Her mom added, "She is really skinny and only ever wears pants. Mayara is timid and ashamed of her body. This was the first time in her life that she wore a dress, and it was borrowed from a friend in the shantytown because she doesn't own one."
The high school sophomore, who hails from one of Rio de Janeiro's slums known as favelas, had been picked by UNICEF to join the counterpart Junior 8 forum of teenagers because she stood out as a community volunteer. She shares a single room with her parents and two younger brothers and can't afford the bus fare to attend a good high school.
"Why are they looking at her like that? This is a girl who is articulate and intelligent and just wants to do the right thing," the father said. "Instead, they are forcing her into a negative light."
July 12, 2009
"She is dedicated to helping the poor, not to seducing world leaders. This is the wrong image of my daughter."
So said Eduardo Tavares, father of Mayara Rodrigues Tavares, the 17-year-old woman famously apparently ogled by Presidents Obama and Sarkozy.