ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AT VOGUE.COM, AUGUST 2016.
All you need is an Instagram account—and to follow a few major designers and models—to know that the rooftop pool at the Hotel Fasano is the place to be in Rio, Olympics or not. A few nights after the games’ opening ceremony, the rooftop played host to a launch party of its own, for #TeamRio, a project of BrazilFoundation. Former Brazil soccer team captain Cafú; artist Vik Muniz, who happens to be a creative director for the opening ceremony of the upcoming Paralympic Games; and Lea T, who made history as the first transgender model to participate in an Olympic ceremony, were all in attendance.
Paula Bezerra de Mello, who handles the hotel’s PR—the building where the Fasano stands today belonged to her grandfather—is a founder of the #TeamRio initiative. “I was inspired by Leona Forman, the founder of BrazilFoundation,” De Mello told Vogue.com. “Leona is Russian, was born in China, moved to Rio with her parents when she was 13 years old, and fell in love.” Her organization has raised more than $35 million in 15 years for more than 450 social initiatives around Brazil. “It got me thinking about the power of the love for Rio, and how that can be channeled for a greater good,” De Mello continued. “So many of the international artists, musicians, athletes, and designers I’ve met demonstrate genuine interest in contributing to social projects here, but they don’t know where to start.”
In this case, getting started wasn’t a problem. Francisco Costa, the former Calvin Klein designer and native Brazilian, signed on to design the project’s logo, and his countrywoman, top model Alessandra Ambrosio, agreed to be an ambassador.
“The Olympic spirit is all about determination, teamwork, overcoming obstacles, and celebrating victories,” De Mello said. “We want to celebrate these initiatives that are truly game changing.” To become a game changer yourself, grab a #TeamRio tee at the Hotel Fasano. For more information, visit fasano.com.br.