When dancer Camila Prins entered Sao Paulo’s Carnival parade grounds, a costume of feathers clinging to her sinuous body, she fulfilled a dream of feminine beauty nearly three decades old.
Prins says she first realized she wanted to be a woman at a Carnival party at age 11, when, like the other boys, she was allowed to dress like a girl as part of the burlesque festivities. Now, in the final minutes of Saturday, she became the first transgender woman to lead the drum section of a top samba school in either of the renowned Carnival parades put in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
Prins, 40, was hand-picked to be “godmother” of the Colorado do Bras samba school’s drum section, an iconic role fought over by dozens of models and TV celebrities. Her duty was to dance infectiously for 65 minutes in front of the drummers, using her legs to drive their rhythm while judges assessed the school’s parade.
“Gorgeous women wanted to be here. I’m very excited because this shows we can be anywhere. We can be godmother of the drummers, we can be owners of a samba school,” Prins told The Associated Press before the parade. “Soon they will see many other transgender girls, who will find it easier than I did.”
Colorado do Bras, which rose to Sao Paulo’s top samba league only two years ago, made a bold decision in picking Prins for the role, despite Brazil’s Carnival being a party at which few things have never been tried.
Transgender people remain something of a taboo among Brazilians, even in Sao Paulo, the country’s most cosmopolitan city and host to the world’s largest gay pride parade. Brazil has more slayings of transvestites and transgender people than any country in the world. In 2019, 124 were killed, 21 of them in Sao Paulo state.
As godmother of the drum section, Prins teamed up with a drum queen who has a similar role, and together they worked to dazzle fans in the Sambadrome bleachers with their beauty and sex appeal. Prins said she was counting on her penetrating brown eyes, long blond hair, strong legs, open smile and imposing breasts to help win points from the judges.
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