Actress Rosamaria Murtinho, 89, has been on TV since she was 20 and has more than 80 films and soap operas in her curriculum, in a list full of classics, including the first version of “Pantanal”, from 1990, in which she played the Zuleica character. In 2019, she did her last job at Globo, the soap opera “A Dona do Pedaço”, but soon after she was forced to stop: during the pandemic, like most elderly people, she retired at home next to her husband Mauro Mendonça, 91 , to whom she has been married for 63 years.
After two years completely isolated, she was stricken with depression, caused mainly by the pause in work, which has not yet resumed. “I’m always waiting for someone to call me to work”, says the universe, in a telephone interview. “Older women lack roles. And sometimes they call younger actresses to age with makeup. We’re here, with a good mind, wanting to work. It’s just climbing.”
She links the lack of professional invitations to ageism — a term she discovered recently, in the articles she reads almost daily to keep up to date, and which means prejudice against older people.
Invitations to social events such as parties, premieres and openings have also become scarce as age has advanced. Another form of ageism, “but without malice”, points out. “In the past, it was so much invitation that I lived with a full schedule. Now, I think people think: ‘Oh, I’m not taking them out of the house’. I’m sorry, because I would go for everything”.
“I would like to learn not to think about death”
The more than two years spent at home made Rosamaria turn gray the hair she had been painting for years. Neither white hair nor wrinkles bother her — she has “a weathered face” and says she only gets Botox on her forehead to reduce the frown lines between her eyebrows and “not look like she’s always angry”.
Facial harmonization, no way: “There are people who are very ugly, they do it and it works. Not that it looks pretty, but it’s acceptable. I’m not going to do it”, he says.
“Aging is a natural thing. Wrinkles come little by little and you get used to it”, he says. “The terrible thing about getting old, on the other hand, is the proximity of death. There are people who manage not to think about it, I would like to learn because it is a thought that accompanies me. [para não pensar na morte]please tell me.”
“Pantanal” and the new Zuleica, 30 years later
One of the most remarkable soap operas she made, says the actress, was the first version of “Pantanal”: in 1990, she played Zuleica, a role that is now played by Aline Borges, the second wife of the villain Tenório.
And, unlike the original version, Zuleica is now black by a wise choice by director Bruno Luperi, says Rosamaria. “Her story was all preserved, but more modern, updated. And casting a black woman in a soap opera is always a good decision,” she says.
In a recent interview with universeAline Borges, the 2022 Zuleica, said that she was heavily attacked by the public because of her character, criticized for being “the other”, but Rosamaria does not remember having received the same rejection 30 years ago: “One or another person commented, but aggressive, rude attacks did not happen”.
In defense of women, but against abortion
When commenting on the trajectory of the character – who this week revealed that she was the victim of a rape committed by a doctor, inside a hospital – the veteran actress says that the story “could not be more current”, referring to the news of the anesthesiologist arrested for rape a patient in labor, in July, in São João do Meriti (RJ). “That existed at the time, of course, but we didn’t know it, we didn’t talk about it. Today everything is much more exposed”.
Last month, when it came to light that actress Klara Castanho, 21, was the victim of a rape, got pregnant and legally gave the baby up for adoption, Rosamaria offered solidarity to her colleague on social media, saying that the women’s “no” must be respected, and that he was with her and “with so many other women who have gone through and go through the same thing every day”.
THE universeRosamaria said that Klara “is a very strong girl” and that not hiding her story “was a very brave move”.
But even without the report questioning her, she declared that she was against abortion, citing the song “Força Estranha”, by Caetano Veloso, which says: “I saw the woman preparing someone else”. “[Quando engravida], the woman is carrying another person, her womb is just a depository of the child. So I’m against it, I don’t think it’s cool.”
63 years of marriage: “We are survivors”
Of the more than six decades that Rosa and Mauro have been married, ten of them have lived separately in the same house, sleeping in different rooms: “We had a really long time. We decided to go back and now it’s been really nice. An older couple understands more of life, and nobody makes such a point of being right”
On Instagram —which is managed by Rosa with the help of five fans and friends who live in different states of Brazil—, the actress shares many photos of her with Mauro; some old and some current, but always showing affection.
Asked about the “secret” to a lasting and happy relationship, Rosa laughs: “My daughter, we are true survivors”. But she leaves the tip: “If younger people are reading this interview, I recommend that they dialogue. It’s always good. And the younger the couple learns to dialogue, the better”.
“We always have to chase happiness”
A Christian, she prays the rosary of mercy every day with the singer Elba Ramalho, via social media, and with the priest of the parish she attends, in São Conrado — and believes that, along with the work of a psychiatrist, psychologist and anxiolytic medication, faith was an important factor in improving depression.
“It was something that marked me a lot, but now I’m fine. I’m not completely cured, but I had an improvement of 80%”, he realizes. “Nowadays it’s more natural to talk about it. I don’t know if I can change people’s stigma. [sobre a depressão]but I can encourage them to seek help.”
“I’m absolutely convinced that God put us in the world to be happy. It’s not easy, I’m not happy all the time, but we always have to chase happiness.”