Saturday, November 13, 2010

Latina Models

We haven’t spent a lot of time in class talking about Latinas in fashion, but it is very closely related to our discussions on how Latinas are portrayed in the media, and this weekend I came across something that relates to both. This weekend I found out that there is a $2 Million bra, and Adriana Lima, a Brazilian model, was chosen to model it during the annual Victoria’s Secrets runway show.

Then I remembered that Gisele Bündchen is also a Brazilian model who used to be a Victoria’s Secrets angel, so I decided to look up all of the Victoria’s Secrets current models and found out that most of them are from the USA and Brazil. The Brazilian models include Alessandra Ambrosio, Ana Beatriz Barros, Adriana Lima, Caroline Trentini, Emanuela de Paula, Flavia de Oliveira, Isabeli Fontana, and Izabel Goulartl; a total of eight Brazilian models. Of course, this comes to no surprise, since Brazilian women are popular for being sexy and exotic.

Since Adriana Lima is one of the most famous one I decided to look at some of her commercials, and surprise surprised, I couldn’t find one where she actually talks. She is usually in group commercials such as this and this, both from Victoria's Secrets, where no talking is required, but in other commercials she doesn't talk either, such as the super bowl commercial and a maybelline mascara commercial. I love this maybelline commercial. "Want lashes that make a dramatic statement?" "Intense XXL!" "Extra, extra length." "Beautifully oversize." And who better to sell this product than a Latina? Also, did anyone notice the soccer ball at 0:19? How very South American.

The reason she doesn't speak in commercials might be because of her accent, which you can hear here and here. In the first one her accent actually causes some misunderstanding, and although both of them handle it playfully it is still noticeable. I just thought I should point it out because other VS models, such as Miranda Kerr, an Australian model, do speak in commercials, such as this one.

Apart from Brazilian models, there is also one Dominican model, Alernis Sosa, and another of Dominican heritage, Sessilee Lopez. Lopez however, is also African American and Portuguese, so she markets herself as an African American model, and she was even in Vogue Italia's "All-Black" issue with Naomi Campbell.


  1. It's strange because you would think ( like the Australian model who speaks) that hearing her speak would only add to the exotic rather than hinder. Usually people love hearing accents, especially from beautiful women because ot enhances their eroticism. Strange the stigma still applies in cases like these.

    Ashley Russell

  2. I don’t think Adriana Lima’s accent is too strong in any of the two “speaking” clips, it’s actually a little difficult to place her accent in both of these clips. I guess that she probably practices on hiding her accent beforehand in both clips, since she knew that both interviews would have been shown to wide audiences. I’m attaching another Adriana Lima speaking clip below, which is a pretty informal exchange she had for Esquire Magazine; in this clip, her natural accent comes out a lot more. It’s very easy to distinguish the Brazilian accent in this clip – note that she tries to not pronounce “r” as “h”, the exaggerated forced vowels, and the drawn out consonants at the end of the words.

    However, her accent almost disappears if she knows her lines before her English-speaking roles. She guest-starred in Ugly Betty a while back, and I’m attaching the clip below. Her accent is very polished, and I was pleased by the show’s refreshing portrayal of Lima an intelligent, sharp-witted model that can solve a Rubix cube in a minute and has no trouble with the Sunday Times Crossword.

    Esquire Interview

    Ugly Betty

  3. You can definitely tell in both of those clips where you can hear Adriana speak that her English is not perfect and she had trouble connecting her words in a grammatically correct way, although we can figure out what she means. However, I wanted to touch on what Ashley commented above. Usually accents (especially coming from a Brazilian Victoria's Secret model!), are a sign of exoticism and simply add to the appeal of the "foreign beauty". You would think that she would speak in more of the commercials she is in to play upon the sexiness of her being foreign.
    I also find it interesting that in the Ugly Betty clip that Tianya posted in her comment, Adriana is portrayed as much more intelligent, perhaps because her accent seems to disappear? As if those who speak "better English", not because of ignorance or stupor but simply because they are not from America or because English is their second language, are perceived as being much more sharp and intelligent.