Xuxa got that name from her brother, who had trouble saying Maria da Graca (Meneghel). She is Brazil's No. 1 entertainer and her name--and Spanish-language recordings--are becoming more widely known among U.S. Latinos. Xuxa, 27, won hearty applause at the recent L.A. Fiesta Broadway. In Brazil, she hosts a daily four-hour children's show, has appeared in four films and won multiple recording awards. Her merchandizing machinery includes a monthly magazine and a line of dolls. Her concern for Brazil's poor children led to formation of the Xuxa Foundation, which now houses 250 orphans.
The second annual media conference produced by the National Hispanic Academy of Media Arts and Sciences (HAMAS) brought together the largest gathering of Latino members of film, TV, cable and radio. Highlighting the three-day event was a gala banquet honoring Ricardo Montalban, who for more than 20 years has worked at removing negative stereotypes of Latinos in the media. Presenting the award, actress Rosana De Soto praised Montalban as a role model. The Mexican actor, whose career spans 50 years, said that "from Hollywood's point of view, Latinos are a very unseen minority." He conceded, however, that "we're beginning now to see some progress and I rejoice at it. I don't know if I'll live long enough to see the fruition of all the efforts, but at least there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel. And that's rewarding."