The Lady In The Tutti-Frutti Hat

It might surprise more than a few of you to learn that Carmen Miranda is more than a just a mainstay character of the torch bar scene. She was a real live person, the most successful woman in the glory days of Hollywood. In fact in her day she was the most successful woman, period. At the top of her chica chica boom career it’s believed she made more money than any other woman in America.

Pretty impressive for a starry-eyed girl from…now where was she from again? Very few moviegoers in the 30’s and 40’s ever knew or cared. She could have hailed from anywhere between Tijuana and Tierra Del Fuego and nobody would have known the difference. She was simply that funny, talented, strangely sexy latin lady with all the fruit on her head. In fact she was born in Portugal and raised in Brazil, where in the late 1920’s she was one of that country’s biggest stars. Wrapped in glittering clothes with serious samba beat behind her, it’s easy to see why.

The oddest thing about Carmen Miranda is that while she’s almost synonymous with Chiquita bananas in most people’s eyes, she never had any formal relationship with either the United Fruit Company or Chiquita Brands International. Her association with that company is based purely on their logo, which though it features a woman who looks suspiciously like her, is not her. Probably no company has ever made so much money off of a movie star who was never, in actual fact, their spokesperson.

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