Founder of Afrovibe™
THE BEAUTY TALK
WHAT PART OF YOUR FEMININITY DO YOU FEEL EMPOWERING? IS IT LINKED TO THIS AFRICAN CULTURE YOU ARE PROMOTING SINCE IT HAS BECOME SUCH A HUGE PART OF YOUR JOB AND LIFE OR IT IS COMPLETELY INDEPENDENT AND YOU FIND YOUR STRENGTH FROM ELSE WERE?
I think it’s a bit connected. I heard from some of my students that the dancing part is very empowering because it is not only about getting fitter, it is about getting to know your body. We have a lot of movements with the hips, the chest, the breasts… you open yourself to your own self. You change your attitude and not necessarily your body. At the beginning I didn’t even understand that it was about that. I was not focused on my femininity. But then I saw how many women I helped to feel better and we know how tough it is to be a woman in this world!
WHAT PRODUCT OR PART OF YOUR ROUTINE YOU COULDN’T LIVE WITHOUT ?
Coconut! I use everything that comes from it!
Coconut oil: for my skin, for my hair and in my food. I always put some in my coffee, because it extends the effects of caffeine. I also use it to cook. For my skin at night it is the perfect remedy against pimples! Against wrinkles too, let's not forget I am 38 years-old! But only at night because it is too oily to use during the day. For my hair which is very dry, it is the best product! So once a week, before going to bed, I put coconut oil on my hair, brush it and sleep on it. In the morning I wash it very carefully to make sure I get rid of all the oil, as when I give my classes it is often outdoors and I wouldn’t want the sun to burn my hair.
Coconut water: it is the best with all the nutrients it contains!
Coconut flesh: I eat it dry and I love it. You know, everyone is always telling me how "beautiful" my skin is (laughs). I guess it has a lot to do with what I eat!
YOU SEEM TO BE COOKING A LOT WHEN WE TAKE A LOOK AT YOUR INSTAGRAM. DO YOU FIND IT EASY TO BE A VEGETARIAN IN RIO?
It can be complicated, plus it is quite expensive. All my money goes to food. Every Saturday I go to the organic market of Leme. You won’t find everything like you would in a market in France or in the U.S.A but at least you have some nice salads and fruits, but as I don’t eat 100% organic it’s fine. I try to do a refill for the week there and then I buy the rest in a Mundo Verde shop. I specifically go to the one in Ipanema because not all of them sell the same products exactly.
I like to cook but sometimes I don’t have time to, so I go with simple and fast recipes like lentils with quinoa, or banana shake…
Also I try not to buy anything from street food stands. I usually carry a snack in my bag in order not to be tempted! The only thing would be the fruits… Here we have a lot of juice bars, which are actually cheap in price and delicious! My favorite combination: pineapple with coconut water. I love going to Natu in Leme but BB Lanches is the place! There I always have the coconut shake: coconut water and sugar-free coconut milk… So good, I love it!
WE WITNESS A COMEBACK TO THE “AU NATUREL” VIBE: GIRLS ARE PROUD TO SHOW THEIR AMAZING AFRO HAIR WITHOUT HAVING TO ABIDE BY THE CANONS OF OCCIDENTAL BEAUTY. DO YOU FEEL THERE IS A REAL REVOLUTION HERE OR IS IT JUST A TREND?
Here in Brazil it isn’t just a trend that will pass. There are so much problems with racism; being black here is complicated. So a lot of women now refuse to put chemicals on their hair not only because of health concerns but also as a statement. They are proud of their looks and aren’t afraid anymore of being who they are.
IT’S INTERESTING BECAUSE LIKE YOU SAID THERE IS THIS FEAR OF BEING YOURSELF BUT AT THE SAME TIME I FEEL RIO IS A CITY WHERE THERE IS LESS BODY SHAMING THAN ELSEWHERE. THE BEACH IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE TO ILLUSTRATE THIS; AS A WOMAN, IT IS AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE TO SEE HOW WOMEN CELEBRATE THEIR BODY AND ARE PROUD TO SHOW THEIR CURVES.
Yes but there is a difference between the body and the hair. An afro has more meaning in terms of origins. I feel it everyday; for example yesterday I was walking down the street and a complete stranger yelled at me that I should have a haircut if I wanted to pass through doors as it is so big… I mean, even if it is just a joke, still, I don’t know who you are, so why would you talk to me like that? I am fine with who I am, but imagine a 15 year-old, still growing-up, it could be disastrous.
Some black people here even don’t consider themselves black! They have the term “morena” here. Which means “brunette” and is used to describe light-skinned black people in order to avoid the “black” word! There is no such thing as “morena” for me. You are black! So this is why wearing an afro can really become a statement to stay true to your origins here.
Obviously it can also be a simple question of aesthetics like when white women straighten their hair or when they curl it in order to get more volume!
WHAT SPECIFIC BEAUTY HABIT THAT BRAZILIAN WOMEN HAVE DID YOU ADOPT?
I like the fact they have their nails done every week! Today I have very bad nails and feel ashamed (laughs). I think it is a bit superficial but I like it!
DO YOU EVER WEAR MAKE-UP?
I should but pffffff. Sometimes I wear some when I perform. I try to do my brows with the goof proof brow pencil from Benefit, and then I put some mascara on. I like the Telescopic from L'Oréal.
AND APART FROM THE COCONUT OIL, HOW DO YOU TREAT YOUR SKIN?
Even though the local culture is beauty oriented here in Brazil, I have a problem with the products used which contain a lot of chemicals! I am very into natural products. That is also a reason why I don’t wear make-up.
So for my skin I buy all my products in France. I like the organic brand “Melvita” that has a lot of products with eau de bleuet, eau de rose… I love the hydrating day cream rose infusion, I love the fresh micellar water, I love exfoliating too with their products. I clean my face with a micellar water from the organic french brand Léa Nature. Here in Brazil the only beauty brand that I like is Granado.
I use a 50 spf sunscreen from a new brand called Laboratoires de Biarritz. You can go under water, it doesn’t come out and it is totally organic! I always struggle to find products that are organic and efficient at the same time. Well this one really does both and is perfect!
SOMEONE TOLD ME YOU HAD AN AMAZING TIP TO GET RID OF CELLULITE...
Ahhhhh yes! My problem is cellulite. It is hereditary. My mum has plenty and even if I am a sportswoman, I have some. So I came up with a ritual. First of all I hydrate everyday. Second of all I scrub a lot. Most of the time I use coffee. So I make some coffee to drink and then I take the coffee grounds which I use in the shower to scrub my thighs and my butt. It’s very good for blood circulation and against cushioning. I sometimes also use the stones of two avocados, you wash them, and you massage your thighs in circular movements. After the shower, I hydrate with coconut oil and I lie down in bed with my feet a little bit elevated. And then I use THE suction pad* given by my business partner Doris, who works as a neuromuscular therapist for the L.A. Clippers basket-ball team in Los Angeles. She uses it on them. So you put in on your oily thighs, you press and then you pop it out. This has an impact on your muscles and the fat stuck under your tissues which are pulled up by the suction pad, and is actually really efficient to release the tensions too. So I repeat the movement going up and down on my thighs. I’m not going to lie, it is very painful at the beginning! I do it everyday for five minutes. It also helps me a lot with my muscles' soreness.
*soon on sale on www.afrovibe-danceworkout.com
DO YOU HAVE A BEAUTY ICON/INSPIRATION ?
Here, Taís Araújo. She is "wow". She is very natural. I like her. And I also like Charlize Theron.
WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKES YOU BEAUTIFUL?
Oh la la, it’s difficult! I think the fact that I am spontaneous and authentic to myself. And also physically, I mean you cannot miss me from my 1m80, my big afro…
I THINK IT’S A GREAT ANSWER! THANK YOU!
(laughs). Thank you!
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