By Rachel Myers, staff writer
Jessica Fagherazzi, an international student from Caxias do Sul, Brazil, has decided to make the United States her permanent home, causing an uproar in her hometown, where she is locally famous as a club promoter and model.
Her move to the United States landed her an article in her regional newspaper, the Serra Gaucha.
The newspaper asked her why she was leaving Brazil.
“I told them I didn’t see myself living in Brazil because of the time I spent in Chicago,” Fagherazzi said. “After a year in Chicago, I was Americanized. I liked my new lifestyle here where I could explore outside of my comfort zone.”
Her hometown in Brazil is rich in scenery. She lives close to beaches, mountains and forests. Most of the people in her town have an Italian background. Fagherazzi speaks Portuguese, English, Italian, French and a little bit of Spanish, she said.
Fagherazzi moved to the United States in July 2010, when she enrolled at Illinois State University, in Normal, Ill. She later decided to transfer to Newman based on the recommendation of one of her Brazilian friends.
Fagherazzi said she is happy to call the United States her home but she also misses her life back in Brazil.
“Partying is a part my culture,” Fagherazzi said. “Brazilians love to socialize and come together to celebrate.”
She said the party scene is Brazil is different than what Americans would expect. Everyone goes out to the clubs no matter what age, she said. Brazilians are encouraged to socialize from a young age. There are clubs in her hometown for children as young as 11.
“I grew up going to social events in my hometown,” Fagherazzi said. “I like the fact that when you are at these events you forget about the worries of your life and have a good time with people you love.”
Fagherazzi has been a model since she was 13 years old. The owner of her modeling agency took her to photoshoots and runway shows. She quickly became popular in her town and met club owners, who wanted her to help promote their clubs.
While in Brazil, Fagherazzi was able to receive free merchandise and was invited to high -class yacht parties. She appeared in billboards all over her town. She also made an appearance at a nightclub as a DJ, though she admits she only knows a few techniques.
As her popularity grew, she met many celebrities from Brazil, including Alessandra Ambrosio, a Victoria’s Secret model, Neymar da Silva, of the Brazilian national soccer team, Rodrigo Santoro, who played the Persian king in “300,” Ellen Jabour, a Brazilian model, Jesus Luz, Madonna’s ex-boyfriend, Caio Junqueira, an actor in “Elite Squad,” and Selton Mello, an actor and director whom Fagherazzi dated while in Brazil.
“We met at a movie festival that he was hosting,” Fagherazzi said. “He came up and introduced himself and of course I knew who he was.”
Fagherazzi said she thought Mello was down-to-earth for being a major star in Brazil. Mello has won numerous awards. He has acted and directed in Brazilian movies such as “My Name Ain’t Johnny,” “The Invisible Woman,” “To the Left of the Father,” and “Jean Charles.” He also did Brazilian voiceovers for “Brother Bear” and “The Emperor’s New Groove.”
Fagherazzi said she enjoyed being a socialite in her hometown but wanted to try something new.
“Living here has made me grow up a lot. I like the challenge of adapting to other cultures and embracing my independence,” Fagherazzi said.