In the end it wasn't the angry child welfare advocates or the family court judge that hampered seven-year-old samba queen Julia Lira from carrying out her controversial role at the Rio de Janeiro carnival: It was Lira herself. Lira broke down in tears just 10 minutes into last night's parade, confirming critics' fears that she was too young to be a samba queen—a highly sexual role usually reserved for adult models and actresses, the London Times reports.
Lira began crying when she realized she was the center of the massive parade crowd's attention, and was carried away by her handler. She resumed her position at the head of the drum corps her father leads five minutes later, but was hurried through the parade grounds and kept away from television cameras. Many in the parade audience were critical of Lira's role: “A girl that size shouldn't be thrust in such a role," one onlooker said. (Read more Julia Lira stories.)