Note from BW of Brazil: Although actress Lucy Ramos is not quite a household name among actresses in Brazil, she’s had a consistent presence on the big and small screen for a number of years now. The actress who was born in Recife, Pernambuco in Brazil’s northeast, made her debut in the 2004 novela (soap opera) Começar de Novo as a maid. She followed that up by playing a maid in another 2004 novela, Da Cor do Pecado. In 2006, Ramos played the slave Adelaide in Sinhá Moça. Also in 2006, Ramos appeared in the controversial film Turistas, playing the role of Arolea. The film was heavily criticized by the Brazilian media for its depictions of Brazilians who rob and torture tourists. In a brief scene, Ramos is shown kissing and doing a sexy strip tease for a white tourist who utters “God bless Brazil” viewing a nude Ramos. The scene ends with Arolea taking money from his wallet.
In 2011’s Cordel Encantado, she played the cook Maria Cesária that works in the home of the mayor of the fictitious city of Brogodó. In a typical spin on the poor girl and the Charming Prince motif, Cesária’s charms attracts the attention of the king, Augusto Frederico III, and involves herself in a romance in the novela that appears to be set sometime at the beginning of the 20th century.
Ramos has appeared in a number of other TV productions over the years, but given the parts listed above, two maids, a cook, a slave and a local using her sexuality to attract a white tourist, one would understand if Ramos would eventually tire of such roles. Especially the latter considering Brazil’s image in terms of sexual tourism (see here, here and here). But as we mentioned in a previous article, if Afro-Brazilians want to get in the game they have to play by the rules. And for black people, that means playing sexualized and menial roles. It’s good to see that Ramos can consciously pick and choose the roles she will accept and turn down!
Lucy Ramos passed up a character in the novela Babilônia in order to play a psychologist in I Love Paraisópolis
“We, blacks, always interpret maids, slaves or we are in inferior situations,” says Lucy Ramos
By Bruno Astuto with Acyr Méra Júnior and Dani Barbi
Lucy Ramos turned down a role in Babilônia, the primetime Globe TV drama to play Patricia, the psychologist in I Love Paraisópolis, the next novela at 7pm, written by Alcides Nogueira and Mário Teixeira. “I’m not diminishing Babilônia, but I found it great to play a refined character, not stereotypical, unlike anything I’ve ever done. We, blacks, always interpret maids, slaves or we are in an inferior position,” says Lucy who in the Gilberto Braga serial would interpret a resident of the slum that gives its name to the novela. “I don’t like entering in this merit, this thing of the black, racism, it’s very complicated. The good thing about this story is doing something different and seeing it as an advance in the market for us. A black can indeed play a psychologist,” says the actress, who was raised in the São João favela (slum) on the outskirts of Sao Paulo. “My mother and siblings still live there,” says Lucy, who has just been elected ambassador for Garnier to announce a new product for cabelos cacheados (curly hair). “Where I lived was a mockery having hair like mine, they called me lioness. But I have never surrendered to the dictatorship of straightening.”