Brazil’s Best Job: Painting Nude Carnival Models

In Rio de Janeiro, the Mr. Lucky of Rio’s Carnival is Betto Almeida.


Almeida a 36-year-old artist who wakes up at 8 a.m. After taking his little breakfast and surviving a commute through the city’s tough traffic, he arrives at the office by 11. At the office, he spends his working hours painting the bodies of gorgeous women while earning as high as $2,000 per day.

Almedia even said pokerfaced: “You wouldn’t believe how many applications I get for an assistant.” He mentioned such fact while continuing his work. At that time, he was brushing bright orange paint on the stomach of a model inside his glass-enclosed studio which is located under the grandstands at the Sambadrome. It was where the Rio’s Carnival parades ended Tuesday at dawn.

He also shared: “But it’s hard work, man. I take my job seriously.”

Almeida is indeed slight, soft-spoken and unassuming. He even dedicates his art to a sideshow of the samba parades where his models were able to earn about $250 per night just to mingle, while dressed only in paint and with high-rollers in the luxury boxes.

Almeida wears chequered pants, a denim-and-camouflage hat and a green shirt having a red phoenix when he goes to work with a casual air at the same time as the party-crazed hordes outside press their noses to the glass and snap photos.

Not only that, he works as television soap opera art director. However, he has been brushing, dripping and spraying paint on several of the most gorgeous bodies that Brazil’s Carnival has to display for the past 12 years.

According to Michele Peres, a 28-year-old model of Almeida who was then wearing tiny black shorts, snakeskin stilettos and a watch, the quality of this artist was important to her professional success.

She further shared that she has been modelling for Carnival and other events for nine years already. That time, Almeida has just painted a jaguar on her breasts. Peres also said that Almeida is the best body painter she was able to encounter come across and his work draws more attention to me. She said it was good for both of them.

Also, an actress became interested in Almeida’s painting. She is 22-year-old Luana Minini. She was then her first appearance as a Carnival body paint model. No wonder she took a little more timid posture. She allowed Almeida to paint on the critical areas of her body in a back room. It was only after that when she agreed to have a red parrot with green wings painted all over her chest and have it completed under the public’s gaze.

Minini said: “I’ve always worked in theatre and dance. This is a bit more free- spirited. But I’ve learned to control my nervousness. The paint acts as a cover, it makes me feel protected.”

According to both women models, some men, usually foreigners, get a bit playful in their box seats, when the models start mingling with them for 15 minutes and that was prior to a 15 minutes champagne break in a glassed-front room next to Almeida’s work space.

Minini also said that it gets a little rowdy. “Not too many men grab us or anything, but there is always one or two who get a little confused. Brazilians understand the ambiance of Carnival and they come here prepared to see this,” she continued.

While the models were being interviewed, Almeida continued working. Even if he had sweat on his brow, he stated that the hard work is worth it. He gets paid by a modelling agency that employs the women in the amount of $1,000 for the more or less two hours it takes to paint each model. He paints two women a night during the samba parades and for one typical year, he gets to paint a minimum of 50 women for different events.

Here’s what he finally stated: “I started doing it for theatre and one of the samba parade officials asked if I would do it for Carnival models. How could I say no? A lot of guys are jealous of my job.” Who would not get interested with his contemporary paintings? Other than abstract art paintings, this is another interesting painting method of original art.

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