Friday, December 1, 2017

meet Debora Gomes .. the Brazilian beauty by way of Paris

One could never say that I write about politics or for that matter any hot button current events but as luck would have it or maybe fate, today is all about Debora Gomes. As you will read she is the voice of young women in a business that has long been associated and riddled with sexual innuendo as well as diversity or lack thereof. This will not be a rallying cry against pro or con but rather an opportunity to read about those 2 topics that were addressed by Debora in the course of this interview. 
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Okay … with that said and out of the way let’s talk about the aspiring model by the name of Debora Gomes. She is of the exotic rare bird species that once was glorified by the likes of Vreeland and Avedon for the pages of Vogue. Today with fashion being stuck in this sort of cookie cutter mode, both clothes and models, she will hopefully break the malaise and become a shining star as did those who preceded her … think Donyale Luna, China Machado, Peggy Dillard and Naomi Sims…. Not Campbell.
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As I have stated here before, the internet has surely made my world so much smaller in ways I could never have imagined growing up in the business of fashion. It is through my, as one dear friend says, my “tentacles” that I was able to cross paths with this young beauty. 
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What strikes me after having read the replies to my questions is that here is a young woman from another generation who sees fashion from such a distinctly different perspective than I; she cites those of her generation as role models and inspirations and it is rare for me to encounter such an individual. Her vision and words may be of the moment but her career aspirations and dreams speak to the roots of the business.

So with no more blah blah blah on my part ... here is Debora in her own words……
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Jeffrey Felner: Let’s talk about your life/career up to this point or in other words can you give us a brief history of you?

Deborah Gomes: I was born in a small state named Paraiba in Brazil, in nordeste and at the age of 16 years old I received an invitation from a headhunter to go to a model competition in São Paulo. I traveled there by myself and that started my model career. I did a few jobs, the competition in Brazil is hard and I was still really young to handle this market. My career really started when I was selected  for the Elle fashion preview in Rio de Janeiro. It’s one of the most famous shows in Brazil and i was competing with some top models like Lais Ribeiro and Isabel Fontana.  After that my agency decided that China would be my first international trip to gain more experience before a move to Europe and USA. There, I did the Shanghai Fashion Week and few campaigns but to be honest, my skin color was a big problem for Chinese market. During a fashion week casting I met my boyfriend who’s from France, and he advised me to move to Paris because he was sure that I could do great work in Paris and that my career blow up fast. I went back to Brazil for 3 weeks to tell my family that I will move to Paris and get ready for this new exciting challenge. By June I traveled to Paris and did the PFW “Haute Couture” right away after arriving, then PFW “ready to wear” and I had the chance to snag amazing shows like Issey Miyake at the Grand Palais. After this show my photos from the show were seen in Vogue Paris which is totally amazing.
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JF: What is your most prized possession and why?

DG: My Brain, because knowledge is power, and by using my brain in a good way I can have everything I want and reach all my goals.
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JF: The hot button topics these days are sexual harassment and diversity especially within the modeling business. Can we speak to either or both of these topics and if you could share any experiences?

DG:We know that models are judged by their appearance all the time, and lately the media is emphasizing more and more the sensuality… several photographers like to shoot models naked and the power of Instagram nowadays to get more followers which pushes models to shoot naked. Also a lot of supermodels do it and show their bodies like a trophy.  When I arrived in Paris I received lot of proposal to shoot naked. It surprised me because in a city of fashion I was expecting more editorial type shoots rather than Playboy type shoots. I just accepted once, for the book project of a famous photographer François Berthier. About diversity…  it’s good that the media is starting to  care a little bit to make all the types of woman feel beautiful and confident about themselves.  Coming from Nordeste in Brazil, my skin color is “café” color so I arrive to the market at the right time. But there is still controversy about skin color and diversity. A black model was rejected after she was booked for a show in past London fashion week because the designer said that the “quota” of black model was filled!! We all know that deep inside too many people still prefer “Barbie girl” type.
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 JF: If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would they be and why?
DG: Gisele Bündchen … because she is an amazing woman and she gives 100% of herself in what she does. She is an example for all models and it would be my pleasure to share a dinner with her as friend to experience her truly personality and energy when there is no camera.

Jared Leto ... Since I was really young I was his fan, he is the full  package,  great voice, great actor and also did really good as model for Gucci campaign. The best is that he's built career, he wasn't born rich like the Kardashians, and for sure he would be good dinner company.

Antoine, my boyfriend, my love … He is not that famous, but he is the biggest support that I have in my career and in my personal life. When you really love somebody you want to give your best in everything and he is a huge piece of my motivation.  Of course, I already had lot of dinners with him but for sure he will be invited to this table.

Michael Jackson: The biggest pop star and most famous singer ever. He created things never seen before, unique songs and dance moves, he was unique, a one of a kind artist, the proof that you can be successful even when you’re black, such an inspiration to me also.

Paulo Coelho … I would invite him for sure and I really hope to meet someday. He is a literary phenomenon. I love to travel in my imagination while reading a really good book like the ones he writes but I also want to write my own books …. He inspires me to do it.
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JF: Let’s talk about Debora in 5 years; what’s the plan for the big picture? Your future? Your dreams?

DG: Unfortunately because of my career I'm living far away from my family and sometimes I'm sad about it. My dream is to do what I love and surrounded with the persons I love. I have a strong desire to succeed in my model career and I want to reach top 10 models ranking. By succeeding, I could help my family; invite them to Paris or NYC to visit me, as well as sometimes traveling back to Brazil for some holidays because I miss being there with them. Also, literature is one of my passions so I want to publish my books and do movies based on them. I have already written a full book in Portuguese so I need to translate in English and then find a publisher to make this happen.

Anyway I have many projects in mind but my main focus is my career as a model… at least for now.

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