MANCODE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
She’s only 21 years old. Her gaze has an unusual maturity yet at the same time is somewhat melancholy. Italian actress Benedetta Porcaroli began as a model, but for years has steadily pursued a career as an actress in television and film. Her role as Chiara in the Netflix series titled “Baby” brought her international recognition. The story is roughly based on a true scandal of underage prostitution and follows the lives of two girls as they seek to identify with their adulthood through unusual circumstances. The actress speaks exclusively to MANCODE about the series that broke the boundaries, acting, and how she sees herself in the future.
The plot of the series «Baby» is inspired by an actual scandal that involved underage prostitution. Did this fact make you think twice before accepting the role of Chiara?
I was aware of the story before I read the script, because I grew up in the area where these events took place. Telling a true and complicated story made me think a lot: I was afraid that I could not represent this girl’s conflicts in the right way. With the utmost respect.
There were some reactions, based on the grounds that the series somewhat glamourized the real “Baby Squillo” scandal. What’s your point of view?
As with all extreme issues, child prostitution is a social problem with enormous consequences, and that’s why, as an actress, I immediately accepted the challenge. I don’t believe that there is anything “glamorous” about this story. The tones that were used to engage the audience into the lives of these girls are disturbing and oppressive. The series speaks of tragic and corrupt stories, due to defects in the social system that surrounds them. The shadows of the human soul have always been a source of inspiration and fascination for the cinema. That is the case for this series, but it doesn’t mean that the characters portrayed should become reference point for those who are watching.
How did you prepare for this role? Was it difficult for you to focus on the script instead of the scandal?
The series was indirectly inspired by the scandal, which only represents a general framework of this story. Therefore, I had difficulty concentrating on the script, because my character was completely new and had to be fabricated step by step. She has a very complicated soul, and for me to get into the skin of her character was like diving into a pool full of ice water.
Did you end up discovering similarities between yourself and Chiara?
In every character that one impersonates, they must bring something from themselves in order to make it real. Chiara and I are opposites, but we complement each other at the same time. Her strengths are my weaknesses and vice versa. She is strong and determined like me and has very deep feelings. I can see myself in the sweet melancholy that characterizes her life and will always accompany her.
It appears that “Baby” tries in some way to present the girls escort service as an act of empowerment. Ludo never sleeps with clients but is able to pay for her school with the money she received for having dinner with a boring dentist. Chiara sleeps with a seemingly pleasant young man and feels uplifted as well. Why? Is it part of the search for her personal identity? Is it the story about a girl who wants to get rid of a life full of oppressive promises?
This analysis is correct, because Chiara’s journey is the path of a teenager who becomes an adult, and she does this by breaking the rules of a world that wants her to behave in a specific way, even though she doesn’t recognize herself in amidst this all. It’s the story about a girl who is reaching adulthood and making choices whether right or wrong, because for the first time she feels free from all obligations.
How do you think about Chiara’s future?
It’s difficult to predict Chiara’s path or the direction the writers will take. We’ll see what happens.
How do you spend a typical day when you’re not working or studying for a role?
Ideally, I’ll go to the beach for lunch. In the afternoon I may go to a concert or spending time with the people I love.
You have worked as a model for big companies. What made you decide to change over to acting?
I was never really a model. I only did it occasionally, mainly for fun. I accidentally walked into an agency when I was 16 years old, and my agent (who I still have to this day) saw some talent in me. She believed in me and this is what brought me to where I am now. I owe her a lot
Have you thought about pursuing a career in Hollywood?
My dream is to work wherever there are stories that need to be told, whether in France or in America, I’ll go anywhere the job leads me.
What’s your favorite movie?
I have several favorite movies. One of them is the “Tree of Life” by Terrence Malick.
Who are your favorite actors?
Robert De Niro και Meryl Streep.
The best thing in life is…
To be able to help those in need.
What are your plans for the future?
Filming for a new movie begins in August, and I will talk about that soon. But in the meantime, don’t miss the second season of “Baby”!
In closing, she makes her own comment:
“I am particularly happy that, through my interview at MANCODE, I can communicate with the Greek public
I love your country! I also enjoy the cosmopolitan music of Mancode radio and the style of Mancodemag.com”.
Photos by Alessio Albi