Dec 4, 2007


Yesterday we closed our conversations with people who work in telenovelas in grand style. Talented actress Julie Restifo visited my class via telephone. Julie's CV includes more than 20 telenovelas, several series and unitarios, 36 works on the theatre stage and 13 films.

Two of her most remembered roles in telenovelas are:

Josefa "Pepa" Lunar in Viva la Pepa, written by Valentina Párraga:

and Joaquina Leal "Juaca" in La Mujer de Judas, written by Martín Hahn:

Our conversation with Julie centered on the following topics:

1.- The importance that writers have for actors. For her, a good character is one that is well written, a person who has something to say, one that has nuances and interior life.

2.- How she has been able to balance her roles as mother, spouse and actor.

3.- How wonderful it's been for her that her husband, Javier Vidal, is also an actor (and director, writer, professor). It was touching to hear Julie talk about how they have grown together as they've harmonized their professions and lives.

4.- Her satisfaction regarding the opportunities she's received throughout her career. Julie is sure that if she got to live her life again, she would still be an actress.

5.- The importance of beauty and physical appearance for television actresses. In particular the issue of age. Actresses not only have to look good, but they also must be eternally young. Julie told us that the first time she had to personify an grandmother on television, she was only 29 years old!! She feels that Venezuelan TV has improved a bit regarding this, but also believes that there's a need for more authors who write good characters for women who are 40-50 years old. She mentioned how in Brazil, writers consider actresses in this age range as key to what they're writing. These women are considered stars. Meanwhile in Venezuela, we have in Leonardo Padrón sort of an exception, since he usually writes characters for actors of all ages, and he particularly writes for actresses that are in their 40s and 50s.

The conversation with Julie was deep, sincere and touching. It was a great way to close our series of exchanges with people who work in the telenovela industry. To all of them--Marisa Román, Daniela Bascopé, Leonardo Padrón and Julie Restifo--our genuine gratitude for contributing in a special way to our learning about the fascinating telenovela genre and its insertion in culture and society..

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