Hernandes was raised by a Spanish immigrant couple (Diego Hernández and Isabel Sánchez), and never apparently knew his biological parents. He had great affection for his adoptive mother, a Spanish immigrant from Andalusia. One of his projects in the Chamber of Deputies was to create the Dia da Mãe Adotiva (Adoptive Mother's Day) that would be celebrated on the third Sunday of May. Hernandes was educated in a Catholic school; besides his native Portuguese, he could speak Spanish (his parents' language) and French.
Hernandes began his career as a stylist at age 16. In the 1960s he gained fame as a designer of haute couture.
In the 1980s Hernandes became a TV personality with appearances on Rede Globo's "TV Mulher", one of the first Brazilian shows dedicated to the contemporary woman. His career as a TV presenter had its ups and downs throughout the 90s. Although he had a strong female following, his explicit right-wing position and unstable relations with co-workers led to frequent job losses.
After his breakthrough on TV Mulher, Clodovil was fired from the female-oriented programme hosted by Marilia Gabriela and sexologist/current São Paulo Brazilian Secretary of Tourism, Marta Suplicy. In 1982, when Walter Clark, Globo's former director general, was invited to become a director on the Rede Bandeirantes network, Clodovil hosted his programme. In the 1993 TV season, Clodovil hosted a show in Rede Manchete, however the network, based in Rio de Janeiro, suffered a severe financial crisis and strike action as well as a suspension of part of its scheduled national broadcast. Adolpho Bloch regained control of the network by legal determination and Clodovil left the channel in the first days of May due to past differences with his ex-boss.
In 2006 in São Paulo, Clodovil was depicted in a musical. He defended the preservation of Mata Atlântica in the Ubatuba region and minority rights in the lower house. His future project was Casa Clô, a foundation attended by women not helped by official social assistance programmes.
Clodovil trained as an actor and as a singer. He designed the evening gowns for Miss Brasil and Miss Universe Sandra Mara Ferreira and Sandra Guimarães de Oliveira.
His controversial declarations on Rede TV!, caused legal consequences for Clodovil's artistic career. He was the presenter of Clodovil Por Excelência (Clodovil By Excellence) on the TVJB network, which was established in March 2007.
In the 2006 elections, Clodovil Hernandes was elected federal congressman for the state of São Paulo, being the third most voted congressman in his state, with 493,951 votes or 2.43% of the valid vote. He was a candidate for the Christian Labour Party. His political phrase was: "Brasília will never be the same". Clodovil favored legislation that banned toys resembling tobacco products, restricted violent images in television newcasts during family hours and reduced the number of congresspersons in the Brazilian parliament.
Clodovil Hernandes died on March 17, 2009 after a stroke.
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