The year was 2019 when the actor Bruno Fagundes heard from a businesswoman in the artistic field that he could no longer get work because he “looked up” on Instagram. “She triggered me into places I spent a lifetime telling myself I was out of,” he recalls.
It was not the first time that the actor suffered violence for being homosexual. At age 20, he was beaten on the street, near Avenida Paulista, in São Paulo, alongside two other friends. The attacks, according to him, came from a group of 20 skinheads. At another point, he was asked by a TV reporter if he was gay. He denied. Upon arriving home, he vomited. “It was very traumatic, because I didn’t have the maturity I have today.”
Son of actress Mara Carvalho and actor Antonio Fagundes, Bruno grew up under the spotlight. He says that being appointed as his father’s successor has always bothered him. Even more so a father who was on TV “the representation of what would be the ideal of the heterosexual man, the alpha male”.
At the age of 33 and more sure of himself, Bruno decided to speak publicly about his sexuality for the first time. “I think sharing my story might help someone else.”
He received the column at the El Mercado Ibérico restaurant, in São Paulo. Days before this interview, Bruno had become one of the main news on celebrity websites by publishing a photo on his social networks assuming his relationship with fellow actor Igor Fernandez.
The repercussion that the image had surprised him, especially since an LGBTQIA+ couple still causes so much noise in 2023. But it also had a positive side: he says he did not receive any hate messages because of the photo. “It gave me a certain hope that we are evolving.”
In this conversation of just over an hour, Bruno spoke about the reasons that led him to speak openly about the subject, his new professional project and family support. “If my father was capable of being an ally today, any father can be.”
I didn’t plan [publicar a imagem], I didn’t think about the result, I didn’t think about what could bring me or not. I just did what I felt like doing.
Igor posted first and I reposted. I thought, “Fuck it”, pardon the word. “What’s wrong with that? What’s wrong with this demonstration [de amor]? Everything is fine.”
The size, the proportion of the thing surprised me, because it was something I had never experienced.
I’m not an idiot to read comments on a gossip site, I think it’s an abyss. But personally, what I got from feedback was 100% positive. I didn’t see a message of hate, of misunderstanding. I was very happy with what I received. It gave me a certain hope that we are evolving.
But I also feel that I am privileged, because there is still a lot of hate.
Him [Igor Fernandez, seu namorado] he was the first person I became friends with on the soap opera [ “Cara e Coragem”, na Globo]. It was very beautiful. Being together, today, was born from a very sincere, very honest place, from good coexistence, from friendship, from confidence, from a desire to be close. Suddenly, we said: “Wow, is it?”.
The fact that I never talked about it [sexualidade] rather, it’s perhaps because I don’t feel safe enough. Today, I feel. And I think sharing my story might help someone. Maybe I have the possibility to make someone understand themselves better. And that’s why I do what I do. And no wonder I’m doing a play [“A Herança”] which talks about a boy who needs to blow up his story.
us [pessoas LGBTQIA+] it is always a minority in our families. When you look at the issue of race —also with its due exceptions—, you have someone to look up to. You have your father or your mother or your grandfather or your great-grandfather. You identify with those people racially, genetically. in our existence [LGBTQIA+], not. You are born in a totally unprotected environment, where no one has the capacity to protect you or tell you what the path is like. No one has the ability to direct you, to calm you down. Even more so in our society structured by sexism, which obviously brings homophobia.
I have a father who is the representation of what would be the ideal straight man, alpha male. And this has nothing to do with him personally. This has to do with his work.
Throughout my life, I have suffered various forms of violence. And I know I speak from a place of privilege. I can list three more emblematic situations.
The first is that I’ve already been beaten on the street. I was about 20 years old and I was walking with two friends near Avenida Paulista. And there were about 20 guys who, I don’t know if it makes much sense to call it that, but would be skinheads.
I remember thinking as I was being beaten, “I’m lucky none of them had a knife in their hand or a switchblade.”
And I’m not telling the story of a victimizing place, because it’s not. But I think it’s important to say why this violence, when it doesn’t literally kill you, kills you internally. It generated a failure in my system that I’m still trying to fix.
Another violence I went through was due to the fact that I had a very exposed life. I was 19 or 20 years old, I still hadn’t demonstrated my work properly and I had no reason to be on a gossip site other than the fact that I was the son of a famous person.
I was interviewed live by a reporter and he asked me to my face if I was gay. And it was in a context that had absolutely nothing to do with it. I said no. I came home and I remember throwing up.
It was very traumatic, because I didn’t have the maturity I have today, and then someone exposes you that way. It’s gratuitous violence.
My sexuality is my sexuality. My job is my job. I never stopped working, I never used any letter from a celebrity, from a famous son
The third violence I suffered was hearing from a well-known actor’s manager that my Instagram wasn’t too manly. And that was in 2019.
She said, not quite in those words, that I was a “cute” on Instagram and that was why I was hitting the wall [de não conseguir trabalho]. Which was a lie, because I was doing “Zorro: The Musical” and shooting the series “3%”[da Netflix]. I asked if any casting producers had said that to her, and she said no.
This woman made a 30 year old man devastated. She triggered me into places I spent a lifetime telling myself I was over.
I’ve been told my whole life that I’m going to fail if I’m gay in this profession. I heard it from businessmen, agents. No one is free from structuring oppression.
My sexuality is my sexuality. My job is my job. I never stopped working, I never used any letter from a celebrity, from the son of a famous person. I’m from the toil. I’m not one for controversy.
I watched this play [“A Herança”] in 2019, on Broadway. And it became a hit, won many awards. It’s a generational discussion about everything: death, life, betrayal, love, humor, affection, continuity.
There are 25 characters alternated by 12 actors. And it’s five and a half hours long. I think this is revolutionary. The advantage is that it is divided into two parts. There are two individual plays, which you can watch on different days.
I brought the [Reynaldo] Gianecchini and Rafael Primot for the cast. It’s a risky project, a theatrical adventure, but one that I really believe in. We will premiere the play in March of this year, in São Paulo.
The last four pieces I made, I produced myself. And with its own resources. This time, because it was a very large piece, I had to resort to the cultural funding law, the Rouanet Law. Contrary to what everyone thinks, it’s not sucking off the government’s teat, it’s not public money. It is private money that would go to income tax and will revert to culture.
But go talk about it… It’s hard.
People have no idea what it’s like to produce a play. If they had an idea, they would respect it. They weren’t going to say that it’s sucking from the government’s teat at all, because the work is insane.
It’s like starting a company. A company that has its own life, that has human resources, that has accounting, legal, food, transport, assembly and disassembly.
I didn’t follow in my father’s footsteps. I didn’t go anywhere he might have put me. When we decided to work together [nas peças “Vermelho”, “Tribos” e “Baixa Terapia”] it was a mutual decision, because we were in the professional moment for that.
I hate these expressions ‘follow in the footsteps’, ‘like father, like son’, ‘son of a fish’
You are always exposed for being a son [de um ator famoso]. So, my life path was in search of my individuality. To cut, to create a dissociation in the good sense of the word, because it has nothing to do with our personal relationship. I’m in love with him.
Easy is never. The beginning is difficult, because there is projection, there is protection.
They [os pais] they didn’t know what to do either [quando foi agredido na rua]. What do you do? I was lucky not to die. Really. There’s nothing a father or mother can do but give love. And that I have of them to spare.
And I also know that it is a privileged condition. There are people who are expelled from home, there are people who are removed from their family. And that is his credit. [do pai]. This is his walk. I am very proud to call him an ally.
If he was able to be an ally, any parent can be.
Everyone has an internal path to take, each one has their issue, their time, their generation to deal with, their structuring relationships to redefine. If he did it, all parents can do it.
In macho society there is this idea of the successor. And that is such a great injustice. It puts us in a place of comparison that is absolutely unreal. And it puts pressure on me.
I hate these expressions “follow in the footsteps”, “like father, like son”, “son of a fish”. Even today, sometimes a report comes out about me and doesn’t mention my name. Do you have any idea how nullifying that is?
I went down paths my father didn’t go. I sing, dance, play the piano, I specialized in what I do to create my individuality. Not to be better than anyone else, but to understand where my artist is.
And the whole time I was stuck in the successor’s box, the one who should act as he is. And that annuls you internally, you feel that you don’t exist, that you don’t have individuality. But I never put my head down for it.
I am Frederick Tuttle, who works in 247 News Agency as an author and mostly cover entertainment news. I have worked in this industry for 10 years and have gained a lot of experience. I am a very hard worker and always strive to get the best out of my work. I am also very passionate about my work and always try to keep up with the latest news and trends.