"No regrets," says de Sousa. "I never wanted to be an actress. A movie or soap opera demands a long commitment, and that's not for me. Luckily, I was always financially secure, so I never had to do things I didn't want to, like movies and posing nude."
De Sousa was born in Lisbon and was brought to Rio by her family when she was 18 months old. Her father, Fernando, was a wealthy architect who designed the houses of many of Rio's elite, including the one where the Brewsters now live with their two daughters, a German shepherd, a Persian cat, a turtle and two parakeets. "My earliest memories are of the beach," de Sousa says. "Our apartment was only a few blocks from it, and I lived for the sun and the sand. I became a good Carioca [citizen of Rio]."
The beaches of Rio are the home of the culto do corpo ("cult of the body"), where well-muscled men and buxom women in fio dental ("dental floss," or string bikinis) spend their lives worshiping bodies, primarily their own. "The Cariocas learn at an early age how to attract looks—what works and what doesn't," de Sousa says. "I've seen beautiful women in New York, London and other cities, but they don't know how to walk or hold themselves. They lack confidence in their bodies."
De Sousa had plenty of confidence. When she was 17 and a freshman communications student at a university in Rio, a friend asked her to pose for some photos. The pictures wound up at a publicity agency, and it wasn't long before de Sousa began doing TV ads and appearing regularly as a fashion model in Brazilian women's magazines. In 1976, the Brazilian Vogue named her the country's model of the year. "Then came Embratur, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and Alden," she says. De Sousa's modeling career ended when she married. "I wanted to stop so I could devote myself to being a good wife and mother. It was time to change," she says. "I've led a very blessed life and done everything I've wanted. Good fortune just seemed to come my way, professionally as well as personally."
Now it is late in the afternoon, and the sun is setting behind the house in Rio. Alden, who normally works at home as a broker for loans between international banks and Third World countries, has gone into the city for a meeting. The Brewsters' daughters, Jordana, 8, and Isabella, 6, are back from the American School and are leafing through a tattered copy of SI with their mother on the cover. Jordana looks up from a two-page photo of her mother stretched out on a sand dune and asks, "Mommy, will you ever model again?"
Mrs. Alden Brewster smiles. She knows she could. Since the family moved from London to Rio two years ago, she has gotten back into the body cult. When the kids are off at school, she works out at an aerobics center and spends time improving her tan. She's slimmer than she was 10 years ago, and her sensuality has been refined by a touch of elegance. "If a good modeling offer came my way and the conditions were right, I would probably accept it," she says. "But I'm not going to go out looking for that to happen. Still, with my luck, it probably will, as it did with the cover. It's strange: I think or wish for something, and then it happens, like magic."