Top international model and spokeswoman for Lancome, Daria Werbowy, is lending a well-manicured helping hand to Brazil's street children. EVER SINCE I joined the Lancome team three years ago to lead its Hypnose fragrance campaign, we had always discussed what sort of personal projects I could do. One idea tossed around was to develop a very chic and edited makeup collection. But I suppose the right concept hadn't come along until recently. Last year, I made my first trip to Brazil - I had always wanted to go and had heard great things about the people, the food and the beaches. I visited the Centro Espacial Vik Muniz, a centre that provides arts programmes, education and training for young adults in Rio de Janeiro. The idea is to keep kids off the streets and away from gangs and drugs. It was the centre which helped inspire the colours and textures of my collection. When I arrived the students at the centre put on a dance performance. It was incredible to see something that they were so passionate about. I was moved to tears. I toured the facility and observed some of the kids at work on their projects. With the help of a translator, I learned about their paintings and sculptures, learned some samba dance moves and did some portraits with the children. I don't speak Portuguese and the students don't speak English, but you don't need a shared language to express an idea or emotion. I had a fantastic time and returned to Brazil again three weeks later. It was incredible to see how the kids had developed their projects, and the second visit felt more familiar and less overwhelming. It was obvious that if these kids had more material or teachers or classrooms, they could do much more. That was the initial thought that pushed me to think about how I could help them. My biggest inspiration in getting involved was my upbringing. I didn't come from money, my family struggled, and we were immigrants. I always knew how to appreciate the things we had. When I became successful, I knew that part of it was luck. You don't get to choose where you are born or who your family is or what you necessarily become. I didn't deserve this career more than anybody else. But I can use my luck to help others. When I joined the brand, I soon realised how little I knew about the industry from a business and scientific perspective. I wanted to learn more about creating a product from start to finish, from the chemistry involved to the marketing. When I returned to Paris, I spoke to Odile Roujol, president of Lancome, and she was enthusiastic I had found something I believed in. So we decided to have a portion of the proceeds benefit Centro Espacial Vik Muniz. On my first day at the research laboratories, I was expecting a science lab from a movie. I thought there would be hundreds of people like in a factory, but it was more like an office on a quiet day. Everyone was at a desk. I was expecting crazy scientists and chaos, but it was tidy when I walked in. Maybe they organised it before I got there because when we finished, there was quite a mess. We started with pigments. It was trial and error. Next, I was adding pearl to eye shadows and learning how to make a lipstick more opaque or translucent. It was like being in art school. I started to appreciate red lipstick and other make-up colours I generally don't wear. You begin to experience these colours in a different way and see how beautiful and vibrant they are. I'm excited about the launch of the collection I've designed and one euro per product sold will be donated to Centro Espacial Vik Muniz. I don't want this to be a one-off project. I'd like it to be something that grows every year. It's about others. It's about taking something fun - beauty products - and using them to bring a different kind of beauty to people's lives.