The Brazilian bikini wax definitely conjures up a certain kind of image: the violent ripping of hair from one of the most sensitive areas on the human body, all in the name of beauty and beachwear. But what most people don’t realize about the “Brazilian wax” is that immigrants in the U.S. helped popularize the technique in ’90s, BBC News reports.
Thanks to the efforts of Brazilian immigrants the Padilha sisters, the “Brazilian” is now as American as apple pie.
The Padilha sisters got their start as beauticians in Brazil, but when one of the sisters, Jocely, took a vacation in New York City, she decided to stay and put her talents to work. When it became clear there was money to be made in the U.S., the sisters began a one-by-one immigration to New York.
The sisters’ skills in the beauty world caught on quickly with high-end clients, and soon the Padilhas had enough capital to start their own salon.
Sister Janea Padilha, who had begun toying with their novel wax practice in Brazil, helped introduce it to their New York clients, and word quickly spread about this great new still-unnamed waxing practice. The sisters looked primed for success.
Unfortunately, their popular waxing technique found an enemy in the porn industry.
Around the time the sisters’ wax method was catching on, the porn industry was already moving towards the trend of less body hair on its performers. When the magazine Playboy accused the sisters of stealing their waxing technique, the Padilhas denied this claim, saying that the “Brazilian” was part of their culture, and everyone in Brazil was doing it, BBC News reports. In reality, no beauty salons in Brazil were willing to wax people in that way, so the sisters had developed and popularized he technique on their own. The sisters’ gamble paid off and Playboy backed off. The once poor, undocumented immigrant sisters from Brazil are now living the American Dream thanks to their wild hair of an idea.
Of course there way more to the Brazilian than just this little teaser here. Read the entire, captivating story at BBC News.