Carnival Samba Queen, 7, Breaks Down

Rio spotlight too much for youngest drum corps queen
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 15, 2010 7:24 AM CST
Carnival Samba Queen, 7, Breaks Down
Julia Lira, 7, queen of the drums' section of Viradouro samba school, dances during carnival celebrations at the Sambadrome, in Rio de Janeiro, Monday, Feb.15, 2010.   (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

In the end it wasn't the angry child welfare advocates or the family court judge that hampered seven-year-old samba queen Julia Lira from carrying out her controversial role at the Rio de Janeiro carnival: It was Lira herself. Lira broke down in tears just 10 minutes into last night's parade, confirming critics' fears that she was too young to be a samba queen—a highly sexual role usually reserved for adult models and actresses, the London Times reports.

Lira began crying when she realized she was the center of the massive parade crowd's attention, and was carried away by her handler. She resumed her position at the head of the drum corps her father leads five minutes later, but was hurried through the parade grounds and kept away from television cameras. Many in the parade audience were critical of Lira's role: “A girl that size shouldn't be thrust in such a role," one onlooker said. (Read more Julia Lira stories.)

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