Style Inspiration: Carmen Miranda, The Brazilian Bombshell

Carmen Miranda

5 Reasons Why Carmen Miranda is My Style Inspiration:

5. She was lively.

4. Her costumes were extremely original.

3. Always had the perfect nails and lippy.

2. Her Voice.

1. She always smiled.

Carmen Miranda

Now let’s learn a bit about the lovely Miss Miranda:

Born in Portugal in 1902, Carmen’s family moved to Brazil when she was a baby. Her parents were very religious, therefore dreams of lavish life and Hollywood stardom had to be kept at bay while she went through a convent education. Her first job was that of a department store clerk where she was lively and entertaining; then she landed her first contract through an opportunity from working at a radio station in 1928. By 1939, she had over 300 singles in Brazil! She not only acted but sang, her ability to captivate everyone she encountered.

Carmen Miranda

“Hollywood, it has treated me so nicely, I am ready to faint! As soon as I see Hollywood, I love it.”

carmen miranda

She pursued a career as a samba singer for ten years before she was invited to New York City to perform in a show on Broadway. The president at the time of her arrival to the US, FDR was one among many in the government who encouraged her presence in movies, due to some policies that were being pushed at the time (to strengthen relationship between US and South America), and due to Carmen’s captivating image and singing, they believed the American public would favor the policy. She was soon signed with 20th Century Fox and became an overnight sensation.

Carmen Miranda

Though loved by the American public, she really fell out with many South American countries. She was greatly criticized by the Latin communities because of her portrayal of a Latin woman and of the cultural image. Some of her films were banned from countries such as Cuba and Argentina. She was booed off stage in her very own country of Brazil in 1940. After the incident, she did not return to the country for over a decade. She was extremely taken by the incident, though this didn’t stop her from become Hollywood’s highest-paid entertainer and top female tax payer in the United States by 1945.Soon after, though, WWII ended and the American public and Hollywood was stepping away from musicals, causing some turbulence in Miranda’s career. She attempted to change her image, and made a couple of films portraying different types of characters, but the audience did not accept her change.

Camrmen Miranda

Luckily the nightclub scene did not change as abruptly as Hollywood, and Carmen maintained working on her musical and dance performances. She did however act in a few films, last one being in 1953. Carmen had a rough personal life with a miscarriage and an abusive marriage, mixed with rough patches in her career, it was mo surprise that she was smoking, drinking, and consuming barbiturates in her later years.

Carmen Miranda

Before a scheduled promotional tour in Europe in 1953 for her last film “Scared Stiff”, Carmen had gotten sick and had to cancel the tour. Her doctor ordered she rests, which she did in Brazil. This was her first visit in 14 years, and caused a lot of stress to her, since the last time she was there, she was booed. To her surprise, the public of Brazil warmly greeted the star back. She rested up and seemed ok.

Carmen Miranda

In 1954, she was  all ready to come back to Hollywood and perform. Unfortunately during a shooting of NBC variety series The Jimmy Durante Show, she became ill. She ignored the signs of her ill health and went on to perform the whole show, and said she was fine. Later that night, August 5, 1955, she passed away from a stroke. She was only 46 years old.

Her legacy lives on, there is a museum in her honor which hold all her lovely costumes in Brazil. She inspired fashion designers during the time of her career and even today. Who doesn’t love bright colors and fruit jewelry. Which brings me to the reasons why she is one of my style inspirations, fruit jewelry. I love it! Her costumes were fantastic, and though fall is creeping in, it doesn’t mean you can’t add a pop of colorful fruit jewelry of accessory to your outfit. 😉 The jewelry she inspired is actually called Carmen Miranda jewelry! How neat is that? I’ve done extensive browsing of the lovely jewelry, and I will admit, it is not cheap! Especially since much of it was made during the ere of early plastics, which are rare and highly collectible.

Carmen Miranda

I made 3 treasury lists on Etsy, two devoted to jewelry and brooches, and one for hats, purse and other items. You can find them HERE, HERE, and HERE. Check them out!

the vintage cat


Sources that gave me loads of info:


  1. Pingback: {Carmen Miranda} | The Blob Blog

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