FIFA 2014

Neymar mania gets to Brazilian heads

Anderson Guimaraes walked into a barber shop decorated with Brazil flags to get the latest popular hairstyle in Rio's slums: The face of football star Neymar sculpted in the back of his head.

World Cup fever and ‘Neymarmania’ have literally gotten to some Brazilians' heads.

Fourteen barbers work seven days a week at the barbershop lying between the Manguinhos and Jacarezinho favelas, as Brazilian slums are known.

Each barber pays $9 a day to rent one of the rundown chairs in the shop, which quickly fills with clients who want to get a shave, chat and watch a football game.

The house special is the "jaca cut." Invented a decade ago in the nearby Jacare slum, the hair is shaved around the ears and neck, leaving the top longer.

But customers can get variations on the cut, courtesy of Marcelo Ferreira, the barbershop's 22-year-old "craque" — or whiz.

With a razor, Ferreira will turn a neck into Neymar's face, Brazil's flag, the tournament's armadillo mascot Fuleco or the six stars representing the sixth World Cup title that the nation hopes to capture.

Success with girls

Guimaraes, 24, came to get the Neymar special for a second time.

He held up a tablet with a black and white picture of the Barcelona forward. Ferreira used a black pen to carefully trace the face in the back of the client's head and sharpened his razor before getting to work.

The first time he got the haircut, at the start of the Cup, "people wanted to take pictures with me," Guimaraes said.

"When I took the subway, people asked where I got it and the barbershop's phone number. I had a lot of success with the girls," he said, laughing.

It takes Ferreira three hours to finish his masterpiece. It costs $45, quite a sum for favela residents.

Yuri Nascimento, 11, would love to get the Neymar special, but his mother has no job and raises three children with government welfare checks of $191 per month.

He finally settles for a $6 “delta wing”: A curly mohawk with the sides shaved.

"Some clients want their hair cut like Messi's. Others like Cristiano Ronaldo's. But what I like the most is drawing Neymar," Ferreira said.

His Neymar figures are precise, featuring the player's diamond earrings, baseball cap and blondish hair.

A few months ago, the Manguinhos resident won a "barber battle" thanks to his hair masterpieces. His prize was a barber lesson in Copacabana, an upscale tourist zone that is an hour away by bus.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 3:17:05 AM |

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