SAO BERNARDO DO CAMPO, Brazil – Brazilians will be seeing a whole lot more of the student whose short pink dress got her booted from college: She’s agreed to march in the nation’s famously flesh-baring Carnival parades.
Geisy Arruda, who became an instant celebrity after being heckled by hundreds of fellow students because of her dress, said Thursday she has accepted invitations to participate with samba groups in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.
“It will be a dream come true for me,” Arruda said just before giving a deposition to police who are investigating whether crimes were committed when a crowd of students harassed her on Oct. 22 at the University Bandeirante in Sao Bernardo do Campo, just outside Sao Paulo.
Arruda, 20, said she will parade for the Leandro de Itaquera samba school in Sao Paulo and the Porto da Pedra school in Rio. The Rio and Sao Paulo parades are broadcast live in February throughout the nation of more than 190 million people.
“Sometimes, good things come from bad things,” she said.
Carnival features nearly nude dancers in elaborate feathered costumes, and Arruda said she plans to wear another short outfit when she parades atop a float in Rio.
“It will be very pretty,” she said. “I’m going to keep my style. It wouldn’t be me if I went out there with a long dress.”
Porto da Pedra’s theme for this year’s parade at the Sambadrome will be “What will I wear?” – addressing the evolution of fashion.
Arruda said she has been working out to be in shape for the parade and is going to Rio on Friday to start practicing with the school.
“I hope to look good,” Arruda said as photographers vied for a glimpse of the student who became an Internet sensation after video of what happened at the school appeared on YouTube. She had to put on a professor’s white coat and left the campus amid a hail of insults and curses.
The private university expelled Arruda, alleging her provocative attitude, not her dress, caused the near riot. After a national uproar, the university reinstated her.
Arruda has made the circuit of television talk shows in Brazil and has said she is enjoying her fame, but she denied any plans to pose nude for men’s magazines.
“I don’t want to get exposed like that,” she said.
Arruda, who was studying tourism, said she hoped to finish her freshman year at Bandeirante and transfer to another school in 2010. But she said she has not returned to class because she still fears for her safety.
Her lawyers have asked the university to guarantee her safety, and say the school has given no assurance. University officials have repeatedly said the school is able to provide the necessary security for Arruda if she decides to return.
“I want to go back, but I’m very scared right now,” Arruda said. “Without some help from the university, there is no way I can return. They haven’t done anything yet.”
Arruda said she would not “point fingers” at the students who heckled her, but said she hoped the school’s security cameras would be able to identify some of them.
Among the possible crimes being investigated by police are defamation and criminal mischief.
“I just want justice to be done,” she said. “Hopefully all of those involved will be punished.”
Arruda said the fracas over her dress only grew worse when a security guard confronted a student trying to defend her, but university lawyer Vicente Cascione, who was at her deposition, reiterated the school did nothing wrong.