Hookers with Hearts of Gold: Bruninha Surfistinha on Larry Rohter on Bruninha Surfistinha

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She goes by the name Bruna, the Little Surfer Girl, and gives new meaning to the phrase ”kiss and tell.” First in a blog that quickly became the country’s most popular and now in a best-selling memoir, she has titillated Brazilians and become a national celebrity with her graphic, day-by-day accounts of life as a call girl here. But it is not just her canny use of the Internet that has made Bruna, whose real name is Raquel Pacheco, a cultural phenomenon. By going public with her exploits, she has also upended convention and set off a vigorous debate about sexual values and practices, revealing a country that is not always as uninhibited as the world often assumes. –Larry Rohter, “She Who Controls Her Body Can Upset Her Countrymen,” New York Times, April 27, 2006

Levi answered and said to Peter, Peter you have always been hot tempered. Now I see you contending against the woman like the adversaries. But if the Savior made her worthy, who are you indeed to reject her? Surely the Savior knows her very well. –“The Gospel of Mary Magdalene,” 9:6-8.

The old meaning of “kiss and tell” was to kiss (so to speak) someone and then go tell everybody about it.

Which is what Bruna does. For a living. So what’s so new about that? Or different in meaning?

A follow-up to

Bruninha Surfista is arguably Brazil’s first blogging celebrity: a “secret diary of a call girl” Web log author whose confessions led to a book deal and considerable celebrity. According to the local news media, anyway. The Folha de S. Paulo called her “The Paulo Coelho of sex.”

When she stole the heart of a married man and they announced their love to the world on a talk show called Superpop, the man’s spurned wife wound up hooking up with Superpop‘s producer.

I have been looking for more reaction to Larry Rohter’s departure from Brazil to clip to my file, but mostly the bloggerati — as measured by results from Google Blog Search — are either saying “go read this” — of the nicely done Estadão interview — or just cutting and pasting it. Google News Brasil only offers four search results for “Rohter” today. Odd, that.

A notable moment from late in the Estadão interview, by the way: “If I were Brazilian,” Rohter is quoted as saying, “I would ask the same question of Lula that Howard Baker asked about Nixon: What did the President know? And when did he know it?”

Lula = Nixon!

The Little Surfer Girl, meanwhile, notes with pleasure a mention that she got from the Times’ Man in Copacaban(a).

Given that Rohter identifies himself in that interview with a character in a song by Chico Buarque — a prostitute spit upon and lynched by hypocrities who once used her services — I found the reference interesting. Rohter really does seem to have a genuine professional preoccupation with hookers and hypocrisy.

Some very nasty rumors to that effect continue to circulate on the Lusophone Internet as well, of course, but of course, it would be totally crass to pass them along. They are, after all, only rumors, as far as I know. And what does Larry’s personal and family life have to do with his professional work, anyway? Right?

I just find myself curious about what seems like a certain Gnostic drift to Larry’s worldview — distinct echos of “the world as will and representation,” as it were.

A modest reality-check, by the way: The “cultural phenonomenon” that is Raquel’s “best-selling” book has sold about 250,000 copies worldwide, but only [I have to check this, though] 18,000 in Brazil itself. Which is insanely good for Brazil, it’s true. The publishing industry is in awful shape.

But still: That is less than a copy sold for every 10,000 Brazilians. Hillary Clinton’s memoirs reportedly sold 200,000 copies on the first day, or about one for every 1,500 of us gringos. By the time the first print run had sold out, more than 1 in 300 Americans had bought a copy. (I am one of the 299.)

Which is part of the reason why you want to avoid confusing “cultural phenomenon” with “media phenomenon” in Brazil, I tend to think. If Brazilian “culture” and Brazilian TV were coextensive … then, well, a lot of extremely peculiar and grotesque things would be true about Brazil that measurably aren’t. Such as that “corruption” is an incurable form of insanity.

Bruna Surfistinha ganhou milhares de acessos ao montar um blog onde narrava sua vida, do que fazia com seus clientes. Esse blog logo atraiu a atenção dos internautas, atingindo cerca de quinze mil visitas diárias ao site. Em pouco tempo atraiu também a atenção da imprensa.

Bruna Surfistinha got thousands of hits when she put up a blog that narrated her life and what she did with her customers. This blog soon attracted the attention of Internauts, getting nearly 15,000 visits a day. In no time it attracted the interest of the press as well.

Imitando os diários de adolescentes, ali ela deixava anotadas algumas de suas experiências. O relato de uma prostituta não é novidade, mas pela primeira vez os internautas podiam acompanhar sua evolução.

Imitating the diary of a teenage girl, she noted down some of her experiences. The story of a prostitute is nothing new, but for the first time Internauts could follow it as it developed.

Realiza, ainda, vídeo pornográfico, sem tanto sucesso.

She is even doing a porno video, but without the same level of success.

Em pouco tempo a história ganhou contornos de romance, quando um de seus clientes, João Paulo, apaixonado, abandona a esposa para viver com Raquel. Com a fama da namorada, ele chega a ser entrevistado em um dos talk show do Brasil: o programa de Jô Soares,

In a short time, the story took on the aspects of a romance novel when one of her customs, João Paulo, smitten with the girl, abandoned his wife to live with Raquel, Bruna’s real name. Thanks to his famous girlfriend, he even came to be interviewed on a Brazilian talk show: The Jô Soares program.

Life imitates art! The Cinderella story! Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman: “I want the fairy tale!”

Jô is a shameless imitation of the Letterman format. It is really, really, really, really, really gabblingly awful.

No dia 27 de abril de 2006 o jornal The New York Times publicou um artigo sobre o fenômeno, cuja tradução do título seria Aquela que controla seu corpo pode irritar seus compatriotas, assinado por Larry Rohter, que comenta o fenômeno que se tornou o livro de Bruna no Brasil.

Then, on April 27, 2006, the New York Times published an article on the Bruninha phenomenon, the translation of whose headline might be “A woman who controls her own body can irritate her countrymen,” bylined to Larry Rohter, who comments on the phenomenon behind the book Bruna in Brazil.

Raquel Pacheco foi adotada, e aponta a descoberta deste fato como uma das causas para, aos 17 anos, fugir de casa, usar drogas e prostituir-se. Informa que nunca teve falta de bens materiais, e que gozava de boa educação, em colégios particulares de São Paulo.

Raquel Pacheco was adopted, and points to the discovery of this fact as one of the reasons why, at 17, she ran away from [a middle-class] home and starting using drugs and prostituting herself. She says she has never wanted for material things, and that she has a good education from private high schools in São Paulo.

Atendia os clientes em bairros nobres da capital paulista, numa média de quatro por dia. Foram mais de 3 anos de ardua atividade ininterrupta que, graças ao blog, não apenas deram-lhe notoriedade, como revelaram uma rotina – muitas vezes secreta – de milhares de jovens sem estrutura que são atraídas para a “vida fácil”.

She serviced her customers in upscale São Paulo neighborhoods, an average of four per day. Thanks to the blog, more than three years of hard, constant activity led, not just to notoriety but also revealed routine — often a secret one — followed by thousands of unsupervised young women who are attracted to “the easy life.”


Part of the controversy stems simply from Ms. Pacheco’s forthright and unapologetic tone about her work. Traditionally, Brazilians feel sympathy for the poor woman selling her body to feed her children; she is seen as a victim of the country’s glaring social and economic inequalities. But Ms. Pacheco does not fit that mold. She comes from a middle-class family and turned to prostitution, she said, both as rebellion against her strict parents and because she wanted to be economically independent.

For a recent police-blotter case in point, see Rio: “Palace Guard and Militiaman Pimped Child Sex Slaves on Upscale Beach”

O livro e a aposentadoria

The book and retirement

Ainda sob os auspícios da fama de seu blog, Surfistinha faz publicar pela Panda Books, S. Paulo, 2005, o relato de sua vida. Intitulado: “O Doce Veneno do Escorpião – O Diário de uma Garota de Programa”, o livro de não-ficção veio lançar mais luz naquela que era conhecida apenas por quem tinha acesso à internet.

Still taking advantage of the celebrity of her blog, the little surfer girl published, with Panda Books, in 2005, the story of her life. Titled “The Sweet Sting of the Scorpion: Diary of a Call Girl,” the nonfiction book threw more light on a young woman previously only known to those who had Internet access.

Ali, o leitor encontra descrições de uma jovem prostituta que entrou num mundo, segundo ela, desconhecido, mas que tornou-se-lhe rotineiro:

In the book, the reader finds descriptions of a young prostitute who entered a world, as she says, that she had never known existed, but which soon became routine:

“Transas enlouquecidas, surubas, muitos homens (e mulheres) diferentes por dia, noites quase sem fim. O que pode ser excitante para muitas garotas como eu, na efervescência dos vinte anos, para mim é rotina. É meu dia-a-dia de labuta”

“Crazy couplings, group gropes, many different men (and women) every day, nights almost without end. What might seem exiciting to a lot of girls like me, with the enthusiasm of 20 years, to me is just routine. It’s my daily life in the trenches.”

Depois de lançado, o livro rapidamente alcançou a lista dos mais vendidos, com concorridas noites de autógrafos e lançamento em Portugal e na Espanha, além de ter várias tiragens. As vendagens atigiram a soma de 250 mil exemplares[1].

After the launch, the book quickly scaled the best-seller list, with crowded autograph sessions and book launches in Portugual and Spain, and also went through various editions. Sales reached 250,000 copies.

Internationally, is my understanding, with sales especially strong in Spain and Portugual. I am trying to get the domestic figures.

No ano de 2006 um segundo livro de Rachel, “O que Aprendi com Bruna Surfistinha”, lançado pela mesma editora Panda Books, alcançou vendagem de 18 mil exemplares, considerado bom, para o mercado brasileiro[1].

In 2006, a sequel called “What I learned from Bruna the Little Surfer Girl,” also from Panda Books, sold 18,000 copies, considered good by Brazilian standards.

I am still confused about the domestic sales of the first volume. Let me check.

Empresariando o passado

Marketing the past

Cumprindo agenda de entrevistas, a Surfistinha’ segue com projetos de ampliar sua história de sucesso empresarial, com o lançamento da versão em áudio de seu livro. Trata-se do AUDIOLIVRO de Bruna Surfistinha com histórias inéditas e proibidas, narrado por ela mesma. Continua escrevendo em seu blog – mas na internet ainda está no ar o site onde oferecia seus serviços. Gerenciando o sucesso momentâneo e bem assessorada, Raquel tem prestado diversas entrevistas, participado de diversos programas e planeja lançar um segundo livro.

Keeping up with a busy schedule of interviews, the Little Surfer Girl is also busy with projects designed to grow her business success, such as the launch of the audiobook version, called “The AUDIOBOOK of Bruna the Little Surfer Girl,” with never-before-published and banned stories, narrated in her own voice. She keeps on writing in her blog, but the Web site where she advertises her wares is also still up. Managing her momentary success well, and getting good advice, Raquel has given many interviews, been on various TV programs, and plans to launch a second book.

The text here is from her blog, and she appears just to have cut and pasted in some of her press clippings, likely out of order.

O filme baseado em seu primeiro livro terá roteiro de Karin Aïnuz, e encontra-se em fase de captação de recursos.

The film based on her first book will have a script by Karin Aïnuz and is still in the fund-raising phase.

Aïnuz is known for Madame Satã, a very cheaply produced biopic of an infamous Rio transvestite and malandro — sort of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert joined to that part of the Enter the Dragon where Bruce Lee fights the capoeira master in the Pagoda of the Seven Continents — which just goes to show you that a good script and a great actor — Lázaro Ramos — can take you far.

Samantha Morais (São Paulo, 23 de dezembro de 1975), é a ex-comissária de bordo cujo ex-marido, João Correa de Moraes, também conhecido como João Paulo, assumiu o relacionamento com Bruna em um programa de televisão

Samantha Morais is the former stewardess whose ex-husband, João Correa de Moraes, aka João Paulo, admitted to his relationship with Bruna on a TV program.

Após se tornar conhecida com esse episódio, começou a aparecer na mídia brasileira, fazendo sucesso ao expor sua versão da história, como demonstra o recorde de audiência que alcançou o programa de televisão Superpop[2], que contou com sua participação.

After gaining fame for that episode, she began to appear regularly in the Brazlian media and became a hit telling her side of the story, as witnessed by the record audience share of the Superpop episode she appeared on.

Em 2006 lançou o livro Depois do Escorpião: uma História de Amor, Sexo e Traição, cujo título é uma referência direta ao título do livro lançado por Bruna Surfistinha.

In 2006, she launched the book After the Scorpion: A Story of Love, Sex and Betrayal, whose title refers directly to Bruna’s.

O livro já vendeu mais de dez mil cópias no Brasil.[carece de fontes?]

The book has already sold 10,000 copies in Brazil [source?]

Samantha tem duas filhas e atualmente vive com o diretor do programa de televisão Superpop Marcelo Nascimento.

Samantha has two children and currently lives with Superpop producer Marcelo Nascimento.

You would think that the principle of equal time for notorious tell-all books would require Rohter to speak to Samantha as well, along with all those Catholic theologians and Columbia anthropologists he trots out.

Other than that, it is one of Rohter’s more thoroughly sourced stories — although actual interested parties to the saga are outnumbered by academic experts and local newspaper columnists about 6 to 1 in terms of the giving of quote. And, as usual, very few actual Brazilians are actually heard from.

I can only imagine what our evangelical neighbor, Dona M., would say if we exposed her to this. Somewhat apocalyptic in her worldview, she would, I imagine, be seriously freaked out.

But we would never do that to Dona M.

She is wonderfully kind to us.

You could not ask for a better or more Christian 1.0 neighbor. She loves us. She probably thinks we are going to hell for listening to all that rock ‘n’ roll, but still, she really does her best to love her neighbor.

So just becase we are into R. Crumb’s “Devil Girl” series — I am Flakey Foont, and I sometimes think I maybe even married Devil Girl — does not mean we feel compelled to rub Dona M.’s nose in it as well.


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