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Anitta Makes MTV VMAs History After Show-Stopping Performance

Fellow Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model Ashley Graham presented the Brazilian singer with her 2022 Video Music Award.

Anitta has reached another history-making milestone. The “Girl from Rio” artist took home the Best Latin Award for “Evolver,” making her the first Brazilian to win an MTV Video Music Award. The honor took the singer by surprise as fellow SI Swimsuit model, Ashley Graham, called out her name over the other nominees in the category that included Bad Bunny, Farruko, J Balvin, Daddy Yankee and Becky G.

Anitta winner of MTV Video Music Award for Best Latino Artist is seen backstage at the 2022 MTV VMAs at Prudential Center on August 28, 2022 in Newark, New Jersey. 

Anitta winner of MTV Video Music Award for Best Latino Artist is seen backstage at the 2022 MTV VMAs at Prudential Center on August 28, 2022 in Newark, New Jersey. 

As the Schiaparelli-clad phenom took hold of her Moonman, she revealed why this award means so much to her. “I just want to say, for whoever doesn’t know this, tonight, the history, the first time of Brazil here,” she told the audience at Newark’s Prudential Center that included Lizzo, Nicki Minaj, Fergie, Taylor Swift and Catfish host Kamie Crawford, a 2022 SI Swim rookie. “It’s the first time my country has ever seen an award like that, and I want to say thank you for my family and for my friends. And tonight, I performed here a rhythm that for many years in my country was considered a crime. I was born and raised in the ghetto of Brazil, and for whoever was born there, we never would think this was possible, so thank you so much.”

Anitta accepts award from fellow SI Swimsuit model Ashley Graham onstage at the 2022 MTV VMAs at Prudential Center on August 28, 2022 in Newark, New Jersey. 

Anitta accepts award from fellow SI Swimsuit model Ashley Graham onstage at the 2022 MTV VMAs at Prudential Center on August 28, 2022 in Newark, New Jersey. 

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Anitta had performed moments before her award category was announced and had brought the whole house to its feet. “VMAs, did you think I wasn’t going to shake my a— tonight?” she asked as she went into signature moves that included twerking and samba along to her hit song “Vai Malandra.” Another very familiar SI Swim face, Camille Kostek, took to her Instagram stories from the audience to highlight some of the performance. “Go Anitta, never not dancing,” Kostek, who wore a Mugler ensemble, wrote. “This dance break was everything.”

Once the show wrapped, the 29-year-old singer changed into a fringed denim skirt paired with a sequin shirt and accessorized the look with a clutch that showed Rio is never far from her thoughts to hit the town with fellow nominee J Balvin and his lady love Valentina Ferrer. The trio had a long night of partying at Tao in New York City.

Anitta 2022 VMAs

Anitta performs onstage at the 2022 MTV VMAs at Prudential Center on August 28, 2022 in Newark, New Jersey. 

After very little sleep back at the hotel, she finally was able to process exactly what had happened. Sharing congrats from Ryan Tedder, Maluma, Becky G and more on her Instagram stories, it was time for her to truly reflect on her monumental Sunday night. “I’m on my way home, but I just want to say to all my fans how happy I am. For whoever is not Brazilian, it’s very hard to understand what just happened yesterday,” she said as tears came to her eyes. “I’m watching all the videos and everything. I feel very grateful that everything that I always dreamed of in my life was to bring hope to my people that were always so hopeless when you are born and raised in the place like I was… for us, we are used to growing up thinking there is no nice future for us. My dream was to always show people that it is possible and today I got it.”

While in the car and fresh-faced, she then concluded, “Making money and being famous, I couldn’t care less about that but changing lives, that’s priceless, and I’m really happy about it. I’m really happy about making history for my country and making people believe that we can and in such a big country, we have this for the first time. First time for Brazil and I hope the first for many others.”