As Brazil is a multiracial society that founded on slavery and European colonization, European beauty standards have always dominated the ideals of its people and its media. As such, now and in the recent past, it is still very common to hear the phrase “the first black” something or other to accomplish something. This is true in nearly all facets of Brazilian society. Everyday, somewhere in the country, Afro-Brazilian men and women are earning titles as the “first black” something and in 1971, as well as in 2009, in the northeastern state of Ceará, two women claimed their stakes to these titles. In 1971, Edilma Cristina Lima Serejo became the first black woman to even compete in the Miss Ceará beauty contest. Representing Club SECAI (Sociedade Esportiva e Cultural Arco-Íris or the Rainbow Sports and Cultural Society), Serejo finished the night in third place. It would take 38 years for the first black woman, Francisca Barbosa, to actually win the contest in 2009.
Edilma Serejo, on the right, when she finished in 3rd place in the 1971 Miss Ceará contest
This is how the blog Misses em Manchete reported on the event:
When Edilma Serejo, a gorgeous black candidate, strutted on the stage at the Miss Ceará contest of 1971 wearing a Maxi Manteau overcoat by the designer Edméa Mendes, she caused an uproar in the SESC gymnasium with her Afro-Brazilian beauty leaving an impression on everyone. But she was not chosen as the winner.
Edilma Serejo in 2010
Thirty-eight years later, Ceará has elected its first black Miss. Francisca Eugênia Justino Barbosa, representing the city of Crato, won on a warm and comfortable night warm and became the new Miss Ceará. The 2010 Miss Ceará. Francisca is one of those Misses that will gradually captivate everyone with her warm smile and elegant walk; perfection …
The contest was broadcast live on TV Diário, which excelled in its broadcasting of the quality images.The contest was agile and featured a well-planned script. Jorlene Cordeiro and Natália Varela were very conscious of their roles as hosts. Judging from the fraternization between all of the competitors, it was clear that everyone was pleased with the results. All in all, it was one of the best Miss Ceará contests that I ever watched. Congratulations to all the coordinators of the event.
See more photos of Francisca here