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Isadora Grevan

was born Adriana Alves on 12 December 1976 in São Paulo, Brazil. She was born in the Jabaquara neighborhood in the South Zone of the city. When she was 1 year old, her parents moved to a neighborhood on the outskirts of the city. Her parents and grandparents were born in the state of Bahia in Cruz das Almas. She was raised as a Catholic and always attended public schools, receiving a B.A. in marketing and advertising from Bandeirante University of São Paulo (Uniban) in 2004.

Adriana Alves’s acting career started when she joined the Teatro Escola Chehfa theater group in São Paulo in 1995. She took theater and acting classes and acquired membership in Sindicato dos Artistas de São Paulo (Sated-SP), equivalent to the Screen Actors Guild in the United States. In 1998 she made her stage debut in the play O sorriso do palhaço The ...

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Ana Luiza Libânio

was born Taís Bianca Gama de Araújo on 25 November 1978 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She is the younger of the two daughters of Ademir de Araújo, an economist, and Mercedes de Araújo, a schoolteacher. During her childhood and adolescence, Araújo attended private schools in Rio de Janeiro, and she graduated with a degree in journalism from Universidade Estácio de Sá. She also studied English and Spanish, practiced ballet and gymnastics, and took drama classes. Her career in the amateur theater began at age 11, with performances in the Os Bananas and Grupo Procênio theater companies. As a teen, she worked with the actor Reynaldo Gianecchini, a future costar on Brazilian television.

With a rich educational background Araújo had many career options and planned to be either a dentist or a diplomat but she instead dedicated herself to modeling Soon after her career began she was modeling for international ...

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Eva Ruiz

was born in Cúcuta Norte, in Santander, Colombia, on 8 March 1978. She later studied business administration at the Instituto Politécnico Bolivariano de Cúcuta (Bolivar Polytechnical Institute of Cúcuta). In 1996 Arizala began her modeling career as a participant in the Miss Cúcuta beauty pageant, where she placed second, thereby making a name for herself on a national stage. In 1997 she represented her hometown in the Top Model Colombia competition and placed second again. The following year, she placed fifth in the Elite Model Look Colombia pageant, and in 2000 she participated in the International Female Model pageant in Aruba, where she also took fifth place. In 2001 she traveled to Pachuca, Mexico, where she competed in the Miss Tourism Universe pageant, once again placing fifth.

After several years of competing in beauty pageants both in Colombia and abroad Arizala began to make a name for herself within ...

Article

Camilla Townsend

the first black winner of the “Miss Ecuador” beauty pageant, was born Mónica Paulina Chalá Mejía on 11 April 1973, in Quito, Ecuador. She was the third of six children born to a mother from Esmeraldas and a father from the Chota valley, two rural migrants who had come to the nation’s capital in search of work. Through her parents, she was thus tied to two historically black regions of the country, but she herself was raised as a quiteña. Her older sister Liliana Chalá (1965–) was a successful athlete in school and went on to win international prizes in hurdling and sprint events, representing Ecuador in the 1988 and 1992 Summer Olympics The young Mónica attended modeling school in Quito and through her sister s contacts she soon secured work in a television advertisement for a major bank alongside a famous soccer star A ...

Article

Wendy A. Grossman and Sala E. Patterson

was born Casimir Joseph Adrienne Fidelin on 4 March 1915 in Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe’s largest city and economic capital. Fidelin posed for several photographers in Paris in the 1930s, including Roger Parry, Wols (Alfred Otto Wolfgang Schulze), and Man Ray. Although there is remarkably little written documentation about her, Fidelin is widely recognized as the model featured in an extensive assembly of images by Man Ray and acclaimed as the first black model to appear in a major American fashion magazine.

Fidelin emigrated with her family to France following the catastrophic September 1928 hurricane that swept the Caribbean archipelago and the South Florida peninsula killing twelve hundred people on her native island She came of age in Paris in an era in which the influx of émigrés from the French colonies in the Caribbean fueled the creation of a vibrant diasporic Antillean music and dance community that coincided with and ...

Article

Paulo Knauss de Mendonça

also known by the French cognate “Horace,” an African slave who served as an anthropological model in nineteenth-century Brazilian fine arts, was born in 1811. He was reportedly Cassange, an ethnic-locational marker assigned to enslaved Africans from a region of an ancient kingdom in the Cuango River Valley (at the northern border of contemporary Angola) where an extensive slave market existed. There is no archival reference about his family. However, it is known that at the age of 5, Horácio was purchased as a slave by a man named Desmarais. It is also known that at the age of 45, the slave Horácio was established in Rio de Janeiro, capital of the Brazilian empire, where he served as a slave and cook for the family of the French dealer who had purchased him as a child.

In 1856 Horácio met the French sculptor Louis Rochet (1813–1878 visiting ...

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Daryle Williams

artist’s model who posed for an allegory of the Law of the Free Womb executed by Francisco Manuel Chaves Pinheiro (1822–1884), professor of sculpture at the Academia Imperial de Belas Artes (Imperial Academy of Fine Arts; AIBA) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The archival records are thin, without documentation concerning Francisca Roza’s date or place of birth; the circumstances of her death are unknown. Nonetheless, contextual evidence points to the dynamics of enslavement in nineteenth-century Brazil. An inability to sign her name, the inconsistent use of a family name, and the surname itself (de Jesus) were common traits of a liberta (freedwoman) in Brazilian slave society. Francisca Roza, moreover, can be placed among the many women and men—mostly free, but some slaves or former slaves—employed as artist’s models in the regular art classes, qualifying examinations, and concursos competitive job selections offered by the premier fine arts school ...

Article

Ifeona Fulani

was born Beverly Grace Mendoza Jones on 19 May 1948 in Spanish Town, Jamaica, to Marjorie and Robert Jones. She was raised in a religious family; her father was a minister and her uncle a bishop in the Pentecostal church. Jones’s family migrated to the United States when she was 12 and settled in Syracuse, New York. After high school Jones studied theater at Syracuse University but dropped out after her first year to become an actress. Her attempt to break into films was unsuccessful, and in her twenties, she turned to modeling. She found it difficult to get work, however, because of her dark skin and features. “When I started modeling I didn’t really get many jobs—‘Your nose doesn’t match your eyes and your eyes don’t match your lips—where the hell do you come from? What are you?’ ” she explained in a 19 November 1985Tonight Show interview ...

Article

Jolie Guzmán

was born in Medellín, the capital of the Antioquia Department in northeastern Colombia, on 19 July 1982. Considered one of the most important ambassadors of the Latin American modeling world, Lozano’s success embodies the potential of Colombian women in particular and the Afro-Colombian community in the Colombian Pacific.

Lozano began modeling at an early age, catching the eye of local designers with her African heritage and her precocious ability to carry herself in the manner of experienced models. When she was barely 14 years old, she won her first beauty competition, Miss Barbie Negra (Miss Black Barbie) and emerged as one of the most promising models in Colombia.

Her obvious talent as a model combined with her interest in fashion and design For this reason in her childhood she did not hesitate to participate in a design project of the recognized Antioquia designer John Miranda who discovered her talent ...

Article

Esther Aillón Soria

was born in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, on 3 September 1992. Her father, Ronald Nogales Terrazas, who resides in Spain, is a dental technician, carpenter, and builder. Her mother, Angélica Rey Ballivián, was born in the town of Suapi, North Yungas, in the department of La Paz (Bolivia) and resides in Santa Cruz; she is a professional masseuse and acupuncturist. Nogales belongs to the second generation of Afro-Bolivians who migrated from Los Yungas to the cities of the backbone of Bolivia (La Paz, Cochabamba, and Santa Cruz). Most of her mother’s family lives in Warnes (Santa Cruz), and she no longer has family living in Los Yungas. However, she maintains ties with family members and with the broader Afro-Bolivian community in her city. Nogales studied at the Manuel Ignacio Salvatierra and Soria Schools in Santa Cruz, completing her high school education in 2009.

As a model ...

Article

Lara Allen

South African singer, film actress, and fashion model, was born on 2 April 1928, in Randfontein, west of Johannesburg. Rathebe’s mother was a domestic worker, and initially Rathebe was brought up by her maternal grandparents. When her mother remarried, Rathebe moved to the Johannesburg suburb of Sophiatown, where she went to school. Born Josephine Malatsi, she changed her name to Dolly Rathebe at the beginning of her performance career.

In her late adolescent years Rathebe sang jazz standards as an amateur at private parties and in jazz clubs. In 1949 her vocal abilities and performance acumen were noticed by recording company talent scout Sam Alcock, and she was invited to audition for the second film to be made in South Africa with an all-black cast: African Jim (later retitled Jim Comes to Joburg Rathebe won the leading female role that of a nightclub singer Her performance launched her ...

Article

the first Afro-Caribbean woman to win the national beauty pageant title of “Miss Guatemala,” was born on 2 June 1983 in the town of Puerto Barrios on Guatemala’s Caribbean coast, in the department of Izabal. Nothing is known about her parents except that her father died when she was quite young. Afro-descendant people—including a sizable Garifuna population—make up less than 2 percent of the national population, but along with Guatemala’s twenty-two Maya groups they are part of a nonwhite majority that has long been marginalized politically, economically, and socially. Weatherborn Serrano entered the contest at the age of 20, transcending racial barriers in a country that has been marked by deeply entrenched racial prejudice against people of African descent.

Dubbed the Barbie negra Black Barbie after winning the Miss Guatemala title Weatherborn Serrano represented a breakthrough in the nation s premier beauty pageant which in its nearly half century of ...