Maria Martha Hacker Rocha (19 September 1936 – 4 July 2020) was a Brazilian model and the first winner of Miss Brasil in 1954. She was the seventh of eleven children of engineer Álvaro Rocha and his wife Hansa.
1 Miss Universe
2 Brazilian culture
4 Martha today
5 Statements about Martha
At the age of 18, in 1954, after winning the title of Miss Bahia in her home state, she became the first Miss Brazil to become a finalist of the Miss Universe pageant. However, despite wide acclamation, even in the USA, for her to win the title of Miss Universe, it was Miss USA, Miriam Stevenson, who won the title. It is said that the final judgment came down to the fact that Miriam's hip measurement was 2 inches (51 mm) smaller than that of Martha. The narrower look was the "standard measure" at that time.
It is also said that after her victory, Miriam donated one of the two cars she had won (at Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants) to Martha, since she already had one even before taking part in beauty pageants. After Miss Universe, she worked as a model and advertising girl at Hollywood studios. For example, she earned US$ 30,000 to do a Gessy Lever advertisement.
Martha Rocha became a Brazilian reference of beauty and her name was used for a cake, a song, in poetry, and street names in the state of Bahia, Santa Catarina and São Paulo.
Her name was given to the famous Martha Rocha aquamarine, found near Teófilo Otoni, Minas Gerais, Brazil. It weighed 134 pounds and yielded more than 300,000 carats of superb blue gems. It is said that the color was so intense and rich that it was likened to her eyes, and even today her name is a classification of tone and intensity when rating the finest-color aquamarines.
She was widowed at the age of 23 when Argentinean banker Álvaro Piano died in a plane crash. Martha had two sons with Álvaro. She married for the second time with Rio de Janeiro businessman Ronaldo Xavier de Lima, with whom she lived for 13 years and had a daughter.
Martha participated in international horse championships alongside Queen Elizabeth II, and met Prince Charles, among other celebrities.
In 2001, Martha was diagnosed with breast cancer, but the disease was soon controlled.
Today she lives away from the big city, in Volta Redonda, Rio de Janeiro, and is dedicated to fine arts. She has also imprinted her hands into the Ipanema Walk of Fame, in 2013.
Statements about Martha
She incarnated Cinderella's dream of our adolescence— Norma Bengell, Brazilian actress
She was always in the places, it was the biggest feeling to find with "the" miss. Martha had the greatest success because, besides beauty, she had charisma— Jorge Guinle, Brazilian socialite, playboy
I never knew what was more beautiful if the eyes of Martha or the sea of Itapoã— Nelson Rodrigues, Brazilian journalist/novelist
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