Lifestyle & Belief

Real Housewives, this time in Brazil


The Real Housewives of Atlanta, who have nothing on the ladies in Brazil.


Frazer Harrison

RIO DE JANIERO, Brazil — Lydia likes to bathe in mineral water. Val has a penchant for Cristal champagne and private jets.

Narcisa is a Rio socialite, hooked on the Black Eyed Peas and trips to St Tropez.

And Debora is a former Playboy model. She races lorries for a living.

Together they are Brazil’s “Rich Women” — the lead characters in the country’s newest and most bizarre reality TV show, “Mulheres Ricas."

Produced by the Brazilian channel Band, “Mulheres Ricas” debuted on Monday and is said to be the first reality show to focus exclusively on the exclusive.

Each Monday, the program will take viewers into the worlds and wardrobes of millionaire women such as Lydia Sayeg, the director one of Sao Paulo’s chicest jewelers, and Val Marchiori, a socialite TV presenter who claims that buying a private jet worth around $16 million is just like “buying a new top."

Read more: Rio's crack dens take a hit

“Get to know the lives of five women who have problems with everything — except money!” the program’s producers promise.

Packed with boastful one-liners that horrified many Brazilians, the first episode of Rich Women sent the country’s Twittersphere into overdrive.

“My room is enormous. My closet is a labyrinth!” / “Being rich is a blessing. Money is wonderful. More, please, more!” / “Rich people have to spend. If the rich don’t spend, the money doesn’t go around and if the money doesn’t go around the poor don’t earn.”

Many tweeters suggested Lydia Sayeg and her friends should be taken to the nearest shantytown to see how out of touch with reality their Chanel shopping sprees were.

Last month Brazil’s economy officially overtook the UK’s to become the 6th largest on earth, according to the London-based Center for Economics and Business Research. The last decade has seen perhaps as many as 30 million citizens hauled from poverty. But Brazil remains one of the world’s most unequal places, with over 11 million people still living in slums, despite the booming economy.

Read more: Brazil bumps UK for 6th-largest economy

“The Brazilian paradox goes on,” senator Aecio Neves wrote in the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper on Monday. “The country has grown, unemployment has fallen but none of this stopped the growth of an enormous portion of the population that lives in precarious conditions, without public services.”

The Rich Women were quick to defend themselves from accusations of tastelessness.

“Many people might think [the program is] about showing-off, but those who tune in…. will see exciting, independent women, who take part in society but who each has their own character, personality and intensity,” Lydia Sayeg wrote on her blog.

That and bottle after bottle of champagne.

See the video for yourself. Even if you don't speak Portuguese, you'll get the idea. Don't miss the fluffy dog sipping water from a crystal drinking glass.