Wednesday, October 26, 2011

And the winner is...

Bethania Tavares, winner of Miss Brazil USA Connecticut 2011
Lais Silva, Runner Up
Adna Raimundo, Third Place

Judges also awarded the titles of Miss Simpatia (Miss Congeniality) and Miss Fotogênica (Miss Photogenic) to Karen Olivera and Karina Lima.

Congratulations to Silvani D'Agostino of Rio 100 on organizing a tremendously successful event.

And congratulations to all the beautiful contestants. I hope your teachers were understanding on Monday morning. I bet it's not often they get a hand written note that says "My daughter was unable to complete her assignment, because she was up all night, fighting 'til the end, in a battle of Brazilian bombshells. Thank you for understanding." 

Best of luck to Bethania, Lais, Adna, Karen and Karina who are moving onto the national Miss USA Brazil competition that will take place on Saturday, November 12 at 9:00pm at the Robert Treat Hotel in Newark New Jersey. Call 973.937.2419 for tickets. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Miss Brazil USA Connecticut

Just as with country music, romance novels, and celebrity gossip, I'm not a fan of beauty pageants, unless they are in Portuguese.

With the exception of Miss America when I was in grade school, I had never in my life paid attention to beauty contests. But when I learned Miss Universe 2011 would be hosted in São Paulo, Brazil, I marked my calendar and told my roommate she'd have to DVR The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. 

Despite its physical location, however, Miss Universe 2011 was not was Brazilian enough for my taste. As much as I like Andy Cohen and respect Natalie Morales' Brazilian ancestry, I hoped the hosts would bring more of Brazil to the stage. I also conveniently forgot that Miss Universe contestants come from all over the world, and only three this year were from Portuguese speaking countries. 

Really, I was never interested in Miss Universe. What I wanted was a Brazilians-only beauty contest. And where was I going to find that? Stamford, Connecticut it turns out.

Miss Brazil USA Connecticut is a qualifying beauty pageant for Miss Brazil USA, the United States' beauty competition for Brazilian-American women. 

I have to admit that I seriously considered entering the contest, when I saw a tweet by its organizer, Rio 100 Events. Despite not coming from a Brazilian bloodline, I thought my Portuguese fluency and paixão pro Brasil could carry me at least a little ways and that I could make up for the rest in spray tans and acrylic nails. But before I could schedule my salon appointments, my dreams of entering my first beauty pageant were shattered. I don't quality for Miss Brazil Connecticut, because my permanent address is in New York. Que pena. Still, I was determined to go to the pageant, even if not as Miss Gringa East Village.

Dressed not in a bikini and heels, I will be reporting tweeting live from the Miss Brazil USA Connecticut competition at the Stamford Marriot this Sunday, October 23. I may be seated in the audience, but you can bet I'll be judging the girls just as critically as the appointed officials.

And as far as meeting my expectations of Brazilian-ness? Silvani and Frank D'Agostino, owners of Rio 100 Events, have assured me that the competition will be conducted in both Portuguese and English and that all the contestants have Brazilian or Brazilian-American backgrounds. The universe may not be as Brazilian as I'd like, but I'm lucky to live in a part of it that is. 

A preview of the Miss Brazil USA Connecticut contestants will be held this Friday, October 21 at 84 Park in Stamford, CT. You can purchase tickets for Sunday's contest online or by calling 

Silvinho - 203.667.1527
Everaldo - 203.449.6033
Via Brazil - 914.939.1234
RogerVibe - 914.424.6717
Kunjan - 203.613.9966
Alex Carmargo - 203.312.6287
Erv Master - 908.313.0669
Silvani D'Agostino - 203.964.7798

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Daniela Mercury in NYC

Revellón 2011 on Copacabana Beach
The last time I went to see Brazilian music sensation Daniela Mercury, I couldn't get within 100 yards of the stage let alone hear a single one of her samba-axé-reggae-pop hybrid hits. The crowd was far too unruly. Revelers were focused only on meeting their own needs of waving down the nearest caipirinha or skewered shrimp vendor and guarding their rented beach chairs and coveted squares of sand. Such is New Year's Eve on Copacabana Beach, I suppose.

As much as I enjoyed Revellón 2011, I was disappointed I didn't get to experience Ms. Mercury's live performance. Lucky for me, Daniela Mercury is in New York City. That's right, folks. The same woman who headlined at one of the world's largest New Year's celebrations is kicking off her North American tour Friday, October 7 by taking the stage a the Best Buy Theater in Times Square. 

Daniela Mercury courtesy of BlaBlaBla NYC
Daniela Mercury is known in Brazil as the Queen of Axé, which means a supernatural force in the context of the Afro-Brazilian religion Candomblé, but is also used to described a subset of Afro-Brazilian music that originated in the Mercury's home state of Bahia. The artist's influence reaches beyond her native Bahia, however, and even beyond Brazil. Mercury is one of the country's most well known female music artists, having sold 12 million albums world-wide and placed 14 of her songs in the number one spot on Brazilian charts and 24 in the top ten. 

Mercury's October 7 performance also marks the US release of her most recent album, Canibália (2009). And I just might have to buy a copy, since in North America, it's being packaged with a DVD of her December 31 Copacabana performance. Looks like I'll get a chance to see it after all.