Elisa Freitas is the 1st black Miss Santa Catarina; says she never suffered racism but will fight for more space for black women



Note from BW of Brazil: We first introduced you to Elisa Freitas back in May of 2013 when 5’10” beauty won the right to represent her city in the Miss Santa Catarina competition. At the time it was a big deal not only due to the fact that her city and state (Florianópolis, Santa Catarina) have such a small black population but also because of the contrast with another state Miss competition in another state in which Afro-Brazilians are the overwhelming majority. Elisa went on to capture the state crown as well adding another “first black woman” title to her resume. The feature below is taken from a special edition of  TPM magazine on Afro-Brazilians and racism. 

At 24, Elisa Freitas became the first black Miss Santa Catarina, but says she never suffered racism


Photo: Ricardo Wolffenbüttel

“I’m manezinha (1) from the island itself, born and raised in Florianópolis. The place where I live is a community on the hill, in the city’s downtown, that we call Maciço do Morro da Cruz. I started working very early, at age 15 I already did modeling jobs in local parades and commercials. I was invited to be Rainha (Queen) of the Embaixada Copa Lord, a samba school in which my family always went out for. My father became director of the school and I was queen for three years: 2009, 2010 and 2011. With the work, I started to pay for college for the area of advertising (intend to graduate this year). Late last year, I was invited to participate in the Miss World Santa Catarina. Among 50 girls, I was the only black girl. I think the title came as (something) deserving because of my story, my battle.”


I never had any hassle connected to my color or my social origin in my time for facing the world. I never felt any prejudice. I think I’m so well settled that if there was any prejudice against me, I didn’t realize it. In my opinion, it’s the head of who interprets it. I know that it exists, of course it exists everywhere. Racism is a crime and it must be treated as such. But I realize that, through education, there may be a solution.


I remember once I was at a convention in São Paulo and a lady saw my sash from Miss Florianópolis and said: ‘You are more Miss Bahia than Miss Florianópolis’ (2). This was said in a way that didn’t make me interpret it as prejudice – I smiled and soon after she complimented me. I understood what she meant; I didn’t take it as racism. Of course there are exceptions; right now we have seen the case of the (soccer) player Tinga. But I can say I’ve never experienced that. Nobody ever treated me differently. I don’t intend to raise any banner, but I will fight for my recognition and for the space of black women, as I did in the pageant.


My father is black and my mother is descended from Indians. A news site did a story on me in which I read some reviews saying ‘She is not negra (black), she’s morena,’ or ‘She’s not negra, she’s mulata’. There is no difference. I’m not morena, I’m black (3). I like that. Having the title of being the first black Miss Santa Catarina is a great pride, I represent my state and my community, people are flattered by me.


I realize that many children in the community don’t find themselves inserted in society; they think they’ll never get out of there. They see the foot of the hill as another world and are afraid of it. But it doesn’t have to be like this. My parents never made ​​me feel such isolation; they never put me out as someone excluded from society. Therefore, I believe that the solution to ending racism in Brazil begins with education. I would love to work with children and think of a way to contribute to that change.”

Source: Revista TPM


1. Manezinha (or manezinho in the masculine form) is a term popularly used designating natives from the city of Florianópolis, the capital city of the southern state of Santa Catarina.

2. The comment refers to fact that the northeastern state of Bahia is known nationally for its 76% black population and its standing as the country’s center of black culture. Santa Catarina, on the other hand, is known for being one of the “whitest states in Brazil.”

3. In Brazil, even with the rise of black consciousness, it is still often seen as an insult to refer to someone of visible African ancestry as negra or black. Terms such as mulata or morena are often used to avoid calling someone negra as it is seen as pejorative or the person is deemed to beautiful or attractive to be called negra.

About Marques Travae 3747 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.


  1. All she is reflecting is what many middle and upper middle class African-Americans experienced including myself.

    We are not subjected to much racism from Non-Blacks because part of the racist eidetic is that Blacks are stupid and therefore can’t function properly in a market economy. When its clear that meme can’t be used against you, you are then graded socially. If you come from a two parent household with social and financial stability, the meme of lacking morals and work ethic can no longer be used against you.

    Sure I have been told to get out of a person’s home before because I was black (not directly, sort of ushered out), I have been called “nigger” from a moving old truck with undoubtedly working poor White men occupying the cab.

    In other words I have experienced some racism like driving while Black before, but it doesn’t impact me mentally, its just apart of the racial history of the United States and until its dealt with by an empowered Black Community demanding changes, the status quo will remain.

    I do find it interesting that as he star power is increasing she’s doubling down on being called “Black: instead of Mornea (Mixed Race/Brown skin). While many Blacks of Latin descent here in the US used the media to deny their racial history until their popularity wanes and you get Mariah Carey or Whitney Houston all of sudden remembering they are apart of the Black Community.

  2. The bigger question is what type of man will she MARRY and reproduce with ??

    this is what determines her mentality more than anything

    • If I were a betting man, I’d say she’ll probably marry white. Many, if not most of the black women featured on this blog are married to white men. Various reasons from, “race doesn’t matter”, and “I fell in love” but also the fact that so many black men openly prefer white women.

      • Why? if successful BM in America would stop complaining about the lack of quality BW, she could marry an American Black Man.

        Many woman featured on her are married to White men, but attack Black men for marrying White women.

        They try to have it both ways just like they do in the United States.

  3. Black women are so beautiful! Black Brazilian men need to stop being brain washed by racist white Brazilians into thinking that only whites are beautiful!

  4. Once a black man embraces his blackness and his African heritage, he will only love black women. American Civil Rights icon Malcolm X embraced his blackness by marrying a black women who was darker skinned than he was. President Barack Obama married his beautiful wife because of her blackness. Obama wanted to embrace his African roots!

    • Wrong this is an assumption. I embracing my “Blackness”, what a ridiculous Pro Black statement. Everything you said is a grand assumption on your part, wow.

      I marry who I want, one life on this planet, nothing magical or mythical about that.

      Too many Blacks accept their second class citizen status, especially in America, I don’t.

  5. Actually there is… I am Pro Black but not like the others. Most Pro Blacks in the U.S believe that Margret Sander stated Planned Parenthood specifically to eliminate Blacks. While its true she was racist and supported sterilizing people of color; she also supported elimination of those less than intelligent and the poor.

    That’s just one ridiculous, emotional example with very few supporting data. They talk as if somebody is holding guns to the head of young Black women to abort. The truth is they are affording them very few options which is the stark reality.

    1) They are seldom offered the chance to offer their children for adoption, because not even Blacks want to adopt children that aren’t there’s.

    2) Black women use abortion as a form of birth control. Which is astounding considering the high percentage of BW that are single mothers two and three times over.

    3) Despite all nefarious efforts by the Government and those connected to the Government, the Black birth rate is above replacement.

    When a majority of so-called “Pro Blacks” believe otherwise, Its time to jump ship. I don’t need to be apart of a global collective to be Pro Black.

  6. anthony thomas,

    I typically refrain from negative comments and ad hominems but next to nothing you say makes any sense. You are irrational.

    to quote another poster: “Only a deranged, self-hating black person would ever defend marrying outside of their race.”

    • I am not self hating go back to your corner of the globe with nothing but Black folk in it.

      I am suppose to feel love from a population of people that called me “White” for speaking English properly? From women who think I am “Corny” for the same reason and because I don’t have some story of escaping a near death experience to tell?

      Please don’t refrain from negative comments because I’ll crush you, I get no pleasure in winning internet arguments but as The Architect said in Matrix: Reloaded (I’ve) become exceedingly efficient at it.

      Only a deranged black person would suggest as a human being my only choice is to marry within my race and not outside it, like it’s preordained.

      Utter and complete nonsense. In Brazil just about 70% of Black men want to marry Black women, in the US its 90% and in the UK is under 50%. Go ring alarm bells in jolly old England they are trying to eradicate the Black race from the United Kingdom; of course you have no evidence of that…

      I don’t make the rules, Black people don’t make the rules, this blog doesn’t encourage them to start making the rules, so until that day, we’ll be poor, owners of NOTHING of significant value and begging for acceptance from White skinned people, which is already proven to be a complete failure.

      I would make a comparison to an inanimate object but that tends to not go over well especially with women since they are ruled by emotions and don’t want to be compared to things like cars.

      But fug it, if I wanted a blue car or a red car, other human beings that will have not other impact in my life have no right to tell me to buy the red car instead of the blue one.

      If I solicited your opinion then that’s a different story.

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