Suzana Pires wears many stylish hats, including artist, entrepreneur, influencer (with 1.4 million Instagram followers) and women’s empowerment organisation founder and advocate.
Her remarkable journey spans from a childhood fascination with performance to becoming a celebrated actress, writer, show runner, and founder of Dona de Si – an organisation dedicated to empowering women. Now, she adds “author” to her list of accolades – with her latest book, “Unleashed,” forwarded by Sharon Stone, who called Suzana, “A champion for women and girls.”
Suzana recently chatted with The Carousel to share her insights, experiences, and the inspiration behind Unleashed.
From actress to author: An unconventional journey
Suzana’s journey into the world of entertainment commenced at a very young age. “When I was around six years old, I created a sort of one woman show and would go to my neighbour’s porches to present it. I would lip sync Madonna’s music, dressed like Wonder Woman, and at the end I would tell the audience that it was my work, and so they all paid me with coins, all the while laughing.”
Even then, her innate ability to captivate audiences was evident. However, like many artists, Suzana encountered challenges as she made the transition from childhood dreams to a professional career.
At the age of 15, Suzana started a theatre course in Rio de Janeiro, followed swiftly by her first performance in a play at just 16. Her acting career began to flourish from there, eventually branching into television and film. Yet, Suzana’s aspirations extended beyond acting.
With screen writing programs scarce in Brazil, she pursued a degree in philosophy. At the age of 25, Suzana graduated and officially commenced her journey as a writer while concurrently continuing her acting career. It was a unique balancing act, but it laid the ground work for her future as multi talented woman who would go one to launch one of the most influential women’s empowerment organisation’s in the world.
Empowering women (even if she had to sell her own Chanel bags to do so)
Suzana’s transition from actress to author is a testament to her unwavering commitment to female solidarity. Her women’s empowerment organisation, Dona de Si, was born out of a desire to support women to realise their fullest potential. Suzana recognised the immense untapped talent among women due to a lack of opportunities, resources, and education. Dona de Si became a place for women to nurture the lives they deserved.
“Dona de Si’s mission is crystal clear: identify talent, honour it, and monetise it,” says Suzana. “It’s a philosophy that empowers women to take control of their destinies. And create opportunities rather than waiting for them to arise,” she adds.
But Suzana doesn’t simply speak of sacrifices required for empowerment. She lives it. In fact, Her commitment to women’s support was so strong, that to fund the launch of Dona de Si, she sold 12 of her own much loved Chanel bags, each with emotional value. (“My grandmother taught me about Chanel´s story and we loved fashion together,” she reflects.)
It was a decision that reflected Suzana’s unwavering dedication to her cause, putting the empowerment of women above material possessions.
Unleashed, is a culmination of her experiences and the lessons she’s learned through her work with Dona de Si. One of the most striking endorsements for Unleashed comes from actress Sharon Stone, who penned the book’s foreword. Stone referred to Suzana as “A champion for women and girls,” a title Suzana has undoubtedly earned through her unwavering dedication to empower women and a powerful endorsement that speaks volumes about the value of Suzana’s work.
Unleashed confronts the three primary factors that often hinder women’s success,” says Suzana. “Work overload, oppression, and loneliness. These challenges are not related to a lack of professional skills but rather cultural factors deeply ingrained in society.”
When asked to share some key take aways or insights from Unleashed that can help women over come obstacles in society and the work place, Suzana suggests the following five:
- Girl, please view and treat yourself as your own personal enterprise
- Girl, please face your inner weaknesses and become stronger
- Girl, please understand that the measure of success is within yourself. It comes in stages and requires a solid mental health foundation
- Girl, when you are overloaded with work you forget that you exist, watch out! Put up boundaries and be sure to rest
- Girl, the historical society’s DNA is misogynistic and it’s not your fault! So, when the imposter syndrome arrives, be aware that it’s a cultural creation, it’s not you!
Ultimately, Unleashed offers invaluable insights and practical steps to neutralise these obstacles and move forward. “I hope to encourage women to be loyal to yourself (you will have to make difficult choices). To promote themselves. And put your voice out there, and go for it every minute of every day,” says Suzana.
Unleashed by Suzana Pires is available online now.