Chef Paola Carosella, an Argentinian living in Brazil, is a cook, businesswoman and executive who understands the importance of investing in women and considers it essential for influential women to take a stand on issues such as equality and women's rights.

Paola, who is a judge on the TV show MasterChef Brasil and owns the restaurants Julia Cocina, Arturito and the café La Guapa, spoke to the ELAS Fund about the subject. Guapa, in Spanish, defines a strong, beautiful, warrior and courageous woman, an example of overcoming, who doesn't fear difficulties and goes into battle. "I love this word, its strength and relevance, reflecting the meaning of being a woman today and always," says Paola.

Check out the interview:


ELAS: In recent interviews you talked about the difficulty of occupying a space dominated by men and other difficulties faced by women, such as harassment in the workplace. Do you think it's important to be a representative female figure with media visibility to encourage other girls and women to occupy this space too?
 
Paola Carosella: Working in a kitchen is hard, physically difficult and demanding. The workload is long, you work weekends, Sundays, holidays, and sometimes you're still working at dawn. Physically, it's hard on the body. Cut and burnt hands and swollen legs are common for anyone working in a kitchen. I've built my career over many years and in different environments, some more loving than others. In the most difficult environments, I was lucky enough to be mature enough to understand that I had to stay focused and ignore certain comments and attitudes.

ELAS: On the occasion of the harassment of the MasterChef Junior contestant, which sparked a series of protests and campaigns such as #MyFirstHarassment, you took a stand and joined the campaign. How important is it for you to take a stand in situations like this, relating to gender issues?
 
Paola Carosella: Extremely important. It's horrifying. It's amazing to see that someone has the ability to say that kind of thing about a 12-year-old girl and there are people who laugh and share it as if it were funny. It's important to make it clear that it's not funny and should never be treated as a joke. Pedophilia is a crime and, as a crime, it must be punished.
 
ELAS: What motivated the #MuitoGuapa campaign, your initiative that honored several women warriors in March 2016, including Amalia Fischer, general coordinator and co-founder of the ELAS Fund?
 
Paola Carosella: Everything always motivates me to pay tribute to women, to pay tribute to guapa people. My empanada café is called La Guapa. The name itself is a tribute to strong, entrepreneurial, guapa women. This entrepreneurship is not necessarily in the commercial sense, but in the sense of taking charge of your own life. 
 
Cada vez mais percebo que o caminho das mulheres ainda não está consolidado, pois ainda precisamos lidar com muitos preconceitos tanto na vida pessoal quanto profissional e é por isso que acredito ser