“I love this place”
Carla e Elaine tem um trailer do lado da Vila Mimosa onde servem garotas de programa, clientes, e residentes do bairro. Nenhuma trabalha como prostituta mas ambas se consideram aliadas das garotas. Carla explica que chegou na Vila por acaso de Juiz de Fora, jamais voltou, e não trocaria por nada. Video em português; filmado em 2012.
Carla and Elaine run a food trailer next door to Vila Mimosa, Rio’s red light district, where they serve women who work there, their clients, and residents of the surrounding neighborhood. Even though neither has worked as a prostitute, both consider themselves allies to the women who work in Vila Mimosa, and Carla is fiercely prideful of the place and community of friends she’s made. In this interview, she explains that she came to Vila Mimosa for the first time by accident, but it was love at first sight. “I wouldn’t trade Vila Mimosa for anywhere in the world.”
I came to Rio from Juiz de Fora, and I came to Vila Mimosa by accident.
I had some time off from work, so I went to Rio. My friend invited me to a samba party at Estácio.
I was dating an escort from Rio at the time who had told me about a club she had gone to in Rio.
So it’s my first time in Rio, and when I got to the party at Estácio, I saw a big banner that read, “VILA MIMOSA.”
Vila was tiny back then when it was located in Cidade Nova.
So I’m looking at this sign, going, “Where have I heard this name before?”
And my friend said, “Love, you don’t know Rio until you’ve been to Vila Mimosa and the Souza Aguiar Hospital.”
I said, “What is this place?”
He said, “It’s the Zona. You don’t have one in your city?”
We had nothing like it.
When I went in, I never went back to Juiz de Fora again. It was love at first sight.
Of course, I ran into the woman I had been dating. She fainted, and I started laughing. Because for me, I look at that as something normal.
People who’ve been here or work here know how good this place can be.
I wouldn’t trade Vila Mimosa for anywhere in the world. I love this place. It’s a place where you have friends who care about you. It’s also a place where a lot of people make enemies.
All the soccer players come here. Why? Because it’s nice to go somewhere where nobody’s going to give you side eye if you say a bad word. Whereas, if you go to Copacabana and cough too loudly, people look at you like this….
But not here in Vila. You can walk around barefoot and nobody’s going to look at your feet. It’s a place where you’re at ease. A place for common people. But it tastes a lot better to eat a pastry and lick your fingers, than to eat chicken with a knife and fork.
It’s not a place where people only see you for what you have in your purse. They see you for who you are. And thank God I’m a person people love here. And envy. I’m loved for being their friend. And envied because I have my own business.
But it wasn’t like that when I got here. I lived in the street. I was sleeping under the bridge. And look at me now.