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Watch this face. Victoria’s Secret model Lais Ribeiro covers Vogue Brazil January 2012.

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Once upon a time, the one to watch was model and face of Chanel, Joan Smalls. Now that her star is rapidly on the rise, the new model face to keep an eye on is Brazilian bombshell Lais Ribeiro (center). The now 19-year-old burst onto the fashion scene two years ago, walking several big runway shows for the Fall 2010 season, including Givenchy, Dolce & Gabbana, Marc Jacobs, Gucci, and Christian Dior.

Her runway pedigree continues to rise as she’s had several successful seasons, including the most recent Spring 2012 Fashion Week where she walked for a few biggies including Alexander Wang and Oscar de la Renta.

Lais isn’t just a catwalk girl, though. She’s steadily building her commercial cred, turning up in the pages of catalogues from Neiman Marcus to J.Crew, but most notably for brand Victoria’s Secret.

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While she’s yet to be named an official VS Angel, Lais’ work with the brand has rapidly increased throughout the year, concluding with her turn at the 2011 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show where she donned three different looks.

This month the beauty, who’s mom to two-year-old son Alexandre, graces the cover of Vogue Brazil. Inside the mag, she’s featured in a twelve page editorial where she does her best mermaid impression, rocking colorful gear that has an other worldly deep sea vibe.

If her scoring a Vogue cover is any indication, 2012 is shaping up to be a good year for Lais. And if that’s not convincing enough, rumor has it she’s the face of Tom Ford’s Spring 2012 campaign (Lais already fronted the Spring 2012 lookbook).

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Keep your eye out for Miss Ribeiro. Methinks you’ll be seeing much more of her this year.

[ Photos: VOGUE.com, welovemodels.com ]