Preteen samba queen cries at Rio`s Carnival
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Last Updated: Monday, February 15, 2010, 12:14
  
Rio de Janeiro: She was cheered by legions of Carnival fans, but 7-year-old Julia Lira, the youngest drum corps queen in memory at Rio's lavish party, broke down crying upon realising she was the centre of everyone's attention early Monday.

Dressed in a sequined halter top and a miniskirt made of purple feathers, the youngster shuffled through the first 50 yards (meters) of the parade. Her father — the president of the parading Viradouro samba group — then took her by the hand and presented her to the crowd. She smiled big for the photographers.

But 10 minutes into the group's parade and surrounded by dozens of photographers and television cameramen, the youngster broke down in tears and was immediately scooped up into the arms of her unofficial handler, the group's spokeswoman Joice Hurtado, and taken away from the attention.

After a five-minute cool down, Julia returned to her place in front of the group's massive drum line, but was quickly whisked through the parade grounds by her father and out of the media's eye.

About 20 minutes after that, the girl bounced back and began to samba at the helm of the parade — though television coverage steered clear of showing the youngster to millions of viewers.

Before the parade began, Julia's father, Marco Lira, said that "she's happy, she is ready to dance."

But some in the audience thought she was not ready for the spotlight.

"She is too young to be a drum corps queen," said Marister Deniz, 60, who was watching from the stands. "A girl that size shouldn't be thrust in such a role."

But Jorge Elias Souza, a member of the Viradouro drum corps, said he was proud of the girl regardless.

Putting Julia in the Carnival role drew the ire of child welfare advocates who were against a 7-year-old taking on a role normally reserved for sultry models and actresses.

Bureau Report


First Published: Monday, February 15, 2010, 12:14


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