Suzana Pires is a powerhouse in Brazil who is quickly expanding her empire and international footprint. As a critically acclaimed actress, writer, and producer (not to mention entrepreneur and philanthropist), it’s no surprise that she’s amassed a following and a fanbase in the millions. Her new book Unleashed, releasing August 19th, is a riveting guide for those who want to take control of their own destiny and eliminate the 3 factors often standing in our way in the workplace. We had a chance to chat with Suzana about her incredible new book, her upcoming new projects, and her go-to style tips for feeling powerful and feminine…
We’ll next see you in Disney’s Aruna’s Magic, can you tell us about your role?
Her name is Bruma. She is a woman that just wanted her freedom but she was trapped in an awful marriage with an abusive husband. In order to get out of it she became a person without limitations, doing bad things to get more power. She is the first Disney villain who is Latina, so it is an honor to bring her to life.
Sex and the City just had its 25th Anniversary, and Carrie Bradshaw, who is known for fashion and writing, is a celebrated icon in TV history. Were you a fan of the series, and do you feel there are any similarities between her character and who you are as an empowered female writer who also loves fashion?
Yes, completely. I became a woman while I was watching Sex and the City! Each episode I watched like 10 times. The show made me see that I could live alone, that I could pay my bills with my own talent, and also make my own choices. And more: Sex and the City took my fear away. They were all my superheroes at that time. Thanks to Darren Star and the actresses.
Tell us about your new book Unleashed, and what your inspiration was behind writing it.
When I first started the DONA DE SI INSTITUTE (my foundation in Brazil to empower women), I felt the need to map out the reasons that we, women, are so prone to give up on the construction of our professional life. I found studies of all kinds: women are more educated, generate more profit when leading, and are more entrepreneurial. We are capable and brave. Ok, so what was the cause of such a devastating outcome and a high number of female entrepreneurs going broke? That was the answer I could not find anywhere. Therefore, I decided to conduct my own study and relied on hundreds of thousands of readers and fans. We identified the three major challenges women encounter in the workplace, and they have nothing to do with their professional skills but rather with cultural factors. The main causes leading to professional bankruptcy and surrender among women are Female Overburden, Oppression, and Loneliness. After that, Virginia De Gomez and I created a journey, with 160 hours of classes online to neutralize those issues. We aimed to reach a point where our students could increase their business by 20% in a year. So, when I received the proposal to write a book, I wrote about our empowerment journey with my own professional stories. All with honesty. I don’t put myself as a super powerful woman that never gave up or never committed a mistake. I am super real with my audience and I think that’s why women connect with the book so quickly.
Do you feel like fashion empowers women?
Yes! I think it is the first step of empowerment, but not the only one. When we choose our clothes, we are choosing how we are going to impact the world. At DONA DE SI, we have a long period of classes that help women validate their own beauty and we can see the transformation. It is beautiful. They accept their hair, and their bodies; and with that, they can choose how they are going to express themselves in the world. Fashion is not about expensive things. Fashion is about who you are.
What are some of your go-to fashion trends for the summer?
Fluid dresses and kimonos. I can wear it with flats or heels and it is always comfy.
What are some of your favorite brands right now?
I love brands from Brazil, made by women. Negrita Modas, Adriana Meira Atelier, Animale, Elis Cardim, Quilombolas de São Lourenço, Carol Burgo. For international brands, I love the new Louis Vuitton with Pharrell, Schiaparelli, 16Arlington, The Mannei, Area, and The Attico.
How has fashion in Brazil shaped your wardrobe? What trends would you most want to bring to America?
In Brazil, we have the “quiet luxury” in our own way. I embrace the quiet luxury of a one-color outfit combined with amazing earrings made by Brazilian seeds and gold. Or a big colored bag that is handmade. Or a unique sandal made by rope. I am always wearing something like this and Americans love it. I am classic until I am not. LOL
In what ways do you like to highlight your femininity through fashion?
I am aware of my body… full of curves and a huge butt. LOL. So, sometimes I highlight all this with a tube dress that shapes the body. But most of the time, I prefer to highlight my femininity with a silk fluid dress that makes me naturally sensual.
And lastly, what’s next for Suzana?
To bring the Unleashed Foundation to America. We have a lot of women to help.