Participating in the government’s change team is a mission that I accept with great love, responsibility and total dedication,” – Lucila Santos wrote on Instagram. A new role in life for the 65-year-old actress, who became minister of culture in the Brazilian government. Will it captivate the cultural world like Isaura did viewers in front of TV screens? Isaura freed herself enough to become a member of the Brazilian government.

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Brazilian costume telenovela – Slave Isaura

Slave Isaura has captivated millions of viewers around the world. Polish television, like many others around the world, broadcast the series. The Brazilian costume telenovela depicting the conflict between the beautiful, light-skinned slave Isaura (played by Lucila Santos) and her lustful, cruel planter, Mr. Leoncio in Brazil Anno Domini 1855 had numerous admirers in Poland as well. Telenovela with the largest global audience in television history. Viewed in 130 countries. Her fan, and probably not just for ideological reasons, was Fidel Castro. In Cuba, where the broadcast of the series prompted the suspension of energy rationing so that everyone could follow the episodes, she was invited by Castro himself, an admirer of hers, to be interviewed on government television. The author of this article also belonged to the Polish viewers of the series, he was one of the fans of the series and this fact can only be justified by his young age at the time and the limited nature of other series. Netflix did not function in even the wildest fantasies.

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“None of us had any special hopes for this series,” he says.

The role of Isaura was a gateway to fame for 18-year-old Santos. “None of us had any special hopes for this series,” she admitted in an interview. Hopes exceeded any expectations. A record-breaking series in terms of viewership. When the film was screened in Brazil (and elsewhere) the streets and stores were deserted. “We would never have been able to imagine it, this soap opera was recorded in a very simple way. We didn’t expect that it could be such a success outside Brazil,” Santos said of the series’ popularity in an interview with Good Morning TVN. She has become one of Brazil’s most important telenovela actresses, with many outstanding lead roles, most of them for TV Globo, the country’s largest private television station. She received the “Golden Eagle” award in 1985. This is the first time it has been awarded to a foreign artist in a direct vote by Chinese citizens.

Slave Isaura
Slave Isaura

Lucila Santos, or Slave Isaura

Lucila Santos was born on May 20, 1957, in Santo André in southeastern Brazil, to a working-class family. She attended primary and secondary school at the Instituto Educacional Doutor Américo Brasiliense. She later passed the medical school entrance exam, as required by her father, but was unsuccessful, already fully absorbed in acting. The future soap opera star spent her childhood with her sister and brother. Christina Santos, like Lucila, later became an actress, although she never became a real star. Few people know that early in her career, the current minister did not hesitate to appear in questionable films with erotic content. She has also been featured several times in the pages of Brazilian Playboy magazine. Despite the fact that Lucilia’s appearance was far from the classic ideals of beauty, she became a true sex symbol in Brazil.

“Doe eyes,” a soft voice and long brown hair. At the age of 14, she began to contribute to the theater. She appeared in several commercials and then realized herself on the small screen. In the 1980s, she played characters who touched on taboo subjects at the time, such as abortion, female orgasm, separation and domestic violence. However, she has always defended herself from referring to herself as a feminist.

Who is Slave Isaura outside of the series?

Despite her turbulent youth, the popular actress was able to find her personal happiness. She was married to the famous Brazilian conductor, John Neschling. The actress today is a divorcee – her relationship with the famous conductor lasted four years. They lived in the most expensive district of Rio de Janeiro.From this union he has a son, Pedro, who also became an actor. In 2017 Lucilia became a grandmother – her granddaughter, Carolina Frate, was born on May 18. In 2014, Santos took part in the 11th edition of the Brazilian equivalent of Dancing with the Stars. Despite her acting commitments, she tried to devote all her time to her family and take care of her luxurious residence. He rarely participates in social events. She has long been a vegetarian, practicing yoga and Buddhism. She says she has never undergone plastic surgery.

Bronislaw Cieslak, recalling an interview he conducted while Santos and her film partner from the “Slave Isaura” series, Brazilian actor Rubens de Falco, said: “He was laid back and worldly, and spoke English, so we could talk. Such an affable playboy with a mustache. And Lucilia, a smug little goose, very modest, even shocked by the enormity of her popularity.” The telenovela marked her subsequent life. Success intimidated her. She remained in contact with de Falco until his death. “We shared a huge bond. Until the end of his life we were friends, we met often, I liked him very much and he was a very important person in my career,” Lucila confessed. According to rumor, Wieslawa Szymborska called poet Ewa Lipska after the series ended, saying: “Our life is over. The series “Slave Isaura” has ended. She tried like most actresses to avoid being pigeonholed, however, the role of Isaura forever marked her image. For TVP’s “Slave Isaura” was a magnet that drew viewers to the TV set.

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Involvement in politics

After her role in the hit series – Santos made her debut at the age of 18 – she appeared in such productions as “In the Stone Circle,” “Alice and Alice,” “Baixo Gaeva”; the TV series “Miss Heiress” and “Carmen.” She last appeared in the 2019 series “Na Corda Bomba.” However, none of the projects brought her as much popularity as “Slave Isaura.”

Recently, the actress posted a message on Instagram addressed to “colleagues of all artistic and ideological orientations,” saying she intends to “fight for the pacification and unification” of the art community. The actress has long been involved in politics. She has been active since the 1970s for the Workers’ Party, from which Lula da Silva, the current president, hails, and the two have known each other personally for years. She has been active in previous presidential campaigns of the new Brazilian head of state (da Silva has run for election several times before and served as president from 2003 to 2010). She ran for a seat in the Chamber of Deputies in 2022, but failed to win it.

Why did Lula da Silva decide to include Santos in his government? – “It’s a bit of a gesture toward, our own electoral base. In Brazil, it is common to consume these types of TV productions, but they are most popular among the social classes that unequivocally voted for Lula, that is, the one oriented to the left, socialism, the working class,” stated on TVN24 Latin Americanist Matthew Mazzini

Slave Isaura - popular series
Slave Isaura

The face of the cultural world

Known for her pro-leftist views, the actress accepted an offer from Lula da Silva, Brazil’s president from 2003 to 2011. In October 2022, he won the election and returned to the highest office in the country. He has offered Santos the post of Minister of Culture. He will be , along with two Labor Party politicians, Marcio Tavares and Juca Ferreira, responsible for heading the culture ministry in Lula’s new cabinet. Her predecessor, Roberto Alvima, was fired from his post because he caused a scandal with a speech directly inspired by the words of Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels, paraphrasing passages about “heroic and nationalart. Shocking, but given the past ties of South American governments to the Nazis nothing really appalling.

Her appointment is aimed at “reconciling” the government with Brazilian art circles. With nearly 50 years of experience in the art world, many cultural insiders hope Lucila will have a more conciliatory profile than her predecessor. “In the current situation of the dismantling of our culture, I believe that it can help.” – declared in the pages of “Estado de S. Paulo” well-known producer Paula Lavigne, wife of famous singer Caetano Veloso. Her political ascendancy was received with mixed feelings by Brazil’s art world. The art class remains divided and distrustful of the new minister. The lesser of two evils, according to people associated with the culture.

By betting on a “former slave,” Brazil’s current president hopes to win Brazil’s art world for his rule. The generally well-known and respected actress has become the face of the cultural world. Will it live up to the expectations associated with it? A difficult task. He is not a personality who could be considered politically “unbiased.” This will undoubtedly make her task more difficult. Playing imaginary characters on the glass screen, however, is not the same as the role she has become. This time she is playing herself in the real world, not a fantasy world. She will have to distinguish between reality and fiction. This may be her role in life.


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