If she didn’t have a professional commitment, Mariana Ximenes, 41, had a certain destination last Tuesday (14). “Today is Marielle’s day”, she says, remembering the five-year anniversary of the murder of Rio de Janeiro councilwoman Marielle Franco and her driver Anderson Gomes, which was marked by acts demanding the complete elucidation of the case. “If I didn’t have to be here, I would be there”, comments the actress.
However, the date was also chosen by Globo to present to the press the soap opera “Amor Perfeito”, which premieres on Monday (20) at 6 pm, replacing “Mar do Sertão”, and Mariana needed to be available to talk to journalists . On the agenda, his newest character, the villain Gilda, who will make life hell for the young girl Marê, played by Camila Queiroz in the plot.
In the plot created by Júlio Fischer and Duca Rachid, Gilda is an ambitious and disguised woman who marries Leonel (Paulo Gorgulho), Marê’s father. With an eye on his fortune, the former prostitute sets up her stepdaughter to be accused of her own father’s death and starts to run the family businesses.
In the middle of Women’s Month, Mariana says that the rivalry between the two characters does not mirror the relationship between the protagonists behind the scenes. “Between me and Camila it’s just love,” she says. “We work a lot, we have a lot of scenes together and an important scenic game, so we’re hooked. I’m loving working with her, but since she’s tall, right? so it’s a delight to trade with her.”
Now, of course, distilling evil on the scene, she confesses, has been fun. “Villainess is always a treat for an actress because she has so many layers,” she says. “Gilda has no character and no morals. She goes beyond all limits to get what she wants. She does terrible things.”
Mariana says that she is not one of those actors who defend their characters tooth and nail when they are not filming. Although she understands his actions, she doesn’t agree with most of them. “Despite her having a complicated past, it doesn’t justify you doing evil just because you had an ordinary life, nothing justifies it… So, I can’t put my hand on Gilda’s head”, she summarizes.
She defines the character as an “absurd villain” and “strongly painted”, one of those who could be in the pages of a comic book. The composition, she says, is very different from that made for her first malada, the iconic Clara from “Passione” (2010-2011). “Today, I’m more mature, but I learned a lot in this soap opera. Clara had a much more realistic tone, here the story is even more fictional.”
Asked if she fears rejection from the public, as used to happen in the past —with actors being cursed or even physically attacked in the streets—, she says she is prepared for any kind of reaction. “Come on, I’m boiling hot,” she jokes. “If it comes, it’s all right, but I think that, nowadays, with social networks, you disassociate your image from the character a little more.”
With more than 4.5 million followers, Mariana uses the networks to share clippings of her day with her fans, from glamorous parties and advertising campaigns for prestigious brands to images where she appears less dressed up, with a clean face and in the middle of nature. They are interspersed with fun moments from the backstage of the current soap opera and memories of previous works.
And there are many, see? Despite the girlish face, the actress completes 25 years of career in May. “Sometimes even I’m like, ‘My God, it’s been a long time!’ But we’re there,” she jokes. Her debut was as the lively Emília in “Fascinação” (1998), on SBT. By chance, it is a plot that took place in the 1930s, the same period in which the new soap opera begins — there will be two phases, the second in the 1940s.
Despite having already done several, Mariana says she has no fetish for period roles. “I like it, but it depends on the story,” she explains. “This story was now one that I really wanted to help tell. This thing about period plots brings with it a world that we didn’t live in, so we can do it according to our imagination, with that of the authors and with that of the entire team that makes up the work.”
Recently, however, she lived a period character that actually existed, the Countess of Barral from the soap opera “Nos Tempos do Imperador” (2021-2022). “There we had real characters, like Dom Pedro 2nd and my own character. It was a very interesting story because it permeated the history of Brazil, but somehow it also had a fictional side. But, in ‘Amor Perfeito’, it’s just fantasy same.”
The actress avoids comparing experiences and says that “each process is a process”. “Throughout these more than 24 years of career, I always think that each telenovela is an adventure and a different journey”, she says. “Each year, I evaluate what happened and the projects that come up, and that’s how you build a career.”
Even with the experience accumulated in 15 soap operas, not counting movies, series and specials, the actress says that, with each new job, it’s as if everything was starting over. “The battle is never won, so it’s always butterflies in my stomach,” she confesses. “We get nervous even to start recording each scene. It’s a challenge we have to overcome.”
“And it all depends, right? On the colleague who will play opposite you, on the text that comes for you to write, on the director, so these are always unique experiences”, he adds. “That’s what encourages me to keep working, learning and changing.”
Among the previous works, two are currently in vogue. The impulsive Bionda is back in “Uga Uga” (2000-2001), which recently entered the Globoplay catalogue. “Imagine if I already had Instagram at that time? Because her costumes were stunning and she really was a very strong character”, she recalls. A fashion icon at the time, she wore very low-waisted boxes —which are making a comeback— and accessories such as earrings, necklaces and bracelets that ended up in popular stores.
In addition, the actress says that she managed to see herself with a generous look on the screen. “It was very interesting to review now,” she says. “My God, I was an 18-year-old baby. I don’t like everything, but that’s okay, it’s part of my story and I’m proud of it.”
Another version of Mariana that can be seen today is “Chocolate com Pimenta” (2003-2004), in which she played the naive Ana Francisca. A guaranteed success on Globo afternoons, the plot is being rerun for the third time on Vale a Pena Ver de Novo — not to mention another rerun on the paid channel Viva and the fact that it is also available on Globoplay.
“I was very happy there and I am very happy until today because people always come to tell me how the story and the character connected with them”, he celebrates. “It’s a project that continues to bring me a lot of joy also because several generations have seen it at different times. And it’s very curious, you can’t explain much, right? How does one story stick and the other doesn’t? How do you explain that, right? And I’m glad ‘Chocolate com Pimenta’ caught on.”
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.