In studies asking the world’s populations by country to rate their happiness, there’s always a clear front winner: the Brazilians. And here’s something they can be even happier about, their economy is growing by leaps and bounds and is expected to soon hold the highest market share in segments like automobiles and beauty and hygiene. According to Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP, “This decade right now, will be defined by Brazil.” And according to The Economist, the best language to learn for most ROI in the market: Brazilian Portuguese. So it’s no secret, Brazil is a powerhouse. It’s a land full of beautiful people and growing opportunities.
I first fell in love with Brazil and the Brazilian lifestyle after traveling to Rio de Janeiro to teach ballet at a samba school. While there I ended up extending my stay to also teach hip-hop dance in a favela. I fell in love with the beautiful language, the beautiful people and of course, the beautiful land. I learned that their sense of Carpe Diem was so much stronger than that of the average American. So upon return I searched for ways to tap into the Brazilian lifestyle’s mentality even when I wasn’t in Brazil.
I joined the Casa de Cultura Brasileira non profit org to stay in touch with all things Brazilian even when I wasn’t in Brasil, in order to learn how. Do you want to tap into your inner Brazilian? Start with these 5 steps.
Brazilian Fashion and Lifestyle Tips
1. Get moving. Brazilians are famous for their moves whether it be in samba, soccer or capoeira. Sick of your old exercise routine? Then shake your butt like a Brazilian. If your local fitness club doesn’t have a class catered to this new trend then there are still plenty of ways. If you love to dance, check out samba classes. Coryn Shiflet of CCB may be American born but that didn’t stop her from getting her samba on. The Chicago native joined a samba class and now performs samba for large audiences as if she were the Carnival queen herself. “You can do too,” she advises, “It is so freeing and fun, it quite literally changes your perspective on life.”
If you like karate, try capoeria. It’s like martial arts but with music! And don’t ever deny the country’s national past time: soccer. If you want to get Brazilianized, soccer is definitely a medium.
2. Find your fantasia. For the “Greatest Show on Earth” a.k.a. Carnival in Rio, it’s all about finding your fantasia…in other words, what is it your fantasy to be? Whatever the answer, you dress up and embrace it. Live your dream, don’t just waste away wishing you had. And this is the daily mentality too. Embrace life today, don’t wait for tomorrow.
When it comes to Brazilian fashion, the same mentality applies. Show yourself off today, don’t wait for your diet to end or for a big event. Go for it today. Get your nails done. Style your hair. Wear bright colors. Get a Brazilian wax. Do whatever it takes to make you feel beautiful from the inside out. Rock what you want and don’t ever doubt yourself: you’re beautiful. “Being a Brazilian woman is all about the swagger.” says Brazilian born Daione Mitchell a board member of the CCB non profit org. “It is all about the way you feel not what you wear. The confidence, the attitude and passion for the Brazilian way.”
3. Get involved. “Today people from all over the world can easily access Brazilian culture through the internet.” says President of the CCB, Marcelo Jarmendia.
Marcelo Jarmendia addresses the crowd for a CCB event; photo by Kristie Kahns.
“Listening to music, watching videos and reading literature, articles and news are some of the ways one can be in contact with the Brazilian culture. But nothing replaces the experience of being around Brazilians, so if you can’t fly down to Brazil be sure to attend one of the many Brazilian nights throughout the week, in different bars and restaurants in Chicago.” If you don’t live in Chicago, fear not. Chances are there’s still a Brazilian community near you. Search and you will find.
4. Brush up your language skills. The best way to tap into another culture without living in its native land is to learn its language. Language defines the mentality of a culture through music, humor and even perception.
Brazil in Chicago language school; photo by Giuliano Correia.
The good news is, Portuguese is an incredibly beautiful language. The even better news? If you have any prior knowledge of a Latin Romance language, you’ve already got a huge head start. Seen below,
5. Don’t Judge. The best way to embrace the Brazilian mentality of Carpe Diem is to not taking oneself too seriously, to enjoy life and to stop judging. Annoyed by your co-worker? Who cares. Don’t waste your own time worrying about it. Focus on the positive. Start slow. Pick one day where you refuse to judge. Every time you catch yourself judging someone or a situation negatively, make yourself reverse it.
See how you feel at the end of the day. Better? Yes. Now rinse and repeat.
Editor’s Note: Courtney is part of the Casa de Cultura Brasileira’s board of directors and is a fan for life of Brazil and its beautiful culture.