Maria Fernanda Cândido
Maria Fernanda Cândido is a Brazilian actress, television presenter, and former model.
Real success came in 1999. After sending a videobook to TV director Jayme Monjardim, of Rede Globo, she was invited to audition and soon joined the cast of Terra Nostra soap-opera in the role of an Italian young woman, Paola. For that job, she hired a dialect coach in order to improve her Italian pronunciation. The role led to her winning the prestigious Troféu Imprensa and in 2000 she was voted the most beautiful woman of the century in a poll conducted by Fantástico a Sunday evening TV show. At the time, she was compared to the young Sophia Loren, the Italian legend, paralleling the latter's beauty and talent. Like her character in the soap-opera, Cândido's great-grandmother, arrived in Brazil around 1880. The actress is a descendant of the Bortolacci and Malvezi families on her mother's side and the Guiraldelli on her father's side, both coming from Venice, northern Italy. "The funny thing is that I go by the Cândido family name, highlighting the only part of my heritage that is actually Brazilian," she stresses. Another coincidence between her own family's history and the soap-opera, is that her family settled in the same area where the plot was set, the Oeste Paulista, the western region of the State of São Paulo. The character is also the daughter of Italian Anacleto, who works on a coffee farm, the same occupation of her great-grandparents when they arrived in Brazil. As part of her research to play Paola, she watched films such as Bicycle Thieves, Marriage Italian-Style and The Gold of Naples, and to better understand the context in which her character would have lived, she also watched 1900, Bernardo Bertolucci.