What NYC Nightlife Can Learn From The Brazil Nightclub Tragedy

A fire in the Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria, Brazil has claimed 230 lives. Apparently, it was 2:15am Sunday morning when a band employed a pyrotechnic flare to excite the crowd, which lit up the ceiling’s acoustic panels. This has happened before. In Rhode Island back in February 2003, a band using pyrotechnics set acoustic materials on fire and 100 people lost their lives. According to reports, the club was engulfed in flames in approximately five and a half minutes. One of the owners was sentenced to four years in jail for 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter. In 2009, fire claimed 309 patrons at a club in Luoyang, China. In 2004, 194 people died in a club in Buenos Aires. In March 1990, 87 people died at the Happy Land Disco, an unlicensed social club in the Bronx.  I was in a fire in a nightclub back in 1979. I remember it well. It scarred me for life. It happened so fast. They always say "it happened so fast.”

Tragedies like these are preventable. The laws, the regulations, the technology exist, but forces and players seem to always try to circumvent them. There are 230 families mourning in Brazil this morning. Their emotions will soon swing to anger as they realize that greed and negligence by the people tasked and required to prevent such a thing resulted in death. The Brazilian police have detained three owner/management types and, at this writing, were looking for a 4th. There will be finger pointing and investigations but none of this will bring anybody back. The only thing to hope for is that operators will learn the great lesson that they must make public safety a priority above all else.

Reports say there was only one exit working and 2,000 patrons. Reports say the fire extinguishers were not working. Reports say that security guards actually blocked patrons from leaving. It is common in Brazil for patrons to settle their tabs at the end of a night and the bright boys in security wanted cash from the fleeing customers. As the bodies laid in the makeshift morgue, cell phones rang from corpses. Desperate families were looking for the lost.

All around town there are accidents waiting to happen as some operators ignore the codes. Aisles are blocked by extra tables. After the inspections, materials are put up that are not inherently fire resistant or are not treated with fire-retardant chemicals. Acoustic tiles are put up to ease the burden for neighbors who want to sleep. Few look at the specs for fire resistance. All over town, curtains block exits. All over town, violations are issued. The fire department does its best. The building department demands exit strategies. Employees are trained. Sprinklers and costly fire suppression systems make the public feel secure. Exits are clearly marked and rarely blocked. However, political pressures have recently weakened the system.

All over town, bars and lounges have opted to allow dancing, as enforcement of cabaret laws has been lax. The so-called “dancing police” were called off by the mayor in 2004. “The city should not be in the business of deciding what goes on, whether there is dancing or not dancing.” … “We have dance police. This is craziness.” The dancing laws, the cabaret laws, go back to 1926.  They are archaic. They are currently largely ignored.

This is not a good thing in light of the Brazil fire and others like it. A patron who is dancing or watching a band is less aware of his surroundings than someone sitting at a bar having a cocktail. In the case of the Kiss fire and the Rhode Island fire, reports say that patrons were unaware of the flames until it was a full-blown maelstrom. Most patrons died from thick smoke as they tried to find an exit. I’m all for dancing, but stricter requirements on sprinkler systems and fire suppression systems are called for. Exits must be marked and not blocked, and materials need to be flame-retardent. Dancing should be everywhere, but with proper precautions. 

Labor Day Lovin’: Six Films That Will Make You Appreciate Your Job

Cap the Hawaiian Tropic, winterize the seersucker and hang up the Havaianas: The end of summer is upon us like a flannel sheet. But Labor Day is more than just back-to-school sales and the season’s last big cookout—it’s about workers. So take a moment to reflect on the social and economic contributions of the working class with some of the films that have given new meaning to the phrase "tough day at the office."

9 to 5 (1980)

The setup: Three office workers (Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton) seeks to get even with their sexist sleazeball boss (Dabney Coleman).

Line please: Dolly: If you ever say another word about me or make another indecent proposal, I’m gonna get that gun of mine, and I’m gonna change you from a rooster to a hen with one shot!

Critical commentary: Roger Ebert wrote that Dolly Parton "is, on the basis of this one film, a natural-born movie star, a performer who holds our attention so easily that it’s hard to believe it’s her first film."

Did you know? With box office sales exceeding $100 million, 9 to 5 is the 20th highest-grossing comedy film.

Training Day (2001)

The setup: Highly decorated yet brutal and corrupt L.A. narcotics detective (Denzel Washington) takes rookie (Ethan Hawke) on his first day of training, which involves murder, mayhem and PCP-laden marijuana.

Line please: Denzel: You disloyal, fool-ass, bitch-made punk.

Critical commentary: Roger Ebert described Denzel’s character as "the meanest, baddest narcotics cop in the city—a dude who cruises the mean streets in his confiscated customized Caddy, extracting tribute and accumulating graft like a medieval warlord shaking down his serfs."

Did you know? Bruce Willis, Tom Sizemore and Gary Sinise were offered the role that Denzel Washington eventually took on.

Clerks (1994)

The setup: A New Jersey convenience store retail clerk (Brian O’Halloran) slacks off on the job while the boss is on vacation.

Line please: Brian O’Halloran: I love your sexy talk. It’s so kindergarten. "Poo poo." "Wee wee."

Critical commentary: "The movie has the attitude of a gas station attendant who tells you to check your own oil." — Roger Ebert

Did you know? Shot for $27,575 in the convenience and video stores where director Kevin Smith worked in real life, the flm grossed over $3 million at the box office.

Brazil (1985)

The setup: A low-level government employee (Jonathan Pryce) daydreams about saving a damsel in distress while trying to function in Terry Gilliam’s retro-futuristic, hyper-consumerist dystopia.

Line please: Jonathan Pryce: Sorry, I’m a bit of a stickler for paperwork. Where would we be if we didn’t follow the correct procedures?

Critical commentary: "The most potent piece of satiric political cinema since Dr. Strangelove." — Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

Did you know? Brazil was River Phoenix’s favorite film.

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

The setup: A frumpy college grad (Anne Hathaway) gets a job working for an imperious fashion magazine editor (Meryl Streep) purportedly inspired by real-life U.S. Vogue editor Anna Wintour.

Line please: Meryl Streep: Details of your incompetence do not interest me.

Critical commentary: Rolling Stone‘s Peter Travers called Streep’s performance "a comic and dramatic tour de force."

Did you know? Though Anna Wintour wasn’t invited to the film’s premiere, she attended an advance press screening, dressed in (what else?) Prada.

Office Space (1999)

The setup: A worker (Ron Livingston) stuck in a mind-numbing cubicle job seeks way to escape his situation and get revenge on his boss (Gary Cole).

Line please: Ron Livingston: The thing is, Bob, it’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that I just don’t care.

Critical commentary: "If you’ve ever had a job, you’ll be amused by this paean to peons."  —  Susan Wloszczyna, USA Today

Did you know? Entertainment Weekly ranked this cult classic fifth on its list of "25 Great Comedies From the Past 25 Years."

‘The Zero Theorem’ Trailer Leaks, Is Yanked By Studio

Like many closeted fanboys, my veneer of normality crumbles when exposed to anything by Terry Gilliam. From 12 Monkeys to Brazil to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas—hell, even the heartbreaking documentary Lost in La Mancha—my fawning admiration just grows. I do like to pretend that The Fisher King doesn’t exist, but I doubt I’ll have that reaction to The Zero Theorem, his latest.

Starring a futuristically bald Christoph Waltz, whose career arc is becoming the envy of every serious film actor, The Zero Theorem concerns a poor computer hacker set to an impossible task (making a nonzero number equal zero, as in a wonderful short story by Ted Chiang). Of course, he’ll also have to contend with what looks to be Gilliam’s most frighteningly gaudy dystopia since Brazil itself.
 
Yesterday a trailer for the film found its way on line, curiously ending not with a release date but the words “In Post-Production,” suggesting that the footage was a bit premature—indeed, shortly afterward, the clip was taken down. But we know this will be a hyperkinetic triumph for the only director who can render this absurd world as the living cartoon it is. A supporting cast including Tilda Swinton, Matt Damon and Melanie Thierry ought to help. For now, here’s some guerilla footage of the making of a street scene.
 

From Rian Johnson to John Waters, Your Favorite Directors on the Films That Changed Their Lives

There’s always one film that lives inside the hearts of the cinematically minded—the one that opened their eyes, shook their world, and made them keen to the emotional, social, psychological, and physical possibilities that a movie can hold. For me, that was seeing David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive for the first time. I remember feeling as if someone had hit me over the head with a frying pan, awakening something in me that I never knew existed. It was the beginning of a new chapter in my life and remains a personal touchstone—a piece of cinema with which I have the most intimate relationship.

In  The Film That Changed My Life, Robert K. Elder interviews 30 directors on their "epiphanies in the dark." After spending a lot of time recently thinking about the way in which my tastes have changed but what will always stay the same, I wanted to share some highlights from Elder’s book, that gives insight into some of the most acclaimed and brilliant filmmakers today, as they reveal the movies that ignited something in them and made them want to make films of their own.

So here are some of your favorite directors on the films that moved them the most—enjoy.

Edgar Wright: John Landis’s An American Werewolf in London

"I’ve always been fascinated by horror films and genre films. And horror films harbored a fascination for me and always have been something I’ve wanted to watch and wanted to make. Equally, I’m very fascinated by comedy. I suppose the reason that this film changed my life is that very early on in my film-watching experiences, I saw a film that was so sophisticated in its tone and what it managed to achieve.

It really changed my life. It’s informed both Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. There have been moments of verbal comedy, physical comedy, and tonal comedy. And extreme violence, somehow. Something like AN American Werewolf in London, the idea of having this mix of socially awkward comedy prided by incredibly vivd Oscar-winning horror, was just astonishing—is really astonishing. Horror films never get considered for Academy Awards; it’s incredible that An American Werewolf in London won the first ever makeup Oscar."

Rian Johnson: Woody Allen’s Annie Hall

"It’s magical to me. To this day, I can watch the film and try to analyze it and try to figure out how this little movie works, and it’s almost impossible. I end up getting lost. For me, watching this film is like a kid watching a magic trick.

I’d put it up there with 8 1/2 in terms of a film that personally redefined for me what film was capable of. This was one of the first films I saw that played with form in a brave way, and it paid off.

If anything it has grown in stature in my mind. What it achieved has become even more remarkable. I hate the tendency to say, "Films today don’t do what they used to," because that’s bullshit. In any generation, people are reticent to take the risks that this film does. One thing I’ll say about today versus back then, the idea of taking risks that this film took is frightening because there is less tolerance on the part of audiences today. I’m emotionally affected by it each time I see it. I appreciate what it pulled off."

Danny Boyle: Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now

"My relationship with it, and my relationship wit most films that I love, is not really an intellectual one at all. It’s a passionate, visceral, emotional, one and in a funny kind of way I learned to value and appreciate that more as I go on really, rather than try to ever understand the films.

it’s obviously made at the Everest of megalomania, the absolute peak of, ‘I can do nothing wrong, and I must just push myself.’ And that’s, of course, one of the things celebrated in the film. You do see a film made at the absolute edge of sanity, really. In terms of the indulgence that movies can induce in people. But there’s a great side to it as well because it is his ambition and its about bigness, and I think that’s something we have lost. We now watch big films in terms of impacts and scale. I’m sure we’ll get it back, hopefully. But we really lost big films, these slightly overwhelming, overly ambitious big films. We’ve lost them, for whatever reason: confidence, marketing, whatever other factors you build into it. We do see to have lost that ambitiousness, I think."

Richard Kelly: Terry Gilliam’s Brazil

"I think the greatest thing I learned from Terry is that every frame is worthy of attention to detail. Every frame is worthy of being frozen in time and then thrown on a wall like an oil painting, and if you work hard on every frame, the meaning of your film because deeper, more enhanced. New meaning emerges in your story because of your attention to detail. It is also developing a visual style that is your own, that is hopefully unlike anything that has been done before.

I think Terry has one of the most pronounced, specific visual styles of any filmmaker. He gave me something to aspire to as a visual artist but also as a storyteller, as one who aspires to be a social satirist.

In this film, what Terry was doing—the level of detail, the complexity, the overwhelmingness of it all—I guess it challenged me. I guess that’s how I’ve always been. Maybe I just saw part of myself there."

John Waters: Victor Fleming’s The Wizard of Oz

"Girl leaves a drab farm, becomes a fag hag, mets gay lions and men that don’t try to molest her, and meets a witch, kills her. And unfortunately, by a surreal act of fetishism—clicks her shoes together and is back to where she belongs. It has an unhappy ending.

When they throw the water on the witch, she says, ‘Who would have thought good little girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness?’ That line inspired my life. I sometimes say it to myself before I go to sleep like a prayer.

I was always lookin’ for something that other people didn’t like, or people were frightened of, or didn’t care for. I was always drawn to forbidden subject matter in the very, very beginning. The Wizard of Oz opened me up because it was one of the first movies I ever saw. It opened me up to villainy, to screenwriting, to costumes. And great dialogue. "

Richard Linklater: Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull

"The film pulled me in so dark and deep. It was the boldness of the movie. in the era of feel-good movies, touchy feel stuff was all over the place, and man, this movie was unafraid. It was so brave to depict such a flawed, unlikable, scary guy.

It made me see movies as a potential outlet for what I was thinking about and hoping to express. At that point I was an unformed artist. At that moment, something was simmering in me, but Raging Bull brought it to a boil.

I remember telling people, some of my buddies, ‘Oh you gotta go see this movie,’ and they’re like, ‘Uh, yeah. Maybe.’ And even that girl I went with, we broke up shortly thereafter because she said it was boring. I was so mad. I’d had, like, this huge experience, and she walked out and goes, ‘Eh, it was kind of boring.’ I was like, ‘Who am I with? This is crazy!’ That was the end of that. A guy wants his girlfriend to at least appreciate that part of him. It’s every guy’s fantasy to have a girl who, if she doesn’t think that those films are great, at least can see why you like them, and tolerate it."

Brazilian Psych-Rock Legends Os Mutantes Preview New Album

Everyone may be preparing for SxSW or mulling over the Pitchfork lineup or getting all googly-eyed over the 15 or so seconds of a new Daft Punk song that were played over a commercial during Saturday Night Live, but this may actually be the best music news all week. Brazilian tropicalismo pioneers Os Mutantes, who you may know from your cooler-than-you college roommate or that McDonald’s commercial from a few years ago with "A Minha Menina" in it, are still making music and about to release their second album since the ’70s.

Fool Metal Jack, out April 30th, follows 2009’s Haih or Amortecedor, the first album the group had made since reuniting in 2006. Listen to four samples from the album through the band’s SoundCloud below, including the heavy, almost Tom Waits-ish, creeping bass-heavy title track, the funkified "Look Out," "Once Upon a Flight" and "Piccadilly Willie." 

Actor Rodrigo Santoro Talks Soccer, Shaving And Starving Himself, And His Twitter Impostors

You may recognize Rodrigo Santoro from his roles in movies like Love Actually, 300, What To Expect When You’re Expecting, and Che, among others. The Brazilian-born international talent has a range of films under his belt, from comedy to drama, action to foreign. His latest subtitled flick has the 37-year-old actor playing the part of Heleno de Freitas, a 1940s-era soccer superstar hailing from the same place, albeit during a very different time.

Heleno, which opens today in New York, Los Angeles, and Miami, is a black-and-white biopic about the thrilling yet tragic life of de Freitas. de Freitas, as portrayed in the movie, was a man of great passion—for both beautiful women and, of course, his sport—who died at the age of 39 from syphilis, which he refused to treat. de Freitas, the story goes, dubbed medicine as making men weak, so he gradually and then exponentially declined, retiring to a sanatorium far from the sandy beaches, nightclubs, and stadiums of his glory days. His self-destructive behavior—defined by an addiction to ether, estrangement from his wife and child, and a hot temper with his team—cemented de Freitas as a living myth of sorts. Perhaps this is how he earned the nickname Prince Cursed.

Santoro, on the other hand, couldn’t be farther from de Freitas when it comes to fame, fortune, and disposition. The opposite of cursed, he’s accomplished a lot and has much more to look forward to. In Heleno, we witness Santoro take command of the character in an award-caliber performance, one that is raw, yet respectful of its subject.

For the feature, Santoro dropped nearly thirty pounds in order to appear as sickly ill as de Freitas actually was when at his worst. This among other things the sunny Santoro opened up about earlier this week when I sat down with him at the Tribeca Grand Hotel, where he was cheerily upbeat and far from withering away. Read on for more, from drastic dieting to head-to-toe hair removal to why he worships the female sex even more than before.

What initially drew you to this film?
I got involved with the director [José Henrique Fonseca] at the very beginning. We just started to talk about the story, the character, the script. That’s the reason I became a producer on the film.

And how did you prepare for the role?
When we finally got financing, we hired a professional soccer player. He’s [currently] coaching [but] used to be an amazing player in the ’80s and ’90s. I always played soccer. Being Brazilian, you gotta do it. But always for fun with my friends. I wanted to go through the routine of a real soccer player. I was looking for somebody that had the same characteristics as Heleno: Heleno was known for head-striking and receiving the ball on his chest, which is something very hard for players to do. It doesn’t matter how fast the ball comes, they have the ability to “kill the ball.” So, we hired this guy. We also did research. We have photographs, a biography, and a lot of interviews. We spent almost a year interviewing people all over Brazil. 90-year-old guys that saw [Heleno] play or knew some story about him; this lady whose neighbor had an affair with him—she used to see [Heleno] come in. All these crazy stories.

And you lost a bunch of weight…
I dropped 28 pounds because we were portraying his last days. We shot the first part of the movie, the glamour and the heights of his career, and then we broke for two months. I dropped the weight, I came back, and we shot the last part.

How’d you do it? Just starve yourself?
You do starve. The diet is very strict. I do not recommend it. I had two doctors. This is the third time I went on a strict diet. This is the most extreme I’ve been on. I was eating very, very little. Just sufficient to work, because you gotta work. I felt weaker, more fragile, but my mind was clear. It was incredible. It was intense, though. It wasn’t fun.

Besides calorie restriction, what did you do?
A lot of cardio. And just discipline. That is the key. You teach your body and your body adapt[s] to that reality.

Did Heleno really eat paper?
Not paper, newspaper. From our interviews, that’s what they told us. He wanted to chew stuff. Mainly paper. That was his thing.

Is it more challenging to take on the role of someone who actually existed?
I wouldn’t say more challenging. The challenge is different. We decided to do this film because he’s such an important character in Brazilian soccer history. You have to respect that there’s an image. You cannot try to imitate that person. There’s a lot of little risks and it’s tricky. But also, you have a lot of information. If you’re playing a character that did not exist, you’re totally free to create, but there’s no reference. It’s just different.

After the entire endeavor, did you come away liking or disliking Heleno? The film itself doesn’t make him terribly likeable…
As an artist, you cannot judge the character. You have to be able to suspend judgment. I wouldn’t say I like or I dislike. I just tried to portray his humanity.

What do you think you’d be doing if not this?
I think I would be traveling the world, working at Discovery Channel. I love nature. I would do something in the wild, like a journalist or documentar[ian]. Or surfing.

Ha. What was it like working with Arnold Schwarzenegger?
It was great. He was Conan the Barbarian, he was Terminator. I was a teenager at that time. He was an icon. [On set], there was part of me being like, That’s the Terminator and he’s backing me up. He was nice, very accessible, great humor. We had a good time. I saw a cut two weeks ago and I really enjoyed it. It’s fun.

Do you have a favorite film you’ve been in?
It’s hard to choose because I believe it’s like kids. You cannot choose your favorite son. But, I was never so involved with something [as] Heleno.

So, I’m intrigued—and impressed—that you shaved and waxed your body for 300
It’s the second time I’ve done this. Not the first time, okay? I perfected my techniques. I did not wax, because the first time I tried it—I have a deep respect for women. I already had it before, but now I worship you guys. It is very painful. It is not fun. This time we shaved everything. It was a process. I had to shave my head every day. Arms, legs, everything.

A taste of a lady’s life. Now that you’re done shaving, what are you working on?
Right now I’m working on my holidays.

Makes sense. Say, did you know you have, like, six fake twitter accounts?
Even more! I gotta tell you, I don’t have Twitter, I don’t have Facebook. But, according to my friends, there’s one [Twitter account] that is really good at portraying me.

No kidding. So, what’s your stance on our fine city?
I love New York. It’s a place that every time I’m about to come here, I get excited.

What do you do for fun while you’re here?
I just walk. That’s my favorite thing to do. It’s very simple, very basic, but I love the fact that [this city is so] condensed. It’s perfect in that way. You can do whatever you want. I love the cosmopolitan quality. I love to go to Central Park and get lost there. My favorite thing to do when it’s sunny is sit down in the grass and watch the grass grow. Things are so fast and people are moving all the time, so my favorite thing is to stop and watch it. 

Check Out These Unique Recommendations from Travel Pros

Budget Travel has rounded up twelve people who spend their lives travelling the world, and asked their insights on some of the world’s less-trodden destinations. There are some off-the-map suggestions, but we’re going to focus on accomadations here, since that’s what we do.

Some of the experts tapped include Jonny Bealby, the founder of Wild Frontiers adventure travel company, and Charles Veley, a man on a mission to visit every country in the world. Charles likes a small bungalow on Lord Howe Island, a seven-mile long stretch of beach two hours northeast of Sydney. Rob Kaufelt, owner of Murray’s Cheese, says that he ate one of the best dinners of his life in Verduno, Italy, so you’ll want to add the nearby 18th century Castello di Verduno to your list. And when the founder of the Ace Hotels, Alex Calderwood, says he thinks Doe Bay in Washington State’s Orcas Islands “just feels right,” then you better listen. We also loved the sound of Lauren Aviva’s pick, Sucre, in Bolivia. The global retailer describes an amazing selection of textiles she picked up while based out of the Parador Santa María La Real: "Even functional items like potato sacks were woven with lovely striped patterns,” she said.

Mundialista: Nike Campaign a Jinx, Puts Hex on Robinho

Perhaps the superstar footballers depicted striving for World Cup glory in Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s genius mini-movie advertisement for Nike should have worn Adidas instead. So far, they’ve all been having mediocre-to-straight-up disastrous tournaments: Brazilian Ronaldinho wasn’t even called up for the World Cup despite a rebound season for AC Milan; Italy’s Fabbio Cannavaro flopped miserably and failed to lead his team to the second round (an achievement not lost on Italy’s colorful media); England’s Wayne Rooney, who is seen battling France’s Franck Ribery in the Nike spot, was a wash for the Brits, squeaking into the second round by sheer luck of the draw only to suffer a terrifically nasty loss to historic rivals Germany. Time to break out the lawn mower for the burly Rooney.

Then there’s France and their star playmaker Ribery, who made an early French exit and possibly had the most atrocious World Cup of all the teams in South Africa, marred by scandal, dismal results, and a near mutiny. Portugal’s Ronaldo, who nutmegs Homer Simpson in the brilliant advertisement, has failed yet again to live up to the massive hype surrounding him, netting a single freak goal in the tournament thus far, and only then in a 7 – 0 drubbing of lowly North Korea. Côte d’Ivoire’s Didier Drogba broke his arm right around the time the spot aired, and was unable to prevent his team from dropping out in the first round. Even players who make brief cameos in the movie, like Spain’s Cesc Fabregas, have had middling tournaments. Now Nike has released more Write the Future spots, including one where Brazilian attacker Robinho is canonized following World Cup glory. Don’t be shocked if he breaks a foot in their upcoming round sixteen match against Chile. So, hey, Go Adidas! They might make a ball that only a Jesus Freak could love – but Adi Dassler’s time honored footballing magic seems to have rubbed off on Adidas-sponsored World Cup stars. But which one was the Nazi Dassler again?

Sao Paulo Still Struggling With Body Image Issues

There’s a dangerous dichotomy at work in the fashion industry these days and Sao Paulo Fashion Week is the latest culprit. Just yesterday the Associated Foreign Press pointed out a growing concern among Sao Paulo’s fashion set about ultra skinny models on the catwalk. “The organizers of Latin America’s biggest fashion show raised the alarm Thursday over emaciated Brazilian models apparently following unhealthy US and European trends,” reports read. Paulo Borges, the creative director behind the biannual fashion week claimed that the emaciated models in question “are based most of the year in Europe and in the USA where they work majorly.” (Basically Borges is implying that it’s expectations further north and east that are encouraging Brazilian models to trim down to unhealthy weights.) But that debate in Sao Paulo specifically is nothing new.

(‘DiggThis’)Just over six months ago major model Karolina Kurkova caught a serious backlash when she showed up on Sau Paulo runways looking a bit heavier than in the past (emphasis on a bit). “One Brazilian paper blasted her back fat and cellulite, as did other outlets,” the Huffington Post wrote back in June of 2009. The conversation is no doubt loaded. But it’s a bit suspect when the director of Sao Paulo’s fashion week is claiming that Brazilian models are being negatively affected by the unhealthy standards of the US and European fashion industry, when Brazil’s own paper blasted a healthy Kurkova for getting soft. At this point it’s starting to look like a question of the chicken and the egg. The moral of the story: the issue of unhealthy weight expectations in the fashion industry continues to be a global problem, with far too few regulations, not to mention good examples set of well-rounded views on what body shapes are in fact beautiful.