Brazilian models are the new showstoppers in the advertisement industry in Kerala

Charliane Luiza de Carli, Camila Vilelademoraes Carvalho, Mariana de Luccas, and Carol are Brazilians with a Kerala connection! They've become the selling point of some of the biggest brands in the State. If Charliane ups the glam quotient for Jayalakshmi Silks, Camila does it for Seematti. Elsewhere, Mariana and Carol charm the dashing Vikram, with their looks and jewels, for Josco.

This Brazilian brigade is just part of a coup of sorts that conquered the Indian entertainment and fashion industry a few years ago. They came, they saw and they conquered. The visages of these beautiful people bewitch you in movies, ads, music videos, product launches, calendars, and what not. The trend is on and Kerala is not lagging behind. Leading brands are signing foreigners like never before.

“There are plenty of foreign models, especially Brazilians, staying in Mumbai on tourist visas. Currently, there are some 25 female models and 10 males. Coordinators take care of their assignments, shoots and stay. The trend started some seven years ago,” says adman-cum-film maker Rajiv Menon, who has shot the ads of Jayalakshmi and Seematti in Turkey and Paris, respectively, with catchy tunes by Gopi Sundar.

Indian looks

Why Brazilians? Because, they look very much Indian, the answer is unanimous. Rathish Ambat, who shot the two Josco ads with Vikram (with Mariana for the She's like an angel… jingle, and, recently, with Carol) says: “South Americans especially Brazilians, are not blonde and have stunning Indian features. The problem with our models is that soon after they model for a leading brand they go around working with smaller clients. So the exclusivity is lost.” We invest a lot in the big campaigns, he says, referring to the Josco ad shot in Thailand and the recent one in Pattaya and Kumarakom.

Moreover, as Rajiv says: “Beauty, as a concept, is not constant. Now our Hindi heroines don't look like the typical Indian heroines of yore. That wasn't the scenario some 10 years ago.” He points out Imtiaz Ali's find Giselle Monteiro, a Brazilian model who played the Punjabi lass Harleen Kaur in Lov Aaj Kal. Imtiaz brought in another Brazilian too, Moufid Aziz, who played Nargis Fakhri's husband in Rockstar. Aziz got noticed after the Lux and Slice ad campaigns he modelled with Priyanka Chopra and Katrina Kaif, respectively.

The right attitude

The Indian features alone don't make them much sought-after models. “A good model has to have the right attitude. These girls have oodles of that. They are perfectly groomed and it is easy to work with them,” says V.A. Shrikumar, CEO and creative head of Nethra Advertising, which has been doing ad campaigns for Kalyan Jewellers. Rajiv seconds: “They aren't fussy at all. They know their work and are ready to put in that extra effort. If they have to drape a sari, they learn it. The height and the proportion of the body matter when you model for a sari. They aren't like many emaciated high-end fashion models who seem to be on the verge of anorexia. These models can carry off the fabric with poise and confidence. Plus, they don't charge a fortune. Many models here hike their fee after a point, especially if they've done a film or two.”

International models do help in brand building and clients are willing to go that extra mile by shooting in exotic or foreign locations, says Shibu Anthikad, who has used non-Indian models for brands such as Geepas. There is more thrust on fashion in the retail sector, especially for gold and saris. “Visuals should be arresting. I didn't want a clichéd or familiar theme for the Jayalakshmi ad. So, I opted for the Blue Mosque in Turkey, though my suggestion was at first received by stunned silence by the client,” Rajiv says. You can't use the foreign models in all the ads, especially those that need some kind of acting, he adds. But, as of now, it is the Brazilians models who are the showstoppers of the ad industry.