I know Greta Ferro she became an actress a bit thanks to her grandmother Betta who, when she was still a child, invited her to put her creativity into practice and to always have an eye on art. “In the summer he made me and my cousins stage theatrical shows based on the fairy tales we read,” says Greta on the phone, just back in Milan after spending the holidays in Campobasso with her family. If you’ve never flipped through a fashion magazine – Greta has been Giorgio Armani’s beauty face for two years – and you don’t subscribe to Amazon Prime Video, you’ll get a better idea of who this energetic 25-year-old girl is starting January 13, when the series Made in Italy, co-produced by Taodue Film and The Family for Mediaset, will finally land in prime time on Canale 5 after being previewed on the Bezos platform.
Sold in more than twenty countries around the world, including South America and China, the series follows the adventures of Irene Mastrangelo, played, in fact, by Ferro, a girl who arrives in Milan in the seventies and is hired as an assistant to a prestigious fashion magazine, Appeal, managed by the uncompromising editor-in-chief Rita Pasini (Margherita Buy). If you think of the series as al Devil wears Prada and to Irene like Anne Hathaway, however, you are very wrong: «We can talk about similarity in the first episode, but only because the fashion magazines really had that kind of approach. Going forward, the story takes a totally different turn »insists Greta, now ready to be projected into the Olympus of emerging faces to keep an eye on. Half from Molise and half from Abruzzo – he is keen to emphasize this otherwise his grandparents take offense – Ferro, father entrepreneur and mother university teacher, contains in his voice all the joy and emotion that accompanies debuts of a certain weight, determined to get involved once again with a lot of humility and a good dose of optimism that never hurts.
Made in Italy it took a long time to wait: announced in March 2020 and then in autumn, it finally sees the light on January 13 in the clear on Canale 5. Tell the truth, were you looking forward to it?
“And how. After landing on Prime I received many messages of appreciation and I realized that the public liked it, so the hope is that this impression can also be confirmed in the passage on Mediaset. It is my first project, we have dedicated a lot of time to it and now I am anxious ».
What does Irene have about her?
«We are two girls from the South who find themselves in the world of fashion by chance. This is why, together with the coach who helped me in the study of the character, I decided to give her my curiosity, my positivity and also a certain open-mindedness: if she hadn’t had it, Irene probably wouldn’t have been able to live in a world so different from his without judgment ».
Irene is a forerunner of the times: I think of the episode in which she proposes to put a black model on the cover. A scandal in the seventies.
“In this it is very revolutionary because it is inspired by Franca Sozzani, a woman who has always been ahead of the others”.
Made in Italy it is her first role ever: have you ever felt the anxiety and pressure of being immediately chosen as the protagonist of such a great project?
“I’m just telling you that at first I didn’t realize I was the protagonist: I discovered it while reading the script. When the directors told me I was terrified, I was not sleeping and I could not eat. Having never had any experience, I didn’t know what to expect: after the first week of the set I seriously thought that I would not make it, but then luckily it went well ».
The fact of being surrounded by experienced actors such as Margherita Buy will also have influenced.
«It was a great school: being close to them and seeing them in action allowed me to learn a lot. It was fundamental to understand how they approached the character ».
Any advice more valuable than others you have received?
«Margherita gave it to me, who explained to me that it was important to separate private life from the set: when you shoot, you have to free yourself from the pressures and dedicate yourself and your mind to the character. At the beginning it was not easy: the dedication was so great that I was going home and I still thought I was in the seventies ».
Everything starts, however, from Campobasso, where it grew up: a very small context.
“Since I was little, however, I have had the opportunity to move abroad several times, first to the United States and then to China. My mother teaches Economics and Management and she often traveled to do research, and I followed her. Even though I come from a small place, being used to traveling and dealing with worlds that are very different from those I could have lived in Campobasso helped me a lot. Once I returned from China and attended the last year of classical high school, I enrolled at Bocconi thinking of studying Economics, but something was wrong ».
“I felt I was missing something. Remembering when I was performing with my cousins together with grandmother Betta, I thought of enrolling in an evening preparatory course at Paolo Grassi, which is very close to university, to cultivate a pinch of creativity: I was there for two months and I realized it was what I wanted to do, except that, between studying and engaging in fashion, I couldn’t go on. Speaking with my agency, however, I expressed the desire to get involved from the acting point of view: from there I shot a short for Armani that was seen by the directors of the TV series. Everything came by itself ».
During the university it was she who proposed herself to fashion agencies as a model. What prompted you to do it?
«I wanted to become independent: since beauty is a gift and a fortune, I thought I could use it to have a work experience, only that at first it didn’t go well. The agencies that had chosen me began to propose to me to change my image, to lose weight: a series of things that would have distorted me and that I was not willing to accept because they would have distanced me from myself. The world of entertainment also works a lot with the personality: if I had accepted to be distorted, I would never have worked ».
Let’s talk about beauty: did you like yourself when you were a teenager?
“No not at all. I had braces, my hair first curly, then straight and then new curls that I couldn’t manage: I was a tomboy and didn’t feel the need to take care of myself as much because I didn’t know how to do it. At the first cottarelle, all unrequited, I burst into tears and told my parents that nobody liked me. My father, on the other hand, always replied to me “you’ll see, a few more years and I’ll have to take the gun in my hand” ».
He was right?
“Incredibly yes, I would never have said that.”
When did you realize that something had changed?
«I got there four years ago, when I started my career in fashion. When you dedicate yourself to a job you have to be aware of the means you have and don’t have: fashion has allowed me to understand how I am, what I was missing and what I needed to work on “.
What did you work on?
«About always keeping a positive and creative outlook on things: I’m not perfect and I’ve never felt there. Everything is, however, in the way you approach what you do, for example at a shooting. Do you know when someone walks into a room and others say “how much energy did it bring”? I’m talking about that baggage there ».
Also for fashion, as well as for acting, it was a bit of a baptism of fire for her, as she worked almost immediately with Giorgio Armani.
“I’ve always talked about luck, but then a friend pointed out to me that luck is an opportunity combined with intelligence, a very true thing. The day I was invited to the screening of the Armani short film which starred me, I knew that something big would happen: once there I met Mr. Armani and that contact literally changed my life. After the Emporio campaign, I had the news that I had been chosen as the new Beauty face of the company: at the moment I had no idea what it meant, how big it was ».
It is curious to think that in life she met Giorgio Armani as well as Irene, who in Made in Italy meets an Armani, played by Raoul Bova, a novice.
“It was a very emotional moment, in fact. It really felt like meeting the Armani who changed the course of fashion history, going completely against the tide. Then Mr. Armani is a truly magnetic personality, “mind blowing” as they say in English ».
Take my curiosity away: Armani saw the series, did he say something to you?
«He sent me a letter telling me he was happy that ‘the jacket’ – this was the name of the short film I shot for him – had brought me luck and that he had seen the series and liked it a lot. I took it and framed it, now it’s home with me. “
His future, today as today, is always more cinema than fashion.
«I would like to continue to follow both paths, also because they are worlds that wink at each other. In the future, it is true, I see myself more projected in cinema, but as long as I can I would like to carry them both forward ».
Which directors do you like?
“I’m crazy about all the films by Quentin Tarantino and Wes Anderson: two names very linked to my childhood, but who managed, in different ways, to change the perception I had of this world”.
The acting light bulb was there long before he enrolled in Economics.
“There was always something inside me. As a child I performed alone in front of the mirror and imagined going to collect some prizes and being part of a world I almost didn’t know existed ».
What did you dream of becoming as a child?
“I wanted to be a serial killer, a spy, Indiana Jones or a scientist. Growing up, I had to abandon my dreams of glory ».
«Yes, even if it is very complex to manage work and study at the same time, also because the dates often coincide. At the moment my priority is work, but I continue to move forward ».
I know he reads a lot. Favourite book?
“I have a lot. Hopscotch by Julio Cortázar, all Italo Calvino and The alchemist by Coelho, perhaps the book that most changed my way of approaching the world, since it is in line with what has become my idea of life ».
Do you consider yourself a nerd?
«No, for heaven’s sake. It would have made my mom happier, but I’m not happy at all. I am one of those people who studied little but who had great results. With the university, however, it was not possible, but you also learn from failures ».