Brazilian actress Fernanda Montenegro was 16 years old when she began her career.

She knocked on the door of the Ministry of Education and Culture’s radio station in Rio de Janeiro where she starred in the radio play “Sinh Moa Chorou,” written by Ernani Fornari.

“The people at my house used to listen to that station. One day I just went there and I don’t know what makes us go somewhere. Do you know why you ended up in journalism?” Montenegro asks. “I don’t know why [I became an actress]. Later we realize that we ended up in the right place by sheer chance.”

Zo Guimaraes /Folhapress, ILUSTRADA
Fernanda Montenegro
Fernanda Montenegro

She is now 88 years old and divides her time between theater plays, TV shows and cinema – she also reviewed her career in the book “Fernanda Montenegro – Itinerrio Fotobiogrfico” to be launched at Flip (the Paraty International Literary Festival) on July 27.

The book includes “what is left of 70 years of a public life,” in Montenegro’s words. It is a collection of pictures of the actress’s personal archive and texts on her life.

It also includes her career on television and in cinema; however it mainly looks at Montenegro’s work in theater. “Theater is the essence of a country. When a country’s stages go bad, the country goes bad,” she says.

“When you go to the theater in Brazil, what do you see? The survival of believers. In the past, you could make a living from the theater. Today theater artists always have to work somewhere else too.”

Translated by THOMAS MUELLO

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