahia

South America Cruise Guide: Where in Brazil do the Supermodels Come From - Bahia
Chapada Diamantina

Therefore, everything about Bahia is an exotic mix. Not just the people’s looks. The food is spicy and complex. The clothing is colorful like tropical plumage. And the culture is rich and mystical. The religion is a mix of African, native and Christianity. It is called Candomble, and it originated with the slaves.

South America Cruise Guide: Where in Brazil do the Supermodels Come From - Bahia
Pelourinho

As a result, Bahia’s history and culture are fascinating. Many people travel there simply for its beautiful beaches, beautiful locals, and relaxed pace of life.  Consequently, the town of Trancoso has recently become the “It Spot” for wealthy and fashionable Americans. Similarly, there are countless little villages on the 560 miles of Atlantic shoreline. Both to the north and along the protected bay south of Salvador. Hence, there you won’t bump into any English speakers. (But you might bump into Adriana Lima’s cousins.)

Alessandra Ambrosio and Gisele Bundchen – Rio Grande do Sul

South America Cruise Guide: Where in Brazil do the Supermodels Come From - Rio Grande do Sul
Gisele Bundchen

It isn’t much of a surprise to Brazilians that two iconic models come from the same state in southern Brazil. It was settled first by Spanish Jesuits who wound up struggling for control with the Portuguese, but later on—in the mid 1800s—it began to see many German and Polish immigrants. A wave of Italian immigrants followed in 1875. Thus, you see many  leggy, slender, dark blonde beauties with green eyes.

Alessandra Ambrosio

Rio Grande do Sul is “gaucho” country—the land of Brazilian cowboys. It’s a little bit like Texas, in the vastness of the land, the independent mindset of people, and the cattle-raising industry. This state also encompasses Brazil’s highland wine-growing region, but countless hundreds of acres are undeveloped and protected.  Aparados da Serra National Park on the Santa Catarina state border contains Itaimbezinho, Brazil’s answer to the Grand Canyon.

Both Ambrosio and Bundchen were born in small towns several hundred miles from the state capital of Porto Alegre. Erechim, the town where Ambrosio was born, used to be nicknamed “The Wheat Capital of Brazil” because wheat farming was the only industry for hundreds of kilometers. Just under two hours from Porto Alegre is another small town called Caxias do Sul that is in the heart of Brazilian wine country. At this town’s annual  Festa da Uva, you’ll see young local girls that look very much like the two iconic supermodels dressed up in traditional regional costumes, being honored as Queen and Princesses of the festival.

South America Cruise Guide: Lais Ribeiro And Piaui

South America Cruise Guide: Where in Brazil do the Supermodels Come From -Piaui
Lais Ribeiro – Piaui

People in the  Northeastern and central Brazilian flyover states are justifiably proud of this homegrown café au lait-skinned beauty who became a Victoria’s Secret model after becoming a mom. She isn’t a famous name in the States, but she walks the same runways and appears in the same photos as the A-listers. And she made it to the international stage in her twenties, instead of rushing into a career at 15 like many models do.

South America Cruise Guide: Where in Brazil do the Supermodels Come From -Piaui
Lais Ribeiro and Jared Homan – Piaui

A little more about the region that brought forth this sultry yet nonchalant beauty: She comes from a state called Piaui, which has multiple major rivers running through it. Hence, they create rich agriculture and trade centers in spite of it being landlocked.  Teresina, the city where Lais grew up, is between two major rivers—the Poti and the Parnaíba. Above all, it is known for high temperatures and low crime rates. Also, it is here that a pharmacist created the non-alcoholic answer to cachaca: it is called cajuina and made of clarified cashew fruit juice.

South America Cruise Guide: Where in Brazil do the Supermodels Come From -Piaui
Teresina – Piaui

Camila Alves – Minas Gerais

South America Cruise Guide: Where Supermodels Come From - Minas Gerais
Camila Alves arriving in Brazil with her husband

Although this casual stunner became famous via her marriage to actor Matthew McConaughey, she is much more than arm candy. From the start, she impressed her Hollywood beau with her genuine family values and very un-Hollywood attitude. After marriage and three children, it seems her career is just getting started: In 2016, she hosted a Food Network show, launched a lifestyle website, and partnered in an organic baby food line.

South America Cruise Guide: Where Supermodels Come From - Minas Gerais
Camila Alves, Matthew McConaughey and kids in Belo Horizonte

The multi-faceted and family-focused Camila comes from Minas Gerais, a densely populated state that is also one of Brazil’s strongest economies. Its economic status dates back to Colonial times, when it was a gold and gemstone mining hub. The state still has many Colonial heritage cities, although its capital Belo Horizonte was actually the first purpose-built and planned city.  It is known as an economic center, but if you visit for recreation, note that it has a booming pub culture (called 

South America Cruise Guide: Where Supermodels Come From - Minas Gerais

Looking for more Brazilian destinations? Check out our post on South America Cruise Food Guide: Cuisines of Brazil – By Region

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