In an interview with Quem (magazine), the actress talks about her role in Avenida Brasil and “veiled prejudice” when she was a model
Patrícia Dejesus was in the cast in the Avenida Brasil novela in the role of Jéssica, one of the colleagues of the character Suéllen (played by actress Isis Valverde). This is the first work of the actress on Globo TV, after serving in the novelas Caminhos do Coração and Os Mutantes, on Record TV, and Uma Rosa com Amor and Amor e Revolução on SBT. The first steps of her career happened in her teen years when she worked as a model and lived in countries like the United States, Italy and South Africa. In those days of the catwalk, she competed with other black models.
“I was one of the first black models with a good career as a model in Brazil. But at that time, the catwalks of brand names had one black woman and look at what happened. So, we ended up having a rivalry between us; that crooked little look when the other became a part of the selection. We knew that they would only give the vacancy to one”, says Patrícia.
After acting in soap operas of Record and SBT with prominent roles, you came to Globo. How was this opportunity?
Patrícia DeJesus: When I was selected, the plot was already underway. I didn’t know many details. Jéssica is one of the characters of the store [A Elegância] of Diógenes [actor Otávio Augusto], where Suellen [actress Isis Valverde] worked. I managed to record in Rio and return to São Paulo, where I live. I didn’t move and city and I’m just in Rio when I’m needed. I had a week that I stayed there more than three days, but if it’s necessary, I would stay longer.
Before working as an actress, you were model. How was the transition?
Patrícia DeJesus: The first audition I did was to work on Caminhos do Coração , which in the second season was called Os Mutantes on Record TV. Because it was my first experience, I did the novela a little lost. I was one of the mutantes (mutants), the Mulher-Elétrica (Electric Woman). It was a job in which I appeared and people still remember today. And, as incredible as it seems, not only the children, but also adults.
And the modeling career? How was the experience?
Patrícia DeJesus: I lived in New York [United States], Milan [Italy], in South Africa, and Santiago [Chile]. I also worked in Miami, Paris, Buenos Aires, Venezuela. I started as a teenager.
Did you feel difficulties for being black?
Patrícia DeJesus: I’m very proud of my modeling career. I was one of the first black models with a good career as a model in Brazil. But at that time, the catwalks of brand names had one black woman and look at what happened. So, we ended up having a rivalry between us; that crooked little look when the other became a part of the selection. We knew that they would only give the vacancy to one.
Patrícia DeJesus: Prejudice didn’t get to me. They never said, “I won’t call you because you’re black’, but what happened was a veiled prejudice, you know? The indirect is what obviously happened. You saw all your friends doing many fashion shows and you, being black, were selected for a smaller amount because there was this thing of having just one black on the catwalk, as I said. There was always a black model, but only one. If the selection process had four blacks, we knew that only one of the four would be called. I paraded for many designers, I did 20 seasons of fashion weeks in São Paulo. When I started, the SPFW (São Paulo Fashion Weeks) was still called Morumbi Fashion. I paraded around the time of (model) Ana Hickmann. I was the first black woman to make a tanning commercial. I remember that I had a banner on Rebouças [Avenue in the West Zone of São Paulo] with my picture in the campaign. At this time, we joked that “blacks don’t sell toothpaste” because blacks were not in toothpaste commercials.
Your name is Patrícia de Jesus, why is it now written Patrícia Dejesus?
Patrícia Dejesus: It wasn’t numerology (laughs). The story goes like this: when I started working out there, they [agents] thought “de Jesus”, separately, would give a slight Hispanic air (to the name) and they wanted me to be remembered as a Brazilian model. And I don’t have a middle name, so the solution was to put the “de Jesus” together at the time in which I lived in New York. The pronunciation is the same.
And why did you stop modeling?
Patrícia Dejesus: It happened a little quick. I finished my modeling career in a very unusual way. I am moved by great passions, I knocked on the agency (door) and said: “I do not want (this) anymore, I feel that I don’t want to be (a model) anymore.”
You said that you are driven by passions. Do you want to marry and raise a family?
Patrícia Dejesus: I am dating and really happy, radiant, with great skin. He is not in the artistic medium. I am a very romantic person, I believe in marriage and that maximum ‘till death do us part.’ Whenever I get into a relationship, the idea is always being in a union. I want to get married, have children. I find it amazing, but with no despair. I want to have my career, my hubby and kids.
Source: Revista Quem