People + Places

Meet engineer and fashion model Jamille Mascarenhas: A Brazilian beauty, inside and out 

In conversation with Jamille Mascarenhas, a Brazilian engineer and model based in Ireland. Jamille candidly discusses the struggles and insecurities she faced along her journey to a now fulfilling life and career as an engineer and part-time fashion model, and how her view of fashion has changed for the better.

May 31, 2023

Table of Contents

At our first photoshoot together, it was instantly clear Jamille had a dazzling personality. She sparkled with joy, excitement, and kindness and I knew instantly that this was going to be an incredibly fun shoot. I also knew this was a person I’d love to know more about! 

Recently, Jamille shared her amazing story with me, including her experience as a woman in engineering, and how she finally made the plunge into the world of modelling. 

Finding a second home in Ireland

Living in a foreign country can be a real challenge, but for this talented 30-year-old Brazilian engineer and model, it has been an opportunity to grow both personally and professionally. 

She loves living in Ireland, she tells me, because people don’t judge based on appearances, you can just be yourself. 

Jamille describes Irish people as happy, open, and talkative.  Similar to Brazilians, she says. The only downside is the weather, she laughs. "If Ireland wasn't so wet, cloudy, rainy, and cold, I would live here forever!"

"Since I arrived  here in Ireland, I’ve had so many experiences that made me grow as a person and as a professional. I now see the world in such a different way."

But, Jamille is also deeply proud of her Brazilian roots and home town in Brazil. She adores the similarities between Irish and Brazilian culture, particularly their shared love of conversation. 

"With my neighbours, I always talk to them randomly, especially about the weather.  Regardless of whether it’s miserable out or if it's too hot, it's something Irish people always just talk about," she said. 

An unlikely path to an unexpected career

I was eager to discover how Jamille started her career.

I learned that initially she aspired to become a doctor but after failing the gruelling medical school entrance exams twice, Jamille reluctantly decided to take a two-year technician course in Industrial Maintenance. 

It just sounded kind of interesting, she tells me. I guess you could say I have always had a curious mind. 

During her first internship in Brazil, Jamille was the only female. The work environment was full of dirt, noise, heat, and darkness. Her male colleagues would constantly question her ability to work in the field, asking questions like, does your mother know you’re here?

"I found that very insulting, but it only made me want to do it more, to prove to them that a woman can do it as well." 

And, her curiosity and interest in the field also inspired her to continue. She didn't allow the harsh comments and tough working environment to stop her. Instead she turned them into motivation to prove that women can excel in engineering just as much as men can.

This led her to pursue a degree in Mechanical Engineering, and later, a higher diploma in Biopharma and Manufacturing.

Her hard work paid off and she landed a job in a Biopharma company in Ireland, which she absolutely loves. 

"Now, I find myself very fulfilled with my role and my career. I love engineering. And I want to convince other women to become engineers."

From shy introvert to confident fashion model

Jamille posing for a fashion shoot on the beach

So how did you start modelling, I ask. 

A lot of people used to make fun of me, she explained. Jamille tells me she was always taller and skinnier than her peers, which led to both positive and negative attention. 

But a lot of people would also say, “Oh hey, you could be a model”. So that kind of got into my head. 

She tells me how she tried to pursue modelling as a teenager, but was told by agencies that she was “too fat”. This rejection, combined with bullying from her peers, left her feeling self-conscious, and apprehensive.

"To be a model, you can't be shy. It's just something that doesn't really go well. You need to be confident." 

Speaking with her now, it’s hard to believe that such a strong independent woman has ever struggled with bullying or low self esteem. 

Overcoming self-doubt and imposter syndrome

Despite her successes, Jamille describes how she was haunted by her memories and voices from those early years telling her that she should do something more suited to a woman.

She tells me, “It was affecting me so much that my partner at the time said to me, I think you need to find a counsellor or someone to help you. So I started therapy.”. 

Therapy was probably the best investment I’ve ever made, next to studying at college, she explains. I learned so much about myself. It gave me confidence. But, it’s still an ongoing process.

Now, Jamille hopes to inspire other women to pursue their dreams, no matter what obstacles they may face.

“If you want to do something different, if you want to be something different, believe in yourself. You're stronger than you think so don't be afraid to put yourself out there and face your fears. It can be scary but once you do it, you will keep getting stronger.”

A little inspiration closer to home

But, her true inspiration comes from her mother. 

“My Mom always encouraged me to study hard and pursue my dreams”, she tells me. “She helped me push through the tough times during college.”

Jamille recounts her mother's words of wisdom: “Knowledge is something that you carry forever. People can take your money and material things, but they can never take your knowledge.”

I think that partly came from her role as a teacher, but also because she's a very smart woman, she effuses.

Jamille's journey is definitely an inspiration to all women who aspire to be an engineer or model, or anything for that matter. 

Embracing minimalism and sustainable fashion

Of course, I couldn’t end our conversation without asking about her views on sustainability and her own personal style.

Jamille admits that in the past, she was clueless about the perils of the fashion industry and would buy a lot of fast fashion in an attempt to fill a void inside herself. 

“I felt like I was empty and the only way to get some sort of joy was through buying things, especially buying clothes and shoes. I'm a shoe lover!”

After realising the dire impact fast fashion is having on the environment, she started to change. She tells me, “The situation we are in now with our planet, I see that it's just escalating exponentially. It's just getting worse and worse, the more we consume.”

Now, instead of buying trendy pieces that won't last, she focuses on timeless pieces and tries to be mindful about what she buys, making sure that each piece will suit the rest of her wardrobe and won't go to waste.

“I believe it's much better to have a piece that will last as many years as possible, instead of buying trends that you might just wear for a few months and have to donate, or throw away, or just sit there taking up space in your wardrobe.”

Jamille focuses on minimalism and only shops with brands that match her ethos.

“I always felt like I didn't have enough clothes even though my wardrobe was full. So now I'm trying to go more towards minimalism and only shop with brands that match my way of thinking.” 

Finally, I ask Jamille what she loves most about the brand and what her favourite Bon+Berg piece is.

“I loved having the opportunity to collaborate with Bon+Berg. Aside from their sustainability goals, I love the way that the fabric feels on your body as well as your skin. It's so comfy that it literally feels like you're wearing nothing.” 

“I have now  actually moved away from having any wired bras just because I want to be comfortable.”

“Hestia panties are my favourite. The design is original and it's something you don't see everywhere. The high waisted style gives good coverage, which is something I love.”

Say hello to Jamille on Instagram. And be sure to check out Hestia and all of our other underwear and bra styles in our online shop!

Siobhán is the founder of Bon+Berg. When she's not designing bras and undies, you'll find her snowboarding, hiking, or just enjoying the views in the mountains. She is passionate about environmental issues and wants to inspire others to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

Siobhán Dunphy

Siobhán is the founder of Bon+Berg. When she's not designing bras and undies, you'll find her snowboarding, hiking, or just enjoying the views in the mountains. She is passionate about environmental issues and wants to inspire others to live a more sustainable lifestyle.