Miranda, Carmen (1909–1955) By Lior, Mika
Portuguese-born Brazilian singer, dancer and actress Carmen Miranda defied twentieth-century social and theatrical conventions to become a modern pop icon, an emblem of Hollywood’s Latina stereotype, and an ambassador of American intercontinental diplomacy. Inspired by the new sounds and bohemian aesthetics of Rio’s entertainment district where she was raised, Miranda embodied modern fashion and Latin femininity. After achieving musical success in Brazil, Miranda and her band brought samba rhythms to American and international audiences in the 1940s through Broadway, expanding recording technologies, and cinema. Miranda’s appearances in Fox musicals including That Night in Rio and Weekend in Havana incited criticism from Latin American audiences for homogenizing ethnic distinctions and identities. Nevertheless, Miranda rose to fame as Hollywood’s ‘Brazilian bombshell,’ becoming 1945’s highest paid woman in the USA, as well as a de facto ambassador of Roosevelt-era cultural policy between the Americas.