The 2009 carnival is the first to mark a carnival queen older than 40
Brazil is coming of age. A country where youth and beauty have long since been the twin pillars of popular culture is grappling with a new reality: that women of a certain age can be the most beautiful of all.As the country prepares for next month’s Carnival, eyebrows have been raised and heads turned by two of Rio’s most famous samba schools, which have elected women in their mid40s as carnival queen.
They have entered the preserve hitherto reserved for the most beautiful young celebrities.
Each year the country’s glamorous women slug it out to be chosen in front of the massed drummers for each of the 12 samba schools competing in Rio de Janeiro’s enormous samba stadium – the Avenue, or Sambodromo – in front of a live audience of 70,000. ( Collapse )
“It’s interesting that women over 40 are serving as examples of beauty,” said Joyce Pascowitz, Brazil’s elder stateswomen of fashion. The boss of the fashion website, Glamurama, and Pascowitz magazine added: “This puts a value on Brazilian women over the age considered the maximum. It shows that, yes, there is life after 40. And not just intelligent life.”
A carnival veteran for 15 years, Ms de Oliveira has not paraded for three years. She will be dancing for the famous Portela samba school.The role of Queen of the Drums, which involves dancing pneumatically in a bikini, heels and giant headdress, in front of 400 or so drummers is not for the fainthearted. “The queen is a model of beauty, charm and swing,”
said Ms Pascowitz. Ms de Oliveira celebrated her appointment in front of the cameras at a Portela rehearsal, wearing a transparent mini-dress covered in thousands of Swarovski crystals.
Historically, the Queen of the Drums was the most beautiful girl in the favela. Today she is usually a soap star, celebrity or beauty queen.
Natália Guimarães, 24, won Miss Brazil in 2007. This year she parades for the Vila Isabel school for the second consecutive year “It’s wonderful,” she said. “Age doesn’t matter. It’s the personality that the queen shows that’s important.”
Becoming queen is a great career move. “Today women use carnival to promote themselves,”
said Meme de Oliveira, Ms de Oliveira’s brother and manager. “Luma doesn’t get involved in this. She goes to carnival because she likes carnival.”Samba sensation
- Brazil’s carnival dates back to the 18th century and is a mix of Portuguese and African traditions. The first parade of samba schools was in 1928
- The top 12 samba schools parade in Rio’s Sambodromo stadium with up to 6,000 drummers, dancers and other participants. Each
school has a rainha, or queen, who leads the drums corps
- A panel of 40 judges grade each samba group in ten categories, from floats to costumes
- 700,000 visitors travelled to Rio de Janeiro for the carnival last year
- Last year a 3.5 centimeter piece of fabric lost the São Clemente school the gold prize. It came unstuck from its strategic location on a dancer’s costume, breaking the rule that carnival dancers should not appear completely naked
- Another samba school was banned from parading last year with a float depicting victims of the Holocaust and a Hitler figure.</div>Source