Since winning a modelling contest in 1996 and moving to New York as a teenager, Adriana Lima has grown used to being an ambassador for her country.
A familiar face on fashion runways and the front covers of magazines, the supermodel has latterly branched out into acting, projecting the exoticism and warmth Brazilian people are known for.
And like her compatriots, the Bahia-born beauty is a passionate football fan. Thrilled at the prospect of Brazil hosting the FIFA Confederations Cup next year and the FIFA World Cup™ a year later, she was an obvious choice to take part in the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 draw, to be held on 1 December at the Anhembi Exhibition Centre in Sao Paulo.
Taking time out from her busy schedule to talk to FIFA.com, Lima discussed her participation in next month’s draw and her love for the game of football.
FIFA.com: How did you react when you were asked to attend the FIFA Confederations Cup draw?
Adriana Lima: When I first heard I was invited to the draw I was so excited. I am a big sports fan and I’m really relishing the opportunity to participate in such a wonderful event. I am honoured that FIFA asked me.
Do you think football fever will hit Brazil when it hosts the Festival of Champions, a full year before the FIFA World Cup?
It will definitely get the fans in the mood for it. In any case, there’s always football fever in Brazil as it’s such an important part of our culture. We are thrilled to be hosting the FIFA Confederations Cup and the World Cup.
You’re something of an ambassador for Brazil around the world. How do you think the rest of the world will see the country after it hosts the FIFA Confederations Cup and the FIFA World Cup?
I know that Brazil is going to make a positive impression on everyone who’ll be taking part. I think it’s fantastic that the eyes of the world will be on Brazil during the Confederations Cup and the World Cup. It’s a wonderfully diverse country with a rich cultural history that will be there for everyone to see during the tournaments.
Have you noticed a change in how Brazil is seen abroad? Have people been saying things about it hosting the FIFA Confederations Cup and the FIFA World Cup?
I’ve only heard positive things about Brazil staging the tournaments and I think everyone around the globe is excited about it. Who wouldn’t want to come to Brazil?
You’ve been travelling around the world non-stop since a very young age and have visited a lot of places. What is it that makes Brazil and its people stand out? If you had to give people one reason to come to the FIFA Confederations Cup and the FIFA World Cup, what would it be?
What stands out most about Brazil is how friendly people are. There are lots of different reasons why people should come here, like the atmosphere, the style of football and the warm welcome you get from Brazilians. We are very warm people and we accept everyone with open arms. We love our football and our everyday way of life, and I think we have a knack for bringing a little bit of joy to people’s lives. So not only are you going to witness an incredible football competition, you’ll maybe learn how to samba too.
The FIFA Confederations Cup and FIFA World Cup will give Brazil the opportunity to promote its culture, including its fashion industry, through a series of parallel projects. What impact do you think such high-profile events will have on the country’s cultural scene?
They’ll give fans a taste of Brazilian culture and I hope they’ll be impressed by it. There are a lot of amazing fashion designers and artists here and this is a great chance for them to come together and receive the international acclaim they deserve.
And what’s your connection with football? Who are your favourite team?
I enjoy watching all types of sport and I love watching Brazil. I grew up in Bahia with my grandfather, who was a huge fan of Vitoria, Bahia’s biggest rivals. There’s no love lost between the two, but I’ve managed to end up liking both teams.
What memories do you have of the FIFA Confederations Cup, and will you be in Brazil next June?
My most recent memory is the 2009 [final] win over the United States, which was a great victory for Brazil. Hopefully they can win the title again in 2013. And yes, I will definitely be in Brazil next June!
Brazil will be up against teams of the calibre of Spain, Italy and Uruguay in the FIFA Confederations Cup. What are their chances of winning and who are your favourite players in the side?
I think Brazil have a great chance to win the trophy again in 2013 because they’ll feel like they have an extra man with all the support they’ll get from our fans. My favourite player is Neymar.
One last question, about the FIFA World Cup this time. What’s your favourite memory of the competition?
Every FIFA World Cup is special. To see people showing their pride in their country is truly inspiring.