Mum Ana Christina Fontana defends her young daughter’s raunchy stage show as she seeks fame like her idol Lady Gaga
Originally published: 6 April 2010
She’s only eight years old but Laura Fontana’s raunchy impersonation of singer Lady Gaga has shocked thousands of people around the world.
The schoolgirl shot to fame in February after gyrating to the controversial pop star’s biggest hits while skimpily dressed in just a tiny white leotard on a Brazilian TV talent show.
Caked in heavy make-up and fluttering her huge fake eyelashes, Laura crawled around seductively on stage while singing her idol’s hit songs Paparazzi and Bad Romance.
The disturbing performance, which was posted on YouTube, sparked worldwide criticism but shockingly Laura’s mum Ana Christina believes imitating the racy star’s provocative dance moves is a great way for her daughter to start a career in showbiz.
“Laura loves Lady Gaga and is desperate to be famous. Going on this show has been a great opportunity for her to be noticed,” says mother of two, Ana Christina, 40, from Minas Gerais, Brazil.
'Her performance might seem sexual, but Laura doesn't understand the sexual connotations to the dance routines so there's no harm in it'
“I don’t care people say she’s too young - I’m proud of Laura’s talents.”
Worryingly, she brushes off concern that her daughter’s overtly sexual dance act could attract paedophiles.
She says: “Her performance might seem sexual, but Laura doesn’t understand the sexual connotations to the dance routines so there’s no harm in it.
“I worry about paedophiles but she’s not going to come to harm, because she is well looked after.”
Laura’s dad Alcides Ribeiro, 47, agrees: “We never let her go out alone so we know she is safe.”
It was Laura’s older sister Nirna, 14, who encouraged her to copy Lady Gaga - whose steamy hits include I Like It Rough, Boys, Boys, Boys, and Beautiful, Dirty, Rich - and enter the Brazilian version of Britain’s Got Talent, for a £37,000 prize.
'I worry about paedophiles but she's not going to come to hard, because she is well looked after'
“When Nirna saw an advert for the show she suggested Laura should enter as Lady Gaga,” recalls Ana Christina.
“I hadn’t heard of Lady Gaga but Laura sang some of her songs and I was shocked by how good she sounded.”
Ana Christina bought Laura a Lady Gaga inspired outfit for £23, and Laura’s tour guide father, Alcides taught her the lyrics every day after school for a month.
Laura, who also likes Lily Allen and Ke$ha, choreographed a routine herself and after a few hours of rehearsals she performed in the first round of open auditions on the show, called Qual e o Seu Talento, in February.
The show’s make-up artists applied Laura’s thick make-up including Lady Gaga’s iconic black lipstick, before she performed to a panel of four judges and a studio audience.
“She was nervous knowing that the whole of Brazil would be watching her, but I told her to be confident,” says Ana Christina, who earns £220 a month selling jewellery and cosmetics.
“The judges loved her and she got through to the semi-finals.”
Laura’s performance was posted on YouTube by the show’s producers, and the youngster’s dream of fame became a reality.
The video has so far received over 180,000 hits. She’s also appeared on two Brazilian TV chat shows and the budding singer is now negotiating a recording contract.
“The competition isn’t even over, but Laura is already a star,” boasts Ana Christina, who says people are wrong to criticise her for encouraging her daughter’s overtly sexual performance.
“People say I am exposing my daughter to make money, but it’s just not true.”
“She has only earned £240 from her TV appearances which we’ve spent on more costumes and a mobile phone.
“If she wins she’d like to buy a house and go to Disneyland.”
Now the pop star wannabe, dubbed Baby Gaga, continues to practice two hours a day in the run up to the semi-finals next month, where she’ll compete for a slot in the June final.
“She gets up early to do homework before school so she can practice for a couple of hours when she gets home,” says Ana Christina.
“I know she’ll do anything to be a famous singer, and me and her dad will support her because it’s her dream.”
Laura, who bizarrely wants to become a vet as well as a singer, adds: “I love it when strangers ask for my autograph. It makes me feel important and popular. My school friends think it’s amazing too.”
By Natalie Corp and Felipe Branco Cruz