Visitors to South America’s first Olympic games are getting an eyeful of the beauty- and fitness-obsessed culture that is synonymous with Rio, a land of muscle-taxing samba dancing, acrobatic capoeira martial arts and dental floss bikinis and Speedos that reveal more than they conceal. Remember it was Brazil that gave birth to the “Brazilian bikini wax” and even the “Brazilian Butt Lift,” a type of plastic surgery that aims to put a little more oomph in your rump.
Beauty is also big business here: Brazil always ranks among the world’s top-five cosmetic-buying countries. It’s also the world’s second-biggest consumer of plastic surgery, after the United States. Outside workout areas are ubiquitous, as are specialty shops with names such as “integrated center for aesthetics,” which offer everything from nail work to detailed analysis of facial curves to determine the kind of haircut to make people look their best.