Where is the ‘Brazilian Madonna’, who was successful in the 90s after a Globo soap opera?


Maria Paula Giacomelli

Madonna’s arrival in Brazil for a public performance on Copacabana beach, in Rio de Janeiro, rekindled Brazilians’ memories of an actress who became known for her similarity to the international singer, whose career was still on the rise.

It was the beginning of the 1990s and, on Globo’s screen, the soap opera “Barriga de Aluguel” was on the air. In the production, a character enchanted spectators, inspired by the international singer: Rosa Aimée, a beautiful and sensual cabaret dancer, played by Regina Restelli, 63.

The idea for the character to be inspired by Madonna came from Regina herself, who had already received comments about being similar to her. Her short, wavy blonde hair and sharp black eyeliner immediately made her look American. The similarity was so great that the actress became known as the “Brazilian Madonna” and, in the following years, her life took an unexpected turn.

While the international artist toured the world with the “Blond Ambition” tour, Regina graced magazine covers, participated in auditorium programs, was hired for shows and was loved by fans on the street. “Warner Music called me to make all their releases,” she says.

“I had music parties, albums, films, it was crazy,” he recalls. “It was a cool exchange of publicity because she needed me to make more noise in the media, and that gave me more audience for my play.”

After the end of the soap opera, she capitalized on its success and toured Brazil for three years with the play “Perfume de Madonna”. “O [autor] Flávio Marinho, directed by Cininha de Paula, wrote the play for me. As I have a background in dancing and singing, I performed and sang her songs and others.”

According to Regina, Madonna knew she had a double in the country through the record company director, who passed on to her some of the things the actress did. The work, however, never made her compare herself to the queen of pop.

“People asked me if I wasn’t confused, since I experienced it so intensely. No, that never happened. I’ve always been very clear about who I am,” he says. “Despite everything, I had a normal life. I took my daughter to school, went to the supermarket…”

Today, Regina has retired from the stage and screen. For 20 years, she has dedicated herself to holistic therapy. The call to transition came at the height of his career, in the middle of a presentation.

“I was doing ‘Cole Porter & Other Loves’ and, suddenly, I heard: ‘What are you doing there?’. I looked at the audience and nothing made sense anymore. Today I understand that I was born a therapist”, he says. “My career was very beautiful, I loved it, it was very fast and consistent. I have nothing to complain about.”

It was her training in psychology, a degree she studied before breaking into the arts, that helped her take her first steps in her new profession. Even admitting that she doesn’t leave the condominium where she lives much, in Barra da Tijuca (west zone of Rio de Janeiro), Regina says that she would consider going to the presentation in May if she can get a place in the VIP area.

“It’s going to be historic and wonderful”, he comments. “I’m excited, May will be an important month. I complete 20 years of career and have a birthday. The planet is changing, the period is challenging, the city is dangerous, but I hope everything goes well.”

It is expected that more than 1 million people will watch the performance on the beach, which would make the singer surpass her previous record, of 126 thousand people, in 1990, at Wembley Stadium, in the United Kingdom, with the “Blond Ambition Tour”. The show will also be broadcast by Globo on its open channel, on Globoplay and Multishow.

Source: Folha

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