Born March 27, 1963 - Santa Rosa
. Her name at birth was Maria da Graça Meneghel. Xuxa is prounounced SHOO-sha
. In 1970, she moved with her family to Rio De Janeiro
, where she would live until she started modeling at age 16. The prestigious Ford modeling agency
in New York City
wasted no time in signing her.
By 1982, Xuxa was working in television and modeling, appearing in the December 1982 issue of Playboy
(Brazilian edition). Aside from Playboy, she was once photographed semi-nude by paparazzi on a boat with then-boyfriend Pele
. Her immensely popular kid's show on the Univision
network was the only reason most American males watched any foreign language television at all.
In 1989, she started the Xuxa Meneghel Foundation so she could help the country's impoverished children, a particularly big problem in Brazil. The foundation also launched a wildly successful campaign to immunize Brazil's children against polio