"Sometimes the poor just want a hug," says wife of Sao Paolo mayor from inside her Porsche

Bia Doria, whose husband was the star of Brazil's 'The Apprentice', has become a national laughingstock

"Sometimes the poor just want a hug," says wife of Sao Paolo mayor from inside her Porsche

Bia Doria, far right, poses beside her husband João on polling day on October 2nd [AP Photo/Nelson Antoine]

It’s not easy being the wife of a business man turned reality TV star of The Apprentice when he has grand political ambitions. Melania Trump, fresh from trolling the world by wearing an $1,110 Gucci pussy-bow blouse to the second presidential debate on Sunday night, could learn a thing or two from her Brazilian counterpart Bia Doria, who – while seated in her Porsche – gave an interview describing how Sao Paolo’s poor just need a hug.

The wife of João Doria, recently elected mayor of the Brazilian city and the former tycoon offering jobs on the country’s version of The Apprentice, has become a national laughingstock for failing to grasp her position of privilege when visiting Sao Paolo’s favelas.

“I’ve always felt like Eva Perón, because I’m more of the people, I feel like one of the people,” the 56-year-old artist reportedly told a journalist while driving around the upmarket neighbourhoods of the city in her Porsche Cayenne. “I’ve always got on really well with more humble people. Sometimes it’s just a squeeze of the hand; sometimes they want a hug.”

The mayor’s wife drew sharp criticism from all over Brazil for her tone-deaf comments on the broadening gaps between the richest and poorest in the country. “This inequality has to be reduced. You can’t have an employee arriving in the studio with nutrition problems,” she told the Folha de S Paulo newspaper. “Imagine how happy I would be if a chambermaid arrived already knowing how to do things. Very few of them do.”

On employing favela residents in her art studio, Doria added that she had revitalised the lives of the people she described coming from “Ethiopia.”

“They all lived in shacks and did not have any teeth. I managed to get a house for all of them, gave them teeth and a good health plan. Today they are happy and even think they are artists because they are my assistants,” she said.

Bia Doria started trending on social media across Brazil as stunned readers pored over the article, pouring scorn over the artist’s comments and increasing the political woes of her husband. João Doria, elected after campaigning as a businessman and city manager rather than a politician, has had a rough start to his new position, struggling to pass legislation that would remove the city’s popular cycle-path network while simultaneously increasing the speed limit on motorways.

Bia’s weekend worsened when her website was hacked on Sunday evening and all of the images of her sculptures were replaced with critical news articles about her husband’s political career.

For more world news on Newstalk.com, please click here.