Actress and producer.
THE CITY TALK
HEY MARI! SO YOU TOLD ME YOU CAME TO RIO FOR WORK WHEN YOU WERE 17 YEARS OLD. WOULD YOU HAVE CONSIDERED RIO OTHERWISE?
I didn’t really have an option: I wanted to be an actress so bad and then I got this part in a big telenovela. So I came and I started to like Rio, but it wasn’t easy for me. I am a real “Paulista” girl (editor’s note : inhabitant of São Paulo) but I do have a lot of carioca habits: I like the beach, I like going to the waterfalls, I like to drink cold beer in bars, I like going on a hike occasionally… I even started to do yoga classes on the Pedra Bonita mountain. We can go together next time!
MMMH DEPENDS... DO YOU HAVE TO CLIMB TO THE SPOT?
No! It is a 20 minutes walk. It has nothing to do with the 4 hours hike to get to the top of the mountain! I did it once and I think it is enough for the rest of my life (laughs).
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT LIVING IN RIO?
Unfortunately Rio has been dealing with a lot of problems of violence and social inequality but I love the city anyway. Somehow I think there is still a strong democratic existence through the beach culture and I love that about Rio. Sadly, our government doesn’t protect the city. But I think the Cariocas and the people who choose to live here bring a lot of happiness and positive energy to the city.
DO YOU FEEL MORE “FELICITY” IN RIO THAN IN SÃO PAULO?
There is this word in Portuguese, “malemolência”, which means that there is always a way of achieving something, a solution. I think Cariocas are full of “malemolência”: they are very creative when it comes to live their life, and are always happy.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO IN RIO WHEN YOU HAVE SOME FREE TIME?
I like to go to the Pedra de Guaratiba and do stand-up paddle. I like to go to the Burle Marx Park and have lunch at Bira where you eat a delicious moqueca. I like to go in the Tijuca forest and stop at the Os Esquilos restaurant. It’s like a small adventure there, you can even do a picnic in the forest. I love to go to concerts at the Circo Voador. I love Santa Teresa and its small ateliers. I love to end the day with a very cold beer in Urca...
IT’S ALL ABOUT SHARING FOOD WITH FRIENDS IN PLACES WHERE YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE A REAL TABLE TO SEAT AT, ONLY SUCH A GREAT POINT OF VIEW ON THE BEAUTIFUL NATURE THIS CITY HAS TO OFFER.
It is about the simple things. And I really love to explore more of it everyday. Sometimes even for my work; once for a character, I had to climb the Morro da Babilonia, where I could see the upper Rio de Janeiro, above the mountains. Another amazing point of view would be from a boat going to the MAC Museum of Niteroi, looking at the bay of Copacabana, Ipanema and São Conrado. There are a lot of things to do in Rio… I started taking surf lessons not so long ago. I also love going to museums or galleries like the very charming Instituto Moreira Salles in Gavea. I like going to Vidigal to visit Vik Muniz’s Art School for children or go the the Teatro Rival in the center of the city, which has a DJ playing on the streets, where you eat and drink and just have the best time.
DO YOU THINK THE VIOLENCE THAT IS COMING BACK TO THE CITY IS THERE TO STAY?
Violence is back, we cannot deny it. I think we should be more cautious sometimes, and listen more to our instincts but never would I advise to live in fear. There is this song that I like, called “fearless” from Pink Floyd. We can’t live our lives with fear. I love going to the Centro of Rio, which is supposed to be more dangerous at night, and just be sitting in a bar after a projection at the Odeon for example. I am not going to stop doing what makes me happy.
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING?
Yoga, surf, stand-up paddle… and I love good food. When you put both together, it’s like heaven to me. I co-own a restaurant called Capim Santo, in Barra da Tijuca. The food there is delicious. Our chef, Morena Leite, studied at the prestigious French culinary school, Le Cordon Bleu. She mixes Brazilian ingredients with her knowledge of French savoir-faire. I try to go there on my way to the studios sometimes. I also like this super good and super small vegan restaurant called .Org Bistrô. I eat everything but I love a new culinary experience!
WHERE DO YOU FIND THE BEST COCKTAILS?
Teva, which is also a vegan restaurant. It is trendy, they serve good food and the drinks are amazing. You could also go to the Fasano or the Emiliano as it is always a good experience: good view and good service! But then I absolutely love having a caïpirinha at a samba school. It has the best ambiance.
THE BEAUTY OF RIO DOESN’T LIE IN FANCY PLACES, BUT RATHER IN THOSE AUTHENTIC ONES.
Exactly. I love a drink at Mangueira or Portela (editor's note : samba schools) and stopping at the Baile Charme on my way back. I used to go a lot to the jazz bar in the Tavares Bastos favela, or in Vidigal where I have a lot of friends, too.
WHERE DO YOU GO TO WHEN YOU WANT TO ESCAPE RIO?
I think Alto Paraiso is a good place to go, it acts like a retreat for your soul. Ibitipoca is also a great option. And obviously Bahia is always a good idea.
A WORD ON CARIOCA MEN?
I’m kind of afraid of them (laughs).
I don’t want to do any generality, but I feel they aren’t very reliable. When I first arrived in Rio I would feel super upset about it: someone would tell me “I'll call you tomorrow, we’ll meet up” and then I’d realize they didn’t even have my number! I am from São Paulo originally; when you say something, you commit to it.
YOUR CARIOCA GUILTY PLEASURE ?
GET MARIANA'S SIGNED LIMITED PRINTS EDITION
The story that we shot with Mariana Ximenes is a visual metaphor of a woman facing a difficult moment in her life, but is strong enough to confront it. Every woman has her own individual story. A story that is uniquely beautiful, yet we can all relate to the emotions that come out of these moments. When you feel the support of other women, not only do you feel stronger, but you also feel you can achieve anything. It is one of the purest feelings in the world. Suddenly there is no more competition, just fuel for more.
The proceeds from this limited-edition of five photographs, signed by Mariana Ximenes and by the photographer Autumn Sonnichsen will go to Asplande, a non-governmental organization working with women from favelas and peripheral regions of Rio de Janeiro.