Authenticity is a non-negotiable quality of a good actress. For Suzana Pires, it’s a vulnerable dissection of one’s own psyche. “I believe that acting is an action of truth,” she muses. “I need to be in this state in order to perform a good scene. So, today, I can tell you that being an actress is to exercise loyalty to myself, put my heart on the table and jump into the character’s emotions. It’s as intense as the truth.” Audiences in her native Brazil have recognized the depth of this commitment, propelling her to unparalleled recognition. She is Brazil’s first actress to also serve as a showrunner. Leading the charge for equality makes her heart swell with pride. “It meant a lot of work and some scars because I was the first to break the glass ceiling of this position. Now, the door (or ceiling) is open, that’s the real meaning. Women in Brazil know, now, that they can.”
A few central lessons have served her well as a woman in the entertainment industry. “One, study as much as you can. Two, produce your own work. And three, believe in yourself, no matter what.” She hopes to spread that wisdom in her new book, Unleashed. Suzana doesn’t shy away from bearing her flaws. “It’s a book that tells you that you are alive, not a book that tells you how to live. It’s about the 5 factors that make an UNLEASHED Woman: education, experience, confidence, financial independence, and legacy. All that I mix with my professional stories. I am not putting myself out there as a super powerful woman that never gave up or never committed a mistake. I told the truth to my readers and I think that’s why women connect with the book.” Women face a myriad of hurdles in the workplace. Identifying and understanding them became Suzana’s purpose. “When I first started the DONA DE SI INSTITUTE (my foundation in Brazil to empower women), I felt the need to map out the reasons that we, women, are so prone to give up on the construction of our professional life,” Suzana explains. “I found studies of all kinds: women are more educated, generate more profit when leading, and are more entrepreneurial. We are capable and brave. Ok. So, what was the cause of such a devastating outcome and a high number of female entrepreneurs going broke? That was the answer I could not find anywhere. Therefore, I decided to conduct my own study and relied on my hundreds of thousands of readers and fans. We identified the three major challenges women encounter in the workplace, and they have nothing to do with their professional skills, but rather with cultural factors. The main causes leading to professional bankruptcy and surrender among women are: WORK OVERLOAD, OPPRESSION, and LONELINESS. We are all exhausted because no one taught us how to say NO. We face oppression every day, from the subtle to the abusive, and because of all that we feel lonely and incapable. Neutralizing those obstacles is my goal.” Discovering your agency as a woman is the first step to success. You have to have faith in your own abilities. “Power within is something that we need to exercise every day. It’s the way that you put yourself out into the world. Power is not a hard act. Power is subtle, it is about choices, boundaries and commitment to yourself. It’s not easy for a woman because our historical heritage is to be the one without power, the submissive one, but female power is completely different from male power. That’s what we need to find out about ourselves. Self-awareness is crucial for a woman to identify her power.
Dona de Si, Suzana’s aforementioned organization, is a resource to support women in allowing their strengths to flourish while confronting the potential challenges along the way. “The DONA DE SI INSTITUTE has an entrepreneurship online platform with 180 hours of classes about how to transform your dreams into reality. We start neutralizing those three obstacles (work overload, oppression, and loneliness) with some skills, like free mental health therapy, women’s networking and improving their talents with our FASHION LAB, MOVIE LAB, DIGITAL MARKETING LAB, etc. We have more than 5,000 women who graduated, and 30% of them started their own business, 20% re-started their own business, and 50% came back to school or college. We are generating inner power with them and it brings financial independence, healthier life, and better relationships.” This is only the beginning of her impact. “I want to expand my institute into the US and keep boosting Brazilian women more and more.” When we help each other to thrive, we all win.
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Suzana Pires Urges Women to Unlock Their Inner Power with New Book, “Unleashed.” Photo Credit: Ben Cope. Stylist: Anna Schilling. Hair/Makeup: Olaf Derlig.