Note from BW of Brazil: It’s something that millions dream of. Lights, camera, fame and fortune. Of course the feeling must be of utter joy and satisfaction when one manages to overcome the millions to one odds and actually manages gets there or are at least on their way. The revelry of being “queen for a day”. Or even a few years. In Brazil, a coveted post that brings this type of fame is the woman denominated the “Globeleza” girl. The Globeleza girl is the poster girl of propaganda that signals the arrival of the yearly media extravaganza that is Rio de Janeiro’s Carnaval. Of course, Carnaval is celebrated throughout the country but it is the Rio version that is most famous around the world. “Quando o Carnaval chegar”, or “when Carnaval arrives”, people have “tanta alegria” (so much joy) and men drool over the “moça que passa e não posso pegar” (the girl who passes by and I can’t get) as told in the famous song of legendary musician Chico Buarque.
Chico Buarque – Quando o Carnaval Chegar
The Globeleza is exactly that type of woman. Every year leading up to the beginning of Carnaval, Globo TV broadcasts short video clips of the Globeleza girl gyrating her hips to the beat of a samba-enredo alerting the people that perhaps the most celebrated season in Brazil is on its way. These little vignettes are shown several times everyday and generally makes the chosen Globeleza girl famous instantly. The term “Globeleza” is a mixture of the words Globo (as in the Globo network) and “beleza”, which is Portuguese for beautiful. Valéria Valenssa and Nayara Justino are two women who have held that post.
Valéria Valenssa reigned as the Globeleza girl for 14 years, from 1991-2004. She was briefly replaced by Giane Carvalho in 2005 and then the baton was passed to Aline Prado, who held the title from 2006 to 2013. Then in late 2013, a controversial contest was held on the Globo TV network to find a new girl to replace Prado. The Globeleza is always represented by a black woman who is generally recognized as a “mulata”. As has been consistently emphasized on this blog, Brazilian society generally reserves two “places” for black women: she is either a maid, whose domain is in the household, specifically the kitchen or she is the sexually alluring “mulata” whose talents are thought to be suitable only for the bedroom.
These images have been rampant throughout the Brazilian media for decades which is exactly what provoked protests against the contest and are also at the root of current protests due to Globo’s current TV series Sexo e as negas (Sex and the negresses). These stereotypes of black women are inherent in the hierarchy of the popular saying “Branca para casar, mulata para fornicar, negra para trabalhar” (white woman for marriage, mulata for fornication and black woman for work). It should be noted that the term “mulata” derives from the term mula or mule which is an animal that is used for work.
And as the white woman remains the standard of beauty in Brazil and her image constantly dominates magazine covers and the image of Brazilian women in the media in general, Carnaval with its overtly sensual/sexual images of all women, but specifically black women strongly reinforces the “place” of black women because this is generally the only time of year when women of visible African descent are prominently featured on television. But as the spotlight on black women is generally only for an instant, what happens when the fame and attention fades away? As two recent stories show, sometimes it is depression that sets in.
For Valenssa, who held the title for 14 years, it was perhaps difficult because she was accustomed to the position for so long and even having left the post 10 years ago, she is still the most memorable of all the Globeleza women. For Justino, the crash is perhaps just as devastating but for a different reason. For although the position of Globeleza is always held by a woman of visible African ancestry, the first three women who held the post had much lighter skin tones. In fact, many were surprised when she chosen over the other contestants to fulfill the Globeleza position.
After her selection in the controversial reality show competition, Justino was almost immediately criticized online by Brazilians who thought she wasn’t pretty enough and that she didn’t samba very well. It is also not possible to ignore the fact that her darker skin tone definitely played a role in the way she was berated by the public. As the Carnaval season proceeded, the airing of television commercials featuring Justino were noticeably reduced as Globo TV picked up on the fact that the public wasn’t pleased with her and soon starting airing commercials featuring Samba musicians instead of the new Globeleza girl. Below are two examples of what happens when the lights go dim.
Nayara Justino loses her post and contest will choose new Globeleza
Courtesy of Extra
Looking for a Globeleza. Nayara Justino, elected this year, lost her post as the “Retratos da Vida” (Portraits of Life) had anticipated. In the courts of the samba schools of Rio, mulatas are being sought to fill the role in the next Carnival. The idea is to conduct a new competition – the question remains if the choice will be by popular vote, as happened last time, or by expert judges.
Nayara was not as successful as was expected in the Globo TV vignettes and went virtually unnoticed in the parade of the samba schools. The now ex-Globeleza has already begun Carnival discredited, and had no right or credential ceded by Liesa for her free circulation in the Sambadrome in Rio. With the failure, Nayara went through a period of depression.
Nayara Justino is elected Globeleza for 2014 – making of and Globeleza video
Globeleza becomes depressed and says she suffered internet racism
According Nayara Justino, the attacks began this week on social networks
Courtesy of Famosidades
Nayara Justino said she fell into some depression after receiving racist messages about her through social networks. According to Globeleza, the attacks began this week, after being reported that the girl would lose her status as symbol of Globo TV’s Carnival in 2015.
“I won the popular vote, why are blasting me like this? So much offensive news; a journalist attacking me…That ended my life. Newspapers published this news and people post racist comments,” she vented in an interview with Extra. Cairo Jardim, Nayara’s husband, said he has done everything so that his wife doesn’t access the internet and be more vulnerable to insults.
“Nayara is outraged. She doesn’t want to talk to anyone, she doesn’t want to go out. And worst of all are these racist messages she has read on the internet. I have gathered here over 50 messages calling her ugly, macaca (monkey)…Nayara has suffered prejudice since childhood, but now it’s getting heavy. She has cried a lot,” said the businessman.
Nevertheless, Cairo believes that the girl will come out on top. “She talked to the psychologist and made an appointment. It’s a lot of evil and prejudice what they are doing to my wife. We are deciding whether or not to denounce it. But the most important thing now is that she wants to get through this,” he added.
Valéria Valenssa fell into a deep depression after losing her position as Globeleza, reveals author that wrote her biography
By Michael Sá
After realizing her dream of achieving fame and money as a symbol of Carnival for 14 consecutive years, Valéria Valenssa went through a deep depression when she was forced to leave the position ten years ago. This drama will be revealed for the first time in the authorized biography that publisher Tinta Negra will be released during the next Carnival. The book, still in preparation, will reveal that Valéria was traumatized when she went back to living far away from the spotlight.
Valéria Valenssa – Globeleza 1990-2001 – Making of
“She went through all the expectations of a girl coming from the suburbs, who made it to fame quickly, until one day she was replaced. So for her, it was a very difficult time. Valéria suffered depression and didn’t even leave the house. Though she knew it was not forever, that depends on her physical form and youth….she suffered a violent thud,” says Laura Bergallo, who penned the book with Josiane Duarte. Valéria’s depression, according to the author, was so deep that it almost affected her marriage to designer Hans Donner of TV Globo, with whom she has two children.
“She wanted very much to stay on as Globeleza. And the marriage was affected by the depression she entered when she lost her job. When Valéria became pregnant, something she really wanted, her body was different. Then, she found that her departure had to do with it and had several cosmetic procedures,” added Laura.
Support in religion
According to the author, Valéria only managed pick herself up and overcome trauma after converting (becoming Evangelical).
“Her life is full of ups and downs, and Valéria reached this current level through faith. She left the suburb, from a very modest family, and meteorically got where he went, known in Brazil and much of the world, married to a powerful and famous man, and suddenly they came to her and said, look, you will be replaced. It was a thud. She was not an actress, she couldn’t give continuity to what she did,” she explains.
Away from the spotlight, Valéria, now 42, is fully dedicated to her family and transformed her life story into a testimony of faith in churches all over the country.
“She’s still very pretty. I think that today she’s found her place. I don’t think she wants to be famous again, at least not on this issue, using her body…Really because evangelicals have this restriction. Although she is still very vain, I believe that Valéria is now more family,” opines Laura, that plans to narrate the life of the former Globeleza like a big fairy tale:
“What happened to her happens to almost all people who have a very great success. The biography is a book that talks about overcoming. The story tells of a fairy tale that had its hard times and became an example of overcoming.”