Xuxa (pronounced shoo-shah - IPA -, born Maria da Graça Meneghel, March 27, 1963, Santa Rosa, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil) is a Brazilian Grammy Awards Winner, television actress, singer and children's television show host. Her various shows have been broadcast in Portuguese, Spanish, and English. Xuxa is of German, Austrian, Italian, and Polish descent.
Xuxa's father, Luiz Floriano, was in the military and stationed in Rio de Janeiro when she was 7. At age 15, Xuxa was followed home by a magazine publisher who spotted the pretty blue-eyed blonde on the train and invited her to audition to be a model. A year later, she was on the cover of a Brazilian magazine.
Xuxa started her movie career in 1982 in Fuscão Preto. She also accepted a role in the psychological Amor, Estranho, Amor( Love Strange Love in USA) often mistakenly referred to as an adult movie. During the filming of these movies she was publicly known for her relationship with Pelé and as a highly paid model. In Amor, Estranho, Amor Xuxa costarred with respected actors Vera Fischer and Tarcísio Meira.
The movie Amor, Estranho, Amor was controversial due to Xuxa's role in a sex scene where she is naked on top of a young boy. Xuxa, until 1986, defended her participation in the movie, saying that it was essential to her career. However in 1986, after being a national hit with "xou da Xuxa", CIC Video released the movie to VHS. Xuxa changed her stance on the film, not wanting her "baixinhos" (as Xuxa called her children audience) and their parents to see her seducing a 12-year-old boy. She went to court claiming the contract has no mention of video release. According to Xuxa, Pelé made her agree to do the movie. Marlene Mattos, who was Xuxa's manager for many years, bought all rights for Xuxa's dramatic movie with her nude scene, and they are not available on video or DVD in Latin America.
Every year she released a new album for children. 1988's Xou da Xuxa 3 with her biggest hit 'Ilariê' (#1 in the radio in almost every Latin America country) is her best-selling album, selling 3 million copies in Brazil alone. Xou da Xuxa 3 is the best-selling album in Brazilian history.
In 1993 Xuxa hosted an English language series in the United States, Xuxa, but it did not achieve the popularity she had enjoyed throughout Latin America and Spain. It was initially broadcast by 124 stations across the country. The shows were produced on Sound Stage 36 at CBS Television City in Los Angeles. 65 episodes were taped for the first season of the show. Taping of the episodes was done in a 5-week period in the summer of 1993. The shows were broadcast Monday through Friday, generally in the early morning or mid-afternoon. All 65 episodes were broadcast during the initial 13 weeks before there was a repeat. Helping Xuxa on the show were the Pixies (three U.S. "Paquitas" plus one Brazilian Paquita), the Mellizas (uncredited), Jelly, Jam, and ten "child wranglers" for the 150 kids on set. Starting September 1994, Xuxa began airing on The Family Channel cable network, at 8:00am ET/PT on all stations affiliated to The Family Network. They reprised original episodes on a new children's block until February 19, 1996 when Xuxa stopped airing on The Family Channel.
Xuxa's maternal habits have been publicly criticized due to the perception of allowing for indulgent parties for young Sasha. One party involved a rented theme park at a cost of around $1 million.