You wouldn’t know it at first glance, but all of these ladies dressed in evening gowns and full makeup are not just beauty contestants, they’re also prisoners.
This is how Talavera Bruce prison in Brazil, where the women are serving their sentences, helps boost the inmates’ confidence. In the beauty contest, the women compete in the evening gown and beachwear categories and they get judged on elegance and “outlook in the future.”
The 10-year tradition allows the women to increase their self-esteem. First place also wins a sash, a hair dryer, and a flat iron — all in the name of beauty and confidence.
This year’s first place winner, Neri Rangel, told the Brazilian television network Globo, “When I entered [the competition], I said…I am no better than anyone else. But I’m going to enter to win. They always say that the TB Girl has to be beautiful, friendly, and charismatic. And I’m all of those things.”
The ladies in the swimwear competition
CREDIT: MARIO TAMA/GETTY IMAGES
Inmate Micheli Neri Rangel celebrates her win.
MARIO TAMA/GETTY IMAGES
A beauty contestant hugs her little brother that was allowed to watch the competition.
CREDIT: MARIO TAMA/GETTY IMAGES
Read more about why Talavera Bruce Penitentiary holds the annual pageant here.
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In downtown São Paulo, July 14th’s Sunday service didn’t go quite as planned. The Canção Nova Community sponsored a youth conference and invited a celebrity priest to serve the final mass. Brazil’s most famous padre, Father Marcelo Rossi, was giving a homily in front of 50,000 worshippers when a woman suddenly pushed him off stage. The 32-year-old woman’s name has not been released, and she was immediately arrested. The priest is known for being vehemently homophobic and misogynist and had reportedly told the crowd that fat women don’t go to heaven before being pushed off the stage.
A woman pushed a homophobic and misogynistic priest off stage on live national television.
Apparently, the woman was able to sneak past security and get on stage in the middle of his homily. In a few seconds flat, she excitedly shoved the elderly priest off the stage.
O Dia later reported that “She said that she wanted to come in to talk to him and that she was scared the moment she saw the security guards running after her. It’s her version, but anyone who sees the pictures sees that there is none of it [security guards running after her]. She says she got scared and pushed him at a time when she kind of freaked out, lost control, but she had no intention [of hurting him], she just wanted to talk to him.”
She could be seen smiling after the push, and immediately jumped off the stage.
Within a few minutes, the priest reportedly stood up and told the crowd, in Portuguese, that “the devil hates him” and “thanked Mary for deliverance.” There have been mixed reports about why she did it, along with mixed reactions.
The young audience watched in shock and then started to scream.
Minutes after the incident, the priest was back on stage to finish la misa. Almost immediately, President Jair Bolsonaro tweeted out his well wishes for Rossi, saying, “All our solidarity with Father Marcelo Rossi. God looks [over] Brazil.”
The woman told reporters Monday that what happened was “between [Rossi] and I.”
Her friends told police that she suffers from various mental disorders and that she was being chaperoned when she snuck away from the group. She told police that she has bipolar disorder. Rossi decided not to press charges given that he was protected by the Virgin Mary, and she was released that same night.
Brasileños everywhere were sharing their reactions–from horror to just pure laughter on social media.
Just so y’all know, Rossi is a Grammy-nominated “Latin singer,” and mega-producer of Christian music. He’s also a mega-homophobe. In 1998, he said, “A lot of ideas will change the day homosexuality is proven to be an illness.”
Given Rossi’s open, proud homophobia, some folks were applauding the woman’s actions.
Just five years ago, he shared misinformation to his millions of followers, saying, “Sex between man causes pain, if something causes pain, it can’t be a good thing.”
We don’t know who said it first, but The Internet estaba chismosando for days about this version of the story.
Unfortunately, the reason this rumor started spreading is rooted in body-shaming the mentally unwell woman, and mother of a 3-year-old. While feminist outlets clung to this story and ran, fortunately, Rossi has never said that.
Catholics started clapping back to the chismosas by pointing out the flaws in the story.
Every version of the story we found says the priest said, “las gordas no van al cielo,” which wouldn’t make any sense. Rossi wouldn’t be speaking Spanish on a national broadcast when the vast majority of Brasileños speak Portuguese. This just didn’t happen, basta.
Others who feel spiritually traumatized by the Church felt that Rossi deserved the push.
Of course, plenty of people from all sexualities, religious belief systems or none at all, came out as unable to condone assault of any kind. They argue that you can believe the Church needs to change to include equal opportunities for women, to stop hating on the LGBTQ+ community, and to stop supporting a culture of pedophilia, and also believe that assault is unacceptable.
The Church released a statement saying, “The priest is well.”
“He was attended by the medical staff at the event and presided over the celebration to the end.” Rossi himself said that he felt minor pain, but “that’s normal.” He didn’t break any bones, and will likely continue making religious pop and homophobic statements for a long, long time.
With over 750,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel, Virginia based Olavo de Carvalho has become a siren caller for the conservative right in Brazil. When Carvalho first moved to Virginia from his home of Brazil, he was unfamiliar with the American right-wing culture. Since his move, he’s taken up hunting, donned cowboy hats, and enjoyed the liberties of lax gun laws in the U.S. He’s also been listening to a lot of Rush Limbaugh, and is effectively serving as the Brazilian, Portuguese-speaking spokesperson for Limbaugh’s ideology.
Without American conservative politics, as we know it, there wouldn’t be an Olavo de Carvalho. Without Carvalho, Jair Bolsonaro likely wouldn’t be the current President of Brazil.
Carvalho is a published author on a range of topics from astrology to literature to philosophy. Once he harnessed his own social media platforms, his conspiracy theories spread, along with his ideology. He has published 32 books, many of which are just collections of his publications.
Carvalho is proud to be a “self-taught” philosopher and his expansive library alludes to his way of thinking.
His study is filled to the brim with philosophical texts. Like many Virginians, he has more than one rifle and boasts of the animals he’s hunted and killed. Like many Catholic Latinos, every room has a space for a crucifix.
Bolsonaro’s own son, Eduardo, credits Carvalho as a critical influencer in his father’s rise to power.
“We couldn’t have won the election without Olavo,” Bolsonaro’s son Eduardo said in March. “Without Olavo, there would be no President Bolsonaro.” That’s a pretty bold statement, and it’s not without truth.
Eduardo even traveled to Virginia to take a private class with Carvalho in 2013.
Since then, the Bolsonaros and Carvalho began a critical relationship that has affected all of Brazil. Jair and Olavo have been in both private and very public communication like YouTube published video discussions. Now, Carvalho gets the seat beside Bolsonaro at official dinners at the Brazilian Embassy in Washington.
Bolsonaro is such a fan of Carvalho’s political thinking, he’s awarded him the highest civilian honor during a top-shelf ceremony.
In May of this year, Bolsonaro gathered the country’s vice president and justice minister to award Carvalho one of Brazil’s highest honors. In Bolsonaro’s first Facebook live video as President, he pictured one of Carvalho’s books within the frame, signaling the clear influence Carvalho has had on his politics.
At one point, there were rumors that Carvalho would be nominated as the Brazilian ambassador to the United States.
That did not come into fruition because of Carvalho’s own divisive rhetoric. Carvalho created an enemy out of Vice President Mourão by calling him a “traitor,” “idiot” and accused him of being “pro-abortion, pro-disarmament and pro-Nicolas Maduro.” All of these clashes pulled him out of the running to become an ambassador.
To be clear, Carvalho’s intellectual contemporaries include the likes of Steve Bannon.
Between the two of them, conspiracy theories about the fallacy of climate change and the false concept that the Inquisition never happened have been spread across the Americas. Carvalho also helped spread the lie that Barack Obama was not born in the U.S., and spread a rumor that Bolsonaro’s opponent promoted incest.
Carvalho has spoken out against what he calls “gayzismo,” or ‘gayism’ as a threat to society.
He says that it is ‘incompatible’ with democracy. In his political philosophy, democracy first (and seemingly only) serves the majority. So if a trans person needs to pee in the bathroom that matches their gender, and it conflicts with the values of the majority, his version of democracy leans toward the majority. Democracy is majority rule, even in relation to basic human rights.
In many ways, Carvalho is to Bolsonaro as Fox & Friends is to Trump.
Bolsonaro regards Carvalho’s opinion in the highest regard. So high, in fact, folks have called Carvalho the guru and “ideologue” of Bolsonaro. Carvalho has rejected these claims, though they have certainly fed his ego. In a recent interview, he told The Washington Post reporters, “I’m the most-read writer in Brazil. . . . I’m a tremendous writer.” He’s certainly being read by the right people.