Tag Archives: brazil

‘Ipanema’ song jumps 1,200 percent after Olympics ceremony

“The Girl from Ipanema” has won a gold medal in music streaming following the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics.

Spotify says the song was streamed more than 40,000 times a day after the Olympics kicked off in Rio de Janeiro.

It is 1,200 percent rise for the track, which was typically streamed about 3,000 times a day before the Olympics, the streaming service said.

Supermodel Gisele Bundchen walked onstage during the opening ceremony while “The Girl from Ipanema” played.

The Grammy-winning song was released in 1964.

Antonio Carlos Jobim wrote the song as a tribute to a girl he fell in love with as she left Ipanema Beach, one of Rio’s iconic beaches.

It is arguably Brazil’s most recognizable song internationally.

On the Web

About the tune.

Argentina and Germany have a rich history in World Cup

Diego Maradona was reportedly so struck by stage fright that he called for his mother’s help as Argentina players sat in silence in their changing room before the 1986 World Cup final against West Germany.

But it was Maradona who provided the moment of brilliance that decided the game and gave Argentina its second title before 114,800 fans at the Azteca stadium in Mexico City. Four years later, Maradona was in tears as the Germans lifted the title in Rome’s Olympic stadium.

Argentina and Germany have a long and emotional World Cup rivalry involving some of the best players to grace the game. When they face each other again on Sunday in Rio De Janeiro’s Maracana Stadium, it will be the third World Cup final between the teams – something no other two nations have accomplished.

The 1986 and 1990 finals are still two of the most talked about games in football history.

In 1986, Maradona was at the summit of his career and scored all four of Argentina’s goals in the quarterfinals and semifinals – including the “hand of God” against England. Franz Beckenbauer was in charge of Germany in his first major tournament as coach.

Germany’s camp was in disarray, and goalkeeper Uli Stein was sent home for insulting Beckenbauer. Journalists shared a hotel with the players and their nightly escapades became tabloid lore.

But the Germans plodded on and beat France 2-0 in the semifinals, even though the Michel Platini-led French team had been widely expected to face Argentina in the final.

And so, in the noon-time heat of the awe-inspiring Azteca, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Maradona led their sides out. The Germany captain was playing injured throughout the tournament and had not scored.

Jose Luis Brown’s header and Jorge Valdano’s goal on a counterattack gave Argentina a 2-0 lead and Maradona’s team appeared to be cruising. Then the Germans struck back.

Rummenigge and substitute Rudi Voeller scored from Andreas Brehme’s free kicks and suddenly it was 2-2 with eight minutes to play.

Maradona had been marked by Lothar Matthaeus, who did a good job throughout the match. But with the Germans trying to use the momentum and grab the winner, the ball took a weird bounce in midfield and Maradona sent Jorge Burruchaga racing with a deft left-foot flick. Burruchaga beat the offside trap and Argentina had the title.

Years later, Valdano told Germany’s Spiegel magazine that Maradona was so nervous before the final that he called for his mother, Tota.

“‘Tota, come and help me, I am afraid, you must help me,'” Valdano described the scene as Maradona broke the pre-match silence in the dressing room.

Four years after that game, Beckenbauer became the first man to win the World Cup as both player and coach.

Germany dominated the final, outshooting Argentina 23-1 but the South Americans held on despite having two men sent off, Pedro Monzon and Gustavo Dezotti, a first for a World Cup final.

The match was decided by a disputed penalty in the 85th minute that was converted by Brehme with a low shot inside the post. Matthaeus had been the designated penalty taker, but he did not trust his shoes and left it for Brehme.

Matthaeus began the match with a pair of shoes he got as a gift from Maradona. But the right shoe came apart during the first half and Matthaeus had to get a new pair during the break. He did not feel comfortable enough to take the penalty.

A furious Maradona broke into tears as he blamed the referee for the loss. Beckenbauer walked alone on the grass of the Olympic stadium in a reflective mood as his players celebrated. In 2010, Maradona was in charge of the Argentina team when it lost 4-0 to Germany in the quarterfinals, ending his second career as national team coach.

After the 1990 match, Beckenbauer predicted that a reunited Germany would be virtually unbeatable.

However, Germany is still waiting for its fourth title, having lost the 2002 final to Brazil. Argentina hasn’t been back on this stage until now – and again faces a familiar opponent.

FIFA investigates claims of anti-gay slurs by Mexico fans

FIFA said on June 19 it was investigating claims that Mexico fans chanted anti-gay slurs during their opening match against Cameroon.

FIFA said “disciplinary proceedings were opened against Mexico for improper conduct of spectators” last Friday in Natal.

The same chants were heard during Mexico’s second match against Brazil in Fortaleza earlier this week. They are often heard at matches is Mexico, usually as a keeper takes a goal kick.

“FIFA takes a firm, zero-tolerance stand against any form of discrimination or racism,” FIFA said in a statement.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter and Brazil President Dilma Rousseff have pledged to use the World Cup as a platform to fight racism and discrimination.

Fare, the European fan-monitoring group, has also alerted FIFA to far-right banners displayed by Croatia and Russia fans inside stadiums.

FIFA spokeswoman Delia Fischer said no inquiry had been opened against any country other than Mexico.

Fischer said FIFA would make no other comment about the case because the investigation was “on-going.”

Brazil to stop killing of pink dolphins

Brazil will temporarily ban the catch of a type of catfish in an effort to halt the killing of the Amazon pink dolphin, whose flesh is used as bait, the Fishing and Aquaculture Ministry said this week.

Ministry spokesman Ultimo Valadares said the government is working out the details of a five-year moratorium on fishing of the species called piracatinga that is expected to go into effect early next year.

“That should give us enough time to find an alternative bait for the piracatinga,” Valadares said by phone.

Nivia do Campo, president of an environmental activist group in the northern jungle state of Amazonas, welcomed the news because more than 1,500 freshwater dolphins are killed annually in the Mamiraua Reserve where she studies the mammals.

She said that since 2000, when fishermen started slaughtering them for bait, the number of dolphins living on the reserve has been dropping by about 10 percent a year. The reserve currently has a population of about 13,000 dolphins.

Poor fishermen are encouraged to use dolphin flesh as bait by merchants from neighboring Colombia, a big market for that species, de Campo said.

Known as the “water vulture” because it thrives on decomposing matter in rivers, the piracatinga is not consumed by people living along the rivers of the Amazon region.

The pink dolphin is under threat, “and if nothing is done to stop the killing it will become extinct,” de Campo added. “That is why the moratorium is excellent news. It will allow us to discover other baits fishermen can and continue earning money selling piracatinga she said.

The moratorium will also help stop the killing of the Amazon caiman, whose flesh is also used as bait to catch piracatinga.

For centuries, the pink dolphins have been revered by locals and protected by myth. According to one tale, the dolphins transform into handsome men and leave the water at night, seducing local women before returning to the river. Many consider it bad luck to kill them.

Global study: Sharp rise in killings over environment, land rights

Killings of people protecting the environment and rights to land increased sharply between 2002 and 2013 as competition for natural resources intensifies.

A new report from Global Witness shows that at least 908 people are known to have died during the period. Disputes over industrial logging, mining and land rights the key drivers, and Latin America and Asia-Pacific particularly hard hit.

Released in the year of the 25th anniversary of the assassination of Brazilian rubber tapper and environmental activist Chico Mendes, the report — Deadly Environment — highlights a severe shortage of information or monitoring of the problem, according to Global Witness.

“It has never been more important to protect the environment, and it has never been more deadly,” said Oliver Courtney of Global Witness. “There can be few starker or more obvious symptoms of the global environmental crisis than a dramatic upturn in killings of ordinary people defending rights to their land or environment. Yet this rapidly worsening problem is going largely unnoticed, and those responsible almost always get away with it. We hope our findings will act as the wake-up call that national governments and the international community clearly need.”

Key findings in Deadly Environment:

• At least 908 people were killed in 35 countries protecting rights to land and the environment between 2002 and 2013, with the death rate rising in the last four years to an average of two activists a week.

• 2012 was the worst year so far to be an environmental defender, with 147 killings — nearly three times more than in 2002.

• Only 10 perpetrators are known to have been convicted between 2002 and 2013, just over 1 percent of the overall incidence of killings.

• The problem is particularly acute in Latin America and South East Asia. Brazil is the most dangerous place to defend rights to land and the environment, with 448 killings, followed by Honduras (109) and the Philippines (67).

The problem is exacerbated by a lack of systematic monitoring or information. Where cases are recorded, they are often seen in isolation or treated as a subset of other human rights or environmental issues. The victims themselves often do not know their rights or are unable to assert them because of lack of resources in their often remote and risky circumstances.

John Knox, UN Independent Expert on Human Rights and the Environment said, “Human rights only have meaning if people are able to exercise them. Environmental human rights defenders work to ensure that we live in an environment that enables us to enjoy our basic rights, including rights to life and health. The international community must do more to protect them from the violence and harassment they face as a result.”

Indigenous communities are particularly hard hit. In many cases, their land rights are not recognized by law or in practice, leaving them open to exploitation by economic interests.

The group said land rights form the backdrop to most of the known killings, as companies and governments routinely strike secretive deals for land and forests to grow cash crops like rubber, palm oil and soya. At least 661 of the killings took place in the context of conflicts over the ownership, control and use of land, in combination with other factors. The report focuses in detail on the situation in Brazil, where land disputes and industrial logging are key drivers, and the Philippines, where violence appears closely linked to the mining sector.

“This rapidly worsening situation appears to be hidden in plain sight, and that has to change. The year of the last Rio Summit, 2012, was the deadliest on record. Delegates gathering for climate talks in Peru this year must heed this warning — protection of the environment is now a key battleground for human rights. While governments quibble over the text of new global agreements, at the local level more people than ever around the world are already putting their lives on the line to protect the environment,” said Andrew Simms of Global Witness, “At the very least, to start making good on official promises to stop climate change, governments should protect and support those personally taking a stand.”

The report also underlines that rising fatalities are the most acute and measurable end of a range of threats including intimidation, violence, stigmatization and criminalization. The number of deaths points to a much greater level of non-lethal violence and intimidation, which the research did not document but requires urgent and effective action.

Global Witness, in releasing the report, called for a more coordinated and concerted effort to monitor and tackle the situation and for companies to carry out effective checks on their operations and supply chains to make sure they do no harm.

Pope Francis says he won’t judge gay priests

Pope Francis, returning to Rome from a hugely popular trip to Brazil, said this morning that he won’t judge gay priests.

The Associated Press said the leader of the Roman Catholic Church chatted with reporters during a 22-minute news conference at the Vatican.

On the issue of priests who are gay, Pope Francis said, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

Francis’ predecessor, Benedict XVI, in 2005, had signed a document saying that gays were not fit to serve as priests.

Responding to the morning’s news, Chad Griffin of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBT civil rights group in the United States, said, “While Pope Francis’s words do not reflect a shift in church policy, they represent a significant change in tone. Like his namesake, Francis’s humility and respect for human dignity are showing through, and the widespread positive response his words have received around the world reveals that Catholics everywhere are thirsty for change.”

Griffin also said, “But as long as millions of LGBT Catholic individuals, couples and youth alike are told in churches big and small that their lives and their families are disordered and sinful because of how they are born – how God made them – then the church is sending a deeply harmful message. One’s sexuality is an immutable characteristic and every leading medical and mental health organization has declared that attempts to change or suppress that fact are profoundly damaging. It’s time to send positive and affirming messages to all people, because the Bible is clear. All people have dignity in themselves and in their love for one another. It’s time for church teaching to reflect that simple fact.”

Kasana brings culinary vision to Third Ward

Food is an art form to Ana Docta, president of the Kasana Group, a collection of culinary enterprises promoting a rich mélange of fine, nutritious and sustainable dining for Milwaukee foodies. Docta hopes to make Kasana’s adjoining bistro, gallery and commercial kitchen at 241 N. Broadway into the city’s premier gastro-hub and culinary incubator for budding chefs.

Docta has a strong culinary background on which to base her ambitions. A native of Argentina, she formerly served as a corporate food and beverage consultant and owned a restaurant in Porto Allegre, Brazil, before moving to the United States. In addition to Latin American influences, Docta’s food exhibits a strong commitment to health and nutrition, an appreciation gained during her formal training as a ballet dancer.

“When I cook, I want people to understand the different facets of the process – the smell, texture, consistency, flavor and comfort found in food,” says Docta, who owns the business with her husband Peter. “Fine dining does not have to be snobbish, but for me it does have to exhilarate my senses.”

Docta learned a lot from her father and mother, who ran an Italian restaurant and a candy kitchen, respectively, in her native country. Her enterprise’s name is a fanciful contraction of Casa de Ana, Spanish for “Ana’s house.”

“I just changed the ‘C’ to a ‘K’ to make it a little more funky,” she says.

Although Docta has been running a Milwaukee catering business for five years, specializing in “pop-up” dinners in homes and businesses around the Milwaukee area, the Kasana Group only began operating in the Third Ward space formerly occupied by Broadway Bistro & Bakery in January. Located on the ground floor, Kasana Café & Bistro is the business’ most visible component. It serves breakfast, brunch and light dinner fare, much of if drawn from Docta’s Latin-American heritage, with a nod to healthy, often vegetarian and gluten-free cuisine. 

The bistro’s Tortilla Espanola, baked with organic eggs, potatoes and carrots, is gluten-free and vegetarian. The three types of empanadas – one each with beef, chicken and a spinach-and-mushroom blend – feature organic ingredients. As much as possible, the menu is sourced from local providers.

The downstairs location also serves as headquarters for Kasana Gourmet, Docta’s long-standing catering operation; Kasana Good-to-Go, a line of take-away and vending machine items made from fresh, wholesome ingredients; and the Kasana Collective, a membership-based, shared-space commercial kitchen for budding food entrepreneurs who want to break into the market but don’t have their own commercial facilities.

Caroline Carter, owner of Chef Caroline’s Raw & Vegan Cuisine, regularly uses the 3,500-square-foot commercial kitchen to produce a line of crackers and other “unbaked” goods that emphasize nutritive value. Carter credits good nutrition with helping her to overcome a lifetime of depression. The Kasana Collective has enabled her to commercialize her passion for preparing and serving healthy foods.

“For small food producers like myself it’s difficult to find a licensed commercial kitchen that’s affordable,” says Carter, who plans to sell her products at various local markets and specialty food stores. “To be able to produce my food and do what I love is awesome.”

Carter’s approach perfectly suits the Kasana Collective’s goals, and her products extend Milwaukee’s culinary culture in meaningful ways, Docta stresses. Carter is one of several collective members whose goods are for sale in the bistro.

“Kasana is a values-driven business based on socially conscious and responsible practices, following the triple bottom-line construct of people, planet and profit,” Docta says. “We strive to generate positive social impact by creating jobs and providing wider access to healthy food.”

The bistro’s checkout counter also offers Docta’s baked items, including: alfajores, stuffed Argentine cookies made from organic wheat and available wrapped in coconut, pistachios, ground peanuts and chocolate; dry fruit bons bons, made from organic dates, organic walnuts and whiskey; assorted organic chocolate truffles; and other dessert items.

The gallery adjoining the bistro takes the enterprise’s artistic mission beyond cuisine. The walls are covered with for-sale paintings and photographs by local artists. It’s an aspect of expression that beautifully complements the restaurant’s creative cuisine, Docta says.

On May 3, Kasana took the artistic concept one step further by presenting a floral design workshop featuring Michael Gaffney, a nationally known designer who has both his roots and one of his schools firmly planted in the Milwaukee area. 

Gaffney, who has designed for clients from coast to coast and whose work was seen in the film “Black Swan,” taught the elements of exquisite floral design during a two-part, nearly four-hour session in the gallery’s adjoining exhibition space. Each student received a copy of Gaffney’s book “Design Star.”

“Kasana stands for quality, innovation and community empowerment,” Docta says. “We emphasize improving the quality of life of our customers, our employees, our communities and the environment.”

For more, visit www.kasana-mke.com.

Gay marriage rights advanced in Brazil

Brazilian notary publics must register same-sex civil unions as marriages if the couple requests it, the country’s National Council of Justice said on May 14.

The council that oversees the country’s judiciary said in a statement that notary publics cannot refuse to marry gay couples or convert a same-sex civil union into a marriage if that’s what the pair wants.

The council based its decision on a 2011 Supreme Court ruling that recognized same-sex civil unions. The court said at the time that gay couples are entitled to same legal rights as heterosexual pairs when it comes to alimony, retirement benefits of a partner who dies and inheritances, among other issues.

Those opposed to the council’s ruling can file an appeal with the Supreme Court.

Fourteen of Brazil’s 27 states so far have legalized same-same marriages.

Efforts in Congress to approve a bill legalizing gay marriage across the nation have been thwarted by conservative evangelical legislators.

Gay rights movements cheered the council’s decision.

“It is a major step that will ensure equality among heterosexual and homosexual couples,” Carlos Magno Fonseca, president of the Brazilian Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Association told reporters.

Last year, 1,277 same-sex couples registered such civil unions with notary publics.

Brazil human rights commission bans outsiders to quiet protests

The Commission for Human Rights and Minorities of the lower house of Brazil’s Congress has banned the presence of outsiders from its sessions to keep out protesters demanding the resignation of its president, evangelical pastor Marco Feliciano.

The decision to hold closed sessions was taken late April 3.

Critics say that statements made by Congressman Feliciano of the Christian Social Party show that he is homophobic and racist. Feliciano was elected to head the commission last month.

On his Twitter page, Feliciano recently said that AIDS was a “gay cancer” and that Africa has been “cursed since the times of Noah,” which explains the poverty, violence and disease afflicting that continent.

Feliciano denies being homophobic or a racist and has said he would not resign.

“I am not homophobic,” Feliciano said in a recent sermon. “I am against their promiscuity. I don’t want my daughters to go out on the streets and see men with shaved legs kissing each other. The Brazilian family must be respected.”

Avaaz, the largest online campaigning organization in Brazil, said Feliciano should step down.

“Feliciano has proved repeatedly that he is inappropriate for this post. His last move to kick people out of the House is unprecedented. Democracy has been suspended at the Human Rights Commission and the Christian Social Party must give him marching orders now,” the group said Thursday in an email .

Celebrities have also come out against Feliciano.

On Wednesday, actor Bruno Gagliasso posted on Instagram a photo of him kissing fellow actor Matheus Nachtergaele, and on his Twitter page he wrote: “The less you know the more you judge.”

Also on April 3, Daniela Mercury, one of Brazil’s most popular singers told the G1 news website that she was in a lesbian relationship with journalist Malu Vercosa and added, “I am in love with Malu, with Brazil, with individual freedoms. We cannot ignore the conquests we have achieved. We cannot walk backward like the Felicianos of the world.'”

Transgender models are a sensation on Brazil’s catwalks

Walking the catwalk in a Brazilian bikini is a nerve-racking experience for even the most seasoned of models, but for Felipa Tavares it’s nothing short of terrifying.

The 6-foot-tall Tavares is among Brazil’s small but growing ranks of transgender models – leggy, high-cheekboned sirens who were born with male bodies and are causing a splash here as well as in Paris and other international fashion capitals.

Though they emerged onto the scene here just around two years ago, Brazil’s so-called trans-models have already added a pinch of exoticism to the country’s showcase modeling sector – long dominated by blonde women such as Brazilian uber-model Gisele Bundchen. The trans-models’ newfound prominence also points to a seismic shift in Brazilian society, which has seen macho, homophobic attitudes soften in recent years as gays win more legal rights.

“We are in the 21st century and there is just more tolerance in the air. Here in Brazil we now have gay mayors, gay lawmakers,” said Sergio Mattos, director of the Rio-based modeling agency 40 Graus Models. “So why not trans-models? The world has evolved and now discrimination is, thankfully, becoming a thing of the past.”

In the fashion world, gender ambivalence has been a la mode since the 1970s with the emergence of glam rock and its poster child, David Bowie. But today’s trans-model trend exploded with Lea T., a 5-foot-11-inch stunner who catapulted to international stardom in 2010 as the muse of coveted Paris couture label Givenchy. Born a boy to Brazilian soccer-star Leandro Cerezo, the wild-maned brunette model appeared last year on the cover of edgy British fashion magazine Love, where she’s shown locked in a smoldering kiss with supermodel Kate Moss.

Mattos, the eagle-eyed former head of Elite models in Brazil who’s best known for discovering a gangly Bundchen at age 14, and other top models including Ana Beatriz Barros and Isabeli Fontana, said he jumped on the trans-train almost by accident.

Mattos was giving a two-day basics-of-modeling class to Tavares, unaware of her gender history. Impressed by her raven locks and enormous doe eyes, Mattos offered her a spot among the 200 models he represents.

“It wasn’t till I saw her ID with her birth name that I realized she wasn’t born a woman,” said Mattos. “I thought, ‘What the hell, let’s give her a shot.””

In some ways, the trans-models have a proverbial leg up on their female colleagues, Mattos said. Unlike even the thinnest of women, who often fight cellulite and stretch marks, the trans-models have long, sinewy limbs unscarred by such typically female afflictions. Once they’ve lasered away facial or body hair, they can sometimes look more feminine than models who were born female.

With her sharp features and lanky silhouette, 26-year-old Tavares said she’d always harbored vague dreams of becoming a model. But growing up a boy in the interior of Minas Gerais state, far from Brazil’s glitzy coastal metropolises of Rio and Sao Paulo, it always felt like something of a pipe dream, said the model.

“As a kid, I remember being so uncomfortable in the boys’ clothes my parents dressed me in. I never played football and I just wanted to hang around with the girls, playing dolls or dress-up,” said Tavares, who goes by the feminized version of her birth name, Felipe. But it wasn’t until her late teens that, thanks to some Internet research, she learned about transsexuality and sought out the hormone treatments that have allowed her to transition into womanhood.

The hormones filled out her hips and gave her small breasts, while laser treatments erased any trace of the light beard she once had. Cascading locks of artfully layered hair mask her sharp Adam’s apple.

“Strangers started approaching me in the street, and every time it happened, I was so scared they were going to chew me out for being a transsexual,” she said. “But actually, they all wanted to tell me I should become a model.”

Tavares is still saving money for the $15,000 sex reassignment surgery that will give her female genitalia. Still, that hasn’t stopped her from donning itsy-bitsy bikinis in ad campaigns for Brazilian swimwear labels. Walking the catwalk in a swimsuit, however, is still a prospect that frightens her.

“The bikinis here are so tiny, the idea of wearing one in a show, with the lights and the cameras and everyone looking at you, it’s super scary,” she said.

Carol Marra, a 25-year-old transgender who is also with Mattos’ modeling agency, became a cause celebre at Rio fashion week last May when she sported swimwear on the runway. The 5-foot-11 brunette model, who has had breast implants and the tip of her nose fixed, said she plans to undergo sex-reassignment surgery next month.

A journalist by training, Marra worked for a local TV station before her trademark androgynous style launched her career as a fashion stylist.

“The photographers I worked with were always saying, ‘You should model, let me take pictures of you.’ But I was really shy and I didn’t want to be in front of the camera,” said Marra, who also hails from Minas Gerais state. Eventually, she agreed to pose for a friend, she said, and those photos led to other photos and to a modeling career that took off about a year and a half ago.

Since then, she’s enjoyed remarkable success, doing a whirlwind of commercial work, as well as her much-hyped appearances at Fashion Rio and Sao Paulo fashion week and a nearly nude cover of men’s magazine Trip.

Still, being a transgender remains a double-edged sword in Brazil, said Marra. She’s been rejected for jobs because clients were worried that she would send the “wrong message” to customers. Scenes she shot for a pharmacy commercial ended up on the editing room floor when the client panicked at the last minute.

The head of a gay, lesbian and transgender advocacy group, Toni Reis, cautioned that success on the runway doesn’t mean transgenders are out of the woods yet.

Despite its international reputation as a haven for transgendered people, 114 trans people have been killed in Brazil this year to date. Brazil and Thailand are reputed to have among the world’s largest trans populations.

“These were people killed in terrible ways, stabbed 40 times, their heads split open with a machete,” said Reis. “They were not victims of the sort of everyday violence we see here in Brazil, like armed robberies and such, but rather the victims of homophobia.

“Within the gay community,” he said, “transsexuals continue to be the most vulnerable group, by far.”

Nonetheless, the gay rights movement has made major headway in Brazil, the world’s largest Catholic country. A 2011 decision by the nation’s high court to recognize same-sex civil unions was hailed as a watershed, although it stopped short of legalizing gay marriage.

In a major coup for transgendered people, nearly all Brazil’s 26 states have so-called “common name” laws on the books, requiring school teachers to call trans students by the names they go by, as opposed to their birth names, activists said.

Transgenders are even entering the mainstream media and culture.

Last year, the top-rated reality show Big Brother Brazil featured its first transgender contestant and a transgender also competed late last month in the second annual Miss Bumbum competition, a beauty contest that focuses exclusively on Brazil’s most obsessed-over part of the female anatomy.

There’s even talk that TV Globo, Brazil’s No. 1 broadcaster, might soon include a transgender character in one of its prime-time soap operas.

Trans-model Marra said she’s been thinking about taking acting classes, just in case the opportunity should arise.

“You know fashion is fickle, what’s in one day is out the next,” said Marra. “I hope trans models are not just a trend, to be dropped like a hot potato next season.”