By Steve Edwards

"When I landed in New York I spoke almost no English and I didn't know a soul," says Brazil Butt Lift® creator Leandro Carvalho. "After wandering around the docks like someone in an immigration movie, I finally found an old lady who brought me to the school where I was going to dance."

His tale is classic Horatio Alger. Arriving in America with only an unflagging work ethic and a goal, he's now a celebrity who trains a bevy of supermodels. Today we talk to Carvalho about why his new fitness program is going to change the way we work out, and what it's like to be living the American dream.

"It's busy!" is his most emphatic comment. "I feel bad leaving my regular clients so I work long hours [as my popularity grows] trying to make room for everybody." But now we're getting ahead of the story. Carvalho may have always been busy but he wasn't always in demand. So let's start at the beginning, where he was just a kid growing up dancing, which isn't so strange, given that he's from Brazil.

"In Brazil everybody dances. We dance all the time in celebration of everything. All week long we dance. Not just on special occasions, but for any occasion."

But for Carvalho it was something even bigger. He began studying dance at 12 with dreams of becoming a professional. In college he studied physical education because "they didn't offer dance," which led him toward a new profession, fitness training.

"I was teaching jazz and tap dance at first. As I learned more I began teaching aerobics, and when I was working on my masters (in Recreation) I began teaching kids. Some of these kids' parents worked for Petrobras, a large oil company. Word got out and they (Petrobras) hired me to create fitness programs for their employees. Petrobras is a huge company; they have these giant campuses. I opened ten gyms for them where I not only taught their employees but trained both the police and the firefighters (Petrobras employs its own police and fire departments)."

"This job paid very well, so I was pretty set up in Brazil, but then I got an offer to come to New York and dance with Merce Cunningham. This more than anything was my dream. So I saved as much money as I could for a year and moved to New York, not knowing one word of English."

"From the time I arrived in New York my life has been filled with angels," says Carvalho. First there was the woman at the docks. Now he works with many women who are "angels" for Victoria's Secret. In between, there seem to have been others watching over him.

"After 8 months in America I was accepted to a new program in recreation therapy at NYU. Because I had the money to pay for their fledgling program they accepted me, even though I had very bad English."

"NYU let me work 20 hours at the gym so I could maintain my student visa. To get the hours in I would teach any class you can imagine. Step (aerobics), water (aerobics), Latin dance, rollerblading, kayaking in the Hudson River... anything they could think of. I also began teaching for FIT (the Fashion Institute of Technology) and all this work allowed me to get a green card."

"Things seemed to be going my way so I decided not to go back to Brazil. I applied to every gym in New York, and right then, the 'Latin explosion' hit. I was really getting lucky! So I started teaching a class I made up called Brazilian Groove, and pretty soon, all the gyms wanted to hire me. Then Equinox (one of New York's leading gyms) paid me to stop teaching elsewhere, I met Allesandra (see part I of this interview), and things have just gotten busier and busier!"

"Now, by word of mouth, I'm training all sorts of actors and models (Blake Lively and Gabriel Garcia Bernal have been clients, as well as his stable of 26 supermodels), doing my classes, and still keeping my old clients. I like to go back to Brazil whenever I can, so when I'm here I generally work long hours for seven days a week."

Whether it's because Carvalho has been lucky, good, hardworking, or a combination of all three, his momentum isn't slowing. As more Brazilian trends get popular in America, he's the guy who understands the science of why.

"The gym is very popular in Brazil, but they are very different from the gyms in America. The big Brazilian secret is ankle weights. In Brazil, no ankle weights means no gym. Here it's hard to find them at all. In January I'll finally start teaching ankle weight classes. There's still a big resistance but it's changing as more Americans want to look like Brazilians."

"In Brazil Butt Lift we use some Brazilian diet techniques too," he adds. "Things like lemon and ginger. We use lemon to neutralize acids. Acids create a layer around the fat cells so they won't shrink. Fat cells don't disappear, they shrink. Lemon is alkaline. Having shots of straight lemon, or even lemon in water, helps to neutralize the acids around the cells so they can shrink like they should. And ginger is a natural antibiotic. People who are resistant to weight loss tend to have too much inflammation. So when we start a diet program two cups a day of ginger tea is a must."

"I combine many Brazilian techniques with what I've learned from working with models. Things like the green and white diet, I call it, which is a short-term cleanse diet where you eat primarily white protein and greens. It's basically six days without sugars, unnatural fats, processed carbs, and glutens. It's the kind of plan a model will use for a photo shoot."

Carvalho sums up his future with thoughts on why these Brazil trends are so popular. "Everybody wants to be sexy, and in Brazil it's just part of the culture. Bikinis, being naked on the beach, etc., it's all just part of who we are and what we always have been. It goes with the dancing, the vibes, the whole lifestyle. It's all about being sexy, and that's what America wants."