Amanda Dias was born in Golania, Brazil and currently lives in Sydney, Australia. She was raised in a single-parent household: her parents divorced when she was four years old, and while her dad was present throughout her life, she spent more time with her mum. She believes growing up in a very traditional family with a “limited financial situation” helped to mould her worldview, and in particular her work ethic and drive.
“Both my parents taught me to be strong, honest and to chase my dreams,” she explains. “My mum, as a single woman who had to work and take care of me, really showed me that a woman has to work twice as hard as a man but that we are strong enough to achieve anything we want.”
Amanda started working at age 10, helping her mum at her clothing factory and her dad at his clothing store. She didn’t experience certain teenager rites of passage like going to the movies or eating McDonald’s until she left Brazil at age 16, for the simple fact that she didn’t have enough time or money to do so. Rather than see this as a hindrance, she credits it with instilling in her a lifelong appreciation for the things that matter.
“Sometimes I see people not appreciate things they have because they don’t have the latest edition or most fashionable stuff,” she says. “When I go home I see kids playing soccer in the street with the biggest smile. My family still works doing the same thing and every time I go back I can see how much they appreciate life. So, I think that’s the person I’ve grown up to be: I appreciate simple things and people.”
If you were visiting Brazil for the first time, she’d take you to Calda Novas—a “really fun place, where you can swim in lakes and pools with naturally hot waters!”. The most rewarding part of her work is that it allows her to be so many different versions of herself (“I will never be the same Amanda in two photoshoots”). Also, the travel and opportunities to meet so many different people and cultures it affords. The most challenging bit is people’s perception that modelling is a hobby, rather than a profession.
The best advice she’s ever received is, “Don’t forget to water the plants!” and the first thing she does when she wakes up is look at her phone, by which time her dog is “already jumping in me and licking my face.” If she could only eat one meal for the rest of her life, it’d be any Brazilian food, more specifically rice, churrasco and Feijão tropeiro. *Stomach rumbles.* To unwind, she likes to have a little wine and cheese with someone she loves, and the coolest thing she’s learned recently is that there is a type of frog that can hold their pee for up to eight months.
For her, having positive friendships is important. “If you have a relationship with people that bring you up, make you feel free and listen to you, it keeps you sane. I think isolation wouldn’t have been as easy (for me) if I didn’t have people around that makes me feel loved and cared for.”
Despite a renewed appreciation for the support of her loved ones, isolation also taught Amanda that she thrives on having “‘me’ time, alone, actually doing nothing”:
“I freaked out a little in the beginning, but I realised I don’t need to be doing something every minute of the day just to be proactive and that it’s OK to just sit and do nothing. I loved doing me and spending time with myself.”
Feature: Madeleine Woon Photos: Daphne Nguyen Fashion: Janai Anselmi
Amanda is represented by Priscillas