There is only one country in the world whose capital city is nicknamed ‘The Marvellous City’, and whose iconic symbol is a 98-foot statue of Jesus Christ (Christ the Redeemer). Perhaps best known for its beautiful beaches, model exports and gargantuan festivals and carnivals, Brazil also boasts the largest economy in Latin America, and the seventh largest in the world. With impending global events like the World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, the world is getting to know and love Brazil, and Brazilians, just a little bit more. So here we are, counting down 10 of the world’s most famous Brazilians!
Best known as "the phenomenon", retired Brazilian soccer player Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima grew up playing soccer as a kid in the poor streets of a Brazilian neighborhood. Today the world-renowned fan favorite is considered to be one of the greatest soccer players of all time, and only one of three men winning the FIFA World Player of the Year award three times or more. As a wealthy citizen of Brazil, and retired soccer player, Ronaldo has played in several charity matches and events, and will surely have a role in the World Cup in 2014 and the 2016 summer Olympics in Rio.
9 Eduardo Saverin
The Co-founder of one of the world’s wealthiest companies, and most powerful social media platforms, was born in Sao Paulo Brazil. In case you hadn't guessed it, it’s Facebook. Eduardo Saverin met Mark Zuckerberg at Harvard when the two began developing Facebook after noticing a lack of campus social networks. Saverin’s role was that of CFO and business manager. After it’s inception, Facebook filed a lawsuit against Saverin, while Saverin counter sued. While the details of the out-of-court settlement have never been disclosed, Saverin did receive the title of co-founder, and an undisclosed sum of money in the settlement. According to Forbes, as of 2012, Saverin has a net worth of $3.9 billion and owns less than 5% of Facebook's shares.
8 Adriana Lima
Born in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, Adriana Francesca Lima was ranked the world's fourth highest paid supermodel by Forbes Magazine (2007/8). The Brazilian beauty who’s best known for modeling Victoria’s Secret lingerie and apparel, and being a Victoria’s Secret Angel, is also a spokesperson for Maybelline Cosmetics. Although she won several beauty pageants throughout elementary school, Lima claims she never entertained the idea of being a model. Lima eventually moved to New York and signed with Elite Model Management after placing first in “Ford’s Supermodel of Brazil” contest, and third in Ford’s "Supermodel of the World" contest. Lima has since starred in several campaigns around the world including Telecom Italia Mobile, Mexico's Liverpool department store, and Turkey’s Doritos ads. Forbes listed Lima as 4th in their 2012 “Top-Earning List” with reported earnings of $7.3 million that year.
7 Alice Braga
Sao Paulo native Alice Braga, is a Brazilian actress perhaps most recognized for her work in Will Smith’s I am Legend. Braga’s extensive filmography includes Repo Men, Predators, The Rite, as well the highly acclaimed City of God, the film depicting true events as written in the novel by Paulo Lins. Braga’s role is that of Angelica, the love interest of one of the protagonists.
6 Anderson Silva
Nicknamed ‘the spider’ Anderson Silva is a Brazilian mixed martial artist and former UFC Middleweight Champion. According to reports, the powerful champion refers to Spider-Man as his hero, dating back to this passion for comics and their heroes. Holding the longest defense streak title in UFC history, he is known primarily for his Muay Thai skills, and is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt. American entrepreneur and UFC President Dana White has called Silva “the greatest mixed martial artist of all time.” The dominating UFC fighter grew up poor and learned to train jiu-jitsu in his Brazilian neighborhood, learning much techniques on his own until he turned 12 and was able to take Tae Kwon Do lessons, then Capoeira, and eventually Muay Thai at 16 years-old.
5 Gisele Bundchen
For the last 10 years, Gisele Bundchen has been the highest paid model in the world. With a reported net worth of $290 million, she is widely recognized as the poster child for Brazilian fashion models, being the first ‘breakthrough’ model from her homeland of Brazil. The top earner in her profession, Bundchen grew up in the southern Brazilian region of Horizontina, with her five sisters, including her fraternal twin, Patricia. Bundchen has also worked as an actress and producer, while she is only one of four models to be on the cover of Rolling Stone, and was also featured in Time magazine the same year. Amongst the model’s record-breaking feats was wearing the most expensive lingerie ever created (2000), the Victoria's Secret Fantasy bra valued at $15 million. Bundchen is married to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady with whom she has two children.
4 Alessandra Ambrosio
A model that could bare lingerie made entirely of candy would sure to be a Victoria’s Secret Angel. Recognized as one of the sexiest woman in the world, and ranked 6th on Forbes highest earning model list, Alessandra Ambrosio is most famous for being a Victoria Secret and ‘PINK’ model. Earning an estimated $6.6 million per annum, the Italian and Polish, Brazilian model was born in Erechim, Brazil. Aside from modeling, Ambrosio has made several television appearances and even appeared in a small cameo role in Casino Royale. Just this year Ambrosio collaborated with Cherokee (American fashion) to design her own lifestyle brand of fashions consisting of casual and formal wear, Ále by Alessandra.
3 Perla Haney-Jardine
If you've heard of the films Spider-man 3 and Kill Bill Vol: 2 you'll probably recognize the face of Perla Haney-Jardine. The daughter of a director and film producer, Jardine was born in Rio de Janeiro Brazil, and moved to the United States to pursue a career in film after starting her career in commercials. Jardine’s role in Kill Bill Vol: 2 opposite Uma Thurman, was that of adorable B.B. Kiddo, Beatrix Kiddo's and Bill's daughter. Jardine played another child role in Spider-man 3, that of Penny Marko, the daughter of Flint and Emma Marko, whose mother wouldn't allow her to see her criminal father. Today the actress has blossomed into a beautiful teenager who is certain to make her mark in tinsel-town.
2 Camila Alves
1 Felipe Massa
It’s no surprise the former driver of Ferrari, Brazilian Formula One racing driver Felipe Massa, began his racing career at just eight years old. A Brazilian of Italian heritage, Massa was ‘karting’ by the age of eight, and some 25 years later holds fifth position among the top 10 Formula One drivers. Revered as a stellar racing car driver, Massa won the Brazilian Formula Chevrolet Championship for seven consecutive years. Swiss watchmaker Richard Mille and close friend of Massa, has produced several watch models in his honor. Massa’s net worth is a reported $8 million.