CAMILA ALVES: True Goddess

camilaAlvesby Toni Ferrara

The name Camila Alves is synonymous with fashion and true style. Recognizable as the host of Bravo’s hit series “Shear Genius,” she’s graced the pages of many magazines all over the world. Maybe you’ve even heard of her boyfriend, Matthew McConaughey, or you’ve seen her playing with her children on the beaches of Malibu, but this Brazilian beauty is much more than a girlfriend, model and mother. She’s a philanthropist and a handbag designer.

At the age of fifteen, when most teens aren’t even sure what their future holds, Camila moved to the United States with strong entrepreneurial dreams. Starting off her career in New York City, her first modeling contract landed her a billboard on Times Square. Her strong work ethic, along with her unparalleled level of professionalism makes her unforgettable. Although she travels the world constantly, she now calls Southern California home.

Camila showed up to the shoot at a private residence in Bel Air wearing a flowy white top and a great pair of jeans. Her beautiful boho style is effortless. She greeted and introduced herself to everyone on set while radiating the true essencecamilaAlves_bhl of beauty. Rarely do you meet a woman who is both beautiful in spirit as well as physically stunning. Camila possesses both with a natural ease. This real life goddess demonstrates strength and passion for her family and work. It’s no wonder that her keen eye for fashion has led her to creating her own handbag line.

The line is pronounced “Moo-show.” It means a goddess of the water in an African language. The word is spelled backwards, because I like a twist. I was modeling at the time. We were looking for an extra way to make a little more money to help our family back home. In Brazilian culture, once you leave, you always look out for the family. My mom has three degrees in design in Brazil and she’s very talented. We decided to get together and create a product.

The first handbag that we made, I was kinda like, “Umm I’m not sure.” I was traveling all over the world for modeling and I decided to take it with me to see what response I would get. And at every airport I was at, I was getting people stopping me to ask about it and we started getting orders. Then it grew to people asking me, “Can you make it in this color? Can you make it this size or that size?“ That’s how we got started and we’ve been doing this for about five years now.

Paulista’s Little Sister was the first bag that we ever made. We used to work out of an apartment when we first started. I remember we used to go to the parking lot of a school to hammer the tassels because we couldn’t make that much noise in camila_Alvesour apartment. The cops would come and we would hide in our car. Since then we have a studio where we design and create our bags.

Each collection we get inspired by our surroundings. One collection we have is inspired by Brazil, New York and Los Angeles – just places that I am from. I used to live in New York and now I live in LA. Our current collection is inspired by a road trip that I took all over the United States. It was influenced by the colors, cultures and landscapes. Our business is so great in the United States that we wanted a way to give back somehow. Before, all of our materials came from Brazil and a part of production was there as well. Because this collection is so American inspired, we are doing everything here. Our buyers for materials and production are here. Everything we are sourcing is from here. And even the labor is here in the United States. Me and my mother touch every single handbag. As crazy as that sounds, there are certain finishing techniques, like artwork that we do on each handbag and it’s funny because we won’t teach or tell anyone else how to do it.

We have a lot of fans of our handbags. We have girls who save up to purchase a bag and others who collect them. Our fans take photos of themselves with the bags and send them to us. Recently, we had a young boy write to us because his mother was battling cancer and her dying wish was to own a MUXO bag. So I decided to sign the bag and take a photo with it. I sent it with the bag to her. Within a week, I received a letter saying thank you and a photo of her with the handbag in the same pose that I was in. It’s the things that our fans do that makes me realize what an impact we have.

Photography: Kati Ellis and Jessica Lane / Photography Assistant: Ailen Johnson / Hair: Richard Collins / Make-up: Jamie Greenberg / Stylist: Toni Ferrara / Styling Assistants: Carla Pallares and Brynn Heberer / Location: Umansky Residence in Bel Air