Note from BW of Brazil: So what else is new? For sixty plus years Brazil has crowned a Miss Brasil and only once has there been a woman of visible characteristics of African ancestry that won. This year was no different. In fact, as if often the case, in this year’s competition, there was only one black woman in the whole contest! We’ve seen this almost complete whitewashing in numerous previous contests so again, this isn’t news (see photos from various contests from around Brazil at bottom of post). Clearly not equal representation of a country in which 53.6% of the population defines itself as non-white. It’s just another reminder of why Brazilians really need to retire this idea that “we are all equal”!
“Who hasn’t suffered prejudice in Brazil?” asks Miss Federal District
Amanda Balbino, the only black woman in the contest of Miss Brasil in 2015, talks about racism. ‘The battle is to show that there are no differences’.
Courtesy of Vooz Brasil and Cidade Verde
Amanda Balbino, Miss Federal District, had a great responsibility in this week as the Day of Black Consciousness was celebrated this Friday, November 20th. The 21 year old was the only black woman among the 27 candidates of the Miss Brasil 2015 contest that crowned the gaúcha (native of the state of Rio Grande do Sul) Marthina Brandt as winner on the evening of Wednesday, 18.
“I was the first black woman winner of Miss Federal District. At the same time a happiness hit me it’s a strange feeling for never another woman of the same skin tone as mine having won. And the important thing is that I think I managed to ‘send a message ‘, show our strength and contribute in order that other girls with my style can be proud of their own beauty,” said she, who was among the 15 semifinalists.
The ‘message’, she bet, was also transmitted for her attitude in the dispute and also for the hair that she sported in her entrances on the catwalk. “The idea of the contest was to show the misses of a more natural way. So normal that I came with my hair in the estilo afro (African style), that’s how I wear it, you know? It’s part of my beauty, of my traits and my heritage,”she said.
Amanda says that just like the actress Taís Araújo, she has been a victim of racism. “Who hasn’t suffered prejudice in Brazil? Unfortunately people have trouble with differences. For a long time the issue of color served to differentiate people, by placing one above the other. It turns out that there are still situations where we suffer because of this idea that still persists in the society,”she says, making it clear that she does not bow down to the manifestations of prejudice. “Our job is to show that there are no differences (1). And I know that mine, because of being a black Miss, is even greater.”
A psychology student at the University of Brasília, Amanda wants to take a break in a possible clinical career and invest in the world of catwalks or performance. “Until then I wasn’t a model, my first experience was with the contest, but I want to take every opportunity that may arise, including as an actress. For now I will continue in Brasília, but nothing prevents me from going elsewhere if the job offer is good,” she says.
Source: Vooz Brasil, Cidade Verde
- One will note here, that Balbino’s idea that that “there are no differences” is pretty much equal to saying “we are all equal”. As such, she falls into the category of black Brazilians who are quick employ the national discourse even in the face of blatant inequality.