Rio elects its Carnival's queen and king

Posted at 11/05/12 10:25 AM

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - Rio de Janeiro has new royalty.

Evelyn Bastos, a 19-year-old student and member of the famed Mangueira Samba school, was crowned queen of the 2013 Rio Carnival here overnight while Milton Junior was re-elected as iconic King Momo.

An emotional Bastos, who joined Mangueira -- Rio's oldest Samba school -- at the age of four, beat her more muscular rivals and thanked her many supporters upon receiving the sought-after title.

"I am not alone in wearing this crown as many people helped me," she said as she choked back tears.

"I am 100% natural," she added in an apparent dig at her rivals, many of whom appear to have silicon-injected breasts and buttocks.

"I entered the contest as representative of Mangueira Samba school and now I am representing all the Cariocas (Rio residents) who will take part in the carnival. It is very rewarding," Bastos said at the ceremony held in Rio's northern Samba City.

Bastos, whose mother served as Mangueira percussion queen three years in a row and was her major inspiration, said she underwent five months of grueling training for the job. She walked away with a prize of $10,000.

Junior, who weighs in at 160 kilograms (352 pounds) and stands 1.84 meters (six feet three inches) tall, was again picked to serve as King Momo, the Rio Carnival's symbol of overweight excess.

King Momo is traditionally given the key to the city and leads the crowds in wild partying and frantic samba dancing.

Rio's world famous carnival takes place February 9-12.

Junior will play carnival king for the fifth year in a row and his selection was greeted with some boos.

He also earned a prize of $10,000, in addition to a ceremonial crown, sash and mace.

"King Momo transmits to the entire world, throughout the city, the joy and Samba, surrounded with beautiful women, the queen and the princesses," the 33-year-old said.

"Our marvelous city is rich with its values and culture and Samba is our foundation," he added.

Leticia Guimaraes and Clara Paixao were picked as carnival princesses and received $7,500 each.

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