Photographer | Emilio Tini
Creative Director, Fashion Editor and Host | Icarius De Menezes
Stylist | Valeria Marchetti
A harmonious conversation between Icarius and Tea Falco
When I saw Tea Falco for the first time, I was completely stunned and dazed by her charm.
In the film “Me and You” by Bernardo Bertolucci, I was struck by her power, the frenetic, crazed energy and intrigue of this woman.
Iconic. She hits her climax in the scene where, after taking a selfie (2012) she sings in Italian over the voice of David Bowie.
Bertolucci has immortalized the likes of Marlon Brand, Maria Schneider, Gérard Depardieu and just a few years ago, our very Italian Tea Falco. With “You and I” Tea showed at the Cannes Film Festival and competed for the coveted David di Donatello award, given annually by the Academy of Italian Cinema.
Tea shares much with other Bertolucci stars: an upright posture, integrity, an iconic, courageous presence like that of the young American Lauren Bacall. But in the end Tea remains herself. Defying comparison, she is a goddess. An actress concentrated on her path, on her present and with a vision projected for her future.
Beyond this, one word fits Tea: Dynamic.
She is an extremely versatile actress, live performer, philosopher, psychic, photographer, visual artist and now singer.
Very sexy, even if this is conveyed detached from her body, she is almost cold, coolly feminine. At certain times, as in real life, she does not seem to be limited by sex, but shaped with certain contemporary attitude between male and female. She is confident, almost exuding a masculine energy, but definitively feminine. She seems born of Olympus, a warrior poised to attack, a real Amazon.
She speaks of equality and fraternity between Man and Woman as if she were a champion of Justice speaking to us from her imposing steed.
Why did you decide to get yourself photographed for this digital magazine and to play with me so naturally?
After chatting with you Icarius, I could feel that our stories are very similar.
Much more than I think either of us knew.
Above all the stories and the souls of our mothers. Just like me, you “read” pictures. You are versatile. We both have many facets.
You told me about your mother, I also had a mother who led me to fashion. Yours seems to have pushed you and encouraged your career as an actress
I believe so, because I was used to being on a set since I was a child!
My mom showed me a documentary about Richard Avedon. I was 12 years old. I was fascinated by the images.
Before I was born, she painted. Then, when I was born she started taking pictures, and since I was 5 years old, she would create a real set, telling me a state of mind I had to assume for the pictures. It was not a joke. It was something serious, quite professional. Whether to be sad or happy, whether to cry or laugh. It was like a workshop for me.
Perhaps she realized that I was born an actress, so she pushed me. She was clever like your mom. We are lucky Icarius.
My mother has always been a great artist.
She always told me when I was little that she had made me with a “program” because she wanted me to be blonde and light eyed.
Later in life I enrolled in a photography course and started photographing people myself, usually people on the street, that was my start in photography, trying to catch people’s attitudes. It was not about style, it was about characters.
Speaking of “imaginary programs”, like your mother joked about, do you agree with these ‘test tube babies’?
Absolutely, because we are beginning to confuse reality with the virtual world, because we start to lose the difference, and you start to wonder what the Real is.
…and that’s okay.
ICARIUS WEARS VALENTINO SMOKING JACKET AND GUCCI. TEA, STELLA McCARTNEY, SHOES GIANNICO
Ok, your mom led you to be a photographer, actress, director… . Did you dream of a career as an actress?
I wanted to do creative things in ways that interact with the audience. I used to imagine my show as a singer, my clothes, the scenography, I used to create the whole universe around me…
And what about you father?
I’ve always been very close to both my mother and father, and I’m similar to both. They are divorced.
I have my mother’s brain and creativity, and from my father I get my presence and strength.
You have an intellectual side, but also you talk about deep topics like meditation and karma, but ironically, you have interpreted characters like Jesus and also a Napolitana at the supermarket!
I do not consider myself an intellectual actress, or maybe I just don’t want to be.
I really like making comedy movies, but always with a certain irony.
It’s actually really hard to play in a comedy. Everything that I do is a serious compromise. I think you realize that.
But you’re intellectual, you research and talk about people like director Sebastiano Riso or actress Micaela Ramazzotti. In fact you are a consistent actress, and you have such wonderful humor, always very self-deprecating… like whenever you say something tragic or sad, you always laugh at the end!
If I have to play a comic character, I start from fact that I have to be another person.
I am not comical in life, though I guess it depends on my mood or state of mind.
I prefer to play a character, rather than interpreting myself.
You told me that you love trashy Brazilian music, so of course I told you about Jojo Todynho. (laughs) You loved her right away, right?
Yes! Because I love courage in people. She is real, and I love brazilian funk!
How did you discover Brazilian funk?
I was in Brussels, and I was looking for some music. I discovered Brazilian music listening to “Drinking and Smoking” trash as hell but very cool. The beats, the mix of elements, it’s incredibly strong.
From there, everything started, because it is a crazy, contradictory scene of experimental music, because they compose with a series of absurd sounds, sometimes even trash. And it’s beautiful.
Then, do you like “Trashiness?
Sure. Very much. Because there is a lot of freedom in it. For example I love the song “Vai Malandra” de Anitta, it’s harmonious.
Franco Battiato has always been one of my guides. He can talk about anything in his songs: From quantum physics to Gurdjieff.
But, I really fell in love with Stromae.
What do you mean in love? I can feel some light in your words… Stromae is a great man in my view, for you too?
Yes, but I’m talking about real love… I was really in love.
Years ago, before he became famous, I moved to Brussels, where he lived.
It’s crazy but I walked every day to Avenue Louise, convinced that he lived there in the area and that I might meet him casually on the street. I’m not kidding.
I was in love with him for 5 years.
I was crazy and he never even knew I was there for him. Perhaps he will come to know from this conversation. (laughs)
It all started because I had written to him that I wanted to bring him to Sicily, when he had come out with “Alors on danse”.
But with that song, he had become so famous that he erased his Facebook, and so I lost his contact.
I fell in love with him because he was very similar to me. Both for the things he was saying and writing, he seemed to be talking about me. Usually, I’ve fallen in love with people very similar to me, but not always.
The first time I saw him in a club, but I did not have the strength and the courage to talk to him, maybe out of respect, since he was with his girlfriend.
Then he got married. I returned after a year to Brussels, and there I happened to meet him. I must have dreamed of meeting him, no joke, 50 times, and it was a very strong experience for me. I believe there is a magnetic force that is beyond this life. It was if I already knew him.
ICARIUS WEARS VALENTINO SMOKING JACKET AND GUCCI. TEA WEARS STELLA MCCARTNEY, SHOES GIANNICO
Lets talk about another strong man in your life, but a real one, a very concrete man. How did you meet Bertolucci? He launched you as a cult actress. Tell me about meeting him.
I heard that Bertolucci was planning a film by a friend of mine who was working on the set when I stopped in Rome.
I called an agent and told him that I absolutely wanted to participate in the auditions. I did the first interview with Barbara Melega.
That day I was completely immersed in the part. I ran miles on foot with shoes worn in the rain. I wanted to get into the shoes of a girl who was just…done. And I must say, I succeeded. It made me smile when a girl at the audition told me she saw me outside and she told me that I was really… Toxic!
Moreover, I really smile thinking about the night before. I had traveled by train from Catania to Rome and, since there were no seats, I had fallen asleep in the corridor on my suitcase and my eyes were completely swollen and red.
I was asked to try to start talking about myself after having recited 2 scenes twice. I was very intimidated because every time I talked about myself, I felt uncomfortable, and I was discarded after the audition, because I have never been very comfortable talking about myself.
But after 3 hours, unexpectedly, I received a call while I was returning to the station to leave.
I had passed the interview and so I finally met Bertolucci.
How was the first meeting with Bertolucci?
He wanted to get know me, not to give me more auditions, kind of to understand who he really had before him.
So great was my emotion that I trembled and, not knowing what to say, I had him read what I had written the previous night.
They were thoughts concerning Addiction. Addiction in the broadest sense.
The gathered thoughts were a kind of poetry, not at all knowing that Bertolucci’s father was a poet.
Were you sure that you had been taken for the movie?
To tell you the truth… No, because we met 5 times before he took me. I remember him reading a poem that I wrote, and it seemed like he was reading forever. Finally he told me: “Tea, it is not yet your moment.”
I actually burst into tears, right in front of him. So much emotion had built up.
He asked me if it was a “cinematographic” cry and I replied “…also?”
After a few minutes, he asked me where I liked to live in Rome and, grabbing me, he said, looking me straight in the eyes “Keep smiling”.
It was so, that in his own way, he made me understand that I had been selected.
When I saw Bertolucci’s film, I thought that you might have some modesty with your body, even if doesn’t look like it in the movie, is that true?
In the scene in which I was in the bathroom, Bertolucci told me: “I put you in underwear, because I do not want you totally naked”.
This was because he was shocked by what Maria Schneider had felt in the film “Last Tango in Paris” with Marlon Brando’s scene and did not want to repeat such a thing. That scene was, of course, staged. It was fake, but he absolutely did not want me naked. He did not want to recreate the suffering of that scene.
And like everyone, I guess there are parts of my body that I do not want to show.
Unfortunately, these days, people are talking a lot about harassment in the entertainment industry. Did Bertolucci look at you with the eyes of a Man or a Father?
From the beginning, he looked at me with a father’s eyes and with a great sense of protection towards me.
We immediately fell in love, like a father and daughter.
I can understand that a director can fall in love with an actress and the same thing, that an actress can fall in love with her director, because they create a balance and together complete an exchange to make Art.
This can happen.
Obviously the director should not take advantage of either the situation or his position. This absolutely must not happen; this is really a very bad thing.
I talk to you about this also to reference a bit the controversy that has erupted in recent months.
From Bertolucci I received only affection and respect. This is also why I respect him so much.
ICARIUS IN GUCCI, TEA FALCO WEARS PASQUALE BRUNI (NECKLACE), ALBERTA FERRETTI
Have you ever found yourself in an unpleasant situation like Asia Argento?
I have already talked about it several times on television, and we should keep talking about… I was 20 years old and it happened that a man slipped his hands in my underwear.
And I left immediately.
This man is a director who makes television. After years, we met and we talked. In front of other people he gave me his hand and apologized for what had happened. I appreciated it.
At the time I was small and I did not know many things, I did not know how things worked. I didn’t know that, for example, within 2 months a woman, in a case of harassment, can report the incident.
Asia, for example, was very small. She was 16 and I fully understand her, because it is not only physical violence that hurts but above all the psychological pressure. Suffering such violence, especially for a woman, the imprinting remains on your life. Forever.
How was the relationship that was created with the protagonist Jacopo Olmo in the film by Bertolucci. How did you manager a teenager bomb on set?
Perhaps at the beginning there was also a bit of competition and for this reason he was a bit isolated during the shooting. We only connected when we did the scene, while I wanted to stay connected all the time.
At the beginning I wanted to establish a relationship, to create a synergy, but he did not understand that I just wanted to improve the work. He was small. He was 14, and did not understand certain dynamics. Friendship is not something you can control.
BERNARD DELETTREZ (JEWELS), ALBERTA FERRETTI, SHOES SEBASTIAN
Why did you turn platinum blond? By the way you look stunning and it’s clear that you know that!
Hahah I know! I did on purpose to look stunning!
Look, now I can say it out loud and formalize it!
I have a musical project called “Tea Nea” coming out soon.
Which comes a little from my name and a little from the Greek, which means “new”, but also from the look that I have of on my face.
In short, a new Tea. A rebirth.…but, I do not feel like a singer. I feel more like an actress who plays a singer.
The project will also concern fashion, style and I’m playing with very special characters and features.
I can only tell you that my alter-ego will be these 2 albino girls. That’s why I’ve dyed my hair and you see me now as a bleach blonde.
Anyway it will come out soon, but I do not want to give away too much to you guys now!
Wow… Cool! That’s funny because in my native language (brazilian portuguese) “neo” is beauty mark…but a kind of beauty mark made by a artist.
That’s interesting because I have 3 beauty marks and one of my “beauty marks” is fake and made by me!
Tea, you are a real artist, a very, very interesting woman. Talking with you, exchanging this energy with you, it’s like a glorious party! (Laughs)
Tea, but in the end…You have a lot of capacity and in life what do you really believe and who you really are?
I believe we are all one thing and that we are the continuation of Life, which is one.
I’m an actress.
ICARIUS IN GUCCI, TEA FALCO WEARS PASQUALE BRUNI, ALBERTA FERRETTI
Talent | Tea Falco | Next Talent Management (Milan) + Stefano Chiappi Management + Rubik Comunicazione (Rome)
Beauty Editor | Annamaria Negri | Lolaglam
Make up Artist | Barbara Ciccognani YSL Touch Eclat | MH Artist
Hair Stylist | Gianluca Guiatoli | WM Management Agency
Coordinator | Andrea Bassi
Studio | Erreci Studios Milano
Art Retouch | Carlos Mesquita | Influxus
Special Thanks to Alfonso Lanza, Giulia Gillam e Gianluca Tucciarone