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The UK woman leading the dance at the Rio Carnival

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Media captionSamantha Flores getting ready to lead the first swim in Rio’s Sambadrome on Friday night

Samantha Mortner ever pictured she would end up leaving London at some pitch, being “a real wimp” in the cold weather.

But 12 years ago, as the director of a PR agency in western London, she could hardly have depicted herself like this: wearing a bikini woven with 12,000 tiny stones and a headdress with 500 pheasant stripes, dressed up as Yemanja, the goddess of the high seas, adored to by Afro-Brazilian religions.

The Londoner was chosen to be the muse of one of Rio de Janeiro’s samba schools, contributing out its first move at the Sambadrome – the world-famous carnival strip.

The 37 -year-old , now known as Samantha Flores after her first marriage, has been living in Rio since 2006.

But at the Imperio da Tijuca samba school, she’s good known as “musa gringa” the first non-Brazilian dancer to take a lead role at “the biggest party on earth”.

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