Note fro BW of Brazil: Salvador, Bahia, in Brazil’s northeast, is known internationally for the strong African influence on its culture. And this influence can noted in the music, groups such as Ilê Ayê, the vast numbers of terreiros (houses of worship) and of course, the skin tones, hair textures and overall physical features of the majority of the population. As such, what better city to host the Afro Fashion Day parade with a cast of attractive brown-skinned models, both masculine and feminine? The agency promoting the event brings exposure and opportunities to black models who may otherwise have been ignored. Why would that be? Because equal to the rest of the country, even in ‘Black Bahia’ there is a not so subtle desire to shine the spotlight on Bahians with a more European appearance. Remember the controversial beauty contest full of light/white-skinned models? Or the blatant display of Bahian apartheid during Carnaval? Well, with the yearly celebration of the Month of Black Consciousness in full swing, we won’t worry too much about that; let the celebration of blackness continue!
In Salvador, Bahia, models participate in selection for Afro Fashion Day parade
In total, 110 guys and girls went to Rede Bahia to try and enter the casting of the parade that takes place on November 20th, the Day of Black Consciousness
By Gabriela Cruz and Verena Paranhos
Strut over here, make a face, pose over there. This was the process through which 110 models went in the selection for Afro Fashion Day (AFD). The second edition of the event will be held by the Correio newspaper on the Day of Black Consciousness, celebrated on November 20th. Approximately 60 models will go up on the catwalk mounted on the Praça da Cruz Caída (square), in the Historic Downtown. The team will also include artists and black personality guests.
The selection took place from Wednesday (2nd) until Friday (4th), at Rede Bahia. Eight agencies and bookers took their models by betting on three requirements. “We are looking for black people who know how to walk on the catwalk and have attitude. Beauty they all have. It’s a very varied casting, with different styles, coming from the caricature. Everything to do with the concept of Afro Fashion Day,” reveals the producer Fagner Bispo, who handled the production of the parade.
Last year, the AFD opened doors for Bahian models to win over the world. This is the case of the twins Juan and Raul Santos, 19 years old. “I used the parade material to present them to an agency in the Philippines. It added a lot because it’s an open, well-produced event. They’re finding the greatest success in Asia, have already been on a magazine cover, featured in advertising campaigns,” celebrates scouter Viny Vasconcellus.
This time he took 24 names for the sieve, among them, Lavinia Duarte, 18, who was born with a deficiency in her right leg and is a photographic model. If selected, it will be the girl’s first time on the catwalk.
Already Suellen Massena, who participated in the first edition of the project, uses the experience of 12 years as a top model to return to the event as a booker. “All my life I’ve seen big parades where the walkway was totally white and no one as bothered (by this), except blacks,” said the model and businesswoman.
For her, the great merit of the AFD is to value a large part of the population that is not represented. “It’s for the bakery girl who identifies herself, for my proud grandmother, because she’s no used to seeing blacks in television commercials. We have to make it happen, no matter what the market is like, you have to face it,” she says.
Last year, Dandhy Braz, 21, was one of those girls who were impressed by the universe of beauty and self-assertion created by AFD. She was in the Praça da Cruz Caída, but far from the spotlight. “I worked at Najara Black’s booth. I felt the energy, I was there on the side, but it was as if I wasn’t. I never imagined that I could climb the catwalk a year later,” said the young woman, in the crowd to enter the hall of the chosen ones.
In anticipation of what Afro Fashion Day can bring to the beginners, Sivaldo Tavares took 11 young people to the selection. She participates in a charity modeling project that he develops every Saturday in Largo de Pedro Archanjo, in the Pelourinho district. “I make room for plus size, small children, adults and children with issues that will be useful throughout their lives in different professions. Participating in the AFD is a great opportunity for those with a market profile to see that it is worthwhile to train, learn and be dedicated,” says the booker.
Also participating in the selection were models of the agencies Mega Salvador, Raí Fotografia, Park Models, Bi Produções, Model Club and One Models. This last one has already confirmed the four winners of the 18th edition of the Beleza Black contest in the parade. “We have a similar proposal, by empowering and exalting blacks even more in the advertising market and in the society of Bahia,” explains Pepê Santos, producer of the event and a booker of One Models.
Source: Correio 24 Horas