Note from BW of Brazil: Let’s get this out of the way first. I’m not a fan of the Globo TV program Malhação. Not at all the type of show that really interests me. I mean, it’s a type of drama/soap opera for the teenage audience. Not saying it’s an exact replica or anything, but in some ways it reminds me of the 1990s American program, Beverly Hills 90210. Oh well, I guess every program has its audience and this is clearly the case with Malhação since its been on the air since the mid 90s. The reason that I’m discussing this program today is simply because of one of the faces that catches my eye from time to time when I’m surfing through Brazil’s TV programming. More than a few times the actress’s bright smile and braids grabbed my attention and even made me stop and watch the show for a few minutes. Then I noted that she sings as well. Talented! OK, not a fan of the show, but she’s still a welcome addition to a blog about black Brazilian women.
In Malhação, Jeniffer Nascimento combines TV with music
The owner of expressive eyes and an excitement worthy of whoever sees the world at hand, the actress, who plays Sol on Malhação, only thinks of having the time and calm to give account of everything she has in mind
By Anna Bittencourt
For Jeniffer Nascimento, the sky is the limit. The owner of expressive eyes and an excitement worthy of whoever sees the world at her fingertips, the actress, who plays Sol in Malhação, only thinks of having time and calm to manage to do everything that she has in mind. Discovered in musical theater, she dreams of reconciling her careers as an actress and singer and is set to release a CD next year. “In Brazil, it’s difficult to have space for both. We’re placed inside a box and it is rare to succeed in both professions,” she laments, adding that Emmanuele Araújo, who also acts in Malhação and is lead singer of the band Moinho, is her biggest inspiration. “We exchanged a lot of stories and I hope to follow in his footsteps,” she projects.
Music entered Jeniffer’s life almost by chance. Besides studying theater since the age of five, invitations to perform in musical came only in adolescence. “I always sang at home. But I thought I was bad, out of tune,” she says shyly. After seeing a new side, she began taking vocal preparation classes to have more space in the musicals. Until the possibility of participating in the Star Factory, a musical reality show developed by the cable channel Multishow came about. “I wanted to put myself to the test. Until then, I only sang as a character. Each one with a different voice. There I discovered what my musical identity was,” she recalls. What started as an audition ended up becoming serious. Along with the group Girls, Jeniffer left the program as the winner and straight to tour.
But she, once again, was taken by surprise. Earlier this year, for lack of investment, Girls disbanded. So, Jenfifer was determined to start her solo career. “I want to make a good pop CD with black music references. A romantic style, but that can also be danced to,” she anticipates. The plans, however, were for the coming year. When she learned that the new season of Malhação would be musical, she soon became interested in auditioning. “I contacted the casting producer and asked to audition with a straight face,” she recalls with a laugh. Jennifer auditioned in São Paulo, where she lived, and soon after had to move alone to Rio de Janeiro to keep up with the cast of Malhação in a “workshop” of vocal and body preparation, and acting that lasted six weeks. “It’s all new to me. But I’m enjoying this new phase away from what I was used to,” she reflects.
Besides changing cities to bring Sol to life, a girl from the Rio de Janeiro suburb who dreams of being a singer, Jeniffer underwent a series of changes. The first step was to see a speech therapist to completely get rid of her Paulista accent. The effort was so much that the actress speaks as if she were a legitimate carioca (Rio native). “I decided to take this accent to my life too, in order not to risk getting confused in the time record. But I suffer ‘bullying’ when I arrive in São Paulo talking like that,” she laughs. Her look has also undergone a major transformation. From long hair with blond highlights, she adopted Rastafarian braids. “It took a lot to get used to. It weighs a lot, it hurts my neck. But today I think it’s the best, super stylish,” she explains.
With many plans for the future, Jeniffer is looking forward to next year. Guaranteed in Malhação until the end of the season, in June, she still does not know what her next steps will be. “I really enjoyed doing TV. I’m going to conquer my space here,” she proclaims. But one thing is certain: as early as January she will enter the studio to begin recording her first solo album. “I want to release the first song while I’m still on Malhação to take advantage of the visibility,” she plans.