drum corps queen - world record set byJulia Lira
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil -- Julia Lira, a seven-year-old
girl, led the Viradouro
samba parade into the packed Sambadrome during the Rio de
Janeiro carnival , setting the world record for the Youngest
drum corps queen. Photo: Julia led the Viradouro samba
parade into the packed Sambadrome wearing a sequined halter
top and miniskirt made of purple feathers. Photo Antonio Scorza/
Asked why she wanted to be the drum corps
queen, Julia would only say quietly: "I'm happy because I
like to dance."
Her father, Marco, who is Viradouro's
president, took her by the hand and presented her to the crowd.
But 10 minutes into the parade, as she was surrounded by photographers
and reporters, she burst into tears.
"She cried because there were a lot of people
on top of her," Mr Lira said. After a brief period to cool
down, away from the glare of the cameras, Julia returned to
her place at the front of the massive drum line.
The girl's father, who happens to be the
president of the Viradouro
group, says: "She has the aptitude to be a drum corps
queen - you'll see it tonight. She has a seriousness inside
of her when she is on the stage."
At the delicate core of Julia's case is
the queen's traditional role in Rio's Carnival: that of sexy
Putting Julia in the carnival role drew
the ire of child welfare advocates who were against a young
girl taking on a role normally reserved for sultry models
and actresses. But a judge ruled last week that she could
join the parade.
Unlike other participants, she is usually
not bare-chested and wears more than just glitter. Julia wore
a sequined halter top and a miniskirt made of purple feathers.
A Viradouro artistic director said Julia's outfit would be
suitable for a child.
Tourism officials have estimated about
730,000 visitors have arrived in Rio for the party.
The carnival is the first since Rio was
named as host of the 2016 Olympics and city officials have
been working hard to show it can safely stage major events.