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Priscilla Peixoto – from Cenarium

MANAUS – Belonging to the Wapichana ethnic group, Mari Williams, 18 years old, became the first Miss Indigenous of Roraima. The contest was held this Saturday, 18, at the Palace of Culture Nenê Maccagi, in Boa Vista, in order to choose the first Miss Indigenous State.

Mari Williams, or “Baydukuryaba” as her baptismal name is, is a native of the city of Alto Alegre, resident of the “Raimundão” community, and faced the mission of representing the city in the first event of the category with strength and enthusiasm. “You don’t know how important this is for me, I’m sure you will be proud of me”, said Mari in the social network Instagram status, soon after winning the contest.

In all, ten candidates participated in the event. Besides the Wapichana presence, women from the Macuxi, Taurepang and Sapará ethnic groups participated in the moment of valorization and rescue of the people’ culture, together with the importance of the visibility of indigenous women in society. Breaking barriers and promoting diversity, Mari or “Baydukuryaba” – which in the Wapichana language means jaguar – escapes from the standards normally established by most beauty contests.

Mari Williams breaks the standards set by the aesthetic market (Instagram/Maariwilliams)

Medium height and with the curves of a “real woman”, the indigenous winner almost dropped out of the contest because of the bad comments about her body and her origins. Mari showed that it is not necessary to obey the aesthetic market norms to be beautiful and become a miss. Focusing on cultural valorization, the candidate, as well as the other participants, was analyzed for her resourcefulness, her answers to the rounds of questions, and the cultural representation of the people she represented.

Daughter of a Macuxi mother and a Wapichana father, the young woman’s next step is to compete in the Miss Brazil Indigenous 2021, which should take place in November in the state of Paraná. “I will try to show a little of who I am and my experience. Follow my trajectory until the national contest, I am very happy”, said Mari.

Indigenous Protagonism

In the last week, indigenous women from different ethnic groups and regions in Brazil have been standing out and gaining visibility in the media. A case similar to Mari Williams’, from Roraima, is that of Ive Lliyne, 22 years old, a native of the Fulni-ô people, from the city of Águas Belas, located in the harsh region of the state.

Ive became the first indigenous woman to win Miss Beauty Pernambuco. She should participate in other stages of the selection process towards the national Miss Beauty pageant, from where the name for Miss Universe will be chosen. In an interview to Alma Preta Portal, the student of Geography said that winning the contest and becoming miss is much more than getting a beauty title.

Ive Lliyne, 22, a native of the Fulni-O people, became the first indigenous woman to win Miss Beauty Pernambuco (Reproduction/ Instagram)

“At first I was afraid to participate, but then I saw that I could represent a lot for my community(…)It is a great responsibility to represent my people and serve as an example for others of us to occupy the places they want”, said the miss Pernambuco.

Another name that integrates the list of the week’s highlights was the digital influencer Maíra Tatuyo, 22 years old, better known as “Cunhã-poranga”. Maíra participated in the SBT’s Eliana program, which aired this Sunday, 19. During the program, the influencer showed the daily routine of the indigenous community Tatuyo, on the banks of the Rio Negro, (35 km away from Manaus).

Influencer Maíra Tatuyo (Reproduction/ Instagram)

Maíra Tatuyo has more than six million followers and 80.4 million likes on the social network Tik Tok. She started recording videos for social networks in 2020, at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Since then it has gone viral on the internet where it shows the culture and traditions of the indigenous community where she belongs.

One of the most famous videos has 16.2 million views, in which she talks about the “pega-moça” – an alliance used by the villages for the choice of a young indigenous man’s girlfriend. “What a pride to be able to be showing and telling our customs, history, and our culture. It’s just gratitude for everything”, Maíra posted on social networks.