Original beauties

‘Beauty parade’ honors Brazil’s indigenous women

An indigenous woman participates in the "International Indigenous Beauty" parade. (Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

At the World Indigenous Games in Brazil on the weekend, about 60 women and girls took to the streets to celebrate the diversity and beauty of the nation’s first peoples. The “parade of indigenous beauty” was not a contest, but the participants pulled out all the stops in donning traditional garb – some in ankle-length skirts and others wearing just a thong bikini bottom and body paint.

Though they make up less than 0.5 percent of the population, Brazil boasts over 300 indigenous groups. Women like Tainara da Silva of the Terena people from Brazil’s Mato Grosso do Sul state hope that beauty parades will help bring indigenous people to the forefront of the culture, where they have largely been ignored by the mainstream media. “Modeling agencies are totally uninterested in hiring an indigenous woman, but they have no problem in getting a white girl and dressing her up in traditional indigenous clothes,” she said. “That really bugged me, and I thought, ‘We need to show them that we are beautiful, too.’”

No modeling contracts had been signed at the time of the AP’s report was published, by Silvia said that with these efforts to combat indigenous invisibility, it’s bound to happen in no time.

Brazil’s World Indigenous Games run through Sunday.

Read the full story at AP.

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