Taís Araújo (1978- ) is a Brazilian television actress from Rio. She was the first black actress ever to get a lead part in a telenovela, first on Rede Manchete, one of Brazil’s lesser television networks, and then on Globo, the largest in Brazil and the third largest in the world. Has any black actress in North America done anything like that?
She made her name in 1996 at age 17 playing Xica da Silva, a true story about a slave who became the richest woman in Brazil. On the day she turned 18 Araujo was shown on television bathing naked in a river.
On one telenovela, “Cobras e Lagartos”, she started out as one of the lesser characters but then she came to overshadow even the main ones. On that show the character played by Lazaro Ramos fell in love with her. Later Ramos himself married her.
She has also been a model, a television presenter and has acted in film and on stage. She is known in the Spanish-speaking world and even in Poland. People magazine in Spanish once picked her as one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world.
She loves acting and works very hard. She has talent, beauty and presence. She often works on a television show and a film at the same time, working seven days a week.
She laughs and cries easily and her love and hate is strong. She looks and acts like a princess.
She started acting at age 11 when she and some of her friends in her building started putting on plays. She fell in love with acting.
At 13 she once went to get her hair done. When the owner of the beauty salon set eyes on her she knew at once that she could be a model and helped her to become one.
Once she was sent to model for an ice cream company, but was sent back because she was black. She said, “What? Blacks don’t eat ice cream?”
She continued with her acting. She wanted to become an actress, but her father wanted her to learn a profession, like her older sister who became a doctor. So she studied journalism because she loves to read.
She did not get her degree: she got three quarters of the way through but then left school to do acting full-time. She hopes to complete her degree in 2008.
The producers of Xica da Silva did not want to use her for the lead character at first: they felt she was ten years too young. But they could not find someone better in time, so they gave her the part. She thought they were mad, but it made her name.
The press loves to take her picture and write largely made-up stories about her love life. Like that she is separating from her husband based on pictures of her alone and he with another woman. To put an end to these stories a friend of hers put pictures on her blog of Araujo and Ramos kissing.