Note from BW of Brazil: Stop the press! Last night I was actually preparing new material for today’s post when I received a message from a friend asking if I was watching the Miss São Paulo contest on Band TV. To be truthful, I didn’t even know it was on! It was late but I decided to turn on the TV for a few minutes just out of curiosity. The contestants in these Miss competitions are usually vastly over-represented by women who look as if they just got off a plane from Europe (even in states with majority black populations) and I didn’t expect anything different from a state like São Paulo, a state in which about 66% of the population defines itself as white.
Well, I was right again.
Of the 30 women representing various cities throughout the state of São Paulo, only two were black. Both were pretty, brown-skinned women, one with straight hair and one with a beautiful “black” (afro).
To be honest, I didn’t really pay much attention to the show but as the finalists were narrowed down and then two women were left standing, including one of the black women, I admit I stopped editing the material I was working on…Then, it happened!
Congratulations are in order for Sabrina Paiva! She will now go on to represent the state of São Paulo in the Miss Brasil competition, where, in more than 60 years, ONLY ONE BLACK WOMAN HAS EVER WON!
Now of course, everyone’s not going to be happy with this victory and contrary to the myth that Brazilians believe “we are all equal”, some will express what they really feel.
Translation: “Zero chance in Miss Brasil. Sincerely, to stop the demagoguery of that there be a black woman in the finals, it would be better to create the Miss Black Brazil parallel to the traditional Miss Brasil, where the black women can also compete but without the obligation of the judges designating one that is beneath the rest of the white women.”
Here’s my position on the above comment. Of course I disagree with the idea that a beautiful black woman is “beneath” any white woman. One of the objectives of this blog is to demonstrate this. But on the other hand, I DO believe there should in fact be separate events, categories, etc. for whites, blacks, Asians, etc. (1) I’ve expressed this opinion on a number of previous posts. My reasoning is the following. Afro-Brazilians live in a society ruled by white supremacy, white standards of beauty and whiteness for which the entire society is judged. They, like other populations in other multi-racial societies will forever attempt to “prove” themselves to and be a part of the “mundo dos brancos” (world of the whites) and because of this constant desire to have that which of the white world, they will forever feel rejected and will always experience a sense of inferiority that they will continue to pass on to their children.
White people, Asian people and any other group of people have the right to see themselves as superior to any other group and cheer for their own in competitions. Black people should do the same. The problem is that whiteness is the dominant force that, through its media, propaganda, education, etc. imposes a sense of inferiority on non-white groups. One of the main problems in Brazil, racially-speaking, is that most people don’t want to be honest about how they feel. White Brazilians have shown time and time again that see themselves as superior to non-whites but most will continue to hide behind the rhetoric of “we’re all equal” because the ‘racial democracy’ myth is such a strong force in the nation’s history. Black (and brown) Brazilians also hide behind the ‘we’re all equal’ rhetoric while harboring a strong sense of the desire to be white. So of course the majority of people will decry my opinion as that of a racist, but if everyone were to be more honest about the racial situation, they would have to agree that having separate things for separate groups would solve the whole problem. With this solution, we wouldn’t have black people having to denounce the existence of only one or two black women in a contest and white people wouldn’t have the need to belittle the people of another group.
But hey, that’s just my two cents. For now, we will celebrate the new Miss São Paulo!
Sabrina Paiva is elected Miss São Paulo 2016
Courtesy of Ego with additional information from M de Mulher; all photos by Celso Tavares
The representative of the city of Caconde was chosen state representative in the beauty contest that took place on Saturday night the 28th.
After a close race that brought together 30 beautiful women, the 20-year old student of publicity of propaganda Sabrina Paiva, Miss Caconde, it was announced the winner of the Miss São Paulo 2016. The final of the beauty contest took place on Saturday night (28).
After a week of events and parades, Sabrina was chosen to represent the state in the national Miss Brasil 2016 contest. Second place went to Miss Ribeirão Preto Marina Andrade Lemos, and third went to the representative of the city of Americana Tayná Correia Pereira. Marjorie Masiero Bresler, from São Paulo, and Fernanda Alves dos Santos, of Ribeirão Preto, came in fourth and fifth respectively.
In an interview with Ego (website) on Thursday (27) the 5’11½” Sabrina Paiva, showed herself to be a perfect poster girl for advertising her city and made a question of asking if people knew of the place she lives, about 40 minutes from Poços de Caldas. She was one of only two black women participating in the contest and hoped to win the prize and get to Miss Brasil, where she dreams of being the second black Miss to represent the country. The first was Deise Nunes in 1986. “I feel prepared to win. It depends on what they want. But I would love (being the second black Miss Brasil). It would be a paradigm shift.”
The Miss São Paulo in 2016 happened at Citibank Hall, in São Paulo and included the presentation of Mariana Rios and Cássio Reis. During the event, the contestants paraded in full costume, swimsuit and bikini.
“Being here is representation. I want black women, girls and children to see me and have inspiration. My focus is also this, to show that black culture is beautiful, our nose, our mouth and our afro hair are wonderful. My dream was always to represent my culture and today I did it,” said the Miss after her victory.
Note from BW of Brazil: Another challenge for the Miss São Paulo were the expenses that must be covered for contestants to even compete in the contest. To put it simple, these contests are nothing cheap! To make their dreams come true, these women must often times put up a small fortune just for registration and all of the accessories necessary just to be considered. And this is not a small task as they must also be assured that the contest is legitimate and that they aren’t investing their money in a sham or mismanagement, as what unfortunately happened to a lot of women in Rio de Janeiro several months back.
Miss São Paulo in 2016 almost gave up the competition due to a lack of money
Sabrina Paiva, representing the city of Caconde, said she took a loan and asked for help from her neighborhood to participate in the competition.
By Rodrigo Soares
The joy of victory in the Miss São Paulo in 2016 was also a relief for Paiva. In an interview with Ego, she said she took a loan and asked for money from her neighbors to raise R$7,000, which were used to pay for the registration and buy clothes for the parade.
“I had no money, I left the city asking for help because I couldn’t afford to come. It was necessary to pay for the registration and looks for the show. It was a great battle to get this my dream that I’ve had since childhood. We took out a loan, asked for help, I asked for discounts. I did everything I could,” she recalls, without hiding her emotion.
Sabrina, who works in a clothing store in São José do Rio Pardo and studies Advertising and Propaganda in Guaxupé, Minas Gerais (a town near Caconde), says that she even thought about quitting because of the lack of funds.
“I said that if I couldn’t get the money and the clothes I would not go. I would have no way, right? It was not what I wanted, so we struggled a lot to be here, but at times I found it really wouldn’t work out. It’s still good that I didn’t give up,” she reflects.
Dulce Carvalho, her mother, was one of her biggest supporters for her to keep on moving. “Our life is not easy, but I couldn’t not support her dream or fail to help her. I rolled up my sleeves and went to fight. When she said she was not going to participate because of not having money, I said ‘you will yes, we’ll go after it’. And it’s so good that we persisted and everything went right,” says her mother.
With the trophy and the most beautiful woman sash of the state of São Paulo, Sabrina now has her eyes set on the Miss Brasil (contest), to be held in October. “I will prepare, I want get there with everything, I want to represent the state of São Paulo and Caconde, my city, well. Now I dream about winning the Miss Brasil,” she plans.
- The fact is that contests for only black women already exist in Brazil (see here, here or here) and thus is not a new concept even in a country in which many still don’t accept racism being a problem in the country.