The idea behind this new Meet the Locals feature is that the longer I live in São Paulo, the more regularly I’m seeing some of the city’s ‘characters’ and wondering what their stories are. So if you’re coming to the city and you want to know a bit more about the faces that you could be potentially bumping into during your trip, this feature will give you the opportunity to do just this!
Following on from my last interview with Bruno the bucket player, this month it is the turn of the infamous candy seller, Dilú . If you’re planning to sample some of the city’s night life whilst you’re in the city, there is a good chance you will see this woman strolling up and down the queues of people waiting to enter a nightclub or party. She is always wearing a Madonna-esque mic piece which is connected to some portable speakers, amplifying her sales patter. She also carries a tray containing candy, cigarettes and chewing gum. Dilú has become very well known here because her personality is JUST as loud as her microphone speakers…and her selling technique is very unique!
I remember waiting in a queue and spotting Dilú for the very first time. When my friend offered me a translated version of what she was saying, I was shocked! I ended up asking him the following questions:
“Is she really saying that the extra strong menthols are good for giving ice cold blow jobs? And the tangerine flavour candy is good for licking vaginas?”
Having seen her work the lines for some time now it would be fair to say that wherever she sells, she is guaranteed to have people laughing hard at her very adult humour!
For this interview I brought my friend Lucas along to act as translator (I imagined I’d need help with some of the more explicit vocab I sensed would come up!). We’d not been waiting outside the café long when we spotted Dilú runway-walking towards us, and minutes later we kicked off the interview.
So what made you decide to sell candy and cigarettes?
Well, I’ve been doing this job for about four years now. I actually graduated in languages but then I went on to become a hairdresser. I had to leave that job because I had repetitive strain injury. After this I became an estate agent but…well, I didn’t like it. Selling candy on the streets is the job I really love to do because being out with the public reflects my personality and energy. When I am outside the clubs and I notice that someone is feeling down, I know how to make them happy.
My style of selling makes those waiting in line laugh, and this is what people want before they go into a nightclub. It is why I’m invited to sell outside clubs by the club owners. Since I started, I’ve been shown a huge amount of love and support from the public and I’m really grateful for this.
It doesn’t seem to matter what party I go to, you are usually there selling!
Yes, I usually do about three clubs a night and I can work until six or seven in the morning.
You’re very well known for your catchphrases; can you tell me a bit more about these?
I actually have the rights to these phrases.
“No way!” said Lucas, “really?”
Yes, I’ve registered them because, well, they are a part of my brand. There was once a TV show with a sketch that contained a character who looked just like me, was selling candy on the street like me and she was using my catchphrases. Well those are mine and when my friend, a lawyer, pointed this out to the TV Company, the sketch was quickly pulled.
“People might think I’m silly” she said, before pausing and smiling playfully, “but I know exactly what I’m doing!”
Dilú’s catchphrases contain puns that usually rhyme, which means something is lost when they’re translated into English. What I will say about them though is that they are luxuriously crude! I certainly learnt some new Portuguese vocabulary during our interview!!!
Which clubs invite you to sell outside?
So many, I actually travel all over Brazil doing this job. I’ve had club owners fly me to Salvador, Florianopolis and Rio, and then I do some big events and club nights here in São Paulo. Actually, you’ll see me selling at Tomorrowland next month.
It isn’t just clubs and parties I go to either, I was also asked to sell a new brand of lollipop by a company outside the Luan Santana show recently. Of course, I had to change what I was saying because I can’t really make jokes with sexual references to parents when they’re standing there with their kids! But this isn’t a problem, I have a lot of phrases I’ve created for the younger market….and I’ve registered these too!
What have been some of the most interesting experiences you’ve had whilst doing this job?
After being asked this, Dilú’s eyes lit up and her body language became a whole lot more theatrical.
“Andrew, with my work I’ve had so many. I’ve had some funny situations, sad situations, emotional situations and some very unforgettable situations.”
Dilú then relayed some of the funnier experiences to us. After hearing a handful of these I can confirm that she has some very amusing and delightfully vulgar tales to tell! The reason I’ve decided not to share these on this blog is because of what Dilú said next.
At the moment I’m writing about some of these memorable moments. It is my dream to turn this into a film because I’d like to show society, not just how funny these incidents have been, but also to show how much love there is in São Paulo amongst the gay community. I’d really like this film to challenge any misconceptions there are about the gay community within São Paulo.
(So I’m not giving any of these stories away!)
Oh, I almost forgot. I was once the subject of somebody’s dissertation too. The guy was writing about what it is like to work doing something you love.
“And of course”, she grinned, “he got a really high grade!
Can you tell me about some of the media opportunities you’ve had from your work?
Of course! I’ve been on the show Panico when they did a section about the sensuality of the nightlife in São Paulo. I’ve also been in the newspaper Folha de São Paulo and the gay magazine Junior.
Has being a well known figure ever caused problems for you?
“Yes,” she chuckled, “sometimes I’ll be in the supermarket and someone will come up and ask me to repeat the phrases I use to sell my candy to their mothers.
And what do you do?
“Well, I repeat them!” she said, as if stating the obvious! “I tell their mothers right there in the supermarket. But you know, to be honest I’d prefer not to be talking about this when I’m buying my groceries.
Let me tell you another one, I was once in a shopping centre very far from here catching up with an old friend. I hadn’t seen this friend since my hairdressing days and I she had no idea about my job. So we were sitting there with our coffees and suddenly a guy recognised me from my selling. Then he came up to ask me which candy I’d recommend for his wife, the type that would help her to give him great oral sex. As you can imagine, this was pretty awkward.
“But Andrew”, Dilú teased, “I don’t just sell candy; with my job I also sell experiences to intensify relationships!”
What would you say to a foreigner thinking of making the trip to Brazil who maybe isn’t considering coming to São Paulo?
I would say that they would be missing out on so, so, so much. This city is so diverse and it has some incredible locations, like Ibirapuera park. And as for the food, well, the food here is amazing too.
I’ve had a lot of emails from blog readers telling me that they’re worried about going out on a night in São Paulo because they’re concerned about their safety. As someone who works outdoors, is this something that ever worries you too?
There are many places I just wouldn’t work because they’re unsafe here. But on the other hand, the whole city is not like this. I feel pretty safe when I work. And thank God, I‘ve never had any trouble in the four years I’ve been selling on the streets.
What would you like to be doing in, say, 10 years from now?
As well as making the film I’m writing, I’d also like to try my hand at stand-up comedy. I’m often invited to work outside the Comedians club (on Augusta), so this is something I’m interested in pursuing…actually, I’m writing some stand up at the moment!!
After wrapping up the interview Dilú was more than happy to share some more of her stories with us, pose for pictures and recommend some places we should go out. Our 30 minute interview had turned into a two hour chat, which I felt was very generous. Actually, this was the thing that charmed me about Dilú, beyond the funny character people see when they’re waiting in line is an incredibly sweet and humble woman.
So if you’re in the city and you see Dilú, be sure to go and say hi! And if you’re over here studying Portuguese then be sure to listen out for the vocab you probably won’t be reading in any of your textbooks!
Next Monday I’ll be posting about my bizarre experience at a Brazilian graduation ceremony and explaining a bit more about how to get my new ebook, The Top 85 Mistakes Brazilians Make In English!
Cover picture photo credit goes to Baphônica