The magnificent Rogéria for Candy Magazine and RG!
Styled by Dudu Bertholini
Hair & make up by Lau Neves
Photo assistant Arnaldo Borensztajn
Retouched by Jeremy Dyer
Special thanks to Vinicius Navarro and Ronald Monteiro
I have loved Rogéria since I was a young boy. I grew up in
Brazil, at a time when anything queer was taboo, and she was my first reference
to something beautiful, different, exotic and yet cheerful, proud and
celebrated by everyone.
I have wanted to photograph Rogéria for a long time and I
was very excited when after more then a year pursuing her, we were able to finally
schedule a date. Rogéria is a busy lady, but it was all worth it as she arrived
lovelier, more intelligent, entertaining and fabulous then I could have ever
Born in the State of Rio de Janeiro and an excellent soccer
goalie, Rogéria gave up on a possibly brilliant sports career when at 15 she
tried on a wedding dress and realized she preferred a different kind of audience,
and would much rather play with two balls, than of one. Songs have been written
about Rogéria, who has performed all over the world, met many powerful people
and has won a Mambembe award (equivalent to a TONY award) for her theater work
Stunning, sharp tongued, courageous, inspiring and the
ultimate icon to all Brazilian gay and trans people, Rogéria has gathered many
compliments but above all, her talent has captivated the minds and hearts of
all Brazilians for over 50 years.
Rogéria was born 70 years ago and her real name is Astolfo
Barroso Pinto. Ironically, in Brazil, the word 'pinto' is a commonly used slang
for penis, and Rogéria very proudly speaks of having kept hers intact. She
insists that her macho brother who is also her best friend, still calls her by
her childhood nickname 'Tolfo', just so she doesn't loose sight of where she
came from. Deep inside, she never
feels like a woman, for as she says, "I don't have a woman's soul".
Instead, she says, "I have the mind of a woman".
Having started in show business doing hair and make-up for
some of the most famous actresses of the time, soon, encouraged by those same
actresses, she began performing and became a sensation herself.
Since then, Rogéria has lent her talent to hundreds of
theater plays and musicals, movies, soap operas and samba school parades. She
has been a judge on some of the most popular TV shows and has been interviewed
by the most prominent people in Brazil. Along the way, she spent almost 10
years travelling the world and performing in Portugal, Spain, Paris, Tehran and
New York among many other places.
Nowadays, audiences can see her playing a caring mother and
grandmother in an acclaimed soap opera in the largest Brazilian TV network.
Her character doesn't take no for an answer - and neither
During the military dictatorship she says she kept her mouth
shut when needed but had to fight for her right to perform and won the battle.
She attributes her determination to her family's constant
love and support.
When she was 12, for example, her aunt saw her wearing a
yellow skirt and told her mom about it. Instead of harsh words, the mother,
asked Rogéria, "Why did you let your aunt see you?". And then she sent
her to the movies, where she repeatedly watched 'How to Marry a Millionaire',
starring Marilyn Monroe.
In the 60's, Rogéria actually had a millionaire boyfriend
who cried incessantly when he got dumped. She wasn't interested in his money
for she had met the love of her life, a dark skinned man she called Preto. They
met during carnaval in Rio and she fainted when they first kissed. She was deeply in love, which, for
Rogéria involves having orgasms, pain in the heart and tears running down her
face, all at the same time.
They were together for 5 years and lived with Rogéria's
family because her mother wouldn't let her move out. They are friends to this
day. But when Preto asked her to choose between show business and their
relationship, there was no doubt in her mind. She was born an artist and even
the love of her life couldn't keep her away from the stage.
Two major passions, many passionate lovers - some famous and
secret, others, just regular guys - and several decades later, Rogéria prefers
to live by herself in order to avoid her lovers' jealousy. The common ground between them all is
their large cocks. Rogéria is a
proud 'size queen' and tells me about one of her lovers who sports a 25cm
penis. He is 32 years old now and they have been lovers since he was 19. Another
one of her lovers, a 28-year-old sweet-faced man, had an orgasm, just by looking
How did her sexuality change over time? Nowadays, she says,
"I don't need to have an orgasm every day, a few times a week is
enough". And intercourse is not part of Rogéria's repertoire anymore. But
don't try to kiss her and be all romantic in bed. She already gets plenty of
love from her adoring fans. In bed she likes the look of disdain in her lover's
face. It is the key to her orgasm.
Rogéria hasn't had any plastic surgery, although a car
accident in 1981 left her with a visible scar on her face. But that never
stopped her either. One month after the accident she was back on stage. When I
asked if she had implants on her breasts, she was offended and made me touch
them while to my delight, proceeded to smooch them onto my face.
Rogéria has always wanted to be defined and respected by her
talent. And that she has greatly
achieved. But her charisma and joie de vivre have also greatly permeated
everything she does. Whenever she
steps out into the streets, hoards of fans, from old ladies who comment on her
hair (and declare their adoration) to married men who ask about her perfume so they
can buy the same one to their wives, most want to take a photograph next to
Rogéria. And to that she always obliges, happily, with her exuberant smile.
She welcomes everyone and we all love Rogéria. I asked her
to define herself, to which she simply replied, "I am the transvestite for
the Brazilian family".
I don't have words to describe what I experienced that day.
Rogéria posed, danced, sang, told stories, entertained and performed for the
crew. I wish the whole world could have been with us, for it would have become
a better world. Instead, I share these images with you and hope that in some
way, they honor the talent of one of the most inspiring and greatest beauties I
have ever met.
The young and wise Thairine Garcia in São Paulo for Bergdorf Goodman!
Creative Director Jesper Lund
Styled by Lori Messerschmitt
Stylist assistant Amber Votel
Make up by Diego Américo
Hair by Romina Manenti
Photo assistants: Jeremy Dyer and Caio Palazzo
The street smart Atong Arjok, Barbara Fialho, Brittany Hollis, Hind Sahli, Kinee Diouf, Liu Xu, Meghan Irminghan, Shane Seng, Tanya Ruban, Vanessa Cruz, Zhenya Katava, JP and Valeria Dmitrienko for Elle Italia!
Styled by Alberto Zanoletti assisted by Giovanni Dario Laudicina