Star of the soap opera Terra e Paixão, Paulo Lessa recognizes struggles and victories alongside Cindy and the couple’s daughter, Jade
Nothing can undermine the joy and optimism of Paulo Lessa (41). At least, not currently. The actor reaches 15 years of career in a unique way, as the protagonist of Earth and Passion, Globo’s 9 o’clock show. “It’s fantastic to reach this milestone because it makes every year before it so worth it. Today, I see that the long journey, the fact of giving up some things and my persistence were worth it.”, reflects the interpreter of Jonatas in the plot of Walcyr Carrasco. All these achievements are shared with the chosen one, the dental surgeon Cindy Cruz (37), and the cute Jade (2), heiress of the couple. “Cindy has always been and continues to be my great partner, my biggest supporter. She is the fundamental person who accompanies me in this process”, he declares.
For Paulo, the chance to be a black protagonist in prime time is even more rewarding. Mainly, due to the few references he had throughout his career. “I didn’t see myself working on audiovisual products precisely because of the lack of representation that existed in our television drama. Rarely did actors like me appear starring in something”, recalls the artist, who highlights changes not only in relation to the cast, but also in the production and direction of the works
shown on TV.
Although evolving, he guarantees that such an achievement may require a little more time. “I think it’s still a long journey for black people, but I also really like recognizing our victories. It is undeniable that, today, black artists occupy a greater space in our television drama. I really believe that, from now on, we just need to evolve”, he points out. “Time passes and we gain more experience, better understanding and facing the difficulties of this context to the point of also wanting new things.”, he adds.
Allied to the role in the soap opera comes another title: heartthrob. At his best, Paulo is not intimidated to accept his own beauty. “I don’t see any problem. In fact, I consider it an achievement too”, he says, laughing. “The role of heartthrob has rarely been occupied by a black man. It’s really cool to see that stereotypes related to ideal beauty are breaking. Before, she was almost like a European guy. Today, being seen as a heartthrob is a source of great pride, because, in addition to my beauty, I have received a lot of positive feedback about my work. It makes me happy and really radiant”, he states.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no jealousy at home. “Cindy and I grew up together. Of course, I’m not going to say that there’s never any type of jealousy due to romantic scenes in soap operas, but we always talk about it. And she watches most of the scenes with me“, delivery. A self-confessed vain man, Paulo does not give up on seeking physical fitness and a good perfume, a mandatory item for any occasion. The aromas, in fact, are one of the main details that help you compose the characters. “An experience that gives me a different and better feeling about my character”, he explains. To live Jonatas, for example, he opted for the Polo Blue Gold Blend fragrance, from the brand Ralph Lauren.
Happy and fulfilled in art and life, Paulo allows himself many more discoveries when he is away from his
cameras. It is with his daughter that he dedicates his best role. “Jade’s arrival completely changed my life. After the birth of a child, we end up accessing places in our emotions that we had never accessed before and we discover ourselves in a new way every day. Jade’s arrival is a light for me and Cindy”, he reflects.
Despite the hectic routine due to filming the plot, the actor always finds time to “live simple things” like going to the bakery, taking your daughter to school or even watching a football game at Maracanã. “Balancing my personal and professional life, recording a 9 o’clock soap opera, has been one of my biggest challenges”, he confesses. “This is the most notable moment of my career, the moment in which my image reached the greatest number of people, but I try to deal with it as naturally as possible. I think this demystifies the artist’s unattainable image a little. I continue with my normal life, going to the same places… I’m human”, he amends. Marriage with Cindy is her safe haven and one of the pillars for her to keep everything in balance. “The fundamental thing is my partner’s understanding of all this. Cindy and I have been together for a long time. Practically the same time as I have in my career. Even though she works on something different, she completely understands my dedication process and what it means to be in this place. She gives me strength and manages my absence when I need it”, says Paulo.
For now, the couple has ruled out the idea of expanding their family. “Having a child is something very special, but also very hard work. Jade is our great love. Due to the physical distance, we don’t have a family base that can help us in case of any need, so, faced with this situation, it becomes a little more difficult to have a second child. At this moment, we are calm with Jade, but let’s see what the future holds”, he explains.
At 41 years old, Paulo associates the good phase with his own maturity. Free from crises due to the arrival of age, he strives for more and more for himself and his career. “Definitely, the best thing that age has brought me is maturity. The mentality I have today allows me to enjoy Terra e Paixão in a way that I haven’t enjoyed in the other soap operas I’ve done. In other words, only now can I have the calm and experience necessary to celebrate my good phase. This maturity brought. So, yes, I’m in an incredible moment, because I can enjoy my profession, my personal life and my family. Maturity is what it is”, he says, laughing.
PHOTOS: MARCOS PAULO PRADO