The first time I came to Brazil, I was a freshman in high school. I was a fairly well-built, skinny, blonde, red-haired, freckled girl. I used to make my friend and me go with Brazilian guys—to the clubs. For them it was free. I never had a problem with it. I was so intimidated that nobody wanted to dance with me. I became a bit of an outcast. But I still danced, and I still loved it. Then, one day, two guys came in and I danced with them. And a few days after, two girls came in, who got pretty close to us as soon as they saw me. They started talking to me, and I started talking to them. They started telling me things about Brazilian music. They told me they wanted to be in Brazil for an extra week, maybe two or three weeks. I said, “Oh my God! Let me come!” I had a great summer of dancing in South America, and now I couldn’t turn around and go back home.
So you’re not going to start in a new country and just fly in?
I got to New York, but no one else did that; only this old Irish man, who just happened to be flying around the world, was flying. He had to put up with all these people in a different language. My friend had been a dancer, but he didn’t have enough money to keep himself above water, so he left and got kicked out of the country. Now the girls there are getting pretty spoiled—some of them even have cars that get better mileage than me.
Do you think that the dancing will kill you off? That you’ll stay with it only for a few years?
Not necessarily. I know some of the girls who got jobs in Brazil—they’re very, very good. You have to be able to stand up and be noticed. And there’s an audience. You can’t not have an audience. You have to be good. And I think my age is more important than a young girl’s age. If she had the right genes and the right attitude, or whatever. I mean, I don’t know. I’m doing what I love, and my whole life is so short.
What about your mother? Has she supported you in any way?
I don’t know. My mom didn’t know. She died when I was 16 or 17. I just went back to
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