Posts Tagged: model
RIO DE JANEIRO – Betto Almeida is the Mr. Lucky of Rio’s Carnival. The 36-year-old artist awakes at 8 a.m. Has a little breakfast. Survives a commute through the city’s tough traffic. Arrives at the office by 11.
Then he spends hours painting the bodies of gorgeous women — and earning as much as $2,000 a day.
“You wouldn’t believe how many applications I get for an assistant,” Almeida deadpanned, never taking his eyes from his work as he brushed bright orange paint on the stomach of a model in his glass-enclosed studio under the grandstands at the Sambadrome, where Rio’s Carnival parades ended Tuesday at dawn.
“But it’s hard work, man. I take my job seriously.” Slight, soft-spoken and unassuming, Almeida devotes his art to a sideshow of the samba parades: models who earn about $250 a night to mingle, clad only in paint, with high-rollers in the luxury boxes. Wearing plaid pants, a green shirt with a red phoenix on it and a denim-and-camouflage hat, Almeida goes about his work with a nonchalant air as the party-crazed hordes outside press their noses to the glass and snap photos.
His day job is art director on television soap operas, but for the past 12 years he has been brushing, dripping and spraying paint on some of the most beautiful bodies Brazil’s Carnival has to display. Michele Peres, a 28-year-old model wearing tiny black shorts, snakeskin stilettos and a watch, said the quality of Almeida’s work was vital to her professional success.
“I’ve been doing this for nine years, for Carnival and other events,” she said as Almeida painted a jaguar on her breasts. “He is the best body painter I’ve come across and his work draws more attention to me. It is good for him, it is good for me.” A gentleman tapped on the studio window and, as gingerly as a drunk Carnival reveler could, requested that Peres turn toward the growing crowd. With a barely perceptible sigh, she complied, not hesitating to light up a smile once the cameras started popping.
Luana Minini, a 22-year-old actress, was making her first appearance as a Carnival body paint model and she took a slightly more timid stance: She had Almeida paint critical areas of her body in a back room before agreeing to have a red parrot with green wings covering her chest completed under the public’s gaze. “I’ve always worked in theater and dance. This is a bit more free- spirited. But I’ve learned to control my nervousness. The paint acts as a cover, it makes me feel protected,” she said, motioning toward the jungle foliage in which the parrot on her breast resided.
Both women said some men — mostly foreigners — get a little frisky in the box seats, where the models mingle for 15 minutes before taking a champagne break for 15 minutes in a glassed-front room next to Almeida’s work space.
“It gets a little rowdy. Not too many men grab us or anything, but there is always one or two who get a little confused,” Minini said. “Brazilians understand the ambiance of Carnival and they come here prepared to see this.”
As the models answered questions, Almeida kept working. On his knees behind Peres, he dipped his brush into one of a dozen plastic water bottles cut in half to hold his paint, carefully painting jaguar spots on the back of the model’s thighs.
Sweat on his brow, he said the hard work is worth it. A modeling agency that employs the women pays him $1,000 for the roughly two hours it takes to paint each model. During the samba parades, he paints two women a night. And in a typical year will paint a minimum of 50 women for various events.
“I started doing it for theater and one of the samba parade officials asked if I would do it for Carnival models. How could I say no?” he asked, diving into a cheeseburger after finishing up with Peres. “A lot of guys are jealous of my job.”
Maran’s modeling career began at the age of 12; when an agent spotted her at a local barbecue restaurant, she began modeling part time. Maran graduated from the Castilleja School in Palo Alto, then began to pursue modeling more seriously. As those in the fashion industry consider her height of 5′7″ to be too short for runway modeling, Maran works mainly in editorial modeling and advertising/image modeling.
Signed at age 17 with the Elite modeling agency of Los Angeles, Maran appeared on her first cover with Glamour magazine in 1998, and she was the featured Guess? Girl in their summer 1998 and fall 1998 campaigns. After building a résumé of over 25 commercials and advertisements, including playing Howie D’s companion in the music video of Backstreet Boys hit Everybody (Backstreet’s Back), in which she was bitten on the neck by Count Dracula (played by Howie D), Maran moved cross-country to join with Elite in New York City. In 1999, she landed a multi-year deal with Maybelline. Maran appeared in the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue for three consecutive years; from 2000 to 2002. Maran is also signed with London agency Storm Model Management, and 1/One Management in New York City.
Maran’s interest in the arts extends beyond film. When not in acting class, she is training herself in “dance classes… violin classes, speech classes, everything. I’m just trying to train myself in the arts, you know? Nobody else is gonna do it so I’m going to. I’m gonna take on the world”. Her interest in music led her to play casually in two bands: Darling, with socialite Nicole Richie, and Hollywood 2000, where she sang and played violin.
In 2001, Maran appeared in an independent film, as title character Mallory in The Mallory Effect. Maran followed this by appearing as Susan in Swatters in 2002. In 2004, she appeared in three films - as a French model in Little Black Book, as one of Dracula’s brides, Marishka, in Van Helsing, and briefly as a cigarette girl in The Aviator. Maran appeared in a short film “The Confession” alongside Wentworth Miller in 2005, and as Kira Hayden in The Gravedancers in 2006. Maran will not play Polly Hudson in The Final Season, scheduled for release in 2007. This role is now played by Rachael Leigh Cook.
She was recruited in 2005 by EA Games to appear as a main character in the street-racing computer and video game, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, which was released on November 17, 2005. She plays the game’s second lead Mia Townsend, who guides the lead character through the game.
In June 2007, Maran launched her own natural cosmetics product line, named Josie Maran Cosmetics. Beyond her business activities she commits herself to the protection and improvement of nature and the environment.
Maran competed in the 2007 season of Dancing with the Stars, but she and dance partner Alec Mazo were the first couple eliminated. Maran subsequently appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live and in reference to getting voted off first, said, “I should have cut my legs off”.
View more pictures of Josie Maran at Photo Gallery