‘Nice Jewish girl from north London’ chosen to lead Rio Carnival
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

‘Nice Jewish girl from north London’ chosen to lead Rio Carnival

Samantha Mortner, 37, was at the forefront of the 'biggest party on earth', leading the first float of Brazil's world-famous street parade

Samantha Mortner Flores in carnival outfit. 

Credit: @samanthaflores on Instagram
Samantha Mortner Flores in carnival outfit. Credit: @samanthaflores on Instagram

Leading  the first float at the famous Rio Carnival this year was a “nice Jewish girl from north London”, who has spoken about being chosen for the role.

Samantha Mortner, 37, who once lived in Kentish Town and spent 12 years as a PR executive, told how she moved to Brazil in 2006, learned samba and ended up at the head of world’s most famous revelry.

Now called Samantha Flores after her first marriage, her hard work for the past year all came to fruition on Friday, as she danced her float along the city’s strip in front of crowds of 90,000.

Dressed in a bikini woven with 12,000 tiny shimmering stones, with 500 pheasant feathers adorning her headdress, Flores led the Sambadrome in “the biggest party on earth,” telling the BBC that she is just “a nice Jewish girl from north London”.

The country’s leading samba schools were full of admiration for Flores, whose feat has made her the first non-Brazilian ever to lead the Rio Carnival.

“It’s like you’re a popstar with 90,000 people standing up and screaming for you,” she said. “Of course it’s not for you, it’s for the samba school, but the sensation is unique.”

Flores went to Rio on holiday just before the financial crisis and fell in love. She began working for a non-governmental organisation (NGO) teaching English and gave extra tuition to a student in return for the student teaching her samba.

Years of hard work led to her playing the role of Yemanja, goddess of the sea, the second most important behind the ‘rainha da bateria,’ or queen, who leads the group of drummers – the heartbeat of the parades.

The 1km parade, taking each performer 80 minutes, lasts until Monday 19 February.

Help perform the greatest mitzvah: save a life

While life in Israel has returned to normal and hopes are high that Britain is set for a summer without restrictions thanks to vaccines, for billions around the world there is no such imminent light at the end of the tunnel. In the majority of countries around the globe, particularly the poorest, the vaccine rollout has barely kicked off.

That's why Jewish News, the leading source of news and opinion for the entire UK community, is throwing its full weight behind UNICEF’s VaccinAid campaign by using this platform usually reserved for encouraging donations towards our own journalism to instead urge our readers around the globe to perform the greatest mitzvah: saving a life.

We have never before done this for any charity fundraiser but it's hard to recall a campaign that affects so many people, and indeed an entire planet aching for a return to normality. Just like the Chief Rabbi and Rachel Riley, we hope to boost the mission to deliver two billion vaccines, 165 million treatments and 900 million test kits around the world by the end of this year.

Please donate as much as you can, in the spirit of the Talmudic sages: “to save one life is to save the world entire”

read more:
comments