Fresh from an appearance on one of Brazil’s most popular TV shows, the young woman whose short, pink dress got her kicked out of college is enjoying her newfound fame, yet has her eye on getting back to class.
Geisy Arruda adds, though, that she wants her university to provide her with a bodyguard, in light of the near riot last month when she was hounded by a mob of jeering fellow students.
Brushing back freshly dyed blond hair while posing for pictures during an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press, the 20-year-old recounted some of the notice she has gotten because of the uproar over her expulsion.
A day before, she took her first trip on an airplane so she could relive her experience in a comedy skit at the Rio de Janeiro studios of a hit TV show. Star-struck business executives on the 45-minute shuttle flight asked if she really was Geisy, then used cell phones to snap pictures of themselves with her.
Arruda said she was surprised at the attention, but was even more thrilled when she saw Rio’s beauty for the first time.
“I love to travel!” gushed the college freshman from a blue-collar industrial suburb of Sao Paulo who wants a tourism degree so she can pursue work at a resort or a cruise line.
Arruda became an Internet sensation after videos appeared showing her being chased from the campus of Bandeirantes University on October 22 by male students yelling, “Whore! Whore!”
The private university, which doesn’t have a conservative reputation, expelled Arruda, charging she provoked the turmoil. But officials retreated after a national outcry and said last week she was welcome to return.
Arruda’s lawyer says she won’t go back until she is guaranteed a well-trained security guard to accompany her on campus. She said if she can’t go back to class, she’d like the university to arrange a way for her to finish her degree from home.
Wearing a black halter top with dressy eggplant-colored satin shorts, the daughter of a cleaning company supervisor and a housewife beamed after finding out the AP is an American news agency.
“How cool!” she said just before the start of the interview in her lawyer’s office.
Then to the photographer as she adjusted her lengthy tresses and took a last look at her brightly painted red nails: “Hey guy, do I look pretty?”
She expressed disbelief that her pink dress, no matter how short, caused a commotion in Brazil – a tropical nation where skimpy clothing and tiny bikinis barely raise an eyebrow.
And she again denied the university’s claim that she had paraded provocatively and raised her dress, resulting in the expulsion.
The evening of October 22 started like any other, she said. She got to her parents’ home after finishing work at a cashier’s job with monthly pay of 400 reals (US$235), thinking about what she would wear before heading to campus on a public bus. Arruda said she chose the pink dress because she was going to a birthday party with friends after class.
Once at the school, Arruda said, one young man said he liked her looks, then more joined in. Soon other students loudly proclaimed they wanted to have sex with her. “To liberate me,” she said.
They snapped pictures with their cell phones and hundreds more appeared, creating a boisterous mob. Insults rained down as Arruda was escorted away by police, wearing a borrowed white lab coat to cover her dress.
“It was total terror,” she recalled.
After fleeing the campus in tears, she hasn’t returned. A spokeswoman for the university said Tuesday that the students who harassed her won’t be expelled. The school has promised to monitor her security, but won’t comment on the demand for a personal guard, said the spokeswoman, who spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with policy.
Arruda is convinced her future is in tourism.
“Imagine me abroad,” she said with a big smile. “Maybe living in Portugal. It’d be great, different from how I grew up. Tourism is fascinating, I could work on a cruise ship, maybe at a resort, or a travel agency.”
Brazilian media have said magazines want her to pose nude and she has received an offer to launch a lingerie line. Her lawyer, Nehemias Melo, said some reports are untrue and added he has fielded no serious business proposals for his client.
Arruda thinks it’s a funny twist of fate that she became famous for something like this in Brazil.
“It is so ironic that this would happen in such a liberal country, where you have Carnival and women parading nearly naked,” she said.