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Xica da Silva

Charming Africa

Brazilian actress and model Thaís Araújo, 19 years old in 1998, is experiencing a meteoric rise—she has become the female spokesperson for a new clothes detergent and in Angola no less. All of this is due to the character Araújo plays on Manchete TV soap opera Xica da Silva, which tells the story of a legendary black slave who becomes her owner's lover and protégée. The erotically-charged novela, which has plenty of nude scenes, was shown last year in Brazil, but the Angolans are just getting the chance to taste Thaís spice. They fell in love with the African-Brazilian and Xica da Silva's ratings zoomed up.

Hence the invitation for the actress to sell soap in Africa. Araújo is on a roll. She will be Edivanêa on Globo's next 7:00-pm soap opera. The character Thaís will interpret has animosity for poor people because she grew up poor, so she wants to marry the wealthiest guy in the fictitious Village of São Tomás de Trás (St Thomas of Behind). To portray the manicurist, Edivanêa, the actress had to make some aesthetic changes: she now has long, straight hair and her wardrobe is much lighter since the clothes she wears reveal more than they hide.

Brazilian Playboy has been badgering her for more than a year to pose nude. She will do it if the price is right: "I am not against the idea because I don't know what Playboy has to offer. I just don't feel comfortable getting naked in front of a photographer. I've already done those dreadful scenes for Xica da Silva and I cried a lot. I will pose, but only for the money. I think it is weird when women say that they pose for vanity. I am happy enough looking at myself in the mirror."

Despite her busy agenda, she is also in two upcoming movies by director Lucas Amberg: Um Sonho do Caroço do Abacate (An Avocado Pit's Dream) and Negritude, um Drama Urbano (Blackness, an Urban Drama). Araújo jumped at the chance to travel to Africa to get a better understanding of her roots. "It's a great opportunity to work and, at the same time, to know Africa," she said with a broad smile right before leaving Brazil.


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