Michelito Lagravere is the Justin Bieber of bullfighting, said Lawrence Lowe in Details. At 13 years old, Lagravere is a sensation in his home country, Mexico, where the 4-foot-10 adolescent regularly enters the ring in his ruffled shirt and pink stockings, and invites the bull to enter into the dance of death. A novice bullfighter, or novillero, he once killed six bulls in a single performance and has fond memories of his first victory. “It was Oct. 27, 2004, in my mother’s home state of Tabasco,” says Lagravere. “I was 6 years old.” He’s already had his share of close calls, most recently when an 800-pound bull called Manguero knocked him to the ground and nearly gored him. “They say it feels hot but it doesn’t hurt,” he says. “I know it will happen one day, but I’m not scared.”
His real fears are more in line with those of a regular 13-year-old. “Airplanes are the things I’m most afraid of,” he says. “Muchisimo.” Like a pop singer, he has his share of female admirers. “I get a ton of messages on Facebook,” he says. “Well, you can imagine … they want to be my girlfriend.” But not everyone cheers him. Animal-rights groups and child-welfare groups have tried to keep him out of the ring. “No one can stop me from fighting,” he says. “I was born a bullfighter, and I will die one.”
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