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Brazil opts for more mature beauty queens

January 15, 2009 |  8:55 am


Beauty in Brazil is no longer just the domain of the young. For the first time, queens of the upcoming carnival can be more than 40 years old.

A couple of Rio de Janeiro's samba schools have chosen to be represented in the colorful annual event by women not traditionally seen (in Brazil, at least) as eligible to be beauty queens -- they are in their 40s and will fill positions usually reserved for younger contenders.

The Times of London reports that "as a model, actress and former Playboy cover girl, Luma de Oliveira certainly fit the mold. It was her age, 44, that did not. And neither did that of Luiza Brunet, 46, who will be queen for [the] Imperatriz Leopoldinense samba troupe."

All the same, the two women will join the parading next month. The chosen queens are tasked with dancing in front of about 400 drummers during the procession, wearing little more than high heels, a bikini and a giant headdress.

Brazil’s carnival dates to the 18th century and is a mix of Portuguese and African traditions. The first parade of samba schools was in 1928, reports the Times.

-- Deborah Bonello in Mexico City

Photo: A Brazilian woman takes part in the Rio carnival. Credit: Annie Wells / Los Angeles Times.